Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Aventado y Aventón

Aventar (ah-venn-TAR, lit. to throw) is used in three very popular ways. The first is aventarse (lit. to throw oneself). It means to take one's chances and do something adventurous. A person that often exhibits that behavior is referred to as aventado or aventada. The second form is aventón (lit. big push). It means car ride. If one is given an aventón, one is hitching a ride. The proper way to ask for a ride is "¿me das un aventón?" (can you give me a big push?). In Mexico City you must not ask an aventón to people you do not know, not because is inappropriate but because it is dangerous. The third way is al aventón. It means to do something in a rush and, consequently, in a substandard way.

Un estudiante a otro: Ese cuate es bien aventado. ¡Le pidio un aventón a la esposa del maestro!
One student to another: That dude is fearless. He asked the teacher's wife a ride!

Maestro: Esta tarea no corresponde a un estudiante con sus capacidades y su curiosidad intelectual.
Estudiante: Es que la hice al aventón.

Teacher: This homework is not what I expect from someone with your skills and intellectual curiosity.
Student: I really didn't spend much time preparing it.

The young lady in the image below is at Circuito Interior trying to get an aventón to Juchitan. Most likely she is not from D.F.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Chingadera, -as, -ita

Chingadera (cheen-ga-THE-rah) is a cruel, lowdown act.

Rigoberto: ¡¿Cómo ves que en China hay una versión pirata de Corona?!
Adalberto: Esas son chingaderas.

Rigoberto: Can you believe there is a knock-off version of Corona in China?
Adalberto: That's utterly unacceptable.

One's chingaderas (in plural) means one's stuff.

Rosa: No quiero volver a verte jamás.
Benito: Perfecto. En cuanto me regreses todas las chingaderas que te regalé me largo. ¡Pus esta!

Rosa: I don't want to see your face ever again.
Benito: Fine. I'll leave as soon as you give me all the stuff I got for you. Unbelievable!

Chingaderita is a teeny-tiny, worthless object.

Mengano: ¿Qué buscas?
Perengano: La chingaderita de la impresora que se conecta a la laptop.

Mengano: What are you looking for?
Perengano: The little piece of the printer that is supposed to be plugged into the portable computer.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


A cábula (CAB-boo-lah) is a joke, a big lie or a surreal situation. A person is said to be bien cábula if he or she uses or is involved in cábulas on a regular basis. Cábula can also be used as an adjective for things and events.

Francisco Jesús: Luego luego se ve que tu suegro es bien cábula.
Luis Rodolfo: Nel, es bien seriecito, pero más bien ya trae media estocada.
Francisco Jesús: You can immediately tell that your girlfriend's dad is a joker.
Luis Rodolfo: Nope, he is rather serious, but he already had two glasses of bourbon.

Some websites are full of cábulas while others have serious contents. The problem is figuring out which is what.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Chance (CHAN-zeh) is a word imported from English. Depending on the context it means permission, likelihood or a break. It is most often used in the following three forms:


Daughter: ¿Me das chance de ir con Ramón y sus primos a Acapulco este fin?
Mom: ¿Te sientes bien?
Daughter: Would you please let me go with Ramón and his (male) cousins to Acapulco for the weekend?
Mom: Are you out of your mind?


One stockbroker to another: ¿Ya viste cómo esta la bolsa? ¡Dame chaaaaance!
Have you seen how's the Dow Jones doing? Give me a flippin' break!


Party crasher: Chance y me lanzo a tu reven.
Party host: Es que chance y no se arma.
Party crasher: Chances are I'll stop by your party.
Party host: Uhhh... chances are it doesn't take place.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Parir chayotes

Parir (pah-REER) means to give birth. Chayote (chah-JAW-teh) is a type of squash from Mexico, with a soft, delicious flavor and a skin covered with thorns. Parir chayotes means to be in a painful situation that feels (figuratively, of course) as "giving birth to round squashes covered with thorns." It is informal but not offensive.

Ando pariendo chayotes en la chamba. ¡La fecha límite para entregar el reporte era hace dos semanas!
I'm in a tough spot at work. The report was due two weeks ago!

The image shows a chayote. Parir chayotes is quite a graphic allusion to hardship.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The term grilla (GREE-jah, lit. female cricket) is used to denote a variety of politically oriented activities, including proselitism, power brokerage and lobbying, in any context (school, the workplace, the playground, etc.) Grillar is to engage in such actions. Someone who is usually involved in that sort of activities is called a grillo. To a grillo, being called grillo is no big deal. To a non-grillo, it is. Major league grilla (the political scene) is referred to as polaca (poh-LACK-ah, lit. Polish female).

Pancho: ¿Sabías que el pinche Rodolfo le entró a la polaca?
Poncho: Nel. Pus que chido, a ese güey le late la grilla desde chavo.

