¡¿Say Qué?! Latino Slang from 11 Different Countries

The fact that most people in Latin American countries speak Spanish helps unify us as a people, but when it comes to slang, each country has words that set them apart from the others

Photo: Unsplash/@jannerboy62

Photo: Unsplash/@jannerboy62

The fact that most people in Latin American countries speak Spanish helps unify us as a people, but when it comes to slang, each country has words that set them apart from the others. You may be completely fluent in Spanish, yet not know some of the lingo from countries besides yours. Luckily, we’ve compiled a handy list of often-used slang words from 11 Latin American countries.

Dominican Republic

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In the DR, they say “Que lo que?!” (also abbreviated as ke lo ke, klok or klk). It is a way to say  “what’s up?,” but can also mean WTF.


Puerto Rico

Although this word is also said in other Latino countries, wepa is a popular slang word in Puerto Rico. It is exclaimed in celebration, and also means “cool,” “congratulations,” and “good job.”



Photo: RightThisMinute/Vanity Fair/YouTube

Although agua still means water in Mexico and beyond, aguas is a Mexican slang word that means “watch out” or “be careful.” This comes from the time when households would toss their dirty water out; before doing so, they would yell “aguas,” to those nearby to warn them. Bonus fact: Selena sings aguas in the beginning of the song “El Toro Relajo.”


El Salvador

The word puchica is a slang term used in El Salvador and other Latin American countries such as Guatemala. It’s a swear word (not so much in Guatemala) that means “damn” or “oh shit,” conveys shock or awe, but is also a way to be polite and not say puta.



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Deacachimba is a Nicaraguan slang word that means “f-in awesome” or “super cool.” It appears to be a word that is exclusively used in Nicaragua.



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The Cuban word asere originated from the Nigerian Ibibio-Efik word esiere, which is a greeting of the Afro-Cuban Abakuá religion. It means “I salute you,” and is used to call someone “buddy” or “homie.” (In Spanish dictionaries, acere means a smelly troop of monkeys.) Que bola means “what’s up,” so together the above phrase means “What’s up, friend?”



Chevere is a word used a lot in Colombia, but it also used in other Latin American countries. It means “great” or “cool.”



Photo: Diccionario Venezolano

In Venezuela, beta can signify gossip/a story/rumor/news, a problematic scenario, or a thing.



Huachafo(a) is a slang term used in Peru and other countries. La huachaferia is trying to pretend you are something you are not, and/or being ostentatious. It also means someone or something who is tacky.



Photo: Urban Dictionary/Twitter

As mentioned above, in Chile, weon is a way to address everyone and everything. Depending on the context and/or delivery, it can be used as a term of endearment or as an insult. It is derived from the word huevon (also spelled hueón and güeón), which generally means a lazy person or an idiot.



You will hear the word boludo(a) a lot from Argentinians. This is another slang term that can be nice or mean, depending on the context, delivery, and tone. It can be a term of endearment for a friend, or could mean “jerk” or “stupid” to a foe. The word is even used as a verb. Boludear can mean “to do something unimportant,” or “to BS someone/mess with someone.” A boludez is “something that is easy,” or “something unimportant.”

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