Sunday, January 31, 2010


A barco (BAR-caw) is a ship. In Mexican slang barco is used as an adjective to refer to somebody, usually a teacher or a supervisor at work, who is not very demanding. Sometimes is also used as a noun to refer to such type of person. GPA-conscious students crowd the classrooms of barcos (to boost their GPA). A superlative for barco is transatlático, which literally means 'transatlantic' and is a reference to ships of a ñero size.


Estudiante: ¡Chale! Me la voy a pelar con la beca si no subo mi pinche promedio.
Amigote: Alivianate, carnal. El próximo semestre la metes con el Profesor Godínez. Ese güey es súper barco.

Student: Damn it! I'm not gonna get that scholarship if I don't raise my fucking GPA.
Friend: Easy, bro. Next semester you gotta enroll in Mr. Godinez's course. That dude has a very low bar. 

Another type of 'barco' that you'll find in Mexico City are Xochimilco's chalupas. These little boats typically navigate around Xochimilco canals, while everybody on board gets shit-faced and visits the bizarre Isla de las Muñecas (Island of Dolls).

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Mameluco (ma-meh-LOO-kaw)  is one of those terms highly dependent on context. Its literal meaning is 'onesie'. However, mameluco is used in two ways. First, as a substitute for mamón. Second, as a substitute for mamey or guagüis.

Example 1:

Elber González: Si me pegas un mameluco te prometo que te llevo a cenar a un lugar bien morrocotudo.
Alma Marcela: No tengo hambre.

Elber Gonzalez: If you give me oral sex I will take you out for dinner to a fancy place.
Alma Marcela: I'm not hungry.

Example 2:

Fernando: ¿Cómo te cayeron tu suegros?
Leperino: Bien. Nomás que el ñor es medio mameluco y la doña parece teibolera.

Fernando: How did you like your in-laws?
Leperino: I like them. It's just that her dad is a little uptight and her mom looks like a lap dancer.
Adult onesies are über mamelucos. Avoid them in Mexico City or any other location.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ahí muere

This is a solid, old expression that you have to use if you really want to sound like a Chilango or Chilanga. Ahí muere (i-MOOEH-reh) means "it dies there". It is used to convey that a deal, a relantionship or any situation that involves at least to parties with different interests has come to a definitive end.

Example 1:

Diego: Tu te quedas con la custodia de Carlitos, yo me quedo con la casa en Cocoyoc, te paso una pensión y ahí muere la cosa. ¿Cómo ves?
Amanda: Me late.

Diego: You keep the custody of Carlitos, I keep the house in Cocoyoc, give you child support and we call it a deal. How does that work with you?
Amanda: I dig it.

Example 2:
Entrenador: Un round más... ¡échale riñón!
Boxeador: Nel, profe. Ahí muere. Aviente la toalla. Porfas.
Trainer: One more round... Put your heart on it!
Boxer: I don't think so, coach. I'm done. Throw the towell. Please.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

En corto, en cortinas

En corto is a neutral expression that has become a workhorse of Chilango speak. En corto (en-COR-toh) literally means "in short." It is used in three ways: (1) distance, something is said to be en corto if it is really close; (2) immediateness, something happening fast, without much warning; (3) petit comité, an event taking place with the participation of a small number of people. Sometimes en corto is substituted by en cortinas (lit. in curtains) just for fun.


Juan: Si quiere compartir el auto yo paso por usted Lupita. Su casa me queda en cortinas.
Lupita: ¿No sería mucha molestia?

Juan: If you want to car-pool I can pick you up, Lupita. Your place is close to my route.
Lupita: Wouldn't I be bothering you?

Example 2:

Carmela: El reven va a ser muy en corto.
Manolo: Chales, creo que ya regué el tepache porque 'forguardié' el mail a toda la oficina.
Carmela: ¡Si serás!

Carmela: The party is going to be petite comité.
Manolo: Oooops, I think I just spread the word. I forwarded the email to the entire office.
Carmela: You dumb ass!

Example 3:

Paco: Y en corto que saca un hacha y me dice "de esta no sales vivo".
Pepe: ¿Un hacha? ¡no mames!

Paco: And suddenly she pulls out an ax and says "you won't walk out of here alive."
Pepe: An ax? You full of shit!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Mamey is a delicious fruit that you can purchase on the streets of Mexican towns (in the right season). It's similar to an orange, sweet and over-sized avocado. It is frequently used to prepare licuados at street stands in DF. Mamey is used in two contexts. First, it is used to refer to people with big muscles, especially of the body-builder type, as in "mi cuñado está re mamey" (my brother-in-law is quite muscled).