Pancho: Did you now flippin' Rodolfo got into politics?
Poncho: Nope. That's good-I guess, that dude has loved politics since he was a kid.


Mexico is a country of changarros (chan-GAHR-raw). A changarro is a micro business that barely gives its owner subsistence earnings. Changarros are typically located in improvised spots (the sidewalk, one's house garage, the median of an avenue) and almost always lack any permit to operate.

In the image, a changarro owner mocks himself with a sign that reads "Y todo por no estudiar" which could be translated as "This is what I do for dropping out of school". Working at this sort of micro businesses is in no way seen as success.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Mandilón (mann-dee-LAWN, lit. big apron) might be extremely offensive among some old-school, very macho Chilangos. A man is said to be a mandilón if his girlfriend or spouse is the one "wearing the trousers" in the relationship. If she wears the trousers, then he wears the apron.

Younger cohorts of Chilangos believe in gender equality and nowadays the use of mandilón does not imply that the male should be in charge. It only means that the male is not in a situation of equality and the female is imposing her will.

Manuel: ¿Por qué no vino tu carnal?
Rafael: Su vieja lo trae en chinga.
Manuel: Es súper mandilón.

Manuel: How come your brother is not here?
Rafael: His lady is giving him a hard time.
Manuel: He always does whatever she says.

Note: mandilón is often shortened to mandil (mann-DEAL).

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Arguably no term in Chilanguese (Chilango contemporary dialect) carries more sociological content than matado (mah-TAH-though). It literally means "killed". If someone is a matado or matada, that person "kills" his or herself working too hard. It is used as a mild insult, espcially in school context.

In the Chilango (and probably in the Mexican) psyche succeeding by means of hard work is equivalent to cheating. Minimum effort is the most honorable path to success.

Ese guey saca puros dieces pero es bien matado.
[That dude is a straight-A student, but works too hard to get those grades]

No seas matado y vente a chelear.
[Enough work already! Come with us to enjoy some beers]

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Banda & Bandera

Generically, banda (BANN-Duh, lit. band) can refer to a group of people or a crowd. One's banda is the group of people that that person holds dearest. Bandera (Bann-THE-rah, lit. flag) is equivalent to banda but significantly more colorful.

Había un huevo de banda.
[It was a darn big crowd]

Traete a tu banda a los quinceaños de mi prima.
[Bring your friends and family to my cousin's quinceanera party]

Friday, June 13, 2008



Whether we ponder on the number of fans who attended the Clásico at the Estadio Azteca on Sunday or the amount of cars stolen monthly in D.F., ‘very many’ will always be a reasonable estimate. Titupuchal recognizes the difficulty to measure large quantities precisely and the impossibility to quantify the ‘unmeasurable’ (like love, effort, talent, guts). Invoking an inevitable helplessness to know for sure, titipuchal is never the right answer but always a good guess. The term is always preceded by “un” (one) to emphasize the use of measure units.

Dimas: “Y como cuánto te gastaste en la peda ayer?”

(How much did you spend yesterday at the cantina?)

Melitón: “No pus un titipuchal!”

(I was too drunk to know for sure, but it was quite a lot.)

Synonyms for un titipuchal:

* Un chingo (a lot)

* Un madral (very much)

* Un chingomadral (very fucking much)

* Un putero (a whole lot; also denotes a whore house)

* Un putamadral (uncountably many)

One of the most ancient puzzles of mankind is to know the number of stars in space (see photo). Although it is unlikely that the word was first used by Mayan astronomers, un titipuchal is to date the best estimate we have.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fiesta Brava

While in English the term bullfighting evokes a bunch of idiots hurting cattle, the Spanish term fiesta brava (lit. brave party) depicts a festivity that involves as much art as big cojones. The popularity of los toros (lit. the bulls, as fiesta brava is also known) has permeated to Chilango jargon in multiple allusions. Here is a colorful handful.

Hacer la faena (to work the bull) => To complete successfully a hard task
Cambio de tercio (Switch of third) => To go from beer or wine to liquor
Traer media estocada (With half of the spade in) => Not quite drunk but far from sober
Llevarse orejas y rabo (take the ears and tail of the bull) => Grand success
Partir plaza (walking in the middle of the arena) => To catch everybody's attention, in a proudly manner
Vuelta al ruedo (tour around the arena) => Deserved recognition
En barrera (ring-side location) => Right next to action and the blood
Sol general (the cheapest section in the plaza) => Common, not special

In conversation:

Cuando el Licenciado Godínez llegó de la comida ya traía media estocada. Me tocó ver el pleito con su esposa en barrera. La neta que el Lic. se llevó orejas y rabo con tamaño faenón.

[When Mr. Godinez returned from lunch, he was far from shit-faced but drunk. I saw him fighting with his wife from three feet. I swear he did a grand job in the way he worked her.]

