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Colombian Slang: 100 Words and Phrases to Sound like a True Colombian

Are you ready to learn some Colombian slang? Are you familiar with words like "chimba" or expressions like "estar tragado"? Whether you are planning to go to Colombia or you are following some of our exclusive Colombian TV series (e.g. Los Años MaravillososConfidencial: El rey de la estafa, and Tu Voz Estéreo), have we got some good Colombian slang to teach you today!

 

colombian slang words and phrases

 

We have divided our list of Colombian slang words and phrases into the following four main categories:

 

1. Nouns

2. Adjectives

3. Verbs

4. Colombian sayings and expressions

 

As you will see, there is some overlap between categories. For instance, you will find the word "camello" (a job) under the "Nouns" category as well as the word "camellar" (to work hard) under the "Verbs" category.

 

That said, it is time to learn some very interesting stuff! If you are able to master the following list, you will be able to speak like a true Colombian. Let's have some fun!

 

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Colombian Slang Nouns

 

1. bacán (a cool dude)

This one comes from the adjective "bacano," which means cool.

Example:

Ese tipo es un bacán (That guy is a cool dude).

 

2. berraquera (determination, something or someone very good)

A list of Colombian slang without the word "berraquera" on it would be incomplete. Let's look at some examples so we can understand how to use this very popular word:

Esa canción es una berraquera (That song is really good (literally "a really good one")).

El equipo jugó con berraquera y ganó el partido (The team played with determination and won the game).

 

3. boleta (an embarrassing situation or person)

Example:

Ese tipo es una boleta (That guy is an embarrassment).

 

4. caco (a thief)

Example:

Los cacos robaron el banco (The thieves robbed the bank). 

 

5. camello (a job, work)

When you say "un camello" in Colombia, you are referring to "a job." More generally, "camello" refers to "work," as in "Tengo mucho camello" (I have a lot of work to do).

Example:

Le traigo un regalito y le tengo un camello.

I'm bringing you a little gift and I have a job for you.

Caption 33, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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6. cantaleta (constant scolding or nagging)

This is very useful Colombian slang when you want to indicate that someone is obsessed with something in the sense that he/she just keeps talking about the same thing over and over. "Cantaleta" is mostly associated with the action of scolding or nagging.

Example:

Que deje la vaina con esa actricita, hermano. ¡Otra vez es la cantaleta con usted! Parece novia fea.

For you to give up the thing with that little actress, brother. It's the nagging with you again! You seem like an ugly girlfriend.

Captions 11-13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 6

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7. catorce (a favor)

Although "catorce" literally means "fourteen," it has another meaning in Colombian slang.

Example:

Dorita, ