When learning a new language, it is pretty common to learn swear words and slang first.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing…we all gotta start somewhere, right? So here’s a useful guide of Spanish swear words, (bad) words, slang, and expressions in Colombia. Some are borrowed directly from English, and others have been handed down from Latin and other languages. Either way, this guide will definitely help you if you’re planning to visit, or if you want to speak “like a local” to a Colombian.
Following is a list of Spanish swear words and slang common in Colombia
- ¡A la Orden!: Literally translates to “at your order” but technically means “here to serve you”. You will hear it upon entering restaurants and stores. The best English translation is: How may I help you?
- Amañarse: When someone has easily adapted to a new environment, and feels good and comfortable, they can be considered “amañado”. “Te estas amañado a tu nueva vida en Colombia?”
- Arruncharse / Cucharita: What we call spooning in English (cuchara=spoon), spending a cold day or night cuddled up in bed with someone – sleeping in someone’s arms.
- Bacano: Basically translates to awesome, cool, or rad – when a person, place, or situation is really good.
- Chao: Goodbye, or see ya later.
- Chévere: Another word, similar to bacano, to describe a really cool situation.
- ¡Una Chimba!: When a person, place, or situation is super cool, you call it “una chimba”.
- Chucha: Bad body odor – stinky armpits. “Limpia tu chucha, man”.
- Dar Papaya: Someone who makes an easy target, basically begging to get robbed, or is easy to make fun of, you could say that they “da papaya”
- ¡Del Putas!: Del putas is basically the best compliment you can receive. In Mexico, it’s like the puta madre, it’s incredible! That show, Narcos, es del putas!
- Enguayabado / Guayabo: This is how you feel after drinking too much the night before – aka: a hangover.
- Gonorrea / Nea: A low class, poorly educated person who speaks badly. Gonorrea is widely used, and comprable to “shit” or “damn”.
- Gringo / Gringa: A term used to refer to a person from the US, mainly people of light skin, hair, and eyes. Used all over Latin America. Read more on the word here.
- Guaro: An alcoholic beverage made from sugar cane – and a really good buzz 😉
- Hacer Vaca: When a group of friends throws in on something to buy together. Like you wanna go in on a bottle? ¿Hacemos vaca?
- Homme / Hombre: An exclamation used with enthusiasm at the end of a sentence. Oye, homme!
- ¡Jueputa!: Expression of anger, or of surprise. Short for “hijo de puta” it literally means son of a bitch. Used in many Latin American countries.
- Man / Mancito: Borowed from English – man = man. Mancito = little man…the diminutive is used endearingly. I just love my mancito. Mi man es guapo.
- Marica: Probably the most commonly used slang term in Colombia, used to refer to a friend, or as a pronoun, and can also mean dumb. Although the literal translation is “homosexual” the word is not used in a derogatory sense.
- Mate / Mato: Literally means “to kill” – when you are sharing a drink or a meal with someone and you want to finish it, you can ask “mato?”
- Mear / Miar: Urine, urinate, piss – this is not a pretty word. “Orinar” would be more appropriate, but this is an article on dirty Spanish!
- Mecato / Mecatico: Something sweet or salty that you eat in between meals.
- ¡Mi Leidy!: A borrowing from English – spelling is different but meaning is the same…my lady! You might have heard the song “Una lady como tu”, but if not, check it out below.
- Mondá: A coastal slang word used to refer to something of little value, or not cool. Also a synonym of a man’s sexual organ. Monda = penis, dick. Me vale monda = I don’t give a shit.
- Mono / Mona: A word used to describe someone with light skin, hair, and eyes. Used affectionately.
- Ñeja: A coastal slang word used to refer to something of little value…shit.
- Papi: A word commonly used in Cali to refer to a friend or any person you have a friendly relationship with. Parents call their sons “papi” – guys call each other “papi”.
- Parce / Parcero: A friend, a close friend, or a comrade. Parce is like the English equivalent of “homie”.
- Parche: A group of friends, or a reunion of friends – notice the similarity of parce & parche?
- Perico: In Bogotá, coffee with milk, but also scrambled eggs with tomato and onion. And also a synonym for cocaine. This is where Spanish can get confusing!
- Pichurria: A word used to refer to a friend whom you have a lot of confidence in – your homie. But also a small, insignificant thing. Ironic, eh?
- ¡Que Boleta!: An embarrassing situation.
- ¡Quihubos!: It literally translates to “what there was” – but it means “what’s up?”, “what’s new?”, or “what’s happening?”.
- Rumbear: Going out to party, or making out with someone. “Anoche fuimos de rumba y estoy enguayabado, homme.”
- Soroche: Altitude sickness – common in Bogota since it’s above 8k feet.
- Tintico / Tinto: In Colombia, you don’t order “cafe” but rather “tinto” – not to be confused with vino tinto 😉
- ¡Todo Bien!: An expression used to avoid pushy salespeople or to talk about a cool situation. It literally means, all good! You might hear an adaptation of this “todo vientos” – all wind literally, but just a fun play on words.
- Vaina: a word you can use to refer to any thing, when you forget the name of something, like “Da Kine” in Hawaiian, or “chingadera” in Spanglish. That thing over there – la vaina. Here’s a video to help you understand 🙂
That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed this list of Colombian Spanish swear words.
Did I forget anything important? Leave a comment below!