Plaza Mexico, "the biggest and most comfortable in the world" according to the Plaza's flyers (right next to the Blue Stadium, home of the soccer team Cruz Azul).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Johny, Miguel, Tiburcio...

Chilangos like to avoid lame, merely descriptive sentences. Every time they can they throw some colorful term to surprise and amuse the listener. Instead of using boring pronouns as yo, , mi, ti, Chilangos use Johny, tunas, Miguel, Tiburcio. The substitutions are immaterial in terms of meaning. They are purely ornamental. Here are some examples:

yo (I) => Johny
tu (You) => tunas
mi (me) => Miguel
ti (you) => tinieblas, tiburcio, tiburón
acá (here) => Acámbaro, Michoacán
pa'llá (contraction of para allá, over there) => payaso

In conversation:

¿Quién se chupó mi Viña Real?: Who drank my wine cooler?
Johny (lit. Johny): I did.

¿Para quiénes son los huaraches con carne?: Who are these huaraches with beef for?
Uno es para Miguel y el otro para Tiburcio (lit. One for Miguel and the other for Tiburcio): One for me and the other for you.

¡Hazte payaso! (lit. Become a clown!): Move over!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


It literally means record-player. Tocadiscos stands for tocado de la cabeza (touched of the head, cuckoo). It is a colorful, almost musical allusion to insanity.

Poncho: Los tocadiscos viejitos son claramente superiores a los reprodutores de MP3. [Old record-players are clearly superior to MP3-players.]
Pancho: Estas bien tocadiscos. [You're out of your mind.]

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Before trying to pronounce this word, take a deep breath and relax. Ñáñaras (GNA-gna-dahs) is the feeling inside one's belly produced by excitement or disgust. The word is used as part of the expression sentir or dar ñáñaras (to feel or to give ñáñaras), which was popularized by the Hermanos Lelos characters of the Polivoces, a world class couple of Mexican comedians. Watch the segment below from their 1960s show.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Naco vs Fresa



In contemporary Mexico's theater of life, nacos and fresas enact a battle of lifestyles day-in and day-out.

Naco stands for anything without taste or class, which nevertheless possesses some degree of sophistication. Vulgar yet edgy, a sort of spiced-up tackiness, naco is generally associated with low social status. It is not a derogative term for poor, but for poor or cheap taste. Nacos are often referred to as chusma, ñeros, gatos, naguales, indios, or nacuarros. Renowned for their rich slang and amusing inventiveness, naco es chido has become a popular slogan. From this ringside, fresas are the plague of society.

Fresa (lit. strawberry) is the Mexican version of a daddy’s boy: a yuppie. Wealthy and arrogant, a fresa has the lifestyle of a junior, mamón, prepo or farol. When applied to females, a niña fresa is a rather conservative or unadventurous teen engrossed in mundane and insignificant affairs. The behavior of a fresa is regulated by unwritten yet strict social norms which avoid any action that could be considered naca, like using public transport, listening to cumbias (tropical music), or buying groceries at the local market (mercado) instead of the supermarket. The basic communication workhorses for fresas are:

  • Osea (it’s like)
  • Osea hello!? (what-everrr!). It is customary for fresas to use English words like hello, cool and bye when talking in Spanish. This apparently conveys a cosmopolitan flair.
  • Qué oso! (how embarrassing!)
  • De pelos (super or cool)
  • No manches wey! (gimme a break). Notice how güey is replaced by wey.
  • Qué onda wey? (what’s up?)

In the following video, nacos and fresas discuss their movie tastes. Notice how the fresa intonation suggests that a fat and heavy tongue is obstructing a clear pronunciation.


lit. Dog

A person's, a thing's or a situation's dogsomeness are deeply rooted concepts in modern effective Mexican Spanish. Alternative meanings relate to different  k-9 attributes, in say: voracity, concupiscence, persistence, loyalty or toughness.
  1. ¡Eres un perro! Te atascaste a todas las viejas de tu salón : You made out with every girl in our class. You're such a dog! 
  2. Ya te vi perrín. (I see through you little dog) I know your intentions.
  3. Súbele al aire, esta perro el calor. Crank the AC, its hot like a bitch.
  4. Te trae de nalgas, como su perrito. You have fallen for her, you're her bitch.
  5. Ya vi tu coche, está perrón! Just saw your ride, it's smokin'
  6. Le estás tirando el perro a María verdad perrín? You're letting the dogs out on María aren't you dogg.
  7. Me trataron como perro. They treated me really badly.
  8. El concierto estuvo chido, el estadio estaba aperradísimo. The concert was awesome, the stadium was packed.
  9. Todos queremos guacamole, ¡no te aperres! Easy on the guacamole, we all want to try it.
Note: It's critically important to roll your r's properly.

Monday, March 31, 2008



Although the literal meaning is to fall (see picture), the verb caer and its various conjugations have an assortment of practical applications in Mexican slang.

