Want to learn 10 of the most popular Argentinian slang words you’ll hear EVERY DAY in Argentina?
Want to fit in with the cool kids in Buenos Aires, or at least know when they’re insulting you?
Today you’ll get all of that AND more! This article will contain:
- Why Argentinians have their own slang and why it’s important
- The most common Argentinian slang words (lunfardo) and how to use them
- Voice recordings of Argentine slang used in common day speech – Each example phrase is voiced by a voice actor from our amazing Gritty Spanish learning audio stories!
¡Empezamos ya boludo!
(Let’s get started, bro!)
Why do Argentines Talk Differently and what is Lunfardo?
If you’ve ever hung out with Latinos, then you’ve heard that Argentinians have a “reputation” for being a bit in love with themselves and thinking that they are the Europeans of South America (if you don’t believe me, check out this hilarious Flama video of an Argentinian Intervention below:)
“Oh yeah… As if the Argentinians didn’t believe they were Europeans!”
Actually, it’s because they are.
Advanced agricultural industry brought millions of Italian immigrants to Argentina, who inevitably influenced the culture and language. Lunfardo, an Argentinian dialect, was created as the by-product of Italian and Spanish mixing amongst the working labor class. Today, it’s the cool kids slang.
That being said, Argentinians take their slang VERY SERIOUSLY and are quite protective of their own. The swag is real, so it’s important to respect their dialect and its nuances.
Let’s dive right into the Argentinian LUNFARDO slang and have a look at some everyday convos!
10 Really Popular Words You’ll Hear Every Day in Argentina.
Reminder: Please also take the Argentinian slang quiz at the end of this article!
1. Che, boludo!
Che, boludo is the quintessential Argentinian phrase. Anyone who knows anything about Argentina knows this.
Che is basically a synonym of Argentina. It’s where revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara gets his name because he was always addressed with che. Some people believe it originates from the Italian “che” or “que” in Spanish.
It can be loosely translated as “Hey”, a sort of segue into a conversation. For example:
- “Che, querés salir a comer?”
(Hey, you wanna go get something to eat?)
- “Che, te quería hablar…”
(Hey, I wanted to talk to you…)
Boludo is someone who does or says stupid things, or is irresponsible. It can mean anything from “dude” to “idiot”. See examples below along with voice recording by our Gritty Spanish voice actor:
- “Che boludo, ¿qué hacés?”
(Hey dude, what are you doing?)
- “Che, ¡no te hagás el boludo!”
(Yo, don’t be an idiot!)
Because Che, Boludo is so common, many Argentinians are not impressed when you greet them with this phrase because they’ve heard it a million times.
“He thinks he’s Argentinian and he only knows the word boludo”!
So, let’s keep beefing up your Argento vocabulary!
You’ll hear Che, and Boludo being used in some of the audio episodes in Gritty Spanish.
Below, from the very sad episode from Gritty Spanish original called, “Rough night in the Bronx“, you’ll listen to a Puerto Rican and a guy from Argentina have a conversation about a murder in the neighborhood.
The very first word the Argentinian guy uses is, “Che“, to start the convo…
“¿Qué onda Antonio? Es una locura esta noche, amigo. ¿Escuchaste toda la conmoción?…..”
“What’s up Antonio? It’s crazy tonight, man. You heard all the commotion?….”
So you see, it can also mean, “man” in this content as well as “Hey” or “Yo” as we like to say in NYC.
Check out a short clip below of the very beginning of this episode to hear a piece of that authentic Argentine accent…
2. ¿Cómo andás?
¿Cómo andás? is the Argentine way of saying, what’s up? or ¿qué tal?
- “Che boludo, ¿cómo andás? ¡Che hace tiempo que no te veo!”
(Hey bro, what’s up? It’s been a while!)
Notice that the verb andar is conjugated in vos, which is used in place of tú (andas) and usted (anda). For more on El Voseo & How it Works, check out this video!
Chabón/chabona is how you say tipo/tipa, guy, girl or chick. The origin is pretty insane and represents the quirkiness of lunfardo.
It used to be the word chambon (clumsy or inept) until the 50’s or 60’s. Then, in their version of Pig Latin, Argentines turned chambon into “boncha” and proceeded to address people with this word. This was slightly insulting, like boludo, but as language adapted it started to mean dude/dudette. In the 80’s, it was re-inverted again, this time without the “m”, hence chabón.
- “Che boludo, ¿cómo andás? ¿Viste un chabón con la camiseta de argentina?”
