10 typical Mexican phrases explained

You might know that I lived for a while in Mexico and that currently I am back (woo-hoo!). I realized that there are so many different uses of Spanish in Latin-America during my latest Latin-America backpacking trip, but Mexico still steals the show for most different and especially confusing Spanish!

By now I understand “Mexican” and I feel like sharing some of what I have learned over the last couple of years.


This is for those of you who are visiting Mexico thinking they will understand everything with their Spanish from Spain as I did in the begin.

Here are 10 phrases I got used to hearing a lot that only Mexicans use, explained:

“Ando bien pedo.”

Literal translation: I am walking very fart.
Actual meaning: I am very drunk.

“Que Chido.”

Literal translation: … ( I have no idea actually in what I could translate this, do you?)
Actual meaning: Very cool.


“No manches.”

Literal translation: Don’t stain.
Actual meaning: Seriously?

“Mandalo a la chingada.”

Literal translation: Send him to the rudeness.
Actual meaning: Tell him to f*** off!

“¡Vete a la verga!”

Literal translation: Go to the penis!
Actual meaning: Go f*** yourself!

“Me vale madres.”

Literal translation: I don’t care mothers.
Actual meaning: I don’t give a f***.

“No mames.”

Literal translation: Don’t suck.
Actual meaning: No way.

“¿Mande?”

Literal translation: Sending?
Actual meaning: What did you say?

“Saca las chelas.”

Literal translation: Take out the …???
Actual meaning: Bring out the beers.

“¿Que onda wey?”

Literal translation: What wave ox?
Actual meaning: What’s up man?

 


Right…

 

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Ever since I left my home country I felt at home at any other place I went to. I enjoy getting to know more cultures by talking to strangers and hearing their philosophy about life. Speaking with gestures when you can not find a shared language, finding places only the locals go to and learn about their customs and values. Hanging out with local people makes me happy. The experience of every new place is a step out of your comfort zone where I like to wander around until it feels like a second home.

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29 Comments on “10 typical Mexican phrases explained
    • Hoi Annika. “Que onda” is zeker Mexicaans! Maar, met “wey” wordt het nog wat lokaler. Dat hoor je wellicht vaker als je alleen met locals optrekt. Ik woonde in Huatulco, Oaxaca. Mijn magisch paradijsje, waar ik nu ook weer ben.

  1. Actually “Mande” comes from “Mandar” (order/command) as in “al mando” not as in “enviar”, it’s common in latin america to use that expression or the similar “qué manda?”, it’s a respectful way to respond when you are being talk to.

    Very interesting blog!

  2. “wey” should be spelt as “guey.” great page though haha. i’m half mexican so the only time I get to speak spanish is when I say stuff like this to my hispanic friends

  3. Jajajaja, yo creo que alguna vez use uno de esos comentarios o frases con alguna chica holandesa.
    Claro ella al entenderme me decía lo mismo 😉

  4. Your lack of comprehension of the phrases you attempt to translate is truly astounding. Rough interpretations at best lacking in subtleties and nuance with no cultural context. Enough to get picked up on a hiking trip I suppose. Not enough to open an doors or build cultural bridges. Thanks for posting your ignorance for the world to see.

    • Nice vocabulary. However, your statement is still false. She did a fine job translating, except for the “Que onda ‘wey’?” translation. I’m not Mexican, I’m Puerto Rican, but I have Mexican friends, and my mother dated a Mexican for 12 years. To Puerto Ricans (and possibly others, not entirely sure?), mames means suck. “Manches” means stain. “Vas a manchar tu camisa.” “Ya la manche”. We also don’t say, “Mande?”. As she translated, it means sent. “Ya la mande” “I already sent it.” We say “Que” or “Como?” when we’re asking “What?” or “Can you repeat that?”. That is not considered disrespectful to us at all, while saying “Que?” to a Mexican is considered disrespectful and rude. “Verga” is not a term we use for penis. We use “bicho” (bee cho) and “pinga” (peen ga). She did a very good job translating. You’re just trying to be a smart ass

  5. I just moved to Ensenada. I’m studying formal/textbook Spanish but such courses often omit info about the kind of slang phrases you encounter in everyday conversation. So gracias!

  6. Güey is kind of a rude or cuss word so I wouldnt use it when speaking to someone in a respectful way. Also you can say to someone in a casual way, “¿Qué tal?” That means what’s up, how are you. “Vete a la jodida/chingada” is a vulgar phrase that means go f–k off. Literally means go to the f–king/screwing. It comes from joder which means to f–k. My grandpa says “Híjole a fregada/de la fregada” which he thought was just slang but it actually means oh my goodness or wow that’s f–ked or screwed up. You could say “está fregada/o” (something is screwed or messed or f–ked up). “Vete a la fregada” means go to hell. Fregar means to scrub something or to f–k/screw or to damn and not always a curse/vulgar word. Think of the similar actions of scrubbing something and having sexual relations Joder is similar but it’s always a curse word or a vular term. Pinche or pronounced pinchi is an adjective (describing a noun) means f–king (noun).

  7. When I’m listening to podcasts in order to learn spanish, I keep hearing them say something that sounds like agua si. I guess I don’t how to spell it correctly because I can’t find it on the internet.

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