Useful Common Spanish Slang Words & Phrases

Gordon Feliz • Updated Feb 12th, 2024

Conversing in Spanish slang

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Hola, amigos! Whether you're planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking country or just want to chat with your Spanish-speaking friends, knowing some common slang can really spice up your conversations. Spanish, like any vibrant language, is rich in slang that can vary greatly between countries. Here’s a quick dive into some cool and widely-used Spanish slang words and phrases. Remember, slang is informal, so it’s best used in casual settings!


1. "Qué onda" – What’s Up?

Use: A casual greeting, similar to "What's up?" in English.



"¡Hola, Carlos! ¿Qué onda?" ("Hey Carlos! What's up?")

"¿Qué onda con este tráfico?" ("What’s up with this traffic?")


2. "Guay" – Cool/Awesome

Use: To describe something cool or awesome. Common in Spain.



"Esta película está muy guay." ("This movie is really cool.")

"¡Tu nuevo coche es guay!" ("Your new car is awesome!")


3. "Chévere" / "Bacán" / "Padre" – Cool

Use: These are variations of 'cool' in different countries. "Chévere" is popular in Venezuela and Colombia, "Bacán" in Peru and Chile, and "Padre" in Mexico.



"Ese concierto estuvo chévere." ("That concert was cool.")

"Tu idea es bacán." ("Your idea is cool.")

"Esa fiesta estuvo padre." ("That party was cool.")


4. "Buena onda" – Good Vibes

Use: To describe a person or situation that has good vibes or is nice.



"Ese profesor es buena onda." ("That teacher has good vibes.")

"La reunión fue buena onda." ("The meeting was nice.")


5. "Chido" – Cool/Nice

Use: Another way to say something is cool or nice, mostly used in Mexico.



"Tu camiseta está chida." ("Your t-shirt is cool.")

"La fiesta estuvo chida." ("The party was nice.")


6. "A todo dar" – Fantastic/Amazing

Use: To express that something is fantastic or amazing.



"La comida estuvo a todo dar." ("The food was fantastic.")

"Su actuación fue a todo dar." ("Their performance was amazing.")


7. "Echar la hueva" – To Chill/Relax

Use: A Mexican slang for relaxing or doing nothing.



"Hoy voy a echar la hueva todo el día." ("Today I’m going to chill all day.")

"Estábamos echando la hueva en la playa." ("We were relaxing on the beach.")


8. "Dar la lata" – To Annoy/Bother

Use: To describe someone being annoying or bothersome.



"Mi hermano me está dando la lata." ("My brother is bothering me.")

"No quiero dar la lata, pero necesito ayuda." ("I don’t want to be a bother, but I need help.")


9. "Mola" – It’s Cool/It Rocks

Use: A slang mainly used in Spain to express that something is very cool.



"Ese juego mola mucho." ("That game is really cool.")

"Tu estilo mola." ("Your style rocks.")


10. "Pasta" – Money

Use: A casual term for money, mainly used in Spain.



"No tengo mucha pasta ahora mismo." ("I don’t have much money right now.")

"¿Ganaste mucha pasta con ese trabajo?" ("Did you make a lot of money with that job?")

Spanish slang culture lesson
Spanish Slang Practice Exercises
"Qué onda" – What’s Up?
  1. ¿Qué onda, cómo estás hoy? - What's up, how are you today?
  2. Cuando vi a Luis, le dije: "¿Qué onda?" - When I saw Luis, I said, "What’s up?"
  3. No sé qué onda con el clima; está muy cambiante. - I don't know what's up with the weather; it's very turbulent.
  4. Los chicos entraron y preguntaron: “¿Qué onda, todos bien?” - The guys came in and asked, "What's up, everyone good?"

  5. ¿Qué onda con la tarea de matemáticas? ¿La terminaste? - What's up with the math homework? Did you finish it?


"Guay" – Cool/Awesome
  1. Tu nuevo teléfono es guay. - Your new phone is cool.
  2. ¡Qué guay está tu corte de pelo! - How cool your haircut is!

  3. Me dijeron que ese restaurante es muy guay. - I was told that restaurant is very cool.

  4. Esta música es guay, ¿cómo se llama? - This music is cool, what's it called?
  5. ¡El concierto de anoche fue súper guay! - Last night's concert was super cool!


"Chévere" / "Bacán" / "Padre" – Cool
  1. (Chévere) Esa película estuvo chévere. - That movie was cool.
  2. (Bacán) ¿Viste el juego de ayer? Fue bacán. - Did you see yesterday's game? It was cool.

  3. (Padre) Mi hermano compró una moto que está muy padre. - My brother bought a motorcycle that is very cool.
  4. (Chévere) ¡Qué chévere está tu nueva casa! - How cool your new house is!
  5. (Bacán) Este libro que me regalaste es bacán. - This book you gave me is cool.


"Buena onda" – Good Vibes
  1. Tu amigo es buena onda. - Your friend is good vibes.

  2. Esta playa tiene una vibra buena onda. - This beach has a good vibe.

  3. La profesora de arte es muy buena onda. - The art teacher is very nice.
  4. Todos dicen que esa banda es buena onda. - Everyone says that band is good vibes.
  5. La fiesta de ayer tuvo una energía buena onda. - Yesterday's party had good energy.


