How to Speak Like a Mexicano: American Slang

4 Apr

In today’s How to Speak Like a Mexicano lesson, you’ll see that one of the best ways to imitate our Southern neighbors is to… imitate yourself!

Yes, just like the English language loves to borrow French and Latin words in its vocabulary (known as “loan words”) certain parts of Mexico have also borrowed some of our vocabulary… even some not-so-savory terms.

I can’t speak for every part of Mexico on this topic. I will say that Cancun obviously has a high American influence. Want to know which English words they love in Cancun? You’ll be surprised. Here goes:

Basket: basketball

Base/Beis: baseball

Brother: rarely means your actual brother; usually refers to a man’s best guy friend

Bubis: boobies

Cachar: “to catch”

Checar: “to check”

Cover: refers to a cover charge at a bar or nightclub

El Face: Refers to “Facebook”, not the body part.


Fashion: used as an adjective, not a noun. “Esa blusa es tan fashion” (That blouse is so fashion!) “Me veo muy fashion!” (I look very fashion!)


Futbol/Fut: “football”, just spelled differently. Refers to soccer, not American football.

French: French poodle

F***: Yes, they use the F word, but usually with an “oh” sound. My fiance has a friend whose nickname is Fock. That guy got the short end of the stick.


Hot Dog: Also commonly known as “jochos” (ho-chos), my Mexican friends always make fun of my pronunciation of this word. They pronounce it “Hoht Dohg” while I say “Haht Dahg”. This is hilarious to them.

Nice: something upscale or upperclass. “Ese antro es super nice.” (That nightclub is very exclusive/upscale/fashion)

Oh. My. Gawd. : used by girls who want to sound more “fresa” (upper-class, or someone who thinks they are… their accent sounds similar to a Valley Girl)

Party: Hey, we use “fiesta”

Punk: anyone using the “punk” style (I have a hard time discerning which ones are punk, which are emo, and which are skaters… I’m lame.)

Puppy: they pronounce it “poopy”. Tee-hee

Ride: like when someone gives you a “ride” or a “lift” to the mall or something. “Me das un ride a mi casa?” (Can you give me a lift home?) Ask anyone to spell it out, and you’ll get some interesting answers. (raid, rid, ray, rayd, etc)

Sepsi/Seksi: Sexy

Shopping: Usually used as “Voy de shopping” (I’m going shopping) or “Vamonos de shopping”. (Let’s go shopping) Only used in reference to buying clothes or fun items… not for going to the supermarket.

Spring Break/Spring Breakers

Stripper (spelled the same, but pronounced “e-STREE-pair”)

Table: No, this does not refer to a table where you eat dinner. It’s their word for a strip club, from the term “table dance”.

Tag: “Te puse tag en el Face” (I tagged you on Facebook)

Toucho: touch football

I’m sure I’ve missed a TON, so there may be a Part II coming up soon!

27 Responses to “How to Speak Like a Mexicano: American Slang”

  1. bluecottonmemory April 5, 2010 at 4:13 am #

    I love language! What a fun post!

  2. Alfonso Sánchez April 5, 2010 at 4:30 am #

    Hola Laura! cómo estás?? que milagro y gusto saber de ti. Solo un comentario con respecto al football o futbol. De hecho el término soccer fue inventado por los gringos, porque el football fue inventado por los ingleses mucho antes de que existiera el deporte al que ahora ustedes llaman Football. Y si analisas la palabra y los deportes, lo que juegan en EU se juega con las manos mayormente, no con los pies, siendo mas coherente que nos sigamos refiriendo como se hace desde el SXVI como futbol o football a lo que jugamos en México.

    • gringation April 5, 2010 at 4:35 am #

      Hola Poncho! Tienes toda la razon. Siempre me ha dado mucha verguenza como estadounidense que le dicen “football” a un juego que ni usa pies. Tampoco usa una “ball” haha.

      Puse la definicion asi porque la mayoria de los que leen mi blog son estadounidenses, asi que hay que usar “soccer” para clarificar, ni modo haha

  3. dianeswords April 5, 2010 at 5:56 am #

    Interesting post. I’ve lived in francophone countries and now live in Cairo, Egypt and am TRYING to navigate Arabic. What a challenge. you might like to read a blog i put up about watching TV here–my attempts to figure out what’s going on with the Arabic channels is very interesting at times.
    good luck on your new life in Mexico. I beat you have some great stories. just a SITSta

  4. Dama April 5, 2010 at 6:10 am #

    Me gusto jeje…pero quien en el mundo usa “sepsi”?? O.o..y hmm creo que te hicieron falta muchisisisimas más 😉

  5. Ang April 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    LOL… too funny.
    The Hot Dog one reminds me of how I get teased (as a mid-west girl) for how I say the word “Bag”.

  6. Jenn April 5, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    LOL! Great post!

    Looking forward to part 2!

  7. Alfonso Sánchez April 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    hahahah eso si..
    Y cómo has estado??? sigues en Bestday??? que ha sido de tu vida?? años sin saber de ti!!

  8. gringation April 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    bluecotton: I love language, too! It’s been a lot of fun learning Mexican slang over the years.

