25 May 2008

Argentine Slang: First Installment

Well, Erika and I will be in Argentina in about a month. To be honest we're freaking out a little bit, but to assuage my excitement and fear, I decided to do some research on Argentine vocabulary and slang. Here is a short list of useful words, some of which are kinda vulgar or slangy. But so is life. Starting with a bang:

Acabar: to cum
Almacén: grocery store
Anana: pineapple
Afano: theft

Barrigón/ona de mierda: fat-ass
Bola, specifically, ¡No me da bola!: you (s/he, they) aren't even listening to me!
Boliche: nightclub
*Boludo/a: Literally, large balls. 1. With friends this can be translated as jerk, fucker, bastard but in an affectionate way. With strangers, it's means asshole or idiot and is considered offensive. 2. Excl. Shit! fuck! as in ¡Boludo! 3. Bullshit!, or This is stupid, as in ¡Qué boludo!

Borrachón/ona: drunk, lush, drunkard
Bruto/a de mierda: idiot
Chabón: guy

Chamuyero: smooth talker
Cheto/a: stuck-up, snobby
Chico/a: small (in addition to boy/girl)
Coche: car, and baby stroller
Cogetuda: an easy lay
Colectivo, Bondi: bus
Concha: pussy
Copado/a: cool (person, object, etc)

Cortado: espresso with milk
Corto/a de mate: missing a few screws (lit. short in the gourd)
Cuentero/a: a gossip (lit. one who tells tales)
Dale: sounds like it should be sexual, but it's not. Dale is basically like vale, okay, but more emphatic. It's basically an equivalent to Great! or Let's do it!
Dejar clavado a, Dejar plantado a: to dump, to get dumped (lit. to leave someone nailed or planted)
Dopado: drugged

Encurdarse: to get drunk
¡Epa!: oops, same as ¡upa!
Fiaca de mierda: piece of shit, pimp
Frutilla: strawberry
Grandote boludo: big lazy bum (lit. big-balled one with testicles)
chubby one (term of endearment, also used with babies)
Gordo de mierda, Gordo/a chancho: fat pig, fatso (lit. hog-like fat person)
Guita: money

Hincha: a sports fan, but also a shortened version of Hinchapelotas: a nag, a paint in the ass, someone who is tight-assed, anal, uptight
Llamado: call, variant of llamada
Lleno/a de humos: snobby (lit. full of smoke)
Lapicera: pen
Lio: mess, hassle, bother
Living: living-room
Mangos: slang word for Argentine pesos, like bucks in EE-UU
Manteca: butter
Marchatrás: fag
Me voy a reventar: I'm going to explode (from eating)
Mina: lady, chick, girl
¡Mira vos!: used when someone says something, smart, interesting, fascinating, unusual (lit. look at you!)
Mocoso/a de mierda: snot-nosed little brat, little shit
Negocio: shop
Nene/Nena: child, variant of niño, niña
No seas hinchapelotas: meaning, stop busting my balls, stop nagging me
Onda: vibes

Pedazo de pelotudo: jerk, idiot (lit. piece of someone with balls)
Pelotas as in en pelotas: naked
Pendejo/a de mierda: little shit, trouble-making child
Petiso de mierda: little shit,
Pibe, Piba: teenager
Picada: snack
Pilas: literally batteries but used as energy of a person; Ponete las pilas, meaning do your best, get a move on, take control or Sacate las pilas, or relax, chill out.
Piñas, Dar Piñas a, Tirar piñas a: to hit, synonym with golpear
Piola: hard to translate, but used all the time, as in ¡Qué piola!, or what a life, but it has a connotation like you've got it made, or you're taking the easy way out. You could also say: Te estás haciendo el piola, which is like saying you slacker, or, you're taking advantage of the situation, but in a light-hearted and playful way.
Plomo/a: [regarding people] annoying (lit. lead)
Pollera: skirt
Pomelo: grapefruit

