Having a hard time understanding Chilean Spanish (also known as “Chilensis“)? Not surprising. It’s full of Chilenismos (modismos chilenos)–slang expressions in common use in Chile. This Spanish-English glossary of words, expressions, sayings, dichos, and chilenismos commonly used in Chile should help. It’s a work in progress, so check back frequently! And please feel free to correct and contribute!
For a glossary of Chilean culinary terms, see my Culinary Glossary at Tasting Chile.
Achuntar (ah-choon-TAHR): (v) Get it right, guess correctly, be on the money, or to hit the bull’s eye. Ex: No sabía qué regalarle para su cumpleaños, pero lo achunté con ese disco / I didn’t know what to get her for her birthday, but I was on the money with that CD. Or: No estudié para el exámen, pero lo achunté igual / I didn’t study for the test, but I did just fine anyway.
Al tiro (ahl TEER-oh): Right away! Tiro means shot, so I always thought that this expression meant “like a shot” or “fast as a bullet.” Reader @freelish explains, however, that it refers to the shot fired to initiate a race… which makes plenty of sense–the racers begin as fast as they can as soon as they hear the shot, so it would literally be “upon the shot” or at the sound of the shot. Thanks @freelish!
One of the interesting things about this blog is that readers keep helping refine the information. A new comment from @Karen on Feb 2011 offers another possible origin of the expression: She says that that in colonial times when farm workers (inquilinos) were working in the fields, far from the house, the cook would fire a shot (a tiro) to announce that lunch was served, so of course everyone came running.
Aguaite / Estar al aguaite (es-TAR al ah-WHY-tay): (v) to wait, to be on the look-out for, to be ready for something. (From English to wait).
Agüita (ah-GWEE-tah) (n): Herb tea. Strictly speaking, an infusion (tizana) of some herb, leaf, and/or flower.People usually drink coffee (espresso), tea, or “agüita” at the end of a meal.
Andar a pata (ahn-DAR ah PAH-ta): (v) to walk, to go somewhere on foot or without a car.
Andar pato (ahn-DAR PAH-to): to be broke.
Animita (ah-nee-MEE-ta): (n) A shrine that marks the spot of a person who dies tragically. Also refers to the “essence” of that person who is considered a popular saint who grants favors to devotees. These are frequently found along the sides of highways, railroad tracks, and coastal cliffs.
Apagón (ah-pah-GOAN): (n) Blackout. This is not a Chilean word, per se, but one that visitors should be familiar with. We tend to go through spells where widespread apagones become more frequent than anyone would like.
Apellidos (ah-pay-YEE-dos): (n) Last name. Chileans, like most (but not all) Spanish speakers have two. The first is the father’s last name, and the second is the mother’s. Women do not change their last names when they marry. For example, José Pérez González is the son of Sr. Pérez and Sra. González. If Sr. Pérez does not recognize his son, the child will be named José González González.
Armas tomar, de (day AHR mas toh MAR): This expression refers to a person who is strong-willed, headstrong, who has strong character, who barrels headlong into a situation, who makes bold decisions quickly and does not look back, someone who does not sit back and let things happen, proactive. Seems to be used more often to refer to women then men.
Armonyl / “Tómase un Armonyl” (ahr-moh-NEEL): In a word, “Chill.” Armonyl is an over the counter relaxant that is popular Chile, and the expression “take some Armonyl” is often heard as a way of telling someone to calm down.
Arribismo (ah-ree-BIS-moh): Social climbing.
Asado (ah-SAH-doh): (n). This is not a Chilean word per se. You’ll find it in any dictionary, but it is a term that anyone who spends any time at all in Chile (or Argentina) must know. The dictionary will tell you it’s a barbecue–but don’t be fooled, it’s a full-blown hedonistic meat fest, a true carnivore’s delight!
Barros Jarpa (BAH-rros HAR-pa): (n) Hot ham & cheese sandwich.
Barros Luco (BAH-rrohs LOO-ko): (n) Hot beef and cheese sandwich.
Beatle (BEE-tl) (n): turtleneck (high collared shirt or jacket). Supposedly comes from the outfits that the English rock band the Beatles originally wore.
Bencina (ben-SEE-nah) (n): Term most typically used in Chile for gasoline (gas in USA / petrol in UK).
Bencinera (ben-see-NAIR-ah) (n): Gas station.
Bomba de bencina (BOHM-bah de ven-SEE-nah) (n): gas station. “bomba” is pump, and bencina is the Chilean word for gasoline or petrol.
Bigoteado (bee-goh-tay-AH-do): (adj / n) Refers to a wine that comes from gathering the unfinished bits that remain in glasses drunk by others… in other words, wine that has already come into contact with someone else’s “bigotes” (whiskers). Used to refer to a really bad wine (see also “matapenquero”).
Brígido (BREE-hee-doh): (adj) Rough, tough, or dangerous, as in an attitude or situation. (**This definition needs some tweaking and a good example–¿can anyone help me out**?)
Buen finde (bwain FEEN-day): short for “buen fin de semana,” which means “Have a good weekend.”
Cabro/Cabra (KAH-broh): Literally goat (male and female). Often used to refer to children and young people, in other words, “kids.”
Cachái (ka-CHI): (v) From cachar. Usually used as a question to ask “get it?”
Cachar (ka-CHAR): In Chile, this means “to get” as in to understand. It can also mean “check out” or observe, as in “cáchate esto” (check this out) or observe, as in “Cacha lo que estoy haciendo” (watch what I’m doing).
One theory is that the word comes from the ancient Spanish word “cachear” which was used to pat down someone to check for weapons. Others believe it comes from the English “to catch.”
Cachando (ka-CHAN-doh): In Chile the gerund form of cachar, as in “getting” or “understanding” something. So in English, this blog, “Cachando Chile,” would be “Getting Chile.”
Cachete (ka-CHEH-tay): (adj/adv) Most commonly “A todo cachete” (a TO-do ka-CHEH-tay). Very good, gone all out, all done up. Similar to A todo trapo.
Cachureo (ka-chu-RAY-oh): (n) Accumulated stuff; junk. Ex. Mi clóset es un desastre– ¡Está lleno de cachureo! /My closet is a wreck–it’s just full of junk!
Cachurero (ka-chu-REH-ro): (adj) Person who accumulates stuff (cachureo).
Caer patos asados (KAH-yair PAH-tos ah-SAH-dos): Literally ducks drop roasted from the sky. Refers to very hot weather… as in so hot that birds are roasted in mid-air.
Cagada (kah-GAH-da) usually pronounced Cagáa (kah-GAH-a): (adj) -Vulgar but very common. Literally comes from the verb cagar (to shit). One of those words that is used to mean many different things depending on the context. Could refer to a disaster (to be screwed) (Chuta! Estamos cagados) , or to accentuate something (as in really, truly) (Nos cagamos de susto: we were really scared).
Cagar (kah-GAR): Vulgar. Literally to shit, but often used to refer to screwing something up.
Cahuin (kah-WEEN): (n) Gossip with bad intentions. Bad-talking about someone. (origin: Mapuche / Mapudungún).
Cahuinero (kah-ween-AIR-o) (n): A gossip; a person who habitually gossips. Ex: Ojo con el Felipe; ¡es muy cahuinero! / Be careful what you say around Felipe–he’s a terrible gossip!.
