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.