For many students of Spanish (in the United States at least), Mexican Spanish is the variety we’re most familiar with and the one that we think we know best. But despite this, few of us can truly claim to understand Mexican slang. Even after living in Mexico for several years, Mexican slang is a topic that I can’t fully claim to be an expert on!
That being said, I did manage to pick up on quite a bit of Mexican Spanish slang while living in the country. Now, with plenty of personal experience and a bit of supplemental research, I’ve decided to put this list together.
Whether you’re listening to music in Mexican Spanish or reading short stories or novels from Mexico, it definitely helps to understand the country’s slang. Also, it’s obviously very helpful to understand Mexican Spanish slang before heading on a trip to Mexico!
Lastly, before getting started, a disclaimer: slang, by it’s very nature, is quite vulgar, and Mexican slang is no exception! This list contains plenty of “bad” words in both Spanish and English, but I’ve tried my best to be clear about which words are fine to say around your Mexican abuelita and which words are very, very NSFW. When in doubt, it’s always wise to err on the side of caution.
Now, without further ado, here’s our guide:
¿A poco? is a Mexican slang phrase akin to “really?” or “seriously?” It’s normally incredulous but not excessively surprised.
Achis is a Mexican slang word used to express amazement or disbelief. If someone tells you they’ve got a winning lottery ticket, you might utter an achis, ¡a ver!
¡Aguas! is a classic Mexican way to say “be careful!” or “look out!” I’ve heard that the phrase originated in Mexican cities, where women would shout ¡aguas! before hurling dirty buckets of water out their front doors and onto the sidewalks. I don’t know how true this story is, but it makes sense and it’s quite interesting!
Before explaining this one, let’s be clear–Mexicans love making words diminutive, even in contexts that don’t particularly make sense. Though most words keep their meanings in the diminutive, some, like ahora, actually morph quite a bit.
You probably know that ahora means “now,” but the meaning of ahorita is somewhat distinct. This classic Mexican word can mean anything from “now” to “at some unknown point in the future,” so if someone says that they’ll do something ahorita, make sure to follow up! When are you going to do your homework? Ahorita. When are you going to clean the bathroom? Ahorita. You probably get it.
Even for Americans who don’t speak a word of Spanish, ándale is often a recognizable Mexican slang word thanks in large part to this guy:
To offer some credit where it’s due, Speedy pretty much nails the most popular use of ándale in this video, basically a way of saying “come on!” or “let’s do this!” Alternately, ándale can also be used to express agreement or understanding, especially in regards to a common goal. If you tell a taxi driver where you’d like to go, for example, he might respond with a simple ándale.
For more Mexican Slang, continue onto the next page below!