Mexican culture is rich and vibrant, but not everyone knows how to greet people in the language of Mexico. Here are 10 Mexican slang words you might want to avoid if you’re running for public office (or if you don’t know the recipient well). But they can be a casual form of greeting among friends and family: “Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon), “Que Paso?” (What’s up?), and “Chido” (cool).
This is a list of Mexican slang greetings and words you might want to avoid if you’re running for public office (or if you don’t know the recipient well). But they can be a casual form of greeting among friends and family:
“Chingon” (Cool) – This term can be used as an adjective or as a verb. If you use it as an adjective, then it would be something that is cool or awesome. However, if you use it as a verb, then it could mean stealing from someone else. In this case, don’t use the word unless you’re talking about stealing something funny.
“Pinche” (curse) – A word used to describe something as “cursed”, “evil”, or “damn”. It’s often described as an adjective. For example, you might hear someone say, “la pinche rata de mi Hermana (my sister’s damn rat)”.
“Qué cosa?” (What thing?) – You might hear this when someone is asking what you’re talking about or if you’re making no sense.
“Mala onda” (bad vibe) – This phrase can be used to describe a person’s attitude, their energy level, something that they said to another person, or the environment around them. You might hear it as “
” Che la” (beer) – Unless you know the person well, it’s best to avoid using this term when greeting them. Instead, stick with “hola” or “qué onda?”
“Que lastima!” (What a shame!) – This phrase might be used in response to someone who just made a mistake or did something
“Chingada madre” (fuckin’ thing) – This term is often used in Mexico to say something is cool, interesting or great.
“Chingate!” (Fuck you!) – This phrase might be used when arguing with someone or telling them they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s a way for people to express anger.
When should you use Mexican slang?
Generally, use Mexican slang to greet friends and family. However, be aware that not everyone speaks or uses slang very often – it’s usually used more by young people between the ages of 16-30.
Also, slang tends to change over time and vary by location.
Greetings in Mexico
The customs and traditions of Mexico vary by region. Here are some greetings that you might hear in various regions of Mexico:
“Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon) – The time between 3 pm and 6 pm is considered “buenas tardes”. You might hear the phrase said at the end of a phone call or to say goodbye.
“Chido” (cool) – A word meaning “cool”, “awesome”, or “nifty”. It’s often used to describe someone’s style, looks, or something they’re doing.
Que paso? (What’s up?) – This greeting is used to ask what the other person has been doing, their mood, or if they’re available to hang out.
“Hasta luego” (see you later) – You might hear this when someone is leaving or saying goodbye to their friends.
“Adios” (goodbye) – This is the most common way of sayings goodbye in Mexico.
“Hasta pronto” (see you later) – You might hear this when someone wants to see their friend again soon.
“Adios amigos” (goodbye friends) – This is said when friends are parting ways after hanging out.
“Pasame un Telefono amigo/un Telefono” (pass me a friend’s phone) – It’s common to swap numbers with friends and chat on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or other networks.
“Que onda?” (What’s up?)
You might hear this greeting when you greet several people in the same place, like in a shop or at someone’s house. However, it can be perceived as disrespectful if you’re only meeting one person and use this phrase; you might come across as trying to sound cool or appear friendly.
Learn more Mexican Slang
Use slang to keep up with social media and music. The words might be a little strange at first, but you’ll soon pick it up as you start hearing people use them more often. Check out these resources:
Mexican Slang Online – This online resource explains some common Mexican slang words and phrases. It also provides you with examples of how to use them in everyday language.
Spanish Slang Dictionary – Here you’ll find an extensive list of Mexican slang words and their meanings. Avoiding Mexican slang when you plan on running for public office might be a good idea. It’s not the most offensive language in Spanish, but certain words or phrases can make it seem like you don’t care about your job
Mexican Slang on Wikipedia – This article gives a brief overview of Mexican slang and its origins.
Get more insight
You can go to Mexico’s official tourism website for information on the country’s famous places, festivals, traditions, celebrations, food, music, language/slang, fashion trends, movies/TV shows/series that are popular among young people in the country, etc.
Finding the right words
If you’re not sure about using Mexican slang, it’s best to go with a simple greeting. “Hola” (hello) is a good option when in doubt. You can also say “Como estas?”. This phrase usually gets the response “Muy bien, y tu?”. If you want to know how someone is doing, you can say “Que tal?” (What’s up?). If it’s someone close to your family or friends circle, you can try “Cómo estás?”.
Know when not to use Mexican slang
It might be best to avoid using these greetings if you plan on running at work. Despite the fact that most people won’t take offence, some might think you’re not taking your job seriously enough or appear too informal.
People who aren’t familiar with Mexican slang might find it hard to understand what certain expressions mean; this can make them feel uncomfortable.
- When in doubt, use “hola” (hello) and “adiós” (goodbye).
- Hello – Hola / Como estas?
- Good bye – Adios / Hasta luego
- What’s up? – Que onda? / Que paso?
- Bye – Adios (to one person) /Adios amigos (when parting with multiple people)
- Friend – Amigo / Amiga
- Bye bye – Chao / Chao, hasta luego
It’s not the most offensive language in Spanish, but certain words or phrases can make it seem like you don’t care about your job. The customs and tradition of Mexico vary by region. Here are some greetings that you might hear in various regions of Mexico.