Talk Like a Local: Slang of Argentina

Argentina Travel Posted on 02/06/2019

Looking for Argentina Travel tips? Here’s traveling tip 101: Antes de viajar a Argentina, es importante saber el lunfardo que se habla en el país. In case you don’t know Spanish and didn’t understand what was said above, there’s no need to worry. We are saying, before traveling to Argentina, it’s important to know lunfardo (the slang of Argentina).

’So, your command over Spanish is at par with those who speak the language natively? That might be, but the fact is that in Argentina, especially in its capital Buenos Aires, you are going to hear a lot of Spanish not taught in language classes. Some of it you may not even find in the dictionary. However, Argentineans take their language quite seriously, and it can take you years to learn the native dialect properly. But you need not to worry. Here’s a list of common Argentine slangs along with what they mean in common everyday use

1. Argentine slang

  • Che Boludo: ’Che means ‘hey‘ and can be used to grab a person’s attention. ‘Boludo’ can mean anything from ‘dude’ to ‘idiot.’ You use it to refer to a person who says or does stupid things.
  • ¿Cómo andás? or  ¿qué tal ?:  Want to inquire what a person’s been up to? It´s mean ‘what’s up ’
  • Tener mala leche: Dropped your wallet first and later got lost looking for it? What a ‘mala leche!’ (bad luck).The phrase literally means ‘to have bad luck’, but be careful when saying ‘mala leche’ to a person. You are calling them unlucky!
  • Tener fiaca: Meaning ‘to feel lazy’, this word will come in really handy if you are visiting Argentina just to relax.
  • Chabón/chabona: Translating to ‘guy/ girl’, use this only to address a person who you can be really casual with.
  • Re copado: Meaning ‘super awesome’, you can slide these words anywhere in your conversation to sound truly local.
  • Mango: Is the equivalent of ‘money’ or the Argentine currency. And in case you are thinking of the fruit, this word actually originated from a Napoleon war where it was used as a code word by thieves when looting money.
  • Quilombo: Which is ‘mess or disaster’ can be used for instance when talking about politics or a person who doesn’t know his bearings.
  • You may call a cool, hip or nice place ‘Buena onda’, meaning it gives off good vibes.
  • Posta’ is the truth, or also the real deal about anything. Or if you can remember it, say instead.
  • Say ‘ah, mirá vos’ to imply ‘wow, I didn’t know that!’, whether in a sarcastic orgenuine sense,
  • Ni en pedo’ to mean ‘no freaking way.’
  • Tell someone who’s ‘Estar en el horno’ (stressed out, or in a bad situation)
  •  ‘Bajá un cambio!’(Chill Out! Relax!)
  • A really talkative native will ‘Hablar hasta por los codos’ (talk someone’s ear off), while a shrewd onewill ‘Hacerse la mosquita muerta’ (act innocently after doing something wrong)
  • To disagree with someone you may say ‘No dá’, i.e.sorry, unacceptable or that doesn’t fly.
  • And to express utter disbelief, exclaim: ‘Dejate de joder’ (get out of town! You gotta be joking!)
  • ‘La sacaste barata’ is the Argentine slang to depict someone who got lucky on a risky situation.
  • If you felt this guide was ‘a las chapas’ (going really fast), then ‘tomalo con soda!’ (Calm down, take it easy!). Just carry this list with you and enjoy mingling in Buenos Aires. There’s ‘ni a palos’ (no way) you will have a‘medio pelo’ (mediocre) trip. Your journey is bound to be amazing!

Check out our trips to start practicing your “Argentinean Spanish” and Happy travelling!

Buenos Aires - Estancia - Gaucho

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