Caluga (kah-LU-gah): (n) Chilean word for chewy caramel candy, which gives rise to some of its more colorful variations. A person who is too clingy is referred to as “caluguiento.” And reader @Tony (Feb 2011) offers the expression “¿Tienes caluga?” as the equivalent of “Cat got your tongue?” because the candy is so sticky you can’t talk while eating it.
Caluguiento (kah-lu-gee-EHN-tp): (adj) see Caluga.
Calzones rotos (kahl-ZO-nays RO-tos): literally, broken underpants. A typical Chilean fried dough pastry.
Caña (CAHN-ya): (n) small glass of some kind of alcohol, usually wine or beer. “Tener caña” is what you have after a few too many of those little glasses (ie: hangover).
Carabinero (ka-ra-bin-AIR-oh): Chilean police officer.
Caradura (kar-ah DUR-ah): (adj) Bold, brazened, used in a negative way, as in someone who can lie to your face.
Cara pálida (KAR-ah PAH-lee-dah): (n) Butt, ass. “Hacer cara pálida” is to moon (flash your ass). ex: “Carabineros tomará detenidos a quienes hagan cara pálida durante el partido.” (The police will arrest anyone who moons during the game).
Carne de perro (KAR-nay day PERR-ro): Tough, resistant, impossible to kill.
Carrete (car-REH-tay): (n) a really good all-out party night.
Carretear (car-reh-tay-AHR): (v) To party, go bar-hopping, etc. See also desordenarse.
Cartoné (kar-toh-NAY): colloquial and humorous for box wine (cartón is cardboard).
Casera/o (kah-SAIR-ah or kah-SAIR-oh): (1-n) mutual term of address used between people who are selling or buying, especially in a more familiar, everyday-item sense, as in at the open air market. (2-adj) something that is homemade.
Centro de mesa (SEHN-tro day MAY-sah) (exp): Used to refer to someone who has to be the center of attention. Ex: Ah, no. Con ese tipo me carga. Es muy centro de mesa y no se deja a nadie más hablar… / No! I can’t stand that guy! He never lets anyone else get a word in edgewise… (see also “florero“).
Cerrar la fábrica (Sair-RAR la FAH-bree-ka): literally to close the factory. Slang: to stop having babies.
Chaleco (chah-LAY-ko): (n) sweater.
Chantar la moto (chahn-TAHR la MO-to): literally “stop the motorcycle.” Most often used to tell someone to slow down when they are talking, planning, moving, acting too fast (!”whoa! take it easy”). It can also be used when you don’t like someone’s tone or innuendos… as it “watch your step there buddy, you’re crossing the line…” This is related to “Parar el carro.” (See the comments from July 30-Aug 1, 2010.
Chato (CHAH-to): (adj) Depending on the context, it could mean fed up (estoy chato con xxx / I’ve had it up to here with xxx), or exhausted, or something that’s past its prime (este vino está chato ya / This wine has gone downhill)
Chaucha (CHOW-cha): slang for a coin.
Chauchera (chow-CHAIR-uh): coin purse.
Chela (CHEL-lah): (n) slang for cerveza / beer. Originally from Mexico, now in common usage among younger people in Chile.
Chilenismo (chee-len-EEZ-moh): Chilean expression or slang term.
Chilensis (chee-LEN-sees) Adjective for Chilean. I assume it is Latin, because it shows up in the scientific names for flora and fauna (example, the Chilean palm is the jubea chilensis).
Chilito (chee-LEE-toh): (n) Chile, used either affectionately or derogatorily–often a bit of both. Ex: ¿Qué esperes? Estamos en Chilito. / What do you expect, we’re in Chile.
Chinchinero (cheen-cheen-NAIR-o): Typical Chilean street performer with a large drum and cymbals on his back . He dances and twirls as he beats the drum and works the cymbals with a strap that attaches his foot.
Chocho/a (CHOH-cho): Proud and happy. Ex: Oye, estás chocha con tu hijo / Hey, you’re pretty proud of your son, aren’t ya!
Chori (CHOR-ee): (adj) Diminutive of choro when referring to something fun (see choro).
Choro (CHOR-oh): (adj) The standard meaning of choro is mussel (as in bivalve) In Chilean slang it also means (1) Cool; fun. (2) Someone who is insolent or someone or something that is tough and potentially dangerous. Ex: “Cuando esos tipos chupan unas chelas y se ponen choros, ya es hora de estar andando.” /When those guys hammer down a few beers and start getting rowdy, it’s time to head out). Reader Pamela also offers this example (March 9, 2011): “No me gusten los niños choros” / I don’t like insolent kids… and then goes on to use a play on words (refers to the standard meaning): “y a los choritos los como con limón” / And I eat little mussels with lemon.
Chorrillana (chor-ee-YAH-na): typical Chilean dish, very popular with college students and groups, consisting of a large platter of french fries, sauteed onions & eggs, topped with bite-sized chunks of sauteed beef. Usually placed in the center of the table so that everyone can pick from the same plate. Said to have originated at J. Cruz in Valparaíso.
Chucha (CHOO-chah): Vulgar slang used to show contempt, similar to “shit” in English. Can also be a vulgar term for vagina.
Chupar (chu-PAHR): (v) literally to suck. Often used for drinking binges (salir a chupar- go out to drink heavily).
Chuta (CHOO-tah): General and inoffensive interjections that expresses regret or dismay, as in: “¡Chuta! ¿en serio?” (Damn!… are you kidding me?) See also “pucha.”
Cínico (SIN ee koh): forget what your bilingual dictionary says, the Spanish word cínico is NOT the equivalent of the English “cynical.” Someone who is cínico lies.
Coa (KOH-uh): Prison slang. Many of these terms have made their way into daily usage.
Cocaví (koh-ca-VEE): (n) Bag lunch; snack taken on a trip.
Cola de Mono (KO-la day MO-no): (n) Alcoholic milk based punch typically served cold at Christmas time.
Colación (ko-lah-see-OHN): (n) Used in Chile to refer to lunch. It differs from almuerzo in the sense that it is used in reference to lunch at work or school. When served at home, the standard term almuerzo is used.
Colectivo (ko-lek-TEE-vo): (n) A combination of a taxi and a bus. It’s a shared taxi with a fixed route.
Comadre (koh-MAH-dray): (n) Close friend (female). Historically it is used for the woman who is the godmother of your child.
Como pelotas (Ko-mo pay-LO-tas): to do something badly.
Compadre (kohm-PAH-dray): (n) Close friend (male). Historically it is used for the man who is the godfather of your child.
Completo (kohm-PLEH-to): (n) Chilean style hot dog loaded with ketchup, mustard, relish, chopped tomato, sauerkraut, pickled green chili pepper, mashed avocado, and mayonnaise.
Concha su madre (KOHN-cha su MAH-dray): Very common, very vulgar expression that literally means “shell of your mother,” used in anger to swear at someone by referring to their mother’s genitals.
Condorito (kohn-doh-REE-to): (n) Much beloved cartoon condor character who represents Chilean culture.
Condoro (kohn-DOHR-oh): (n) A big mistake, error, usually with respect to behavior. Mandarse un condoro ((mahn-DAHR-say un kohn-DOHR-oh) (v) is to make a big mistake, to screw up (royally). Ex: Ai compadre! El medio condoro que te mandaste metiéndote con esa mina! /Oh man! What a mess you got yourself into getting involved with that woman!
Confort (kohn-FORT): This is the Spanish word for comfort, although it is seldom used in the sense in Chile because it is the name of the leading brand of toilet paper and is therefore associated more with the product. The brand is so popular in fact, that all toilet paper in Chile tends to be generically called “Confort,” much like Kleenex is used for tissues in the US.
Copete (koh-PEH-tay): (n) Alcoholic drink. Ex: El compadre es re bueno para el copete. / The guy really drinks a lot.
Cototo (koh-TOH-to): (n). (1) Lump (as in on the head after a fall). Ex: ¿Qué te pasó mi niño? ¿De dónde sacaste este cototo? / What happened kiddo? How’d you get that lump on your head? (2) Also means big. Ex: El plato consiste en un trozo cototo de carne con papas cocidas. / The dish is a big hunk of meat with boiled potatoes.
Cototudo (koh-to-TOO-do): (adj) Big (see Cototo).
Criatura (kree-a-TUR-a): (n) baby, child (this is standard Spanish).
Cuático (KWAH-tee-koh): (adj) Weird, strange, exaggerated,
Cueca (KWAY-kah): (n) Refers to a style of music and dance of the same name. Chile’s national dance.
Cueca brava (KWAY-ka BRAH-va): (n) Also called cueca chora (CHOR-ah) or cueca urbana (ur-BAHN-nah) this is the more bohemian side of the traditional Chilean cueca.
Cuento del tío (KWEN-to del TEE-oh): Scam. Often elaborate story told to convince someone to do something, usually to hand over money. Ex: No escuchas sus cuentos del tío, es un gran estafador. /Don’t listen to his stories, he’s a scam artist.
Cuequita (KWAY-kee-tah): (n) Diminutive of cueca. Can be affectionate or derogatory, depending on tone and context.
Cuica/o (KWEE-kah): Derrogatory term used to refer to someone or something from the highest social class.
Darle color (DAHR-lay koh-LOHR): Literally, to give something some color. Figuratively, to exaggerate. Ex: Le di harto color para que le convenciera. / I made it sound really good to convince her.
Dejó la cagá (day-HO la cah-GAHa): Vulgar. Made a mess of something, left something in a disaster… could be a relationship, a job, a room, a car, etc. (see cagada)
Desordenarse (des-or-den-AR-say): (v). Literally to become disorderly/disheveled. (desorden means a mess), but used figuratively to refer to going out on a binge, tying one on, having a very good time with a good deal of alcohol involved.
Diente largo, tener (dee-EHN-tay LAHR-goh): literally: have a long tooth (go figure)… but used to indicate someone is really hungry.
Dicho (DEE-cho): (n) Popular saying or expression.
Exijo una explicación (ex-EE-ho u-na ex-plee-kah-see-OHN): “I demand an explanation,” expression made popular by the Condorito comics.
Extranjería (ex-trahn-hair-EE-ya): (n) Chile’s Department of the Interior (Home Office)… The place where you go to wait in long lines to grovel before dismissive government officials who seem to enjoy telling you that you need to do even more trámites before they consider the visa or residency permit that you desperately need. (See also “trámites“).
Farra (FAR-rah):(n) A party, or a night of partying. See also Carrete.
Farrear (far-ray-AHR): (v) To party, especially with a lot of drinking, usually going out to clubs or bars rather than a house party. See also Desordenarse.
Farrearse (far-ray-AHR-say): (v) To waste something, to (figuratively) throw away something good. Ex: Se farreó su herencia. / He blew his inheritance. Or Se farreó la oportunidad / She blew her chance.
Filo (FEE-loh): Whatever. No problem. Don’t worry about it. Ex: Ya, filo, no importa para náa. / Yeah, don’t worry about it, I don’t care at all.
Finde (FEEN-day): (n) Weekend. Short for Fin de semana. Ex: ¡Buen finde! / have a nice weekend!
Flaite (FLY-tay): (adj) Derogatory term to describe someone from a lower class, loser. (see also peloláis, pokemon, punki).
Fliper (FLEE-pehr) (n): Pinball.
Florero (flohr-RAIR-ro) (n): Used to describe someone who demands to be the center of attention (see also Centro de Mesa).
Fome (FOH-may): (adj) Boring, corny, or lame.
Fonda (FOHN-dah): (n) A temporary establishment set up for a special celebration, particularly for Independence Day.
Fregado (fray-GAH-do): (adj) Tough, complicated situation. Ex: Está fregada la cosa, no veo solución / It’s a complicated situation, and I don’t see any solution.
Frica (FREE-ka): See “pan frica.”
Frito (FREE-toh): (adj) Literally “fried,” but used figuratively to mean screwed, in trouble, left in a situation without options. Ex: ¿Chocaste el auto y te fuiste? ¿Estái loco compadre? Ahora estás realmente frito. / You left the scene of an accident? Are you nuts? Now you’re really screwed.
Frugal (froo-GAHL): Beware this false cognate! It does NOT mean “frugal” in the English sense, but rather refers to someone who doesn’t eat or drink much or something that is restricted in its quantity.
Fundo (FOON-doh): Chilean for hacienda. Argentines use finca in the same way.
Gabriela (gah-bree-EHL-la): (n) $5000 pesos. Named for Gabriela Mistral, the Nobel-prize-winning poet on the $5000-peso bill.
Gallo/a (GAH-yo): (n) literally rooster. Used to refer to “a guy” (galla for the female version).
Gamba (GAHM-bah): (n) a type of shrimp, often used to mean 100. As in 100 pesos or 100,000 pesos.
Ganas (GAH-nass): (n) Desire to door to feel like doing something, as in “tengo ganas de bailar” (I feel like dancing).
Ganso (GAHN-so): (n) Literally, goose. Used to refer to someone who is awkward or does dumb things, also a nerd. Similar to “turkey” in American English. The feminine form, gansa, can mean the same thing, but is often used affectionately among friends (oye gansa, no lo vas a creer: hey girlfriend, you’re not going to believe this).
Garabatear (gar-ah-bah-tay-AR): (v) to swear/curse (use garabatos).
Garabato (gar-ah-BAH-to): (n) Swear word.
Gil (Hill): (n) Derogatory term for someone who is a jerk or an idiot. Probably comes from the Spanish gilipollas.
Golpe, or golpe del estado (GOHL-pay or GOHL-pay del ehs-STAH-doh): (n) coupe d’état. Military takeover of the government.
Gripe (GREE-pay): (n) Gripe is the flu, although many people claim to have “gripe” or to be “agripado” (ah-gree-PAH-doh) when they just have a common cold (resfrío / rehs-FREE-oh) and rush to take antibiotics.
Guácala (WAHK-a-la): also Guácala, Guácatela. Yuck! Expression of disgust.
Guagua (WAH-wah): (n) Baby in Chilean Spanish, from the native Quechua. In Caribbean countries it means a bus.
Guaguatero (wah-wah-TAIR-roh): (adj) Said of someone who loves babies.
