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AlwaysSpanish is Retiring!

After a long awkward silence, here's something to break the ice – all over again. I can totally see why you should be upset to see no action from the Burro for over a month now, but trust me, your wait was all worth it. The news here is that your beloved Burro has just moved into a brand new home – one that's a whole lot richer, swankier, and easier to live in. I'm talking about PeppyBurro. That's the name of the new website! Isn't that cool? At least it tells you all about the Burro's pepped up temperament right off the bat, right? This post is not about Spanish-learning tricks (although I will drop in a couple out of habit, I guess) or grammar lessons. This one's all about our new home!

The Witchcraft Of Spanish Vocabulary

The very first step to conquering a language is to tame its vocabulary. And sadly, that's the part that puts off most novice learners because memorizing strange-sounding words is too darn boring! A never-ending chant of rote rehearsal and a nervous prayer can see you through an upcoming test, but the process just won't cut it if your goal is to actually use the language in the street. It's a mystery how this incredibly inefficient method has survived this long and still continues to be perpetuated by schools and educators around the world. So is there any nirvana around this assault of monotony in our miserable lives? Anything that could make learning foreign words less painful?




IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Always Spanish has retired. Please visit the new blog at PeppyBurro.com for all future articles.

111 Spanish Slangs From The Streets Of Peru

The Spanish language takes a whole new dimension in the pueblos of Peru where the indigenous tongues, such as Quechua, have had a profound impact on this tongue thereby creating the rich novelty that is Peruvian Spanish. The flavor of Spanish spoken in Peru, just like those spoken in any other culture, is an intricate assortment of jergas (argots) and regional usage, often a far cry from the Spanish taught in schools, colleges, and other language institutions. Here, we have listed out some of the most common words and expressions of this dialect that we have gathered from our many Peruvian friends and the mighty Internet.

Slangs add interesting colors to the Spanish of Peru
Slangs add interesting colors to the Spanish of Peru
Photo credit: Stefanie Schwarz licensed CC BY-SA 2.0
If the flavor of Spanish you wish to master in the long run is Peruvian, it would strongly be suggested that you familiarize yourself with these words and expressions that are commonplace in the streets of Peru. Please note that this list is far from complete and just in case you happen to be from Peru, your contribution will go a long way in enriching this post.

Incidentally, the language itself is better known as Castellano in this country as an expression of identity independent of Spain.

Careful with these words!


¡a su! – an extremely Peruvian interjection of surprise or shock, often used instead of its more risqué version, “a su madre

achorado – a low-life when used for a person and a despicable slum otherwise

al toque – without delay or hesitation

alacran – a foul smell typically from the armpit or feet

arrecho – horny

asado – furious (literally, “roasting”)

bacán/chévere/paja – cool, awesome

bamba – fake or counterfeit

blanca – cocaine

brichero – someone who woos a gringa in order to migrate to Europe or to get rich (reference to the English word, “bridge”)

brócoli/cabro/cabrócoli/chimbombo/brócoli/mostacero/mapero – someone who is either gay or not manly enough

bróder – friend, buddy (note how it chimes with “brother”)

caido del palto – a dork

calabaza/cojudo/corcho/huevon/monse – a stupid man, a dumbass, a dimwit

calato – nude (also used as a euphemism for “broke”)

causa – a bestie, a BFF (also a droolworthy dish made of mashed potatoes unique to Peru)

chapar – to catch a bus; to make out, to kiss

cocho – an old man

cochudo – shameless

costilla – girlfriend (more precisely, “rib”, but here referring to Adam having one of his made into Eve, his girlfriend)

chancha – a whipround, usually toward beer, amongst friends

chato – a short man, used in a similar fashion to the English word, “shorty”

charapa – a derogatory reference to a Peruvian from the jungle; also a vulgar term of endearment for a girl, especially in the northern parts of the country (literally, a variety of turtles found in the waters of the Amazon)

chongo – brothel, whorehouse

chela – beer

chelear – to drink beer

chibolo – a teenage boy

chibolero – a dude who is into girls noticeably younger to him, bordering on pedophilia; a male version of a cougar

choche/chochera – friend, buddy

chucha/chicha/papaya – vagina (extremely vulgar)

chuta – a less vulgar alternative to chucha but used as a standalone interjection

cocho – an old man

cholo – a mestizo guy of the coast whose ancestors were serranos (people from the highlands)

combi/microa Peruvian bus

crudo – a gringo

chancho – a burp

choro – thief, robber

churro – a handsome man

estar pateando latas – to be jobless

fercho – driver, chauffeur

fetuccini – aweful

figureti – imposter or someone who loves bragging

flaco – a cute way of referring to one's boyfriend (more accurately, “skinny”)

floro – a deliberate lie or flattery

florear – the verb for floro

frito – a negro

fumón – a dopehead

germa – girlfriend

grone – a negro (mostly found in neighborhood graffiti)

huachimán – a private watchman

jale – someone with good looks who draws a lot of attention from the opposite sex (from jalar, “to pull”)

jamear – to dine or eat (thus, jama is the stuff you eat)

jato – home, abode, dwelling (from the Quechua word for house, “hatuchay”; also means “nap”, the verb being jatear)

jugador – a promiscuous man

lechero – lucky (rooted in the curious fable of desperate housewives willing to sleep with their lecheros or “milkmen” to quench their unaddressed libido)

luca – one Nuevo Sol (the official currency of Peru)

mamacita – hot/sexy girl (a lecherous usage)

mamerto – a silly guy

mañoso – a lecherous man

mi viejo/viejita – my father/mother

misio/lacio – penniless, broke

¡ni cagando!No fuckin’ way!

pajero – someone who masturbates (thus, pajear is what a pajero does)

pata – guy

pendejo – an cunning, untrustworthy man

pichanga – a casual game of tackle soccer popular all over Peru

piña – ill-fate, misfortune

pirañas – a bunch of thieving kids

pituco – a rich and snobbish man

por las huevas – just like that, for no particular reason (also used, por las puras or por las puras huevas)

por si las moscas – just in case

precioso/en canada – imprisoned

profe – a friendly term used by street vendors while calling out to well-dressed yuppies passing by

pucha – a softer, impersonal alternative of puta used as a strong expression of emotions, both positive and negative; usage similar to the way “shoot” is used for “shit” in English

pucha maquina – a less vulgar alternative for puta madre

quitarse – to leave, to take off

rata – thief (literally, “a rat”)

recién bajando – someone who just came down from the highlands

roba foco – a tall guy

¡Roche!Too bad!

ruca – a promiscuous girl

sapo – clever (literally, “toad”)

sherete – a fuck-buddy, a friend-with-benefit

sopa – cunnilingus (literally, “soup”)

sopero – someone who performs cunnilingus

terruco – terrorist

tombo – a cop

tonear/juergear – to party

tono/juerga – a party

¡Ya fuiste!That ship has sailed!

¡Yara!Watch out!

This was a glimpse of the Spanish from the streets of Lima but there's a whole bunch of colloquialism not covered here. As always, It is only advisable that you exercise extreme caution while incorporating them in your conversations, especially the ones with particularly vulgar connotations. It will only help to remain patient until you have heard enough first-hand examples from native speakers and thoroughly understand their severity in various contexts. And once again, your contribution is critical to enriching our Spanish and that of our readers.

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