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).