What does boludo mean in Argentina? Dude, bro, easy, jerk, dumbass, screw around, idiot. All of them! The word ‘boludo’ in Argentina is one of the most useful and most common Spanish slang words you will learn.
Argentinians are known for their hospitality, which is an integral part of their culture. From inviting guests to their homes for a traditional asado (barbecue) to offering a cup of mate (a popular South American drink), Argentinians always make an effort to make visitors feel welcome. They are also known for their friendly and outgoing nature, making it easy for people to connect with them.
Let’s not skip the fact the country is also home to some of the world's best wines, particularly from the Malbec grape. After a few glasses, you may be eager to sound like a local and toss out this word you’ve been hearing: ‘boludo’.
Watch out, in Argentina, ‘boludo’ can be a strong insult or a term of affection used among close friends. ¡Che, boludo! –Hey, dude!
Read on to discover the difference before you find yourself in a fight because several variations to the word also exist.
What does boludo mean in Spanish? - Insult Or Bros?
In English you might say, “Way to go, idiot.”
In Spanish, “Así se hace boludo.”
You may also hear other Spanish words that convey the same sarcastic or exasperated tone like ‘idiota’ or ‘imbécil’.
INSULT YOURSELF: Let’s say you forgot an important meeting, spilled coffee on yourself while trying to get out the door, then you realize you can’t find your keys. Ugh! This is the point in the morning when you may mutter to yourself, “que boludo”...(what an idiot).
START A FIGHT: If you hear, “Que te pasa, boludo?” You’re about to be in a fight. That’s basically the first thing you’ll hear before some random guy takes a swing, “What’s your problem, MAN (or dumbass) ?!
GREETING WITH FRIENDS: On the more positive side, ‘boludo’ is how do you say bro in Spanish (at least in Argentina). Dude is another meaning of boludo, among friends. The word literally means “person who has large balls”.
¿Cómo estás boludo? (*dude side hug/handshake goes here*) - What’s up man?! What’s up, bro?
WARNING: You would never call someone a BOLUDO in a positive context, unless it is a close friend of yours. This isn’t the type of Spanish word you toss around a professional setting or near someone’s abuela (grandma) you just met. Most other people could quickly take offense to the term. Just like with any word, if you are not sure of an appropriate time to use it, you are best served by smiling and not saying anything at all.
Argentine Spanish: BOLUDO in English
Argentine poet Juan Gelman goes for boludo. “It is a very popular term and deeply ambivalent even today. It involves reference to a fool, stupid person or idiot, but does not always imply an insulting or derogatory connotation… It has lost the offensive meaning. It has changed to a more casual understanding without losing its origin,” he said.
Perhaps this is the most important Spanish word in Argentina with other derivatives such as bolu, boludear and boludez. In his Spanish slang dictionary and phrasebook Speaking Argento, Jared Romey defines the word boludo as the following:
1) stupid, idiot, dipshit, may either be a serious insult or used in a playful or friendly manner.
2) dude, guy; phrase to get someone’s attention, generally a friend or someone who you know.
Various BOLUDO meanings and related words
boluda - used when speaking to a female friend, using the boludo meanings for friends only (not the insulting definitions).
boludez - 1) something trivial, small, unimportant, 2) a piece of cake, easy
boludear - 1) to screw around, mess around, kill time, 2) to bullshit someone, to screw with, lie to
bolu - short for boludo
Check out these other Argentina Spanish Slang Word articles.