Argentine Slang

Argentine Spanish — By


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A list of some basic Argentine slang. Naturally, there are many more words to learn, but this makes a good start.

Bajón (f)
1. a downer, something that sucks Es un bajón. Que bajón. That sucks, that´s too bad.

Bancar (v)
1. to tolerate. No me lo banco más. I can’t put up with it anymore.

Barbaridad (f)
1. something that is outrageous.

bárbaro/a
1. great, wonderful, cool. Estuvo bárbara la fiesta. It was a great party. Que bárbaro! Awesome, sweet!

bicho (m)
1. a bug/insect, critter, little animal

Bombilla (f)
1. metal straw with a filter on the end, used to drink mate.

Boliche (m)
1. Refers to a dance club/disco in Argentina. They don´t say disco, nor do they say club.

Boludez (f)
Refers to something that is stupid or ridiculous. El sistema de transporte es una boludez.
Can also refer to something that was really easy. El curso fue una boludez. Saqué un 10. The course was a joke, I got a 10.

Boludo/a (m/f)
Super super common, it is used in pretty much every sentence by Argentines. There are a few uses.
1. if you want to call someone a moron, a goof, an idiot, or a jerk, you call him a boludo. It is not that harsh, not like swearing at someone, but isn´t all that nice.
2. it is also used to say something similar to “hey man.” Here they say “che boludo.”
3. it is also used all the time when talking amongst friends. They like to throw it in most sentences, it´s sort of like saying “man” again, but not really. Used with girls or guys. See below for examples:
Pedro: Vamos al cine? Let´s go see a movie? Juan: Ni loco boludo, sale muy caro. No way man, it´s really expensive.
Pedro: Vas a la fiesta? Juan: No, estoy cansado, me quedo en casa. Pedro: Que? Boludo, es viernes, no se queda en casa.
In the first use, it is an insult. In the others, it is not, but is very colloquial. Don´t say boludo to your boss or your girlfriend´s parents, as an example.

Cana (f)
1. The police/the cops.

Capo (adj.)
1. cool, great – refering to a person. Tu amigo es un capo. Your friend is really great.

Cagada (f)
1. sucks, crap, a mess – Que cagada. That sucks. El proceso es una cagada. The process is a mess.

Chabón (m)
1. a guy, similar to ‘Pibe.’

Chamuyero (n)
1. a smooth talker, a sweet talker. Often used to describe guys that say whatever to try to pick up girls.

Chamuyar (v)
The action of being a chamuyo. Sweet talking, trying to pick someone up, scamming someone.

Chupamedias (f)
1. a suck up, brown noser (literally means someone who sucks socks).

Chupar (v)
1. to suck. Also used to talk about drinking alcohol. Vamos al bar a chupar cervezas. Let’s go to the bar for a beer.

Che (m)
1. man. If used amongst friends in this sense, it Is somewhat of a term of endearment (in a very light way). Chau che. Later man. Can also be used with people you don´t know, as a way of addressing them. Vamos che, dejame pasar. Come on man, let me in.
2. hey. Used to get someone´s attention. Che, por acá!. Hey, over here!

Cheto, Concheto (m)
1. snobby. Es un lugar muy cheto. Its a really snobby place.

Club (m)
1. Gentleman´s Club (nude women)
2. Where you join as a member to use the leisure facilities

Colectivo (m)
1. Refers to the city bus in Buenos Aires

Copado/a (adj.)
1. cool, good. Used especially for people, places, events. Tu hermano es muy copado. Your brother is really cool.

Gato (m)
1. a female prostitute, or one acting like a female prostitute. Like calling someone a whore in English.
2. a gay person.

Groso (adj.)
1. something or someone that is great, awesome. Voy a la playa! Que groso! I´m going to the beach! That´s great!!

Guita (f)
1. Money. No tengo gita. I don´t have any money.

Laburar (v.)
1. to work

Lunfardo (m)
1. refers to the street slang and the slang of people who danced tango in Buenos Aires in the earlier 1900s. Many words and expressions are still used today.

Mangos (m)
1. pesos. Me costó 120 mangos! It cost me 120 pesos!

Mate (m)
1. Refers to a special type of tea that the Aregentine´s like to drink.
2. Refers to the gourd in which the Yerba (mate tea) is put

Micro (m)
1. bus that goes out of the city, from one city or town to another

Mina (f)
1. refers to a girl or women (teens and up). It is slightly degrading, but not really. It’s very common to talk among guy friends that you were talking to a “mina”, or met some “minas.”

onda (m)
1. the literal meaning is a wave, like a sound wave. However, it is used to talk about a situation or person in a good way. Tu amigo tiene muy buena onda. Your friend has a great vibe/is really cool. It is not only used in Argentina, but is used a lot, so is important to know.

Pelotudo/a (m/f)
1. an idiot, moron, jerk, just like boludo. It is not used to say “man” or when talking to your friends, in the same way boludo is.