Puerco/a: pig, as in what a pig!
Quilombo: chaos, a complete mess
Remera: t-shirt
Romper las bolas: busting someone's balls
Tacho: taxi + small trash can
Tachero: taxi driver
Tener fiaca: to feel lazy
Trompudo/a: big-mouthed
Opa: idiot
Vereda: pavement, sidewalk
Vidriera: store window
Viejo pelotudo, Viejo boludo: old codger (lit. the old one with balls)
Vieja conchuda, Vieja tetuda: old woman (lit. the old cunted one, or the one with tits)
Vuelto: change for a bill, variant of vuelta
Zapato: idiot, jerk (lit. shoe)


loli said...

hay muchas palabras que no son de uso corriente, tal vez lo eran en un lunfardo tanguero y ya fuera de moda.
Por ej:
balurdo (¿?), chirusa (no debe usarse desde 1940), lenguatuda, cretinita.
y cuidado con decir "boludo" con demasiada facilidad. Depende la edad de las personas y a lo que están acostumbradas. Mi mamá, por ej, jamás les diría boludas a sus amigas.
y vagina en español es vagina, "concha" es su asepción más vulgar.

Jackson Bliss said...


¡muchíssimas gracias! esto es muy útil porque es un poco difícil buscar vocabulario porteño corriente en internet y por libros: la gente es lo mejor recurso de todo. voy a eliminar las palabras que mencionó inmediatamente. si tuviera otras suggerencias por palabras que yo deberia incluir, por favor, dígamelas.

gracias otra vez.

paz, bendinciones,

--jackson bliss

Miss Tango said...

Coche, is used here more than auto, also is used for baby stroller.

Gordo yes does mean fat and is most certainly a description, but people will use it more as a term of endearment, rather than insulting someone. We use it between friends, at the doctors and nurses will use gordo/gorda to talk about your child. Gordo is not used as an insult, because if you wanted to insult someone, as you can see by your list there are much more colourful and creative insults to fly from the tip of your tongue. The same goes for negro/negra, it is used as an endearment between friends and family members.

Using flaco or flaca, I just found out the other day can be used in a snooty way, a little patronizing, by the sounds of it.

And finally fiaca, yes means lazy, it is also means pimp in lunfardo., because pimps are lazy and live off others. The third meaning for fiaca is, well actually sometimes a picture is a better way to learn: http://tangoinhereyes.blogspot.com/2007/08/one-of-these-things-is-not-like-others.html

Jackson Bliss said...

Hola Miss Tango,

Thanks so much. I just sent you a quick note on your blog but I'm going to modify my list now. I really appreciate your feedback, and I hope that my g/f and I can ask you some questions about Tango once we're settled. A la próxima.

M said...

You have found some good ones! It's great you're learning ahead of time. Vos sos is the most challenging.

You've now forever scarred my impression of "acabar." ; )

Jackson Bliss said...

I know M! Vos sos sounds like a bad limerick or something. Acabar can never be the same again for any of us, especially since I don't know another way to say finish. Argentinos are going to smirk at me every time I say "acabo de tomar una siesta," but at least now I know, and knowing is half of sexual innuendo.

Miss Tango said...

To finish they use the verb terminar, but if you are shopping, and the veggie guy asks if you want anything else, and you are done say "listo".

Jackson Bliss said...

Gotcha. Thanks Miss Tango for "listo." I've never heard it used that way before but I appreciate you telling me. The next time I'm buying veggies, I'll know the full power of listo now. Gracias!

miss tango said...

well the veggie guy was just used as an example. You can also use it on butchers, bakers, candlestick makers....

Jackson Bliss said...

Wait, you mean it's not JUST for vegetable vendors? I'm so disappointed that it's not part of a secret language. I imagined the tomato woman giving the onion and garlic man a knowing wink in the corners of her eyes; the lechuga vendor mouthing the words LIS-TO-MI-AMOR to the woman selling radishes and cauliflower. But no, Miss Tango, you have to go and shatter this beautiful dream I had. Thank you for taking away a beautiful moment.

Anonymous said...

