Argentine Spanish: The Most Common Words and Phrases

Argentine Spanish — By

This is a list of some of the most common words and phrases you will hear when speaking to an Argentine. Not all are specific to Argentina, but it is important to know and understand them, because you will be hearing them A LOT! This will help you understand Argentine Spanish and will also help you to sound Argentine.  Keep in mind these are the common colloquial terms that are used, but are not slang.   Check out my other page to learn the most common Argentine slang.

Bueno
1. this is one of the first words you will learn in Spanish, but in Argentina, they use it more than anywhere else. Although this meaning exists in Spanish from all countries, it is used much more often in Argentina, in pretty much every sentence. It is used to mean ‘well’ or ‘alright.’ Bueno, no sé. Well, I don´t know. Bueno, hablamos más tarde? Alright, let´s talk later? Vamos al cine? Bueno. Let´s go to a movie? Alright.
2. used to say something is good. Again, this is used in all Spanish speaking countries. However, in other countries, they may use other descriptive words to say something is good, whereas Argentines use bueno/a to to label any thing as good, all the time. Que tal la carne? Está buena! Conociste a Lucia? Si, está buena!! Did you meet Lucia? Ya, she’s good (as in attractive). Que bueno!! That´s great/Awesome/Right on!

Dale
1. Similar to the “vale”used in Spain, dale is one of the ways Argentines agree to something (like saying ok. Juan: Vamos al cine? Luisa: Dale. Juan: Let’s go to the movies? Luisa: Ok.

Mira Vos
1. The Argentines say this ALL the time. It is said after someone has told you something, and you want to say either “wow, look at you” meaning “what you´re doing is great!” It can also be translated as “is that right?” or “really?” or “wow.” You say it after someone says something that you think is good or that surprises you. Juan: Ayer, fui al banco, despúes estudié por 5 horas, y desúes jugué dos partidos de futbol. Kara: Mira vos! Juan: Yesterday I went to the bank, studied for 5 hours, then played two football games. Kara: Wow, right on. Juan: No tengo plata, porque viajo 5 veces por año. Kara: Mira Juan: I don´t have any Money, because I travel 5 times a year. Kara: Wow, is that right?

Pasa que
1. used to say “the thing is” when describing or explaining something. Pasa que no tengo plata para ir, así que… The thing is, I don´t have any money to go, so…

Tal cual
Used to answer someone and say “yes, exactly,” or “I agree.” Tal cual can be used in many ways, but this particular use is very common in every day speech. Prefiero vivir en el campo porque la gente de los pueblos es mucho más alegre y amable. Sí, tal cual. I prefer living in the country because the people are much more lively and kind. Yes, exactly, I totally agree.

Tipo
1. can be used as a noun (m), meaning “guy.” Ayer hablé con un tipo… Yesterday, I spoke with some guy…. However, in Argentina, this is not as common as they often use other words.
2. In Argentine, it is very common to use it to describe a not-so-specific-time. La fiesta empieza tipo 9. The party starts around 9.
3. It is also used to describe the type or style of something. El restaurant es tipo parilla, pero más elegante. The restaurant is similar to (like) a BBQ restaurant, but more elegant.

Todo bien
1. This the most common way of asking someone how they´re doing in Argentina. Todo bien che? Si, todo bien. How´s it going man? It´s all good, thanks/I´m fine thanks. Te molesta? No, está todo bien! Am I bothering you? No, it’s all good!

Ya fue
1. you say it when something is over, or has finished, and it´s time to forget about it. Juan: Estoy muy triste, porque me olvidé mi cámara. Simon: Bueno, ya fue. It´s like saying, forget about it, there´s nothing else you can do. The Argentines love to say it.

Muletilla (f)
1. Comes from muleta, which means ‘crutch.’ A muletilla is the word the argentines use to describe colloquial words that they say every sentence, something they can say when they have nothing else to say, as a filler. In English, for example, we say “like ” “you know” or “um.” Here are the most common ones used in Argentina. It is good to know them, but don’t make a habit of using them. Just like the equivalents in English, when they are overused, it sounds really bad.

Viste
1. This is probably the most common, and very Argentine. It is not really used in other Spanish speaking countries. It is nearly an exact translation of “you know” in English. No me gusta ir a la playa, viste, siempre hay mucha gente. I don’t like going to the beach, you know, there’s always a lot of people. Siempre hay mucha basura en la calle viste. There’s always a lot of garbage in the streets, you know? Sí, pero son locas viste? Ya, but they’re crazy, you know?

O sea
Almost identical to “I mean” in English. This is used throughout Latin America. Some people use it in nearly every sentence. Bueno, no sé, o sea, que más puedo hacer? Well, I don´t know, I mean, what else can I do?