Pibe (m)
1. a kid, boy/girl, though more common to use for a boy

Porro (m)
1. a joint, weed

Porteño/a (m/f)
1. a person that is from the city of Buenos Aires
2. is also used as an adjective to describe something that is very typical of Buenos Aires. Ese bar es bien porteño. That bar is very typical of the bars in Buenos Aires.

Pucho (m)
1. cigarette

Quilombo (m)
1. a mess, a disaster, chaotic. El tránsito en Buenos Aires es un quilombo.

Remera (f)
1. t-shirt

Tipo (masc noun or adv. )
1. a guy conocí a un tipo. I met some guy.
2. around, approximately La fiesta empieza tipo 20h The party starts around 8.

Toque (m)
1. a touch, a little bit. Falta un toque de sal. It’s missing just a touch of salt.

Trucho/a (adj. or m/f noun)
1. fake/counterfeit items. Compré una remera trucha. I bought a counterfeit t-shirt. Esos son truchos. Those are fake.

If you are interested in buying an Argentine book about slang, your best option is “Che Boludo: A gringo’s guide to understanding the Argentines.” by James Bracken. It is a useful book, and is very current – all the expressions you find in the book are used kind often here. The book is slightly limited in that it does not provide many examples, so often you don’t understand how it may be used in speech. Also, it doesn’t indicate which are really common, and which ones you won’t hear very often. It can be purchased in the main bookstores in Buenos Aires.

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14 Comments

  1. Akmed says:

    Thanks for this. http://exposebuenosaires.com/ is now in my feed reader, I’ll keep and eye out for your next story. I like the layout of your site, nice and clean and easy to read. Thakns.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Akmed, let me know if you have any questions.

    -D

  3. Jonny says:

    Good stuff, thanks.

  4. Mariana says:

    Hi!! I’m Argentinian, any questions about the language (accent,vocabulary, grammar) are welcomed. You can email me at marian284@hotmail.com

  5. Danielle says:

    Hey this is wonderful! I’m about to move to BA, and I know this is going to be extremely useful!!!

  6. Freddie says:

    I have not seen “alpeado” anywhere if that is how it is spelled. It is someone with nothing to do. Some one who shaves there dog to look like a lion is alpeado as an example.

  7. Anthony says:

    Hey pretty extensive list here! My favorite saying to impress my in-laws when I walk in the room – “Acá llegó la buena onda” – never fails to get a giggle 🙂 Been living in BA for almost 1 year now, originally from Australia, living here with my Argentine wife. Look forward to reading more of your posts! Thanks.

  8. Juliana says:

    Hey! I’m from BA, Argentina. I just read your list and I have to say it’s very up to date. However, I’d like to add some words that aren’t listed here and that we use a lot:

    boludear: verb. do nothing, hang out. “Che venite para casa.” “¿Qué vamos a hacer?” “No sé, comemos algo y boludeamos”. Another example: “Qué hicieron ayer?” “Nos quedamos boludeando en la casa de Martina”

    Bondi: Colectivo. Bus in Buenos Aires.

    Despelote: A mess. “Mi habitación es un despelote.”

    Faso: a joint, weed

    Flaco: Teen and young adult (guy. Flaca if it’s a girl). Same as chabón. “Ayer vi un flaco que estaba re bueno”

    Joder: boludear. molestar (bother) “Salimos hoy?” “Ni en pedo loco, dejate de joder!”

    Joda: (noun) a party. “Vamos a una joda hoy en Capital”

    Pedo.
    1. fart
    2. Al pedo: boludeando. doing nothing. “Qué haces?” “Nada, acá, estoy al pedo”
    3. En pedo: drunk (borracho).

    Malísimo: something that sucks. “Mi colegio es malísimo”

    Rescatarse: try and recover, specially when you’re drunk. “Estás re mal boludo, rescatate un poco!”

    Romper: joder. Bother. Nag. “No me rompás más!”

    Sale: “Sale algo hoy?” “Sí, vamos al cine” – “Are we doing something today?” “yeah, we’re going to the movies”

  9. DiegoMalingo says:

    Thank-you 🙂 Im actually working on an update, as some important terms are missing, plus will be adding more examples.

  10. Caitlin says:

    Just got back from b.a. This is a great list, exactly what one needs in b.a., i recognized all of them. Wish I had read it BEFORE I went…

  11. Clarkie says:

    I really appreciate having this as a reference. Would you please let me know if the emphasis is on the last syllable in “bolonqui” or elsewhere?

    Thanks.

  12. Matt says:

    Hey clarkie, the emphasis would be on the second to last syllable So it would be “bolOnqui. In Spanish, if a word ends in a vowel, “n” or “s” then the stress will be on the second to last syllable. Otherwise, it will be on the last syllable (unless a letter has an accent on top, then the stress would be on that letter.

    – Matt

  13. Rachel says:

    Thank you soooo much for this list, its brilliant!! :o)

  14. Mitch says:

    Muchas gracias por la lista Juliana!

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