Second, mamey is a colorful way to refer to oral sex. It comes from mamada (which in turn derives from mamar, literally 'to suck'). Do not confound the meaning of mamey with the other meaning of mamada, as in jalada.

Other popular terms for oral sex are guagüis (WA-weez) and chivo (chee-VOH, lit. male goat). Wichever term you prefer, it is better to precede it with pegar (lit. to hit), as in: "ando medio mareado porque me acaban de pegar un chivo, pero en 5 minutitos me recupero" (I'm a little dizzy cause I just received oral sex, but I'll be fine in a few minutes).

Monday, January 18, 2010



This is a must in Chilango slang because you will end up using it a lot. It literally means taxi driver. As any other congested and hectic city, DF has many thousands of taxis, and there is a whole aura around the life of cab drivers. Something that stands out of Mexico City cabs is that a lot of them are VW Beetles or vochos. They are customized to ease entry and exit by having the front passenger seat removed while you sit at the back seat. Given the small size of the Beetle you can easily chat with the ruletero.

Part of the aura of ruleteros is that they are like Forrest Gump's box of choclates: "you never know what you gonna get." They could be medical doctors or lawyers that for one reason pr another decided to earn a living as ruleteros. Conversations with these guys can be amusing, as they will probably talk about how they ended up there. Other ruleteros are the more common street-philosopher type. Still, politics, traffic and panbol are great conversation topics. Check the example from the post dar en la torre o madre, where the ruletero is providing some deep insights to the passenger.

The word on the street is that some taximeters are tampered. So you should better have a good estimate of the cost of your ride. Otherwise you're at risk of being scammed. One has to be trucha or savvy.

Chafirete (cha-fee-REH-teh) is another word for ruletero and derives from the word chofer (lit. chauffeur). The word ruletero became a classic reference after Perez Prado's "Mambo del Ruletero." Check the video bellow from a movie of the 1950's.

Beware that sometimes hailing cabs on the street may not be safest for foreigners, or even provincianos.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Si serás & Hazte

These two expressions are blunt hints at the stupidity or lack of truthfulness of the person being spoken to. Si serás (see-eh-RASS, lit. if you shall be) is the tuncation of si serás pendejo, which means "what a dumbass you are". Hazte (ASS-teh, lit. make yourself) is the truncation of hazte pendejo or hazte güey. It means "stop prentending you don't know what's going on".

Since many Mexicans realize what you mean, these two expressions shall be used with care. Do not thow them at people you don't want to offend.

Example 1:

Chalán: No se enoje. ¿Cómo iba yo a saber que no tenía aceite?
Mecánico: Si serás... Ora sí nos pusiste a parir chayotes con tu pendejada.

Assistant: Don't get mad at me. How was I supposed to know it needed oil?
Mechanic: What a dumbass you are. Now we're in deep shit thanks to you.

Example 2:

Fer: ¿Lápiz labial?
Liz: Hazte...

Fer: Lipstick?
Liz: Don't pretend you don't know what I am talking about.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Se te hace de pollo

Se te hace de pollo (seh-TEHA-ceh the-PAW-jaw) literally means "yours trurns into a chicken one". It is a reference to feeling fear. The old school version of this expression is se me puso la carne de gallina, which means "I got goose bumps (out of fear)". The more modern and insulting expression from which se te hace de pollo comes is se te hizo el culo de pollo, literally "your behind turned into a chicken but."


Carlos: ¿No que ibas a llamarle a Carmela para invitarla al reventón?
Guillermo: Nel. Se me hizo de pollo. Pero ya habrá otra ocasión para cotorreármela.

Carlos: Weren't you gonna call Carmela to go to the party?
Guillermo: Nope. I chickened out. There will be another occassion to fool around with her.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Reventón, reventar y reven

These three words are vertebrae of Chilango slang's spinal chord. Reventón (reh-venn-TON) literally means big burst. It is used in reference to a party, but a real one, not a gathering or a dinner party, but an actual party with liquor, music, a dance floor, DJs or live music, etc., that often extends well into the next day. Reventar (lit. to burst) and ir de reventón (lit. to go in burst) both mean to party in such fashion. Reven is just the shortened version of reventón. None of these terms are insulting.


Abuelita: ¿Qué pasó? ¿Por qué vienes como huevo de perro?
Nieto: Nada abue, vengo llegando del reventón. Hazme un paro con unos chilaquiles bien picosos, ¿no?

Granny: What happened that you look aweful?
Grand daughter: Nothing, granny, I'm just coming back from the party. Could you help me out and fix some very spicy chilaquiles?

Chilaquiles are the quintessential remedy for a dreadful hangover.