Que sé yo
Pretty much identical to “I don´t know” which is it´s literal meaning. Argentines use it all the time as a filler, similar to how we do in English. Es un helado, que sé yo, cremoso y dulce. It´s a type of ice cream that´s, I don´t know, creamy and sweet. Salís esta noche? No, quiero quedarme en casa para, que sé yo, limpiar, ver tele.

Saying “maybe” in Argentina: Quizás and tal vez are not often used in Argentina to say maybe. Here are the more common words used:

Puede ser
1. means “it´s possible.” Puede ser que vaya a Londres. It’s posible I will go to London.
2. maybe, might, we´ll see. Puede ser que vaya a una fiesta. I might go to a party, maybe I´ll go to a party. Querés ir? Si, puede ser. Do you want to go? Ya, maybe/we´ll see.

Capaz
1. maybe, might Capaz que vaya a una fiesta. I might go to a party, maybe I´ll go to a party. Similar to tal vez, quizás, puede ser.

Tal cual
Used to answer someone and say “yes, exactly,” or “I agree.” Tal cual can be used in many ways, but this particular use is very common in every day speech. Prefiero vivir en el campo porque la gente de los pueblos es mucho más alegre y amable. Sí, tal cual. I prefer living in the country because the people are much more lively and kind. Yes, exactly, I totally agree.

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15 Comments

  1. Spenca says:

    Hey Matty. Just checking out your site with Kate. Cool stuff! I’m gonna wow my intro spanish class with this he he.

  2. Adam says:

    Interesting list here! In Brazil they use ‘tipo’ in the same way (as ‘like’/'kind of’). And ‘ya fue’ would be ‘já era’.

  3. Ryan says:

    Wow..love this blog..kinda helpful.
    I´ve been in Buenos Aires a few weeks ago, had a great time.
    I loved everything..food, weather, culture, women!

    By the way, I took a course for 2 weeks (check out amigospanish.com)which I recommend you.

    I´m coming to Argentina once again in October, this time I wanna be in patagonia. Any help?

  4. Adam says:

    Reporting back, I’ve been “out in the field” using these with my Argentine friends and they go over quite well. The only one I haven’t used it muletilla. I’d like to add “dale” (roughly ‘okay’) and “quilombo” (mess).

  5. admin says:

    Hey Adam,

    Good call on the Dale, I have now added that, it is definitely used a lot here! As for Quilombo, that’s already in my Argentine slang section: http://exposebuenosaires.com/argentine-slang/.

    Good to hear you’ve been testing out the Argentine slang with your argy friends. It’s pretty hard to use Muletilla in a sentence, I really only put the description on my site because the Argentines use many different muletillas (Ex. Viste, o sea, etc)

  6. Juliana says:

    More muletillas. We often use more than one in the same sentence. (I’m from Buenos Aires)

    Bue/buen: “Bue boludo, vamos? es tarde.”

    Cómo se llama: “No porque, cómo se llama?… tenía que…”

    Eeh: “Eeh, buen mejor vamos para allá…”

    Este: “Esteeee…. la verdad ni idea”

    Nada: “Y nada, eso, ya fue…”

    Qué te iba a decir? – “No, este… Qué te iba a decir? no sé bien cómo hacer…”

    Tipo, tipo que: “Y tipo que, íbamos para mi casa y…” “Y tipo, me dijo que fuera…”

  7. Tom says:

    Interesting set of words. I’ve known some Argentinians, but only spent time living in Spain and Mexico. The uses of “Bueno” all sound very familiar from Spain. I would say that the “está buena” use is a rather special use — I usually translate that as “she’s hot.” The use of “Está bueno” for food (normally) and for people (slangy usage) was very common in Spain in my experience.

    Other things here, though, like “Dale”, “Viste” and “Tipo” (meaning 2) are totally new to me and great to learn about!

  8. EYES says:

    jajajaja
    love it there great people great food very inviting ,jajaja on some of the words yes yes
    “dale corta de romper mi la pilotas ”
    stop braking my chops “

  9. ana says:

    Mira nunca pense que la gente se interesara por aprender la jerga Argentina :) me sorprende saber que ahi gente interesada en aprender tanto mi idioma como aquellas palabras que lo hacen particular :)

  10. panda says:

    im argentinian, and i thought you did a really good job with this! it’ll sure be helpful to people visiting, i often find myself not being able to explain our usage of the language, even to friends from spain.
    so, thanks!

  11. Matt says:

    Thanks Panda! Glad to hear you enjoy the site.

    - Matt

  12. Lisa says:

    Matt – Thanks for the positive and great tips on Argentina. You have made us all the more enthusiastic for our move. And brought several amused smiles along the way.

  13. Matt says:

    Thanks Lisa. Good luck with preparations, and I hope you have a wonderful trip here! Let me if you have any questions.

    - Matt

  14. Flor says:

    Good Job! I’M ARGENTIAN.

  15. Chad says:

    OH MY GOSH Thanks for this list, now I’m totally gonna get all the women when I visit Argentina!

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