1) Me cae bien (mal). I like (dislike) that person. A person who unsuccessfully struggles to be agreeable is refered to as a caimebien.

2) Caete con la lana. This is a hold-up! Lana, like feria, billete, biyuyo or camarón is slang for money. More generally, caerse con means to give or grant. A striking way to ask for a compulsory donation is to say: caete cadáver.

3) Ya le caigo. I’m leaving.

4) Te cae? Really? // Are you serious?

5) Me cae. You bet! // I swear.

6) Me cae de madre. You fucking bet! // I swear it over my mother’s grave.

7) Se cae de buena. She’s super hot.

8) Caele a la chingada. Get lost you bastard! Caer a simply means to go somewhere. The term a la chingada refers to the most remote of places and is often replaced (in increasing tone of discontent) by al agave, a la gaver or a la verga.

9) Me cayó el veinte. I just realized something.

In cases 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, it is customary (but grammatically incorrect) to replace the letter e for i (so me cae is pronounced me cai).

Lupita: Me cai que le caíste bien a mi jefe, pero ya es tarde así que caile.
(I assure you my dad thought you were a nice guy. But it’s late now, so you should go home).

Rigoberto: Chale, te cai? (Are you serious?)

Lupita: Me cai pinche Rigo! (Fuckin’ A!)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Puro pájaro nalgón

lit. Pure fat-ass bird

That's Bullshit!
(see: the "V" word 10-11)

Shaggy: Ahora si te lo juro que ya no voy a chupar (Now for real, I swear I will quit drinking).
César: Ni madres, puro pájaro nalgón (No way, bullshit!).

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


"Al que madruga, Dios le ayuda" (God helps those who get up early). Madrugada (ma-droo-GAH-duh) is the time after midnight and before sunrise. Madrugar (ma-droo-GRRR) in its intransitive form means to get up at that time, an activity that is seen in Mexico as a sign of will power, righteousness and good spirit. However, when madrugar is used in a transitive way, i.e. madrugar a alguien, it means to take advantage of that person but moving fast and stealthily. Madruguete is a furtive action.

Pancho: Mi primo es muy madrugador. (My cousin is an early riser.)
Poncho: ¡Sí, ya me dijeron que te dio baje con la gordita de la tienda! ¡Qué madruguete! (Indeed! I heard he moved faster than you with the corner store clerk! You didn't even see it coming!)

Madrugada in the Valley of Mexico

Wednesday, March 12, 2008



"Dime qué presumes y te diré de qué careces" claims the old proverb referring to those who, in their attempt to brag something, merely reveal their lack of it. In Mexico, a person fitting this description is called a farol. The origin of this expression is another popular proverb which in similar fashion describes the pitfalls of showing-off: “Farol de la calle, oscuridad de la casa”.

A farol is in most cases mamón or prepo (shorthand for prepotente-arrogant). Farolear means to brag and farolez denotes arrogance. One does not need to have high social status to be a farol. As an unfortunate consequence, there’s an excessive supply of faroles within each Mexican socio-economic class. But the undisputed king of them all is pop singer Luis Miguel (see picture) who has made quite a handsome living out of his farolez.

Te crees muy farol con tu choco-rolex, pero a mí me la pelas! (I disapprove you’re showing-off your watch).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

El Tri

In the psyche of Mexicans the term el Tri invokes two deeply rooted and completely unrelated concepts. On one hand, a rock and roll band whose original name back in the 1960s was "Three Souls in my Mind" and that later was shortened to El Tri. From the original line up only Alex Lora remains, hence the name El Tri de Lora. This band is popular for their funny lyrics and honest blues style.

On the other hand the term el Tri invokes the national soccer team. Since the team's uniform displays the three colors of the Mexican flag, the national team is referred as el Equipo Tricolor (lit. the three-color team). One of the most exciting moments in the history of el Tri was the World Cup hosted by Mexico in 1986, when Manolo Negrete scored a media tijera (lit. half-scissors) goal. At that moment the coach was Velibor "Bora" Milutinovic, hence this team was nicknamed el Tri de Bora.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Another workhorse of contemporary Chilango slang, choro (CHOH-ruh) has multiple uses and two core meanings. On one hand it means B.S., balloney, or more generally flagrant lies, and chorear means to lie like a flat pancake.

1. ¡No seas choro!: get out! (expression of disbelief)
2. Fuera de choro... : I shit you not ...
3. Ese güey es bien choro: that guy is full of shit
4. Me choreó mi cuñado: my brother-in-law fooled me

On the other hand, choro means an empty, entangled speech usually given with the purpose of not telling the truth or not looking like an idiot. In this case chorear is to give such a speech.