    Diane: Wow! Arabic is a whole different ballgame. I’m heading over to your site in just about 2 minutes 🙂

    Dama: Si, faltan muchas!! Va a haber parte dos ya pronto, seguramente. Si se te ocurre algo, me avisas. Yo me niego a usar “sepsi”, pero tristemente si hay chavas que la usan. haha

    Ang: How many ways could you possibly pronounce “bag”? Could you spell it phonetically for me? I’m intrigued!

    Jenn: Thanks! So am I!

  9. gringation April 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Poncho: Sigo en Bestday! Ahora estoy super feliz y super ocupada! Que tal el crucero??? (stoy celosa hahaha)

  10. Tamara aka Cheapskate Mom April 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    Hey there! This was a fun post! Let me take a shot at it:

    Checar her bubis they are as big as baskets so not sepsi!


    I may have to do a California gal’s perspective on how the midwesterners talk in WI lol

  11. Debbi April 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    Love this! My favorite is I can hear it in my head!

    Stopping by from SITS.

    • gringation April 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

      Thnks, Debbi! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  12. Brooke April 5, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    Living in the states, I thought it was more of a Spanglish thing that they do as they are learning English. But I realize that’s the actual word people are used to using. Like apointamente for cita and truke for camioneta.
    In Cancun do they sing Sapo Verde? for Happy Birthday?
    My hubby gets annoyed at me pointing out these to him! But I can’t help it, it’s soo fun when I realize WHY!

  13. *K* April 5, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

    LOVE these posts of yours! Your quote for tag almost sounds violent when I read it haha.

  14. Magpie April 5, 2010 at 10:41 pm #

    ‘Bubi’ is a horrible, horrible word.


  15. Life with Kaishon April 6, 2010 at 2:12 am #

    How fun was this post? Kaishon wants a poopy like crazy!

  16. Rita April 6, 2010 at 5:04 am #

    I still giggle about my first day with my 5th grade class when one of my students announced that his dog had “poopies”. I didn’t correct him but I specifically said, “Oh, that’s nice your dog had PUPPIES.” I’ve been working all year with my students on the “uh” sound versus “ooh”. Another common word they say is “stoody” instead of “study”. Other common errors is using the word “old” instead of “all” and the interchanging of pronouns like “him” instead of “her” and “she” instead of “he”.

  17. InspiredDreamer April 6, 2010 at 5:43 am #

    So fun!! I like how you spelled out e-STREE-pair.

    LOVE IT!

    Stopped by from SITS!

    Have an Extraordinary Day!

  18. cheri April 6, 2010 at 6:42 am #

    poor Fock. i just had to laugh *trying to suppress laughter but failing miserably*

    is mexican different from spanish? i took up spanish electives in college, so some of the words are a bit familiar.

    oh, and i have yet to make spaghetti sauce from scratch. i’m worried jackjack wont like it.

  19. GRRRL TRAVELER April 6, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    Love poopy & bubies! I think this post is great- keep em coming! My kids have picked up “Ole!” and the “Oh my God” (not valley girl accent) phrase from someone but linguistically they have difficulty w/ certain consonants like p, b & f. Your *fock* here would be *pock* or *bock* I imagine. LOL.

  20. gringation April 6, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    Cheapskate: Pretty good!!! I’m proud to have been your teacher.

    Brooke: Well, here in Cancun there’s a lot of American influence… so it may not be as prevalent en other parts of Mexico. (Although I do know that the “Oh My Gawd” is used in Mexico City) They sing lots of bday songs! including Sapo Verde haha. Maybe that would be another great post!

    K: Good point! I certainly wouldn’t want someone to literally “tag my face”… hahaha

    Magpie: For me, that would depend on who used it!

    Life: I can’t blame the kid. I want a poopy too. 🙂

    Rita: I love how you always get me! Definitely know what you mean with the “old” = “all”. My fiance also has the hardest time pronouncing “world”, and the difference betwen “leaf”, “live” (vivir), “live” (en vivo) and “leave”.

    Dreamer: Yeah, the different vowel sounds make these things fun to spell phonetically!

    Cheri: It’s pretty much the same language, and they easily understand eachother. The slang terms and the accents, however, are quite different. (Very similar to the difference between American English and British English)

    GRRRL: Nice to hear from you! Where you been? Pock hahahahaha! Love it.

  21. Ashlie April 6, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    LOL–provided me with a good laugh while I had my morning coffee

  22. Amy April 6, 2010 at 11:48 pm #

    Oh my goodness. Some of those are just so crazy. And you’re right, not all necessarily flattering…

  23. Kristi April 7, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    Those are great!

  24. Jorge Mendoza April 26, 2010 at 3:50 am #

    Laura!! Me encanta! Creo que tienes que hacer una de INSULTOS y GROSERIAS…..


  1. What do you know about Mexican Spanish? - Lexiophiles - February 22, 2012

    […] Mexican Spanish is one of those variants and it is defined as one of the most colourful languages and even as a machista Spanish due to the importance given to the masculine genre. It is also the most common Spanish used for media and voice recordings for Latin-American countries as it is consider that it has a neutral accent that makes possible to understand it without any difficulty. […]

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