(Hey dude, what’s up? Did you see a guy with an Argentinian jersey?)
4. Re copado
“Super awesome man… I’m coming on Friday!”
Re copado consists of two words that are super Argentine.Re means very or really, “muy”. Anything can be re in Argentina: re caro(expensive), re lindo(beautiful), re barato(cheap)…
Copado/a means cool or awesome. You can slide in a “qué copado” in any instance to sound more local.
- “Che boludo, ¡esa chabona es re copada!”
(Hey bro, that girl is super cool!)
Wacho or “guacho” pretty much means hispanic hoodrat, or more literally orphan. It comes from Quechua “wakcha” meaning poor or orphan.
Additionally, if something is very funny someone might throw out a “¡qué guacho!” or if something is very bad (theft, etc.) you may also hear a “no, ¡qué guacho!”
This is not a nice word: I do not recommend using it, but you can recognize if someone is calling you a wacho or to “watch out for that wacho!”
Boliche is lunfardo for night club or discoteca.
- “Che, anoche salimos del boliche a las 7 de la mañana ¡Pintó cualquiera!”
(Yo, last night we left the club at 7am. It was crazy!)
¡OJO! In other countries, boliche means bowling alley.
The word mango bears an uncanny resemblance to the fruit mango. That’s because it is- but it also means money (or their currency, which is Argentinian pesos).
The origin traces back to prison slang of Italian immigrants in Buenos Aires who used the word as a synonym for currency. The story goes that it is a contraction for the word “marengo”, which was a battle fought by Napoleon in Piedmont, Italy (La Batalla de Marengo). It was an easy victory or gain (“triunfo”) and served as code by thieves who would rob to make their mango.
- “¡No puedo salir al boliche! ¡No tengo un mango!”
(I can’t go out to the club! I don’t have money!)
La guita also means money or bucks.
Quilombo is a mess or disaster.
- “¡Qué quilombo los políticos de este país, boludo! ¡No saben hacer nada!”
(What a hot mess the politicians of this country, man! They don’t know how to do anything!)
Quilombo is actually a Portuguese word adapted from the African language Kimbundu and represented communities of runaway slaves in Brazil, reflecting the disorderly living conditions. However, funny enough, quilombo is not used in this context in Brazil.
La posta is the truth! It can also mean the real deal, or to tell someone what’s up!
- “Boludo, ¡dejá de joder! ¡Decíme la posta ya!”
(Bro, stop messing around! Tell me the truth!)
- Che Boludo, ¡Te Digo La Posta!
(Hey bro, I’m say what’s up to you!)
Note again that the verb dejar and decir are both conjugated in the voseo. This is very important if you want to sound Argentinian.
9. Mirá vos
Mirá vos is an expression to say “Whadya know!” or “Would you look at that” or “How about that!”
A lot of times it is used sarcastically (as seen in meme above) when someone is showing off, but it can also be used seriously to mean “Wow, I didn’t know that!”
Here is an example of each with one sarcastic tone and the other genuine:
- Sarcastic: “¿Ah sí, mirá vos? ¿Te aplaudo o que?”
(Would you look at that! Should I applaud you or what?)
- Genuine: “Mirá vos, ¡no sabía! ¡Qué interesante!”
(How about that, I didn’t know! How interesting!)
Cheto/a and rocho/a is the way of saying bougie (high class, rich) and the opposite (poor, ratchet).
These words are used all throughout pop culture and music argenta (check out this song by popular Kumbia group Nene Malo). The Youtube views on that video is absolutely insane!
WARNING: Cheto is a socially acceptable word, but rocho is still not very PC. I would advise against using rocho unless necessary.
- “Che, esa chabona es re cheta”
(Hey, that girl is super bougie)
- ¡Esa música es rocha mal!”
(That music is so trashy!)
Now that we are all up to speed on our everyday lunfardo, we can recap:
- Argentinians have their own special reputation and slang because of their unique history and colonization
- There is a TON of Italian influence on the language and its sounds, unlike other Latino countries exposed to more indigenous and African languages
- You can understand every day slang like “Che boludo”, “¿Cómo andas chabón?” “Re copado el boliche, ¡la posta!” “Que quilombo, ¡no tengo un mango!” or the classic “Mira vos, ¡sos re cheto!”
Take our Argentinian Slang Quiz Below!
We know you enjoyed this article and learned a lot! Why not take the quiz on what you’ve just learned about Argentinian Slang? Go for it!
Also check out our amazing Spanish slang madness post in this article!
FIACA = LAZINESS (noun)
No quiero salir hoy, tengo fiaca. I don't want to go out today, I'm tired and lazy. As with many other conditions in Spanish (like hambre, sed, sueño, etc), “fiaca” is almost exclusively used with “tener” when talking about how someone feels.
Zarpado. In Argentina, zarpado is often used to mean “cool.” That being said, zarpado can also refer to someone who has stepped out of line, so use it with caution.How do Argentinians call each other? ›
–Che is the word Argentines use to call each other, a bit like 'hey' in English, and is usually used at the start of a sentence. It is often followed by boludo, which can mean friend, mate or idiot, depending on the context.What does Opa mean in Argentina? ›
opa [m/f] BO AR UY derog. dumb person. 10. Colloquial.What does Dala mean in slang? ›
Introduction. The Xhosa word 'dala', when translated into English means 'to bring into existence' or to create. It has also become a South African slang word for "making a plan", "getting it done" or "doing it your way" which is very apt for what we do here at Dala, and what we encourage artists and crafters to do too.How do Argentines say beautiful? ›
Lindo/linda is more common in Latin America than Spain (and is also very common in Brazilian Portuguese). It's similar in meaning to bonito/bonita: it can mean “beautiful”, “pretty”, “lovely”, or “nice”. In Latin America you can also use lindo as an adverb. For example, ella canta lindo means “she sings beautifully.”What does Barbaro mean in Argentina? ›
bárbaro: great, cool.What can you not say in Argentina? ›
- #1: “I don't eat red meat” ...
- #2: Tengo mierda.
- Miedo = fear, but mierda? ...
- #4: Soy Americano. ...
- #5: “I hate how it's so dirty here/the food is so tasteless/there's no Wal-Mart… ...
- #6: Voy a coger un taxi. ...
- #7: “I don't like staying out late” ...
- #8: Me gusta Juan/María.
Typical phrases that accompany greetings include “Buenos días” (“Good morning”), “Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon”) and “Buenas noches” (“Good evening”). People often exchange these greetings when passing one another on the street in smaller towns or among neighbours.How do Argentines say hello? ›
“Hola, qué tal?” is the most casual and common greeting, and properly the one you will hear the most not only in Argentina but all over the Spanish-speaking countries.
'Onda' is a very useful word for when you are in Argentina. Meaning either 'waves' or 'vibes', is it used constantly to describe what you think of someone or something. “¿Qué onda?” – what's it like? Or “Ella es muy buena onda” – she's a cool girl (good vibes).What do you call a girl from Argentina? ›
Argentine is listed as the correct demonym: she is an Argentine.How do you say sorry in Argentina? ›
The word “disculpá” means “I'm sorry” and we usually use it in these situations: before asking a question to someone, especially when you're asking for a favor to a stranger, or to apologize for something (for example if you accidentally crash into a stranger, or if you're a tango dancer, when you accidentally crash ...What is the motto of Argentina? ›
En unión y libertad (Spanish for "in unity and freedom") is Argentina's national motto.What means OPA OPA? ›
OPA is a Greek Word that may be used as an 'Exclamation', or 'Utterance', or 'Declaration', or 'Affirmation' or a lovingly gentle way of telling you to 'Stop' ... depending on the situational context.What does OPA OPA? ›
The actual meaning of "opa!" is more like "Oops" or "Whoops!" Among Greeks, you might hear it after someone bumps into something or drops or breaks an object.What does Changa mean in Argentina? ›
Noun. changa f (plural changas) small job; odd job. job of a porter. part-time job (Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay)What does Moer mean in slang? ›
Definition of 'moer'
1. the womb. 2. derogatory. a despicable person.
South African's are very well aware of the popular slang word 'Yasis'. But did you know that it means 'Hello" (spelt Yassas) in Greek?What does Fuddu mean in slang? ›
Fuddu- Stupid, Foolish.
