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, 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!)

Monday, February 4, 2008


Camarón (cah-mah-DON, lit. shrimp) means money. It comes from the shape that the thumb and the index finger adopt when holding a pack of bills with one hand: the curvy shape of a camarón. Sometimes the gesture of holding such imaginary pack of bills alone is enough to convey the meaning of money. A synonym derived from this word is camarote (cah-mah-DO-teh, lit. stateroom).

Saturday, February 2, 2008


An import from English language, chance (CHANN-zeh) has three meanings: permission, relief and odds.You hear a lot of dame chance in Mexico City. Dar chance (lit. to give chance) means to grant persmission, to indulge or to give a break. Examples:

  1. A teenager to her mom: dame chance, it means "give me permission".
  2. A stranger in the subway: ¿me das chance?, it means "excuse me" (you're on his way).
  3. A person reading the news: ¡dame chaaaaance!, it means "give me a break!" (probably after reading something apalling).
  4. An athlete after losing a competition: les di chance, it means "I let them win".

Another common expression is chance y... followed by an event. The meaning is equal to "chances are..." or "perhaps". For instance, chance y me suben el sueldo, which means "perhaps I get a salary increase".

Note: chance is rather often substituted by champú (CHAMM-poo, lit. shampoo) because of phonetic similarity and nothing more.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Como "el Borras"

Doing something como "el Borras" (coh-mall-BO-rrass) means carelessly, without thinking about its consequences, mostly by inertia. The term is a reference to the character developed by the Mexican actor Guillermo Rivas "El Borras", who participated in movies such as "Las Golfas del Talón" (1979), "Máscara contra Bikini" (1984), "Fútbol de Alcoba" (1985) and "Peligro, paradas continuas" (1989), among many, many others.

"El Borras" (left) and Alejandro Suárez.