Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Darse color, tinta

Darse color (THAR-seh coh-LAWR) literally means "to give color to oneself." It is a solid expression that means "to realize the thuth of the matter." An equivalent expression is darse tinta (THAR-se TEEN-tah) which means "to give ink to oneself."

Example 1:

Estudiante: Párale, la maestra ya se dio tinta de que estás copiando.
Maestra: ¿Qué esta pasando aquí?

Student: Stop it, the teacher already realized you're copying.
Teacher: What's going on here?

Example 2:

Edecán: Este ron está super suave.
Transeúnte: Entra sin que te des color de que es licor.
Edecán: ¿Le sirvo más?

Model: This rum is really smooth.
Random dude: You can drink it without even realizing it's liquor.
Model: Would you care for more?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cuates los aguacates, tompiates, tenates

This is expression has a very narrow use but it cannot be beaten because of its imagery. Cuates los aguates (QUA-tess loss-a-gooa-KAH-tess) literally means "buddies, the avocados." It's usually followed by y no se hablan (ee-no-seh-AH-blan), lit. "and they do not talk to each other."

It is used in the follwoing context. Suppose that after a friend does something uncool to you and you react accordingly he or she tells you "but I thought we were buddies." Here you reply with "buddies, the avocados and they do not talk to each other."

The aguacates can be exchanged by tompiates or tenates. The three terms are allusions to the testicles, which inspite being so close and twins (cuates), they do not speak to each other.

Adalberto: Ya olvida lo que pasó entre Camila y yo. Acuérdate que sobre todas las cosas, somos cuates.
Hernán: Cuates los tenates, y no se hablan. Tu en cuestión de viejas no tienes amigos.

Adalberto: Forget what happened between Camila and me. Remember that, above all, we are buddies.
Hernan: Buddies the testicles, and they do not speak to each other. You have no friends when it comes to hitting on women.

Friday, September 25, 2009

De mentis, de a devis

Although these expressions sound like latin spells out of Harry Potter book, they are workhorses of old school Mexican slang and highly popular among children.

De mentis (the-MEN-tease) comes from de mentiras (lit. of lies). When something is de mentiras, it means it's fake or simply not true. De a devis (the-ah-THE-vees) comes from de a de veras (lit. of truths). When something is de a deveras, it means it's true or the real thing. De mentiras and de a de veras are no slang but formal Spanish.

Maestra: Pepito, sabes que no puedes traer pistolas de juguete a la escuela.
Pepito: No es de a mentis, maestra, es de a devis.

Teacher: Pepito, you know that you cannot bring toy guns to school.
Pepito: It's not a fake gun, teacher, it's real.

Pepito is an imaginary character that portrays the irrevent, childish and anarchist inner self of Mexicans.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

De Nankyou

TV shows shape pop culture. Mexico City is not the exception. One of the most influential shows was "La Carabina de Ambrosio," which aired in the late 1970s and early 1980s. One of its elements was a Brazilian dancer by the name of Gina Montes. Gina would also play the assistant of Beto el Boticario, the purposefully lousy magician of the show.

Beto el Boticario would thank Gina saying "thank you" (in English) and Gina would reply "de nankyou," a mixture of de nada (you're welcome) and "thank you." Cheesey? Absolutely. Catchy? Hell yeah. De nankyou is widely popular. Don't be afraid to use it every time someone tells you "thank you" (in English).

Check the video below with patience. First, Gina Montes appears dancing as César Costa sings and then Beto el Boticario interrupts the act.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dar el rol, el rocanrol

Dar el rol means to cruise around usually without a specific purpose. Some times it means to go out to see and be seen. A more colorful way to express the same idea is dar el rocanrol, although this alternative often involves some partying.

Mamá: Por favor no se metan en problemas.
Hijo: Aliviánate, jefa. Nomás vamos a dar el rol.

Youngsters in Mexico City love to go out to dar el rol (it's cheap and adventurous).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

De volada

De volada (the vough-LAH-thah) is an sdverb that refers to an activity being done really fast. It is a reference to doing it as fast as flying. Highly popular derivatives of that expression are de volón (the vough-LAWN) and de volón-pinpón (the vough-LAWN peen-PAWN).

Pepe: El partido ya va a empezar y no hay botanas.
Lalo: Ahorita preparamos un guacamole de volada. Tú, tranquilo.

Pepe: The game is about to start and we don't have snacks.
Lalo: Calm down. We'll fix a guacamole in a spit second.

Nothing goes better with watching soccer on TV than guacamole and tortilla chips.

Monday, September 14, 2009

De chiripa, chiripada

When something happens de chiripa (the chee-DEE-pah), it happens serendipitously, randomly. A chiripada (chee-dee-PAH-tha) is an act of serendipity, the realization of a very low probability event usually with good consequences.

Casabolsero 1: Si tienes talento y aptitudes puedes ganar un millón en un buen día, como yo gané hoy.
Casabolsero 2: No mames. Bien sabes que fue chiripada.
Casabolsero 1: No seas amargado.