5. El candidato se aventó un choro: the candidate gave an empty, inconsequential speech
6. Los ruleteros son choreros: taxi drivers talk non-sense

Note: In cases 1 and 3, choro can be substituted by lengua (lit. tongue). In cases 5 and 6, choro can substituted by rollo (RO-joh, lit. roll). In all cases, the noun choro can be substituted by chorizo, the Spanish-style sausage.

Nobody disputes Mario Moreno Cantinflas is the king of choro. Watch the video below and learn how to chorear from the best.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Chamaquear (cha-mac-KEHAR) means to use someone's lack of experience to either tease or profit from that person. Its root is the word chamaco, which means child. Children are easier to trick than most adults, hence the reference in chamaquear and in two other expressions: estar chavo and pendejo.

When a person tells you ¡estás chavo! (s-TAZ CHA-vough, lit. you're a kid), that person means that you're inmature and you don't really know the way things work. Pendejo has already been described in detail in this blog.

Note: Chilangos do not think children are dumb and don't get it. The rerefences above are not to the lack of intelligence but the lack of malice, which is thought to be an essential element in personal and professional success.

Monday, March 3, 2008




Not necessarily a word on its own right, tssss is a handy and fun expression to use in D.F.

It can be used to convey disbelief or surprise, but more generally it is the expression of the sudden realization of something's severe implications or an indication of one's disapproval for someone's conduct.

No manches que te chingaron la feria? ¡Tssss!. Get out, did you really get mugged? Shhhiiit!

To properly deploy it, squinch an eye while mimicking air escaping from a valve. Spreading your palms to the sides corresponds to disapproval, tilting your head back corresponds to sympathy for a tragic occurrence.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Echar lámina

Driving in the streets of Mexico City requires being aggressive. More often than not, there are no proper traffic signals, and when there are, drivers ignore them. So if you want to take Viaducto, Periférico, Circuito Interior or any other (allegedly) express way, you have to let your car go against other drivers. Their fear for a taste of your vehicle's metal sheet will force them to yield. This act is known as echar lámina (eh-CHAR LAH-mee-nah, lit. to throw metal sheet).

Echar lámina is also used metaphorically to mean a blunt courthip is taking place, letting oneself go in a collision course expecting the other person to yield to one's intentions. Synonyms of echar lámina are echar los perros (lit. throw the dogs), tirar el calzón (throw the panties, briefs, boxers) and tirar la onda (lit. throw the vibe).

The short film below starts with a microbusero (a micro-bus driver) echando lámina. Test your command of the contents of this blog by deciphering the meaning of the dialogues. The name of the short film is La Furia de un Microbusero.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Un kilo

A thousand grams, a thousand times.

While in other latitudes a kilo (a key) might have a strong drug trafficking connotation,  D.F. is on the metric system (like most of the  civilized world) which results in diverse and colorful uses of kilo.

¿A cómo el kilo de aguayón torneado?: What's the spot price per kilo for beef.
El mejor luchador kilo por kilo: Best lucha libre wrestler  kilo by kilo.
Échale los kilos: Make a serious effort, get down to it.
Me debes un kilo güey: You owe me a million  pesos güey (a thousand thousands)
Un kilo de verdes: A million US.
Un kilo de verga: complete disregard.
Un kilo ochocientos de verga: complete disregard with a vengeance.


A zape (SAH-peh) is a slap on the back of the head that more than inflicting pain intends to convey intelectual disaproval or physical dominance. Zapear or dar sus zapes is the action of giving someone one or several zapes. A person who is teased constantly by his or her peers and receives frequent doses of zapes, either actual or metaphorical, is called a zapeado. Nobody wants to be a zapeado but there is always one.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008



Not the most romantic way to express one's need of an intimate affair. Nevertheless, it's casual, effective and not too vulgar. Plain and simple, kaliman stands for horny. It is a nice folkloric substitute for the term caliente, which in Mexico sounds too seedy to be used colloquially.

El Puas: Ando tan Kaliman que si le vengo dando hasta a Ti-nieblas!
(Beware of me and run for your life: I'm horny!)


* Filoso/Filosofo (with a sharp edge/philosopher)
* Ganoso (readily available)
* Caldufo (grotesquely in need of intercourse)
* Traer la espada desenvainada (to have the sword at hand)
* Andar con todo (to be determined)

This picture depicts the the animated hero Kaliman taking a break from his duty to save the world to play with the joyful Pepito (God forbid he's kaliman!).

Monday, February 25, 2008



Strictly speaking, this term is reserved for those females who in spite of their thick complexion are sexy enough for a romantic encounter. Just like "MILF" designates the "oldies but goodies", gordibuena characterizes the "chubbies but sexies". Gordibuena does not identify the specific nature of a woman's attractiveness (cute face, nice chest, fun personality, good dancing skills or meneo, etc.). Instead, the term only denotes approval of a pass/fail test.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Moreover, beauty standards drop significantly in the presence of alcohol. For these reasons, the term is often abused and used to justify one's low passions and bad taste.