"Chido" – Cool/Nice
  1. ¡Qué chido está tu reloj! - How cool your watch is!

  2. La fiesta estuvo muy chida. - The party was very nice.

  3. Ese juego de video es chido. - That video game is cool.

  4. Me compré unos zapatos bien chidos. - I bought some really cool shoes.

  5. Tu idea para el proyecto suena chida. - Your idea for the project sounds cool.


"A todo dar" – Fantastic/Amazing
  1. La comida en ese restaurante está a todo dar. - The food at that restaurant is fantastic.

  2. Tu actuación en la obra fue a todo dar. - Your performance in the play was amazing.

  3. Esa fiesta a la que fuimos estaba a todo dar. - That party we went to was fantastic.

  4. Este nuevo teléfono funciona a todo dar. - This new phone works amazingly.

  5. El viaje a la montaña fue a todo dar. - The trip to the mountain was fantastic.


"Echar la hueva" – To Chill/Relax
  1. Este fin de semana solo quiero echar la hueva. - This weekend I just want to chill.

  2. Después de trabajar, me gusta echar la hueva un rato. - After working, I like to relax for a while.

  3. Estuvimos echando la hueva en la playa todo el día. - We were chilling on the beach all day.

  4. Hoy es domingo, día perfecto para echar la hueva. - Today is Sunday, a perfect day to relax.

  5. Después del examen, necesito echar la hueva. - After the exam, I need to chill.


"Dar la lata" – To Annoy/Bother
  1. Mi hermano pequeño siempre me está dando la lata. - My little brother is always bothering me.

  2. Espero no dar la lata, pero necesito un favor. - I hope not to be annoying, but I need a favor.

  3. Cuando tienes hambre, empiezas a dar la lata. - When you're hungry, you start to be bothersome.
  4. El ruido del vecino nos está dando la lata. - The neighbor's noise is annoying us.

  5. No quiero dar la lata, pero ¿puedes bajar la música? - I don't want to be a bother, but can you turn down the music?


"Mola" – It’s Cool/It Rocks
  1. Esa camiseta te mola, ¿verdad? - You think that t-shirt is cool, right?

  2. A mí me mola mucho este tipo de música. - I really like this kind of music.

  3. Nos mola ir al cine los fines de semana. - We like going to the movies on weekends.

  4. A los chicos les mola jugar al fútbol. - The guys like playing soccer.

  5. Me mola tu nueva bicicleta. - I like your new bicycle.


"Pasta" – Money
  1. Necesito ahorrar más pasta para las vacaciones. - I need to save more money for the vacation.

  2. ¿Cuánta pasta te costó el teléfono nuevo? - How much money did your new phone cost you?

  3. Este mes he gastado mucha pasta en libros. - This month I've spent a lot of money on books.

  4. Si ganara la lotería, tendría mucha pasta. - If I won the lottery, I would have a lot of money.
  5. Gasté toda mi pasta en el concierto. - I spent all my money on the concert.


Useful Resources To Learn More


I've found several excellent resources online that would be helpful for anyone interested in learning more about Spanish slang words and phrases:


Learn Spanish Fast: Key Phrases for Travelers - This guide offers essential phrases for travelers, which can be very useful in everyday conversations. It's a great resource for picking up common slang and expressions that are frequently used in casual, real-world Spanish.


Easy Spanish Phrases for Shopping and Dining Out - This article is excellent for learning practical Spanish phrases used in shopping and dining contexts. Since these settings often involve informal and colloquial language, it's a good source for understanding everyday slang and idiomatic expressions.


Mastering 'Get' in Spanish: Top 7 Essential Phrases - This piece focuses on the versatile and often colloquially used verb 'get' in Spanish, presenting its various meanings through essential phrases. It's particularly useful for understanding how a common verb is used in different slang contexts.


Berlitz's Guide to Spanish Slang: This guide provides an extensive list of slang words and phrases from various Spanish-speaking countries, including Mexico, Colombia, and Cuba. It's a great resource for understanding the regional differences in Spanish slang.


Lingopie's Guide to Mexican Spanish Slang: This resource focuses on Mexican Spanish slang, explaining words and phrases commonly used in Mexico. It's particularly useful for those interested in Mexican colloquial language.


Preply's List of Common Spanish Slang Words: Preply offers a list of common Spanish slang terms used in various countries. It includes not just the slang words but also their meanings and usage examples.


Speaking Latino's Resources to Learn Spanish Slang by Country: This website provides a variety of tools and resources to learn Spanish slang specific to different countries. It's a comprehensive resource for those looking to understand regional variations in Spanish.


FluentU's Mexican Slang Guide: FluentU offers a detailed guide to Mexican slang, complete with examples and audio to help with pronunciation. It's a great interactive resource for those looking to sound like a local in Mexico.


Speaking Latino's Mexican Spanish Slang Resources: This page provides resources specifically for Mexican Spanish slang, including dictionaries and phrasebooks available for purchase.


Language Realm's Spanish Slang Dictionary: This online dictionary offers a broad range of Spanish slang expressions and idioms, making it a handy reference for learners at all levels.


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