Spanish Slang: 10 Examples of a Right Word Used in the Wrong Place
There are many Spanish slang words that are completely okay in one place, and a total disaster in another. These are some prime examples of when you might be using the right word, in the wrong place.
In Puerto Rico, pichar simply means to ignore or forget about something. For example, if someone says “No, pichea” it basically means, “no, nevermind.”
In Mexico, pichar means to pick up the bill, or pay for something for someone.
As if mixing up “nevermind” and “picking up the tab” wouldn’t be bad enough, in Colombia, pichar means “to fuck.” So make sure you think about where you are before you use this word!
Boludo is used a lot in Argentina, and sometimes in other South American countries such as Colombia. The meaning doesn’t change by country, but rather by situation. In a casual, friendly environment, this can simply mean dude. However, in a different, more tense context, it can mean “asshole.” Watch your tone!
This is another tricky word that can change meanings depending on your tone and context. In Mexico and Puerto Rico, this word can be used casually, with friends, as “dude” or something similar. It can also be “asshole” or “fucker.” In general, this word is much stronger in Puerto Rico, where it is attached to many vulgar phrases.
In most Spanish speaking countries, this word simply means “shell.” However, in Argentina and Colombia, it means “cunt.” So if you ever see a giggling tourist next to hotels named things like La Concha, you can guess they are from somewhere where the word is not quite as innocent.
Technically, this word just means “tortilla maker.” However, in a vulgar sense, it means lesbian. Gross, and unfortunate if you are taking a cooking class and actually need to discuss tortilla making.
In most Spanish speaking countries, this is just a slang term for “insect.” In Puerto Rico, on the other hand, it means “dick.” You can imagine the giggles that follow someone saying “me pican los bichos” (The bugs/dicks are biting me) in Puerto Rico. Read the article Puerto Rican False Friends Words: Bicho, Bicha, Bichería and Bichote for extra information about this particular word.
This is almost always translated as “to fuck,” but not in Mexico, Puerto Rico, or the majority of Spanish-speaking countries in the Caribbean. In these countries, coger simply means “to take,” so it is not uncommon to hear someone say “Voy a coger un bús.” That’s fine in northern Latin America, but don’t try it anywhere else!
This literally just means to come, as in, to a place. Of course, just like in English, this can also be translated to the sexual meaning of “to cum or come” as in, to ejaculate.
In many countries, this translates to “dick,” but don’t be surprised to hear pendejo used to refer to young boys in Argentina. It is a common word with no negative or vulgar meaning.
In Chile, this just means a clip of sorts, such as a hair clip or clothespin, but don’t use it lightly in Mexico, as it means “damned” or “fucking” as in “este pinche cabrón!” (this fucking shithead!)
Ah Spanish, it’s never straight forward, is it? As always, you’ve got to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings before you open your mouth and make a fool of yourself.