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Spanish Slang Words and Phrases That Are Quite Handy

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Spanish may be just one language, but with a decent number of countries speaking it, it’s not surprising to see how the slangs show some differences. This can be seen with almost any language even when looking at the same country – people in the south, for example, may have a dialect that is unlike what the other areas use.

In order for you to learn the essentials, we will cover general and common Spanish slang words and phrases, some being more used in certain areas than others. Keep in mind that we will avoid profanity in this article. With that being said, here are some examples that are handy and even some fun ones to use.

Basics

“Qué pasa?” – What’s up?

“Qué tal” – How’s it going?

“Buenas!” – Hello!

“Vale” – A simple expression of agreement, similar to “Ok” or “I understand.”

“Olé” – Yay! Alright!

“No pasa nada” – It’s ok! Don’t worry about it!

“Pasta” – A Spanish slang term for money. Ex: “ No tengo pasta” – “I have no money.”

“Movil” – The most common term for a cell phone. “Celular” is rarely used.

“Qué guay!” – Cool!

“Tio/Tia” – Literal translation is “uncle” and “aunt”, but these terms are also used to address people in an informal way, something along the lines of “dude.”

“Venga, hombre!” – Usually said to express disbelief after a statement. It is something like “yeah, right!”, “no way!” or “you have to be kidding me.”

“Hasta luego!” – See you later!

“Diversion” – How do you say fun in Spanish? It’s “diversion” as a noun, when you are talking about the concept of fun itself. The adjective, when you want to say that a certain thing is fun, is “divertido” or “divertida”, depending on the gender. Ex: “El cine es divertido” means “The cinema is fun.”

Funny Spanish phrases

“Con el dinero baila el perro.” – Literal translation is “With money, the dog will dance.” The meaning is that anything is possible with money.

“Ponte las pillas” – Literal translation would be “Put your batteries on.” The meaning to that would be “wake up!” or “get back to your senses.”

“Tirar la casa por la ventana” – Literal translation: “Throw the house out the window.” Meaning: Roll out the red carpet. A saying used when you want to justify spending high amounts of money for special occasions.

“Como una cabra” or “como una ragadera” – Literal translation: someone is “like a goat” or “like a watering can.” This means they are crazy.

“Caer gordo” – Literal translation: “To fall fat.” It means that you dislike something.

“Por si las moscas” – Literal translation: “For if the flies.” Meaning “just in case.”

“No tener dos dedos de frente” – Literal translation: “Not having two fingers of forehead.” Meaning: not being smart.

“Tomar el pelo” – Literal translation: “To grab or drink the hair.” Meaning: “to prank or fool someone”.

“Le zumba el mango” – Literal translation: “He flings the mango.” Meaning: “To find something hard to believe.”

“Pedir peras al olmo” – Literal translation: “To ask the elm tree for pears.” Meaning that somebody asks the impossible.

“No tener pelos en la lengua” – Literal translation: “not having hairs on the tongue.” Meaning: to be a straightforward person, to speak your mind.

“Estar hecho un aji” – Literal translation: “to be made like a chili.” Meaning: “to be very angry at a situation.”

“Empezar la casa por le tejado” – Literal translation: “to start the house with the roof.” Meaning: to do things in the wrong order. One English idiom for that is “to put the cart before the horse”.

“Estar más sano que una pera” – Literal translation: “to be healthier than a pear.” Meaning: “to be in good health.”

“Echar agua el mar” – Literal translation: “to throw water into the sea.” Meaning: “to do something that is pointless.”

“Tiene más lana que un borrego” – Literal translation: “(Someone) has more wool than a lamb.” Meaning: “to be full of money.”

“Ser uña y carne” – Literal translation: “to be nail and flesh.” Meaning: “to be best friends.”

Slang words in Spanish and the numerous idioms of the language will help you have a deeper understanding of the culture behind many of its speakers. There is nothing more fun than being on the same wavelength as people from other places.