Guanaco (wah-NAH-koh): (n) Literally an Andean camelid related to the llama. Colloquially it is used to refer to the water cannons that spray water to disperse groups of protesters. It earned the name because guanacos (the animals) spit when they are annoyed. (See also zorrillo).
Guata (WHAH-tah): (n) Stomach: “Me duele la guata” means “I have a stomach ache.” From Mapudungún (Mapuche). “Estar de guata” means to be face down.
Guatero (whah-TAIR-ro): (n) Hot water bottle, often used to comfort a stomach ache. Also an essential element for sleeping in the winter as most houses do not have central heat, so people hop into bed with a nice hot guatero or two.
Guatón/a (whah-TOHN): (adj) Fat, big-bellied. Ex: Antes era flaca, pero se puso guatona con los años / She used to be skinny, but has gotten fat over the years. Also (n) to refer to a fat person: ¡Ese guatón no deja de comer! / That fat guy just doesn’t stop eating! Also as a nickname for a guy with a gut, as in the Chilean character “Guatón Loyola” who inspired the famous cueca.
Güendi (WEN-dee): (adj) Used to comment on a good-looking woman or something that is really nice (as in Sweet!) See also Ponerle Güendi.
Hacer la cruz (ah-SAIR la CRUS): (v) To put an end to relations with someone. Cross them off your list. Ex: Pensé que era mi amiga, pero después de lo que me hizo, le puse la cruz. / I thought she was my friend, but after what she did, I won’t ever speak to her again.
Hacer perro muerto (ah-SAIR PAIR-roh MWAIR-toh): Literally “to do (or to make?) the dead dog”… a weird expression that is commonly used to refer to running out on the check in a restaurant… apparently a pretty common trick for adolescents. Reader Cecilia suggests “Dine & Dash” as an English equivalent.
Hallulla (ah-YU-ya): (n) Single-serving round bread made with lard. The texture is dense and heavy.
Harto (AHRT-to): (adv). In standard Spanish this means fed up with or tired of something. In Chile it most often means “a lot.” Ex: Ponle harto ají porfa, porque me gusta bien picantito / Put lots of chili pepper on there because I like it really hot.
Hawaianas (ah-WI-ahn-ahs): (n) Flip flops–the cheap & colorful rubbery sandals. And yes, the word refers to something from Hawaii!
Heavy (Heh-vee): (adj): Don’t be mistaken here. The Chileans only borrowed the slang meaning of this word and doesn’t refer to physical weight, but is often used as a response in solidarity to a bad situation. Ex: “Me echaron de la pega.” “Pucha, que heavy.” / “I just got fired” “man, that sucks.”
Hilacha (ee-LAH-cha): (n) Standard Spanish word for loose thread (as in a garment), string (as in an avocado or beet). Mostrar la hilacha (mo-STRAR la ee-LAH-cha) means to show ones humble roots or true colors. Ex: Se viste divina, pero muestra la hilacha con esas uñas tan largas / She’s a very classy dresser, but she blows it with those long nails. See also Ojota (mostrar la ojota).
Hora pedagójica (OR-ah ped-a GO-hee-ka): A formal teaching “hour,” which for some reason, is 50 minutes, vs an “hora de reloj” (OR-a day ray-LOK), which is 60 minutes.
Hoy canta Gardel (oy CAHN-ta gahr-DEL): Payday. The expression makes reference to the legendary Tango singer Carlos Gardel. The expression may refer to being able to go hear him sing on payday; others say it is because he was a very generous man and would share his own earnings with those who needed it more.
Hoyo del queque (OY-yo del KAY-kay): Literally “the hole in the cake” (like a donut hole). Used figuratively to refer to a conceited person Ex: Ese tipo se cree el hoyo del queque / That guy thinks he’s pretty hot shit (or hot stuff, if you prefer). See also Muerte, Raja.
Huacho (WAH-cho) also Huachito (wah-CHEE-toh): (n) Literally “bastard,” someone born outside of wedlock or whose father has not formally recognized him or her. Also used for things like the one sock that remains after the other disappears.
Huelga (HWHELL-gah): (n) Strike (noun).
Huemul (way-MOOL): (n) the South Andean deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus), one of Chile’s national animals. It appears along with the condor on the national coat of arms.
Huevada (way-vah-da): (n) Thing (vulgar term) would rarely be pronounced this way. See Weá.
Huevear (way-vay-AR): (v) To bother, tease, annoy, to kid (¿me estás huevando? As in “are you kidding me?”) or (¡me estás hueveando!—you’ve gotta be kidding me!). See Huevón.
Huevón (way-VOHN, most often heard as way-OHN): (n), from “huevo” (WAY-vo), which literally means egg and its derivative “hueva” (WAY-va) for testicle. Extremely common vulgarity in Chilean Spanish, with variations for use in different ways. (see the comment left by Katan on January 25, 2010 below). Huevón (often written Weon or Güeón) is used to refer to a person, as in “jerk,” but can also mean friend, as in “man” (oye huevón, quieres una cerveza? Hey man, wanna beer?). The tone of voice explains it all. (Huevona is the female version, used in the same way).
Huifa (WEE-fah): (n) Thing, stuff–used as a substitute for a proper name. Ej: Toda la huifa / All that stuff. Can also be spelled güifa (and pronounced the same way).
Italiano (ee-tahl-ee-AH-no): (n/adj) Italian. In the world of sandwiches, it refers to tomato, avocado & mayonnaise (the 3 colors of the Italian flag).
Junior (JUN-yor): (n) Office assistant, “gopher,” usually male.
Kiltro (KILL-tro): (n) see quiltro.
Koyak (KOH-yak): (n) Sucker, lollipop. Comes from the old TV show character Kojak played by the very bald Telly Sevalas.
Lanza (LAHN-sa): (n) pick-pocket or purse-snatcher type thief.
Listeilor (Leess Taylor): Yes, like the actress! (the z is pronounced like an s). Slang for “Listo,” which means ready.
Loco (LO-koh): (adj/n)) literally crazy. Also used to refer to “a guy” or to Chilean abalone.
Lolo/Lola (LO-loh/LO-lah): (n) teenager or young adult.
Lomo de toro (LO-mo day TOR-ro): (n) Literally a bull’s back, but means a speed bump.
Luca (LOO-kah): (n) A thousand Chilean pesos, the way a “buck” is a US dollar.
Manga (MAHN-ga): (n) Skybridge. The portable covered tunnel temporarily put in place so airline passengers can walk from the terminal to the plane without going outside. Usually raised above ground.
Mango, a (ah-MAHN-go): Expression used to show enthusiasm, intensity. Ex: Bailar a mango /Dance like crazy.
Manso (MAHN-so): (adj) In formal Spanish manso means tame, calm, gentle, like a perro manso (gentle dog), but in Chile it also means very big, and in un manso error / big mistake. This might be a derivative of menso, from inmenso, which is obviously immense.
Marraqueta (mah-rra-KET-ta): (n) A typical roll-like bread made from French bread dough and shaped into 4 sections. The texture is similar to a baguette, with a crunchy crust and a soft, light inside. If you ask for “una marraqueta” (one) you get half, as in 2 sections.
