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Useful Argentine Slang


Further distinguishing Argentines from their South American counterparts is their flashy way of speaking. Argentines normally refer to the country’s official language as castellano rather than español, tweaking Spanish as you may know it into a unique tongue. Perhaps most obvious is the frequent use of vos in place of the tú form, and the pronouncing of “ll” and “y” as “zh” (sounds like the “s” is “asia”). Further distinguishing the Argentinean way of speaking is the colorful use of slang, much of which derives from lunfardo- an argot of the Spanish language which developed around the end of the 19th century in the lower classes of Buenos Aires, often used in the lyrics of tangos with references to the risqué lifestyles of the criminal underworld.

Some lunfardo/slang terms to look out for (but make sure you understand their meanings and use with caution: while fun to know, many slang terms can be very offensive if improperly dircted!):

fiaca- laziness (tener fiaca- to feel lazy)

guita- money

boliche- disco or nightclub

boludo- jerk, idiot, asshole (can be used in a friendly way but very insulting if used to a stranger!)

che- hey, very commonly thrown around

bondi- bus

buena onda- good vibes

carajo- asshole

chabón/chabona- boy/girl, kid (endearing)

macanudo- fabulous, wonderful

mango- one peso, similar to “buck” in the US

masa- something awesome

manyar- to know / to eat

laburar- to work mina- woman

morfar- to eat

pendejo- idiot

piba/ pibe- cool young person, kid

piola- clever, neat

pucho- cigarette

re- very much so

¡Ponete las pilas!- Get going, get on with it!

diez puntos- fine, alright, cool

me mataste- I don’t know, I have no idea

le faltan un par de jugadores- he/she is not all there

che boludo- hey dude, about the most porteño greeting you could use

abrochado- married

achacar- to rob

vivo- person who gets away with things, a hustler

remera- t-shirt

alucinante- amazing or incredible

fifi- a fashion/image conscious man

zanagoria/ magallanes- idiot, fool

quemo- disreptuable

cachetada- snob

olfa- kiss-ass

hinchapelotas- annoying

garufero- fun person

rana- smart tatia- brave

algo voy a cerebrar- I'll think something up

chochamu- young man

gurí- boy

gurisa- girl

garpar- to pay with money

gomías- friends

engrupir- to fool

junar- to look to / to know

gomas- woman's breasts

maza- superb

curtir- to be involved in

zafar- to barely get by

trucho- counterfeit, fake

hinchapelotas- a way to say "breaking balls", for example when someone is getting on your nerves one might say, "Che, boludo no me hinchapelotas!" Meaning, stop irritating me!

cheto- snobby. stuck up

barbarro- great, cool, okay

guarda!- look out!

mina- a chic, a girl

tipo- a guy

quilombo- a mess

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Argentina: Getting To and Away , The Economy of Argentina: Today, Traveling with Kids in Argentina, Services, Crossing into Brazil, Shopping, Getting To and Away, Safety, Safety and Senior Travelers.

By Caroline Bennett
exploring, laughing, wanderlust, strangers. 120 film, making art, cyanotypes, vintage. scotch on the rocks & coffee, black. the unknown. the sound of...
15 Jun 2009

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