To say "listo" is the same as saying "done"
Can be used to refer to something like "agreed" or "deal", but the first meaning is the most usual.
Ok also is the meaning of "listo"

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I entered your blog almost by accident. It's awesome! Thanks for the interest in our slangs.
And yeah, just as someone already said "listo" means "done". I'll take a look from time to time :)
Enjoy the country and the language, I think (that's my very personal opinion) we speak the worst spanish but at the same time these expressions make it colourful. The important european inmigration is the main reason and origin of these words. Italian and french had an important influence in the creation of much of these terms.

see ya!

Anonymous said...

Hi there once again :)

Just wanted to tell some details:

Boludo: means idiot, asshole, stupid, but a friend can say to another: hola! qué hacés boludo? cómo andás boludo? and there's nothing offensive in this word, it's just the same as "hi m8, how are you doin?" The main difference will be in the way you pronounce the word, maybe with a smile...
When you say: qué boludo! you can say it to yourself cuz you just noticed you did something stupid, i.e. qué boludo!, me olvidé las llaves!

Pelotudo: more offensive than boludo, but almost the same meaning. Even when it can be used while talking with friends, you'll mostly use it as an insult. If you say: qué pelotudo, me olvidé las llaves! it's almost the same thing that if you say "boludo" but it's more offensive to yourself. You feel angry with yourself.
Again, the way you pronounce the word, especially the "p" (I mean, an energetic pronunciation) gives the word an offensive and derogatory meaning. Maybe it's that crude sound what makes it that offensive 'cause the "b" in "boludo" sounds much lighter. It surely is one of the most offensive word or shares the first place with "conchudo/a" "puto de mierda" etc.

"... de mierda": literall means "of shit" but it's something you can add to almost all the words and other insults, so you can say it's almost the same thing as "fuckin' ..." i.e. "boludo de mierda" "pelotudo de mierda" "teléfono de mierda" "internet de mierda" It's always offensive, derogatory, I don't think you can call a friend "hola boludo de mierda" and you won't call yourself like that if you forget the keys. So "de mierda" gives another strenght to an insult.

I hope you'll like this little contribution.

My name is Germán btw ;)
see ya!

JACKSON BLISS @ 水と魂 said...

Hi German,

And thanks for your contributions. I should modify this list a little because I wrote it before getting to Buenos Aires, but of course you're absolutely right. I've never thought about the phonetic strength of "Pelotudo" but you're right, it's much stronger than the b in boludo. I think I overuse "de mierda," because it's the same in French, my first foreign language.

Feel free to drop more suggestions when they come to you, and thanks.

Peace, Blessings,


Anonymous said...

Faltan muchas palabras e insultos
Tarea para el hogar: cabeza de níspero, salame, pánfilo, pancho (sos un pancho=sos un boludo), raja de aca, tacho, feca, choto, chota, pete, culear, telo, al palo, al pedo, de pedo, cagar a pedos, pata de lana, culo de estatua.
Tenes una semana para darme un ejemplo de uso de cada término.
Tu recompensa, va por adelantado porque confio en vos y se que te vas a esforzar.
Asi no te gastan los argentinos y podes llegar a tomar mate amargo.
Querido chichipio, vermuth con papas fritas y GOOD SHOW!!!! (quien decia esta frase? Suma puntos extra).

Anonymous said...

Thanks, and... haha that last visitor left you some work... enjoy!

and if I don't come in these next days, merry christmas :)


naty said...

Creo haber colaborado con alguna de esas palabras, pero veo que faltan las más guarangas que te hemos enseñado allá lejos y hace tiempo en las clases de inglés que compartimos. Te acordás de pete, petiso, peteco?? jajaj besos!!

Alis said...

Jajaja siempre vuelvo a tu blog, me mori de risa, por alguna razón este post lo pasé por alto...Cuentero/a: a gossip (lit. one who tells tales)
tambien se le dice chismoso...
otras que podés agregar:
vos fuma!: ´por ej se usa para cuando alguien te asegura de que algo va a salir bien!
tiki taka: se usa para cuando pagar en efectivo, tambien es un juego con 2 esferas pendientes de 2 hilos que chocan..(se entiende?)
y las de connotación sexual ya veo que te los contaron!Beso grande MI AMIGO VIRTUAL JB!!