Mapudungún (mah-pu-doon-GOON): (n) The language of Chile’s indigenous Mapuche people.
Marepoto (mah-ray-POH-to): (n) We can thank President Piñera for inadvertently coining this quasi-synonym maremoto (or tsunami) when he made this deliciously silly linguistic gaffe during a formal speech intended to console the nation after Chile’s February 2010 earthquake. It worked. We’re still chuckling about it!
Matapenquero (MAH-ta pen-KAIR-oh): (n) Refers to a really bad wine. (see also bigoteado).
Mateo (mah-TAY-oh): (n) Someone who is very studious, excellent student, hard worker.
Matrimonio (ma-tree-MOH-nee-oh): (n) a married couple. In Spain a wedding is a boda, but in Chile the term matrimonio refers to the ceremony as well as the couple.
Mechon/a (may-CHOHN): (n) First-year college student participating in the rite of passage known as hazing.
Mechoneo (may-chohn-AY-oh): (n) Hazing process for first year college students. Rite of passage.
Mediagua (MAY-de-a-AH-gwa): (n) a basic, simple house. This is an old concept, but many have recently been built as temporary housing solutions for people who lost their homes in the 2010 earthquake.
Media naranja (MAY-dee-a nah-rahn-ha): (n) wife, husband, partner; one’s “better half.”
Mediopelo (MAY-dee-oh-PAY-lo): (adj) Refers to lower middle class, or something not very classy.
Mejorarse (may-hor-AR-say): (v) literally, to improve oneself or to get better. May also be used to mean to have a baby. Ex: ¿Cuándo se mejora? / When’s her due date?
Meter la pata (may-TAIR-say la PAH-tah): (v) Put your foot in your mouth. Ex: No sabía que era sorpresa y me metí la pata al mencionarlo! /I didn’t know http://cachandochile.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=531&action=editit was a surprise and I really put my foot in my mouth when I mentioned it!
Metiche (may-TEE-chay): (adj). Nosy, intrusive person. Someone who sticks their nose into other people’s business. Ex: Ojo con ese viejo, ¡es lo más metiche– ¡Ayer intentaba decirme hasta qué marca de fósforos debiera comprar! /Watch out for that guy– he butts in to everyone’s business. Yesterday he even tried to tell me which brand of matches I should buy!
Metro (MEH-tro): (n) Santiago’s subway system.
Micro (MEE-kro): (n) A city bus (NOTE: used with the feminine article “la“). NOTE: Some Latin American countries call a bus a “guagua,” but here in Chile a guagua is a baby… which can make for some pretty funny confusion!
Mina (MEE-na): (n) (1) literally a mine, but more interestingly (2) an attractive young woman. Mino can also be used for a good looking guy.
Mocoso (moh-KO-so): (n) a kid, young child (like saying “rugrat”); comes from “moco” (mucous, snot).
Monono (moh-NO-no): (adj) cute, sweet, trendy, but not to be taken too seriously.
Moya (MOY-ya): ver Sepa Moya.
Muerte (MWAIR-tay): (n) literally death. Also used in slang expression “se cree la muerte” (say CRAY-ay la MWAIR-tay) to refer to a conceited person (think “to die for”). Ex: Se cree la muerte con ese nuevo auto. / She thinks she’s really something with that new car. Reader @Tony (Feb 2011) comments that the Reñaca Beach (very popular place to see & be seen) is sometimes called “Playa de la Muerte” because of all the great looking women women in hot bikinis that are “to die for” (and I might add there’s no shortage of great looking guys too!).
See also Hoyo del queque and Raja.
Nacer con la marraqueta bajo el brazo (nah-SAIR cohn la mah-rra-KET-ta bah-ho el BRA-zoh): To be born with a silver spoon in his or her mouth or to bring luck to the family upon being born.
Nacer parado (nah-SAIR pah-RAH-do): to be lucky, born under a lucky star.
Napoleón (nah-po-lay-OHN): Chain cutter.
No tener pelos en la lengua (no teh-NAIR PAY-los en la LENG-gwa): to be outspoken. Ex: Mi señora no tiene pelos en la lengua. Dice exactamente lo que piensa. / My wife has no qualms about saying exactly what she thinks.
Ojo(OH-ho): (n) (1) literally means eye, but often used (2) to mean “careful” or “attention.” People will often look you straight in the eye, point a finger to their own eye and say “Ojo con…” and give you some advice, as in “watch out for…” or “be careful with…”
Ojota (oh-HO-ta): (n) Typical sandal once used by campesinos (farm workers). The expression “mostrar las ojotas” (mo-STRAR lah o-HO-ta) means to unintentionally show ones humble roots / true colors. Ex: A pesar de todos sus títulos universitarios, mostró la ojota con ese comentario rasca. (Despite all his university education, he showed his true colors with that crude comment). See also hilacha (mostrar la hilacha).
Once (11) de Septiembre: (OHN-say day sept-tee-EM-bray). September 11. In Chile it refers to this day in 1973, the day of the military coupe.
Onces (OHN-sace): (n) Chile’s version of afternoon tea, one of the standard 4 meals per day. It usually consists of sandwiches and sweet pastries.. not necessarily in that order.
Operado de los nervios (oh-pair-AH-do day los NAIR-vee-ohs): Said of a person who is always calm, unflappable. Literally means they’ve had an operation on their nerves, as in a “nervectomy” and therefore are incapable of being nervous or excitable. Used in a positive sense.
Paco (PAH-koh): (n) Chilean for “cop,” (carabinero, police officer), though it tends to be more derogatory. A female cop is a “paquita,” which seems to be used in a more friendly way.
Palo (PAH-lo): (n) literally stick. Often used to refer to a million, as in a million pesos. (Gana palo, means s/he earns a million pesos a month).
Palta (PAHL-tah): (n) Avocado. Available in and on just about everything edible. Popular on toast for breakfast and on hot dogs (see completo). I’ve even had palta pie and palta pisco sour.
Palta (2) (PAHL-tah): (adj). Easy. (Contributed by Cachando Chile reader @tucienciaficción July 2011)
Pan amasado (pahn ah-mah-SAH-do): (n) Literally “kneaded bread”. These individual serving round breads are often made in country homes and baked in the traditional outdoor dome-shaped adobe ovens.
Pan batido (pahn bah-TEE-doh): (n) The bread called a marraqueta in Santiago is called pan batido in Valparaíso.
Pan de molde (pahn day MOHL-day): (n) No, this is not moldy bread! It’s sliced loaf bread. Also refers to a small utility van due to similarity in shape.
Pan frica (pahn FREE-ka): (n) Hamburger bun.
Paquita (pah-KEE-tah): (n) Female cop. see Paco.
Parafina (pahr-a-FEE-nah): (n) Kerosene.
Parar el carro (pah-RAR el CAHR-ro): (expression). Literally, “stop the car.” Used to stop someone who is “crossing the line” of what is to be tolerated. To stop insubordination, or insults, etc. Ex: “No me gustó como el cabro estaba hablandome, no accepto la falta de respeto, así es que le paré el carro bien firme.” (I didn’t like the way the kid was talking to me. I won’t accept a lack of respect, so I stopped him right there and put him in his place.)
Parche Curita (PAHR-chay kur-EE-ta): (n) Band-Aid, sticking plaster, adhesive strip to cover a small wound.