Stockbroker 1: If you have talent and skills you can make a million any given day, like I just did.
Stockbroker 2: Cut that shit. You know that it was sheer luck.
Stockbroker 1: Don't be so bitter.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Enchílame otra

Using this expression will make your Chilango friends love you and buy you drinks. It's at the core of Mexico City's folklore. Enchílame otra (en-CHEE-lam-meh AWE-trah) literally means "add chili to another." It is a short version of enchílame otra gorda which means "add chili to another gordita", and gordita is the corn dish that should require no further explanation.

Enchilar gordas (to add chili to gorditas) is an easy task that requires no attention or skills of any kind. It can be done one gordita after the other without taking much time and without a problem. Thus, when Chilangos want to convey that a task does require attention, skills, and time, they say ¿a poco crees que es de "enchílame otra"?, which means "do you really think this is as easy as adding chili to another gordita?" An alternative is esto no es de "enchílame otra."

Licenciado Godínez: Orita que acabes con esta, ¿podrías ayudarme a hacer un respaldo de esas otras computadoras e instalar el nuevo software en cada asegurándote de que todas tienen acceso a los nuevos servidores?
Ingeniero Landín: Licenciado, pus si esto no es de enchílame otra. Va a tomar un buen.

Mr. Godinez: As soon as you're done with this computer, could you create a back up of those other terminals and install in each of them the new software, making sure all have access to the new servers?
Mr. Landin: Sir, this is not a simple and quick task. It's gonna require some time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dar en la torre, madre

Dar en la torre (dahr en lah TAW-reh) literally means "to give in the tower." It means "to beat the crap out of somebody" (literally, or figuratively in sports) or "to bring down something such as a strategy or a plan." A less polite yet more emphatic way to express the same feeling or assesment is dar en la madre.

Example 1:

Reportero: ¿Cuál va a ser la estrategia para este encuentro?
DT del Tri: Darle en la torre al rival.

Journalist: What's gonna be the team's strategy?
Head coach of Mexico's national soccer team: Beat the crap out of the rival.

Example 2:

Taxista: Lo que nos dio en la madre, jefe, es que nos hayan conquistado los españoles.
Pasajero: Si, verdad. Aquí no más, si me hace favor.

Taxi driver: What put us in a shit hole, boss, is that we were conquered by Spaniards.
Passenger: Yeah, right. Here is fine, please.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Rifar (ree-FAHR) literally means to raffle off something. On the streets of Chilangolandia its meaning is different. First, a person is said to be rifada or that such person se rifa if she successfully engages in a adventurous or difficult task. Second, an object, a place or an activity is said to be rifada or that se rifa if such object, place or activity is second to none.

Example 1:

Demetrio: Oye, ¿qué tal es tu cuñado para el pambol? Estamos buscando un centro delantero goleador.
Benjamín: Si se rifa. De chavo estuvo en fuerzas básicas de los Panzas Verdes.

Demetrio: Hey, is your brother-in-law any good for soccer? We're looking for a striker.
Benjamin: He's awwesome. When he was little he played for Leon's youth team.

Example 2:

Cliente en taquería: Estos tacos de bistec si se rifan.
Taquero: ¿Le paso otros seis con todo, jefe?

Taqueria patron: These steak tacos are really something.
Cook: Do you want another set of six with everything, boss?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

De nuez

This expression is a workhorse of Chilango slang. De nuez (the-noo-ESS) means "of walnut" or "of pecan." It comes from the expression de nuevo, which depending on the context means anew or again. De nuez is a solid expression. Use it every time you can.

Manuel: Se me olvidó de nuez ir a la verificación.
Oscar: Uuuta, ya estufas que te va a caer la voladora.
Manual: Igual no iba a pasarla.

Manuel: I forgot again to go to the emission testing facility.
Oscar: Geee, I'm afraid you're in deep shit.
Manuel: I wasn't gonna pass it, anyways.

Clunkers' owners dread la verificación (the emissions test).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Chilangos love to twist words. And words that refer to numbers are not the exception. Below is a list of how to refer to numbers.

Must know:

Uñas (finger nails) = Uno, 1
Donas (doughnuts) = Dos, 2
Tripas (guts) = Tres, 3

Good to know, just in case:

Cuajos (rennets) = Cuatro, 4
Cintura (waist) = Cinco, 5
Sesos (brains) = Seis, 6
Sienes (temples) = Siete, 7
Ojos (eyes) = Ocho, 8
Narices (noses) = Nueve, 9
Dientes (theeth) = Diez, 10

Other, also helpful:

Diego (proper name) = Diez, 10
Ciego (blind) = Cien, 100
Melón (mellon) = Millón, 1,000,000


Felipe: ¿Cuántos kilos de carnitas llevo?
Vicente: Donas.
Felipe: ¿Y cuántos cartones de chela?
Vicente: Tripas.

Felipe: How many kilos of deep-fried pork should I bring?
Vicente: Two.
Felipe: How many cases of beer?
Vicente: Three.