Pablo: No manches carnal, te esta buscando Greenpeace porque ayer mataste una ballena!

(Dude, I can't believe you made out with that fat-ass last night!)

Armando: Pus segun yo estaba gordibuena!

(Oh, give her a break! She had a nice smile and an awesome personality!)

A similar way to say a girl is gordibuena is to say: no esta gorda, solo tiene huesito ancho (she's not fat, she only has thick bones). Mexico's cine de ficheras (low-budget sexi-comedic movies) has been the principal media which shapes and defines the aesthetic standards of the term gordibuena. The photo above displays the dangerous curves and charming personality of the famous actress Rosa Gloria Chagoyan (aka Lola la Trailera).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Por Detroit

From behind, taking the back door

It is not uncommon in modern-effective D.F. Spanish to find words taken from English just because they kind of sound like something in spanish. Detroit is a classic in this category. Swapping for an English word dwindles the explicit nature of a sentence in a fun "creative" way güey.

Por detras: Por detroit

Thursday, February 21, 2008

de a José-José

Well before Prince became famous with hits such as "Purple Rain" and "1999", Mexicans had their own Prince of Song, José José. For years the ballads popularized by this artist have inspired decadent parties, where people sing about the drama of not wanting to live anymore when one's not loved in return. José José is also well known for his taste for liquor and the term de a José José means that a cocktail contains by far more liquor than mixers and ice.

If you do the math, having a few drinks de a José José will get you a peda of paletero (popsicle vendor), albañil recién rayado (construction worker on payday), or apache mariguano (stoned Native American).

Note: generic terms for cocktails are alcoles (from alcohol), drincs (from Eng. drinks), alipuses (old fashion for drinks), quiebres (breaks), copas (cups) and chupes (sucks).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008



Effective use of híjole will radically increase your chances of blending in as you deploy a masterful command of folklore in speech.

According to urbandictionary.com, Híjole! means "Geez!"... a general expression of surprise, annoyance or exasperation.

Though the above definition points somewhat in the right direction, there is more to it.

¡Híjole! can definitely denote surprise, however, not in general, but in the sense that there are going to be worrisome implications. Híjole conveys a tragic realization (reserved to small tragedies).

Pedro: Se te olvidó pasar por tu jefa a la estación (you forgot to pick up your momster at the station).

Brandon: ¡Híjole!

Brandon is surprised, no question about it, but above all, he knows he is fucked.

¡Híjole! has other handy applications:

Landlord: Vengo a cobrar la renta, I´m here to collect
Tenant: ¡Híjole! (It's not happening dude, but I have a good excuse coming up)

also an expression of simpathy

Vicente: Me corrieron de la chamba (They fired me)
Brandon: ¡Híjole!


Yuri: Es que hoy no me bañé (Turns out I didn't shower today)
Brandon: ¡Híjole! (fucking pig!)

Saturday, February 16, 2008



Using this tern will set you apart in slang use in DF. Originally it was used among rural people to refer to the venom of poisonous reptiles, and among elder people to refer to substances that have noxious effects (both correct). This term has been re-introduced to the urban vocabulary with an extended meaning, probably from the interaction of those rural new comers with the rest of the DF folklore.

This extended meaning is sexual. It refers to the male reproductive fluid, yes, semen. The usage is among guy talk but pretty straightforward. Like in any albur (double entendre) you want to give it away but not be recipient of it: venom is not good for your health. Here are some examples:

1. Andas ponzoñoso ca! (Dude, chill your horniness!)
2. Aguas! Ahí te va la ponzoña (Be careful, here I come)
3. Bájale a tu ponzoña (Fuck off!)

Part of the beauty of this word is in its phonetics, although not quite onomatopoeic it still reminds discharge. Be creative when using it. For example, elongate the middle syllable, pon- zooooo-ña, or give more intensity by stressing the nasal part, pon-so-Ña.

Thursday, February 14, 2008



One of the fanciest ways to show suspicion or skepticism in the urban jungle of D.F.. Chi-como-ño! is the pimped-up version of the phrase: Si como no!, which means: “Really? I don’t believe you!”. The term has gained enormous popularity in virtue of its albur value (double meaning). In the appropriate context, it stands for me como tu chiquilin, which translates into something like: “your ass is mine”. Perhaps no other celebrity was fonder of this expression than the late tropical music legend Chico Che (see photo).

Que crees carnal? Le paso un resto a tu hermana! A: Chi-como-ño!

Dude, I think your sister digs me. A: In dreams loser!

Synonyms: andale! (pronounced in a low suspicious tone stretching the end vowel: n-daleeee!).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008



This word is a folkloric mutation of the conjugated verb Andale!. It shares the same meaning of: That’s right!; Exactly!; Or the more jazzed-up idiom: Correctamondo! The origins of this exotic expression are not well known. What is known is the man who popularized it nationwide: clown Pepe Pepe. In his (in)famous TV appearances (see photo), Pepe Pepe would joyously deliver the Añeñe! to the Mexican youth after his inseparable comrade, clown Lagrimita, naïvely asked an obvious question.