Pasarlo chancho (pah-SAIR loh CHAN-cho): have a good time.
Paso cebra (PAH-so SAY-bra): (n) Literally means “zebra crossing.” Refers to the white-on-black striped crosswalks where pedestrians immediately and always have the right of way.
Pata (PAH-ta): (n) foot. Andar a pata means to walk, to get around on foot. Also used for for animal and furniture legs. Ej: La mesa está coja; tiene una pata mala / The table is wobbly, it’s got a bad leg.
Patada (pah-TAH-dah): (n) kick. Ej: Le pegó una patada fuerte. / He gave him a good swift kick.
Pataleta (pah-tah-LEH-tah): (n) Temper tantrum, espeically, but not limited to, kids. Ej: ¡Chuu! No creerías la media pataleta que dio cuando le dije que no podría salir a carretear. / Wow! You wouldn’t believe the tantrum she had when I told her she couldn’t go out barhopping.
Pato malo (PAH-to MAH-lo): (n) Literally, a bad duck. Used to mean hoodlum, thug.
Patota, en (en pa-TOH-ta): In a group, especially to go somewhere in a group.
Patudo/a (pah-TU-do): (adj) Someone who is very forward, who crosses the line.
Pega (PAY-ga): work (n) ex: ¿tenís pega? (do you have work?) or voy a la pega (I’m going to work).
Peinar la muñeca (payee-NAHR la myu-NYAY-kah): Literally, to comb the doll’s hair. Used to mean “to go loco.” This is another expression from Chilean TV. At the end of the popular 1984 series Los Títeres, the female villain character Adriana Godán breaks down, returns to a childlike state and plays with dolls.
Peloláis (pay lo LICE): Way of categorizing upperclass teenage girls with long, straight, blond hair- very fashionable, clothes and look-conscious. Also called cuica (peloláis is used more by the 20-and-under age group). See also Pokemón, Flaite, Cuica, Pituca.
Pelota (pay-LOH-tah), Estar en pelota: to be naked / Andar en pelota: go around naked.
Pelotillehue (pay-lo-tee-YAY-way): (n) The town where Condorito lives. Can also be used as a substitute for pelota, in which case “en Pelotillehue” means “en pelota” or naked).
Pelotudo (pay-lo-TU-doh): (n) (mildly vulgar) Jerk, asshole, fresh. Ex: Ese pelotudo se metió a coquetear con la polola del otro! / That jerk came along and started flirting with the other guy’s girlfriend.
Pelotudez (pay-lo-tu-DAYS): (n) Cometer un pelotudez (mildly vulgar): Act like a jerk, do something that takes advantage of someone else or breaks the social norm. Dare to ask for something you have no right to ask for. Ex: ¡Qué pelotudez! ¡Comiste todos los chocolates y no me dejó ni uno! / I can’t believe it! You ate all of the chocolates and didn’t leave me any!
Penca (PEN-ka): (adj) Cheesy, something of poor quality or a lousy situation.
Penquista (pen-KEE-sta): (adj) Adjective that refers to Concepción, Chile. A person or thing from Concepción is known as “penquista.” Ex: El grupo penquista irá al capital. (The group from Concepción will go to the capital.)
Pendejo (pen-DAY-ho): (n) In Chile, a vulgar (but very common) way of referring to a kid (usually adolescent). RAE says it’s pubic hair.
Peor es nada (pay OR es NAH-da): Literally “worse is nothing”… used to refer to one’s partner.
Pepe Pato (PEH-pay PAH-to): (n/adj) used to refer to (and mock) a stereotypically high class man (see cuico). The expression began with a character named José (Pepe) ) Patricio (Pato) created by Chilean comedian Jorgé Romero (Firulete) in the 1970s.
Perro muerto, hacer (ah-ser PAIR-roh MUAIR-toh): Literally, to “do the dead dog” (sepa moya where that ever came from!) Means to skip out on the bill in a restaurant. One reader suggests the English translation “dine and ditch” never heard it, but it works for me! (the definition, not the tactic!)
Picada (pee-CAH-da): (n) Usually refers to a simple restaurant with good food and cheap prices.
Pichanga (pee-CHANG-gah): (n) Informal football (soccer) game.
Pifia (PEE-fee-ah): (n) Whistling sound to indicate anger or discontent, on the order of a boo.
Pifiar (pee-fee-AHR): (v) To make a pifia sound. To whistle loudly to show discontent. Ej: El grupo era tan re-malo que el publico entero comenzo a pifiarles. /The group was sooo bad that the entire audience started to boo them! Not only used with performances. People whistle (usually with teeth on lower lip) when a bus driver misses a stop, when the sound goes out in a movie, or any time a group has expectations that aren’t met.
Pillar (pee-YAHR): (v) To catch someone doing something, to catch in the act, to discover a secret. Ex: Llegué tarde y mi jefa me pilló entrando por la puerta atrás / I was late and my boss caught me coming in the back door.
Pilucho (pee-LU-cho): (adj) Naked. “Andar medio pilucho” is used as “to go around half naked.”
Piola (pee-OH-la) (adj): (1) relaxed, calm, easy-going. Ex: El examen no me tiene nerviosa. Estoy piola. / I’m not worried about the exam. Also Piola compadre, no pasará nada / Relax, man, nothing’s going to happen!
Pipeño (pee-PAY-nyo) (n): Very simple unfiltered, tannic, and rustic wine that tends toward the sweet side made from rustic grape varieties (especially País, AKA Mission grape). Especially found in Maule and Itata (southern Chile).
Piropo (pee-ROH-po) (n): generally, a complement (Wow, great hair!) but often associated with garden-variety construction work catcalls or the half-whispered, half-hissed “bellísima” (beautiful) comments men make as they pass women in the streets.
Pirulin (peer-ru-LEEN): (n) Little boy’s penis.
Pirulo (pee-LU-lo): (adj/n) (1) Similar to “cuico.” Used in a semi-derogatory way to refer to someone that is elegantly dressed or excessively conservative.
Pique (PEE-kay) (n): Refers to travel or commute for work or other (but not for pleasure). Ex: Oye, ¡el medio pique a buscarte al otro la’o ciudad, po! / Jeeze, I had to cross half the city to come pick you up!
Pito (PEE-to): (n) Joint (marijuana).
Pituco/a (pee-TU-koh or pee-TU-kah): (adj) Derrogatory term used to refer to someone or something from the highest social class. Can be interchanged with “cuico,” although this is generally used to refer to an older generation, while cuico is used in association with a younger generation.
Pituto (pee-TU-toh): This word has two distinct meanings. Like pololo, it can refer to a specific, short-term informal job (doing a translation, a short-term gig, etc.). As a second exception, it refers to your contacts and social pull. Who you know is very valuable social capital and can make all the difference when looking for a job, a rental, or getting things done in general.
Plancha (PLAHN-cha): (n) Embarrassment, as in ¡Qué Plancha! (how embarrassing!). Also means an iron (planchar means to iron clothes)
Plop! (plohp): Expression made popular by the Condorito comics and commonly used to express surprise.