Also, Argentines prefer to say goodbye to each other with their version the Italian salutation ciao (chau) instead of adiós, and the latter has a connotation of finality (as if you'll never see the person again).How do you say love in Argentina? ›
Most people have learned that te amo means “I love you” in Spanish, and it does. But this is a very serious, deep love. It's used mostly between spouses and when announcing your love, such as while proposing. Another way to say “I love you” is te quiero.What does Wacho mean in Argentina? ›
26) Wacho. This Argentine slang is best described as a term for a “rascal”, or a mischievous individual. It's normally meant in a well-intentioned way, and so you can use it with friends, or even kids.What does pucha mean in Argentina? ›
(Argentina, Chile, Peru, colloquial) expresses pity, disappointment, sympathy quotations ▼synonyms ▲What does Nene mean in Argentina? ›
Nene. Related names. Nena. In Spanish, it is generally a masculine term of endearment and an affectionate nickname meaning "baby". Alternative variations such as Néné, Nené, Nenê and Nenè are used within Latin America, with Nenê being more common in Brazil.What does Tano mean in Argentina? ›
tano m (plural tanos) (slang, Argentina, Uruguay) an Italian (a person from Italy or of Italian ancestry)What does Choto mean in Argentina? ›
choto [adj] PR. cowardly (person)What does thumbs up mean in Argentina? ›
Argentines are touchers and stand close to each other when speaking. Do not back away. ▪ The “O.K.” and “thumbs up” gestures are considered vulgar. ▪ Hitting the palm of the left hand with the right fist means “I don't believe what you are saying”What does Mina mean in Argentina? ›
Both in Buenos Aires and in Montevideo, the term mina is traditionally used to refer to a beautiful and sexually attractive woman.What does Papa mean in Argentina? ›
Papi is a colloquial term for “daddy” in Spanish, but in many Spanish-speaking cultures, particularly in the Caribbean, it is often used as a general term of affection for any man, whether it's a relative, friend, or lover.
In a sentence, you can use it as a:
- Noun: el chisme.
- Verb: chismear.
- Adjective: chismoso, chismosa.
: good morning : hello.Why do Argentines kiss? ›
Kissing on the cheek when greeting hello and goodbye is part of Argentine culture. When Argentines enter a room, every single person, stranger or family, receives one kiss on the right cheek. The same thing is done when leaving. You'll be expected to do the same when you travel to Argentina.
Along with dígame, you may also hear Spaniards answer the phone with the following:
Greetings Shake hands upon meeting someone and when you leave. Women and men may greet each other with a kiss on each cheek and also by shaking hands. Greet the most senior person present first to show respect.What does Guacha mean in Argentina? ›
Guacho (Meaning: Orphan)
In Argentina and many other countries, it's a derogatory word used to describe someone who has lost both their parents. No, no, no, no tiene padres, es guacha.
Q: ¿Qué onda? (What's up?) A: Todo bien. (All well.)What does Onda mean in slang? ›
Ultimately, we chose ONDA, a Spanish word meaning wave, vibe, or ripple. It's commonly used in the expression, “¿Que onda?” meaning, “What's up?” It is also frequently used to refer to the 'vibe' of a person, place, or experience.How do you say fat in Argentina? ›
They often use nicknames like 'gordo/a' (fat); 'flaco/a' (skinny) in an endearing manner.How do you say dude in Argentina? ›
Che can be mostly translated and used like “hey” or “dude” in English. However, it also has random uses and it often appears as a meaningless interjection.
But in an Argentine bedroom, forro usually refers to a "condom," as it does in this line from the show Disputas.How do you say goodnight in Argentina? ›
Buenas noches is how you say goodnight in Spanish. However, it's also how you say “good evening.” This is because in Spanish you have buenos días, buenas tardes, and buenas noches, while in English you have good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight.What does Nashe mean in Argentina? ›
Used to say that something is very good.What does Vamos mean in Argentina? ›
English translation: Let's go, let's go Argentina, We're going, we're going to win, that these raucous supporters, won't stop, won't stop cheering you.Is Argentina a 1st world country? ›
A Major non-NATO ally, Argentina is a developing country that ranks 46th in the Human Development Index, the second-highest in Latin America after Chile. It maintains the second-largest economy in South America, and is a member of G-15 and G20.What does Chota mean in Argentina? ›
Maybe you already know, but in the "Rio de la Plata" at least (basically, Uruguay and Argentina), chota is a quite popular slung for referring to the male sexual organ.What do you call a woman from Argentina? ›
Argentines (mistakenly translated Argentineans in the past; in Spanish Argentinos (masculine) or Argentinas (feminine)) are people identified with the country of Argentina. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural.What does Ojo mean in Argentina? ›
10th Mar 2021. This week's Spanish word of the week is ojo. Ojo is a noun that means eye.What does chongo mean in Argentina? ›
Chongo: I learned about “chongo” in the best way, from one of my favorite Argentine tanguera friends. A “chongo” is a “touch and go”—usually a man (they don't talk so much about chongas, though it's possible to be one) who wants sex and nothing else.