Synonyms: andale! (verb); n-daleeee! (verb); ecole! (Italian for ‘right’); ecole qua! (Italian for ‘that’s right’); simon!; simona la cacariza!; iz barniz!; a huevo!; a Wilson; desde luego; por supuesto; por su pollo; of course my horse!; bueno? (question asked in a guttural voice); cincho; sifilis; (all previous phrases simply mean ‘yes’); and sabeeees! (conjugated verb meaning ‘you know the answer’).

Instead of pronouncing any the above expressions, it is also customary to incline your head 45 degrees to your right, close your right eye and whistle lightly. This intriguingly rich and polite gesture will convey the same meaning as Añeñe! without having to waste any words. It is strongly recommended for those non-native speakers struggling with their pronunciation.

Q: 2+2=4
? – A: Añeñe! => Q: Two plus two equal four right? – A: Gosh, that’s correct!
Q: Abuelita, por que tienes esos ojos tan grandes? Y esos dientes tan grandes? Ah cabron! Eres el lobo verdad? – A:
Añeñe! => Q: Granny, why do you have such big eyes? And why the long sharp teeth? Holy crap! Are you the big bad wolf? – A: Correctamondo!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

¿A qué hora sales por el pan?

(What time you hit the bakery?)

In old-school atavistic Mexico, probably one of the few chances a decent demoiselle would have to an encounter with her lover would be while performing her daily duty of getting fresh bread for dinner (particularly true if she worked as a maid).

Nowadays, the expression delivers metaphorically the same message: a prearranged, brief and furtive romantic encounter (the best kind). 

A que hora sales por el pan mi reina: Let's meet my queen, set the terms.

Yelling it to random women means you dig them, and would also mean you're a tasteless stalker.




Simon has little if anything to say in D.F. 

Instead, ¡Simón! is an amusing and emphatic yes!

With the proper accent, Simón garnishes an otherwise flat yes, with a sense of pride in admitting to something.

Me dijeron que tu eres el mero mero de por aquí.   ¡Simón! (People say you'e the man around here. You betcha sweet!)

Stretching the last syllable with a hint of disbelief reverses the meaning.

Feel free to become and instant chilango by  trading a dull Si! for a hearfelt ¡Simón! 

Equivalent expressions include: Cincho, is, is-barniz, ei (a).

Any of the above can be substituted by a subtle short whistle synchronized with a tilting of one's face, blink and a downward motion of the right hand coming  down emulating the pull of a string by the index and thumb.


Pasarse de la raya, de lanza, de corneta, de camote, de verga means to disrupt someone or something by going too far, trespassing some norms. The trespasser is referred to as pasado (de lanza, etc.) or just pasado. Finally, pasadez is the act of trespassing.

Ese güey es un pasado de verga => That dude is quite an asshole, beware!
¿No te parece que te pasaste de lanza al abrir mi e-mail? => Don't you think you went too far checking my e-mail account?
¡Qué pasadez de lanza de tu chava! => What an abusive behavior of your girlfriend!

These terms are as informal as effective conveying their message. Use them wisely.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Caguama (ka-WA-ma, lit. marine tortoise) is the equivalent of 40-ounce beer. It is used in plural and often substituted by kawasakis (after the famous Japanese make of motorcycles) because of the phonetic similarity. Even though caguama is a trademark of Carta Blanca beer, it is used generically. Most brands adertise their 40-ounce version as tamaño familiar (family size), which is a rather odd choice.

Note: Cerveza Pacífico's 40-ounce version is called ballena (ba-JE-na, lit. whale).


Nel (NELL) is a workhorse of Chilango slang. It means "no" and it is usually followed by pastel (pass-TELL, lit. cake). The cake part has no particular interpretation but it rhymes. This expression is informal yet colorful.


Mamá: ¿No te vas a poner smoking para los quince años de Lupita?
Hijo: Nel pastel. Me voy como ando.

Mom: Aren't you going to were a tuxedo for Lupita's quinceañera?
Son: Nope. I'll just go like this.

Nel pastel shows Chilangos' taste for rhyming sound bites.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Cañón (kah-GNON, lit. cannon) is the catholic-school-for-young-ladies half-ass version of cabrón (just like darn is to damn, or heck to hell). Avoid cañón. If you're going to swear, you'd better go all the way.

Thursday, February 7, 2008



A must in modern effective Spanish. While its core meaning is rooted on the notion of penetration, bothering or inflicting pain, subtle variations lead to a wide spectrum of useful meanings.