Po (poh): Chilean for “pues.” A common interjection that is frequently peppered throughout Chilean speech, as in “Sí po” and “No po.” The former may be shortened to “Sip” and “Nop” meaning “Yep” and “Nope”. May also be pronounced “pu.”
Pochito (poh-CHEE-to): (adj) Used to describe the feeling of being completely satisfied, full, and sleepy after eating and drinking a lot, such as after a big holiday dinner (Thanksgiving, for example) or a typical Chilean asado.
Pokemon (po-kay-MOAN): (Pokemona for girls). (n) One of the so-called “urban tribes” with a very recognizable style with apparent punk roots and inspired by Japanese anime animation: straight black hair, usually cut on an angle, often covering one eye, multiple piercings, often dressed in black and denim. See also flaite, peloláis, punki, cuica.
Ponerle Güendi (also Ponerle Wendy) (poh-NAIR-le WEN-dee): Put spirit, or enthusiasm into something. Often used to encourage or motivate someone to do something. Ex: ¡Vamos! ¡Ponle Wendy ya! / Come on! Let’s seem some spirit! See also Güendi.
Porfa (POR-fah): Please, short for por favor.
Porfis (POR-fees): Please, variation of Porfa.
Porotos (po-ROH-tos): (n) Beans… Chileans do not use frijoles (Mexico) or judías (Spain).
Porsiaca (por-see-AH-ka): Short for “por si acaso,” which means “just in case.”
Pololo (poh-LOH-loh): (n) This word, which comes from Mapudungún, has several meanings. The first is boyfriend (polola is girlfriend). It can also be an informal job (although pitututo is more frequently used). It also refers to the moths that buzz around the lights at night (which is probably where the boyfriend use came from!)
Poto (POH-toh): (n) bottom, rear end. Apparently an Andean term. Often used in the diminutive “potito” (poh-TEE-toh) when referring to a baby. And then, oddly enough, there’s something called a “sandwich de poto.” (Yeah, you understood that correctly). Never tried one… I hear they literally stink but “aren’t bad”… think I’ll pass!
Pronunciamento militar (pro-nuns-ee-ahm-ee-EHNT-to mil-ee-TAHR): (n) Military takeover of the government. Term preferred by Pinochet supporters (see also “golpe”).
Pu (poo): See po.
Pucha (POO-chah): General, inoffensive interjection that expresses regret, like shoot or damn. Similar to chuta.
Pudú (poo-DOO): (n) The (Pudu puda), the smallest member of the deer family in the world, found in southern Chile.
Punki (PUNK-ee): (adj/n) Punk style, used as an adjective to describe the style (punk) or as a noun to describe a person who follows this style (a punk).
Qué onda (kay OHN-da): A greeting: “What’s up?” Used more with the older generation.
Quiltro (KILL-tro): Mutt, mongrel. Chilean word for a mixed-breed dog.
Raja (RAH-ha): (n/adj) Vulgar (very common). Strictly speaking refers to the crack in the buttocks, but is more commonly used to refer to something excellent / incredible (está la raja). Also “se cree la raja” to refer to a conceited person. Ex: No lo soporto, se cree la raja / I can’t stand him, he thinks he’s so special. See also hoyo del queque and muerte.
Rajado (rah-HAH-doh): (adj) Very fast. Ex: Nos llamaron de la clínica y fuimos rajados para allá. / They called from the hospital and we flew as fast as we could to get there.
Rallado/a (ra-YAH-do): (adj) Obsessed with someone or something. Ex: Está rallada con el tema. ¡No habla de nada más! / She’s obsessed with it. She doesn’t talk about anything else!
Rallar la papa (ra-YAHR la PAH-pa): (v) Literally to grate the potato. Used figuratively to refer to doing or saying something crazy or nonsensical. Ex: Pucha, no entiendo ná. Está rallando la papa. / Jeeze, I don’t have a clue. He’s talking nonsense.
Re (RAY): (adv) Used to add emphasis, similar to “very.” Ex: Es re buena la pelicula / This movie is really good.
Reflauta (ray-FLOUW-tah): (interjection). Used to show annoyance. Very mild, on a par with Shoot or Darn in English. Spanish synonyms would be Caramba or Demonios (neither of which are used much in Chile today). Commonly associated with Condorito (see above). Ex: ¡Reflauta! ¿Qué te pasó? / Jeeze, what happened to YOU? Also commonly used “Por la reflauta” as in ¡Por la reflauta! ¿me pueden explicar qué ocurrió aquí? / Oh my god! Can someone tell me what happened here?
Regalón (reh-gah-LON): (n/adj). This is not a Chilean word, but will help explain the following word. A reglón is someone who is spoiled, like a spoiled child. It can also be used to mean favorite, as in “mi alumno regalón” (my favorite student) or “mi chaqueta regalona” (my favorite jacket).
Regalonear (reh-gah-LON-ay-ahr): (v) This Chilean word derived from regalar (to give) and regalón (see Regalón) means “to spoil” but in a positive sense. It refers to doing nice things for someone (este fin de semana te voy a regalonear / I’m going to spoil you this weekend), taking care of someone, or mutually cuddling and being affectionate.
Reguleque (reh-goo-LEH-kay): (adj/adv) From “regular,” which in Spanish does not mean “average” as it does in English, but rather “poor” (See Beware the Fake False Cognates). Adding the “eque” suffix adds further emphasis, so something that is reguleque is REALLY not very good. Example: Es un profe reguleque. (He’s a pretty so-so teacher)… for a classic example and to learn how the word soared to popularity in the Chilensis Lexicon, see: Reguleque & Twitter Whining: how to commit Twittercide in 35 Characters.
Réplica (REH-plee-ka): (n) (1) Aftershock. A regular Spanish word that is particularly relevant in Chile. (2) A second, smaller round of the popular drink terremoto. See also temblor and terremoto.
Roto (ROH-toh): (n): Literally means broken, but has a very complex meaning in Chile. As a noun, it can be both positive or negative. In its positive form, it refers with pride (as in el Roto Chileno) to refer to someone of humble origins who characterizes the downtrodden yet invincible nature of the common Chilean man. It is believed to have first been used in relation to the men who returned victorious but ragged from the Battle of Yungay.
In the opposite sense it is used to refer to someone, usually of humble origins, who is vulgar, crude, and rude. Ex: ¡Ese roto me sacó la madre frente a mi hija! / That jerk swore at me in front of my daughter! (See “Sacar la madre”).
Roto (ROH-toh): (adj) Used to describe a vulgar, crude, or rude behavior. See noun form.
Roto con plata (ROH-toh kohn PLAH-tah): (adj) Expression used to refer to someone who is a “roto” buy with money. Reflects Chilean class system in that people with money are expected to be more cultured and better mannered than someone of more humble origins.
Rucio/a (ROO-see-o): (n/adj) blond. Differs from “rubio” in that it refers more to hair color, whereas rubio (in Chile) refers more to fair coloring with light, though not necessarily blond hair. Ex: ¿Quién era ese tipo rucio del otro día? / who was that blond guy the other day? Or: Mira–ahí está la rucia. / Look, there’s blondie.
Sacar la madre (sah-CAR la MAH-dray): (v) Not a Chilenismo, but an expression frequently used in Chile that refers to insulting someone by swearing in reference to his mother by using the expression “concha su madre.” Ex: Ese niño es tan rebelde, tan roto, que le sacó la madre a la profe en plena clase! / That kid is so out of control that he swore at the teacher in the middle of class!
