7 Spanish Slang Expressions You Need to Know to Sound Like a Spaniard
In this article, you’re going to learn seven Spanish slang expressions people in Spain use all the time.
Why Learn Spanish Slang Expressions
Okay, before starting, you might want to know that learning Spanish slang expressions can help you:
- Express yourself better and more naturally
- Sound less robotic and artificial
- Understand natives and even impress them
Ways to Learn Slang
You won’t learn Spanish slang words from textbooks. So if you ever wonder how you can know a more authentic speech, here you have some ideas:
- Speaking with natives.
- YouTube. You can pick up many common Spanish slang expressions from YouTubers that have a casual/ vlog style.
- Podcasts. Podcasts made for intermediate Spanish learners like No Hay Tos from Mexico or Spanish with Vicente from Spain are suitable for hearing some slang in context.
- Netflix. Netflix shows are also useful for picking up some slang. Here you have a list of great Spanish-speaking TV shows you can watch on Netflix.
- Dictionaries. For slang from different countries, you can check Así Hablamos.
- Flashcards. You can probably find a flashcard set with slang words in the Anki app.
7 Spanish Slang Expressions
#1. ¡Qué guay! — How cool!/Cool!
“¡Qué guay!” is a slang phrase that Spanish people use, usually among friends, meaning “How cool.” “Guay” means cool and is pronounced almost like “why”.
You may want to say it to express your enthusiasm about what a person is telling you, a situation, or a thing.
- Vale, guay. — Ok, cool.
- Está (muy) guay. — It’s (very) cool.
- Me parece guay. — I think it’s cool.
Your friend: Hemos estado de vacaciones en la República Dominicana durante dos semanas. — We’ve been on vacation in the Dominican Republic for two weeks.
You: ¡Qué guay!
#2. ¡Qué chulo! — How cool/pretty/cute/nice!
Like “¡Qué guay!”, people in Spain also say “¡Qué chulo!” meaning “(How) cool” and to talk about stuff that we like.” The difference is that “¡Qué chulo!” usually refers to things and not people or situations.
The word “chulo” has other meanings like pimp and cocky, so you might be careful not to say “chulo” when talking about people.
- ¡Qué bonito!
- ¡Qué guay!
- ¡Me encanta!
- ¡Ay, qué chulo! — Oh, how cool!
- ¡Qué chulada! — How cool!
- Mira qué dibujo más chulo ha hecho Marcos. — Look what a cool drawing Marcos has made.
- Andrés y Laura viven en una casa muy chula. — Andrés and Laura live in a very cool house.
- ¡Qué falda más chula llevas! — What a cool skirt you are wearing!
#3. ¡Qué majo! — How nice/pleasant!
There’s a famous painting called “La maja desnuda” (The Nude Maja) which was painted by Spanish artist Francisco de Goya around 1797–1800. According to Wikipedia, in this period, the word “majo” or “maja” referred to a low-class Spaniard.
There’s no doubt that the meaning of “majo/maja” has changed over the course of many years. Today, Spaniards continue to use this word but to say that someone is nice.
- ¡Qué simpático!
- ¡Qué agradable!
- Majísimo/a — Very nice
- Ser súper majo/a — To be super nice
- ¡Qué majo eres! — You’re so nice!
- Tenemos una profesora nueva que es muy maja. — We have a new teacher that is very nice.
#4. ¡Cómo mola! — It’s so cool!
“¡Cómo mola!” or “Mola mucho” are two slang phrases that are very commonly used in Spain, mostly among young people. You listen to a song you like and then you say “¡Cómo mola!”. You can also say that something or someone “mola mucho” (is really cool).
Spaniards use “¡Cómo mola!” to express that they really like something or that something is cool. Here, “mola” is a verb, “molar” being its infinitive. “Molar” is a colloquial synonym for “gustar,” which means “to like.” Only people in Spain use it. In the rest of the Spanish-speaking countries, they may understand it though.
I’d only say “¡Cómo mola!” with friends, never with strangers, or in more formal contexts. In those situations, I’d rather use the verb “gustar”.
Spanish synonym: Gustar
- Molar mogollón — To be very cool
- Molar un montón — To be very cool/awesome
- ¡Cómo mola tu coche! — Your car is so cool!
- Roma mola mucho. — Roma is very cool.
- Me mola mucho tu vestido. — I like your dress a lot.
#5. Ser la caña — To be hilarious/great/awesome/ To rock
A person that is “la caña” is someone hilarious, cool, and maybe a little crazy in the best way possible. If a friend tells you “¡Eres la caña!” you can feel incredible. He’s saying that you’re great.
But the word “caña” has more meanings. It’s also a synonym for a beer that a waiter in a bar pours in a glass. So “Tomarse una caña” means to have a beer in a bar.
Spanish synonym: Ser lo mejor
- Eres la caña de España
- ¡Qué caña!
- ¡Este actor es la caña! — This actor is hilarious!
- Tu hermana es muy divertida, es la caña. — Your sister is very funny, she’s great.
#6. ¡Qué buen rollo! — Good vibes/Positive energy
The colloquial expression “¡Qué buen rollo!” is all about good vibes. You can say “¡Qué buen rollo!” in Spain or “¡Qué buena onda!” in Argentina, Mexico, and other countries in Latinamerica. Are you at a party having a lot of fun? “¡Qué buen rollo!” Are you in good company with people that have a positive attitude? “¡Qué buen rollo!”
Spanish synonym: ¡Qué bien!
- Buen rollo — Good vibes
- Estar de buen rollo — To be in good spirits/be in a good mood
- Ir de buen rollo — To be in good spirits/be in a good mood
- Tener un rollo muy guay — To be cool
- Esta persona me transmite buen rollo. — This person gives me good vibes.
#7. ¡Qué mono! — How cute/lovely/pretty!
You see a little puppy, and you say “¡Qué mono!”. Wait, but doesn’t “mono” mean monkey? Yes, it does, but it can also mean cute, lovely, adorable, or pretty in an everyday context. What if you see a cute monkey? Then you can say “¡Qué mono más mono!” (What a cute monkey!).
Here you can see some examples where this expression matches gender and number:
- A little puppy (cachorro): “¡Qué mono!”
- A little female kitten (gatita): “¡Qué mona!”
- A pair of twin boys (gemelos): “¡Qué monos!”
- A pair of twin girls (gemelas): “¡Qué monas!”
Spanish synonym: ¡Qué bonito!
Monísimo/a: Very cute
- Mira qué mona es mi sobrina, solo tiene dos meses. — Look how cute my niece is, she’s only two months old.
- Me encanta tu bolso, es monísimo. — I love your bag, it’s so cute.
#7. ¡Qué bueno! — Great/Awesome/Interesting
Someone makes a joke or says something funny, and you say “¡Qué bueno!”. At least in Spain, “¡Qué bueno!” is commonly used when you react to something interesting, funny, or entertaining that someone said.
Spanish synonym: ¡Qué interesante!
Friend: And then we found out that we are both friends of Rosa!
You: “¡Qué bueno!”
Friend: Did you know that there is a whale that can become more than 500 years old?
You: “¡Qué bueno!” No, I didn’t know that.
What’s your favorite Spanish slang expression? Please, tell us by leaving a comment!