  1. No me estés chingando la marrana. Get off my back, stop it!, fuck off
  2. Chinga tu madre: Fuck yourself
  3. Chinga tu puta madre: Go fuck your mother
  4. Tu puta madre: on you, I don't take it, you do it
  5. No me chingues: Are you kidding me?, I don't buy it, don't fuck with me
  6. Ya chingué: I made it, I fucking made it
  7. Me los chingué a todos: I prevailed, defeated all of them, I fucked them
  8. Ya me chingaron: I lost, took the worst end, I've been fucked
  9. Está de la chingada: That's terrible, fuck!
  10. ¡Qué chingón!: Freaking awesome!
  11. !Qué chinga!: That's inconvenient, how burdensome, fuck!
  12. Estar chingue y chinge: to insist ceaselessly
  13. Eres un Chingón: You rock, rule, master jedi
  14. Te chingas: You have no way out, you're fucked
  15. Un chingo: a fucking lot
  16. Con una chingada: For the nth time
  17. Hijo de la chingada: a bad person/motherfucker/son of a bitch
  18. Chingoscientos: A gzillion
  19. Chingaderitas: little things, minutia
  20. Tus chingaderas: your things
  21. Esas son chingaderas: that's foul play, fucked up
  22. En casa de la chingada: very far far away
  23. Vete a la chingada: Get lost, fuck you
  24. ¡Ah chingá!: Interjection denoting suprise.
  25. Se chingó la cosa: Things got screwed.
  26. Hecho la chingada: Very, very fast.
  27. Chinga-quedito: Someone who upsets people with a low-intensity high-frequency strategy.
  28. El que se chingó, se chingó: You got screwed and that's that.
  29. Le chingué mil baros al patrón: I stole a hundred bucks from the boss.
  30. ¡Chingada madre!: I've had it.


|chup-R| lit. to suck

Any visitor to D.F. should be careful using this verb as it can deliver diametrical results depending on the context.

As it is obvious from the literal translation from the English language, it can refer to the act of fellatio or less so to cunnilingus. When in dire need of sexual satisfaction, (loving or not) couples may inquire about the possibility of a chupada -the noun-.

A second, and very common, usage is to indicate a keen willingness to engage in heavy drinking mostly used among friends. For example, one would use
Vámonos a chupar con unas golfas (Let's go drink with some friends).

Make sure you suggest drinks or else risk being caught in an awkward situation or at best being pounded with a double entendre (albur) reply. This use is closely related to the verb mamar (also lit. to suck).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

¡En chinga!

(EN CheeNgah)

En chinga is a very handy adverb. However, as any other effective piece of Chilango language, its meaning is driven by context, emphasis and body language.
  1. In a rush, in haste, tremendously fast
  • Ana Güevara (world champ) corre en chinga 
  • Vete en chinga por unas tortas. Command: Go in haste to pick up some tortas (A good torta cubana is really worth the rush). 


2. Very busy, overwhelmed with work
  • ¡Pobre güey, anda en chinga! Poor guy is swamped!
3. A beating, a hassle

  • A tu hermanito lo traen en chinga en la escuela!: Your little brother is being bullied at school!  and/or  your little brother has a lot of homework.
  • Es una chinga lavar los platos: Doing the dishes is a hassle


Even though llegar has no special connotation in slang, two of its deratives are highly handy: llegue (JEH-geh) and llégale (JEH-gah-leh).

A llegue can be a little taste of something: le di un llegue a los chiles rellenos (I had a bite of chiles rellenos) or le dimos un llegue a tu huizcacho (we drank a bit of your scotch). It can also mean a minor car crash or the dent resulting from it: me dieron un llegue en la puerta del copiloto (I got hit by a car on the passengers' door).

When used by secundaria (junior high) students, llegarle to someone means to ask that person to be one's sweetheart: mi primo acaba de llegarle a tu carnala (my cousin just asked your sister to be his sweetheart).

In a more general setting, llegarle means "to the get out of here": ya son las 3AM, yo creo que ya le llego (it's 3AM already, I think I'd better get out of here) or llégale a verga (get the hell out of here).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A huevo

This is one of the workhorses of effective communication in Mexico City. A huevo (ah-WEH-bo, lit. at egg) is used in two ways. When used as an adverb it means a fortiori. Now, for those of you who do not know latin, that means "for a still stronger, more certain reason". That means if you do something a huevo, you're forced to do it. When used as an interjection, ¡a huevo! means "fucking-A!", "you bet!" or "I told you so!"

Both uses are informal. However, there are some ways around its inappropriateness. For instance, instead of a huevo you can say a Hüelfo, como dijo el alemán, which means "to Hüelfo (not a real place), as the German said" or a Wilbur, which means "to Wilbur". The educated ear would get the message right away and nobody would be deeply offended.

Pancho: ¿No te caga hacer las cosas a huevo? (Don't you hate doing stuff because you're forced to?)
Poncho: ¡A huevo! (You bet!)