Sacarse la mugre (sah-CAR-say la MOO-gray): (v) Expression that means to beat someone up (ex: le sacó la mugre / he beat the crap out of him). And by extension, to work very hard (ex: me saco la mugre en esa pega / I knock my lights out at that job.)
San Lunes (sahn LU-nays): (exp) The imaginary but very popular “Saint Monday” referred to when someone takes Monday off from work because they have not been able to recover from the weekend.
Sánguche (SAHN-gu-che): (n) Sandwich. Other commonly used forms are “sándwich and sanguich” (both pronounced like the English sandwich).
Santiaguino (san-tee-a-GEE-no): (n) Someone who lives in Santiago. May be used as a noun or adjective.
Sapo (SAH-po): (n) Literally, frog. (1) a snitch, low-level spy, as in someone who looks for information to give authorities in exchange for some benefit (see also soplón), or (2) or to a person who let’s the bus drivers know when the last bus along their route passed. They get the name from jumping on and off the buses all day.
Sarna con gusto no pica (SAHR-na cohn GU-sto no PEE-kah). (exp) Literally, “scabies with pleasure don’t itch.” Used to express the idea that if an activity, thing, person, lifestyle, etc., has been chosen, it won’t be bothersome, even though someone else might find the same thing intolerable.
Schop (chohp): (n) Draft beer. This word does not appear in the RAE, and apparently came into Chilean via German.
Schopería (chohp-air-REE-a): (n) Place where draft beer is the central theme. They usually serve sandwiches and fries and often have outdoor tables. There are many, for example, along Pio Nono in Bellavista (Santiago) and in Plaza Ñuñoa.
Sepa Moya (SAY-pa MOY-ya): A fairly common expression that means “who knows”?
Shopping (CHOHP-ping): Pronounced with a hard “ch” (like chopping wood) and a long o, this term is used not as a verb or adjective, but as a noun to refer to a shopping center or mall: ¿vamos al shopping? (literally: Shall we to the shopping?).
Servilleta (sair-vee-YEHT-a): (n) Napkin (the table kind).
Sobrado/a (so-BRAH-doh): (adj) Used to describe a person with a big ego, conceited. ex: Sin duda es inteligente y buenmozo, pero también es insoportablemente sobrado. / He’s clearly intelligent and good looking, but he’s also unbearably conceited.
Soplar (so-PLAHR): (v) In standard Spanish this means to blow or to whisper, but in slang terms it means to tell or to snitch. The same idea as to “blow the whistle on someone.”
Soplón (so-PLOHN): (n) Someone who tells the authorities about someone else’s activities; a snitch, a tattle-tale. Similar to a sapo except that sapo has more of a connotation of spying or actively seeking information, whereas a soplón may stumble upon the information accidentally.
Taco (TAH-ko): (n) Traffic jam (and in Santiago there are lots), which makes the perfect excuse for being late…
Tantán (tahn-TAHN): (n) A swat, spanking.
Temblor (tem-BLOR): (n) Tremor. Not to be confused with the more serious terremoto. This is a regular Spanish word that is particularly relevant in Chile.
Terremoto (tair-ay-MOH-to): (n) (1) Earthquake. This is a regular Spanish word, but one that is particularly relevant in Chile. (2) A Chilean drink made from white wine and pineapple sherbet served in picadas. See also temblor y réplica.
Tío(TEE-oh): (n) Literally uncle; used as “guy.” Frequently used in Spain and copied here.
Trámite (TRAH-mee-tay): (n) A perfect word with no direct translation into English. It refers to all the bureaucratic transactions and processes that we are often required to do, such as going from place to place, filling out forms, getting things notarized (very big in Chile). Anyone who has dealt with Chilean “Extranjería” knows all about trámites.
Tranqui (TRAHN-kee): (adj & imperative) Short for tranquilo (calm). Ex: Tranqui! No pasó nada! / Take it easy! Don’t worry about it, nothing happened!
Tusunami (tu-su-NAH-mee) (n). Another Piñerism, this creative version of what should have been (tsunami) sounds to the Spanish ear as if the speaker is saying “it’s no MY tsunami, it’s YOUR tsunami). It immediately gave rise to many versions of the latest You-Tube dance craze featuring our break-dancing prez.
Tuto (TU-to): Refers to sleep. “Hacer tuto” means to go to sleep; “tener tuto” means to be sleepy. Of Quechua origin.
Vale (VAH-lay): Formal use: voucher, ticket. Slang use: “OK.”
Varón (bah-RON): (n) Man. Spanish speakers use this term for a baby boy.
Viejo Pascuero (vee-A-ho pahs-KWER-o): (n) Santa Claus.
Vino Navegado (VEE-no nah-vay-GAH-doh): (n) Chilean mulled wine made with red wine, sweet spiced (cinnamon sticks, cloves) and orange slices.
Viva Chile, Mierda (VEE-va CHEE-lay me-AIR-dah): Literally “Viva Chile, Shit,” yet contrary to what you might think, Chileans use this fairly common expression to express pride in their country. Click on the link for a full description.
Weá or (way-AH) (n), from “huevada.” Vulgar and very common. Used as a noun to mean “thing.” Can be used as a substitute for the real name (dame esa weá –gimme that thing) or to refer to something stupid (¿qué es esa weá? What the hell is that? Or: Deja de decir weás—stop saying idiotic things). See Huevón.
Wendy (WEN-dee): see Güendi and Ponerle Güendi.
Weón / Weona (way-OHN / way-OH-nah) (n) see Heuvón.
Winter ya (VEEN-ter ja): Intelligence. This expression comes from a 1990s-era commercial for “Cecinas Winter,” a popular brand of prepared meats such as hot dogs and cold cuts. In it, an older man with a strong German accent says “hay que tener mucho Winter ya” as if to say “ya gotta have smarts.” Check it out on You-tube.
Ya (YAH): Like the German ja (yes) and the English “yeah,” in Chile “ya” means “okay” and is used to show consent, agreement or to indicate that you are following an argument. It is very common in Chilean Spanish and must surely have arrived with the German immigration in the south in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Yapa (YAH-pa): Something extra added when buying something, similar to the “baker’s dozen” concept (ask for a dozen, get 13).
Ya po (YAH -poh) (also Ya pu): Short for ya pues (see Ya, above). Very common expression that changes meaning depending on the intonation of the voice. A short, definitive, ya-po, can mean “sure thing, I’m right on it” while a long drawn-out and exasperated YAAAA po! can mean “knock it off, I’ve had it up to here with that.”
Yein Fonda (Jane Fonda): (n) Yes, like the actress. A fonda is a temporary fiesta that sets up for a week or two at a time, particularly to celebrate Fiestas Patrias (Independence Day). The famous Yein (Jane) Fonda is one of the most popular!
Yunta (YOON-tah): (n) Literally a yoke, used to refer to good friends (somos bien yuntas / we’re very good friends, really tight).
Zorrillo (sohr-REE-yo): (n) Literally, skunk. Used colloquially to refer to the small tanks that launch tear gas to break up protests (see also guanaco).