Thursday, May 31, 2012

Te cargó el payaso

Literally, it means "the clown lifted you". If you hear it, you got the short end of the stick and there is no hope for you. You're screwed. You ran out of luck, or even passed away--depending on the context. Our panel of experts cannot come up with an explanation of why a clown lifting your body would be a reference to misfortune.


Gringo: ¿Qué pasó con tu pinche blog?
Experto: Nada. Estábamos de huevones.
Gringo: Yo creí que se lo había cragado el payaso.

US Citizen: What happened to your darned blog?
Expert: Nothing. We were just slacking.
US Citizen: I thought it was over.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Literally, cagado (kah • GAH • though) means "shat", "shitted", "shit", or whatever past participle you choose for the verb "to shit". In Mexican slang something cagado if it is very funny. It is an informal expression but it is not offensive, and has absolutely nothing to do with feces. Use it confidently.

The video of the little boy dancing quebradita (a dance characterized by small, frequent jumps) is a good example of something cagado.    

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Oclayo (awe • KLAH • jaw) means eye, and it is a derivative of ojo (lit. eye). It is typically used in conjuntion with echar, as in echar un oclayo (lit. throw an eye), which means "to keep an eye" or "to take a look." 

Example 1:

Porfas, échale un oclayo mientras voy a echar la firma.
Would you please keep an eye on this while I go to take a leak? 

Example 2: 

Le eché un oclayo a unas boclas de segundo cachete muy chidas, me latieron mucho.
I saw a pair of second-hand speakers pretty cool, I really liked them.

Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel shocked the world in 1929 with his surrealist short movie "Un Chien Anadalou" (An Andalousian Dog). The film opens with a scene in which the oclayo of a woman is cut with a razor blade. Échale un oclayo a la película.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ni paper-mate

Ni paper-mate (nee • pay • per • mate) is an expression that would make you sound like a proper Chilango slang speaker. It is a derivative of ni pedo (lit. "not even fart") which is an interjection to convey frustration and solidarity, similar to "what can you do about it!" when actually nothing can be done. Paper-mate is a brand of pens and retractable pencils.


Demóstenes: Iba en mi democrático, me cuajé y me bajaron el billuyo de la quincena.
Cucho: Ni paper-mate. Al monte pío.

Demóstenes: I was riding the bus, fell asleep and my pay of two-weeks was stolen.
Cucho: What can you do about it! Now you gotta go to the pawn shop.

Paper-mate ad, 1980s.

Friday, June 3, 2011

No canta mal las rancheras

Rancheras (lit. "from the ranch") are songs from the countryside highly popular before Mexico became a mostly urban country. They are often played by a mariachi band and follow a waltz-ish rhythm. The expression no canta mal las rancheras means "(s)he is not bad at singing ranch-style music". This colorful expression is used to convey that, against what some could expect, a person has an above-par performance or has above average attributes.


Gualberto: Eres un culero. Pusiste a tus empleados a parir chayotes, haciéndolos chambear en días feriados.
Benito: Pues tú no cantas mal las rancheras, maestro. Tus empleados se quejan de que te vale verga cuando te piden días de incapacidad.   

Gualberto: You're a son of a bitch. You gave your employees a hard time, making them work on holidays.
Benito: You don't treat your employees any better. They complain that you don't give two shits, and deny them sick days whenever they ask.   

Here is a great example of a ranchera, interpreted by Juan Gabriel, who's sometimes referred to as the Mexican Prince, after the Minneapolitan artitst.  It should be clear that Juan Gabriel no canta mal las rancheras

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Iguanas-ranas literally means "iguanas-frogs." This expression has absolutely nothing to do with reptiles or amphibians. However, it shows very clearly a principle of Mexican slang: take something that sounds similar but is wildly unrelated, then complement it with something that rhymes, and you have a nice expression. Iguanas-ranas (or just iguanas) is used instead of igualmente, which stands for "me too" or "same here."


Josefa: La pasamos de huevos. La neta, no faltó nada. Ha sido el mejor reventón. ¿Ustedes qué pedo? ¿cómo lo vieron? 
José María: Iguanas-ranas. Mega chido.

Josefa: We had a great time. Honestly, we got everything we needed. It's been the best party ever. ¿What about you? ¿How did you like it?
José María: Same here. Quite awesome.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Literally, sáquese (SAH•kess•eh) means get yourself out. In Mexican slang its meaning is pretty much the same as "get out of here!" or "take a hike!" For old-schoolers (e.g. my parents), it is inappropriate. However, it is not considered an insult. It is just a solid, informal expression. Use it. Sometimes it's accompanied by "que", as in sáquese que, which is just a resource to add emphasis.


Activista: Necesitamos su apoyo. Cada uno de nosotros puede poner un granito de arena para salvar al coyote cojo, una especie en peligro de extinción que sólo se encuentra en en valle de Tepizcoloyo y en las praderas de San Casmeo.
Seño: ¡Sáquese que! Mejor pónganse a estudiar, pinches huevones.  

Activist: We need your support. Each of us can make a difference to save the limping coyote, an endangered species only found in Tepizcoloyo Valley and in the plains of San Casmeo.
Ma'am: Get out of here! You should be in school, damn lazy asses.