12 handy slang terms for your next trip to Mexico

If you’re not equipped with some useful slangs for your next Mexico trip, this article is for you. By default, Mexicans speak Spanish, and most travelers think a few common Spanish slang terms are all they need to know. But that might not be really helpful! Mexicans often use slangs that are exclusive to their country. Learning to speak their lingo will help you strike a conversation, make new friends, and get around with no trouble. So, wherever you’re from, learn these common slang terms before traveling to Mexico.

1. ¿Mande?
To politely ask someone to repeat what they just said, this is the word. Use it when you didn’t hear or understand their statement. If this is your first time in Mexico, you may use this word quite often. For example,

¿Mande? No escuché lo que dijiste. — Excuse me, I didn’t get that.

2. Güey
This Mexican slang translates to “dude” “buddy” or “mate,” in English. The slang is widely used throughout Mexico, and often comes up in casual conversation. For example,

¿Como vas, wey? — How’s it going, buddy?

3. Simon
The term means “yes” or “yeah” in English. As you might have guessed, this slang is of the most popular ones in Mexico. One such example is,

Vas a jugar el fútbol con nosotros? Simon! — Are you going to play soccer with us? – Yes!

4. Chido/chida
It means “cool” or “awesome” in English. Although this slang is very commonly used among teenagers, the elderly in Mexico tend to use it too. Chido/chida can be used to refer to people, objects, or situations, such as…

Esa camisa es muy chida — That shirt is really cool!

5. Padre
You might already know that “padre” means father in Spanish. But in Mexican slang, it means “cool” or “awesome.” It can be used interchangeably with “chido.” For example,

Está bien padre ese juego — That video game looks really cool.

6. No manches
In the Mexican version of Spanish, “no manches” is an extremely versatile slang often used to express surprise, anger, disgust, or rejection. Depending on the situation, it can mean “really?”, “are you kidding?”, “no way!”, or “damn!” This slang also a benign substitute for the expression “no mames,” which is often considered vulgar. An example of this slang is,

¡No manches! Se me olvidó mi cartera — Damn! I forgot my wallet.

7. Carnal
This slang literally translates to “brother” in English. But it’s often used to refer to a close or good friend, just like “bro” in English. For example,

Oye Carnal como te va? — Hey brother, what’s up?

8. ¡Órale!
Similar to “hell yeah!” in English, “¡Órale!” is used to express strong approval or excitement. It can also mean “right on!” or even “let’s do it”. Note that “¡Órale!” isn’t considered offensive and is appropriate for virtually all social circumstances. For example,

¡Órale, eso se ve muy divertido! — Wow! That looks really fun!

9. Aguas!
Although “agua” means water in Spanish, the Mexican slang term “Aguas!” is not even closely related. Its English translation is “watch out!” and can be used to warn somebody or tell them to be careful. One such example is,

¡Aguas! Viene un coche. – Watch out! A car is coming.

10. Pachanga
In Mexico, if someone invites you to a “pachanga,” you probably wouldn’t want to say no. That’s because “pachanga” means “party” in English. You can also use this slang by asking locals about great places to party. For example,

¿A qué hora empieza la pachanga? — What time does the party start?

11. La neta
“La neta” is yet another versatile Mexican slang. It roughly translates to “really?”, or “truth?”. It can be used to express both agreement and doubt. One way of using this slang is,

¿Es la neta? — Is it the truth?

12. Buena onda
“Buena onda” is how you can describe “good vibes,” “good going,” or something or someone “cool” in Mexican slang. It can be used for a person or a place. Perhaps you’ll use this phrase quite often as you explore Mexico. For example,

La chava con la que practico español es buena onda — The girl who I practice Spanish with is cool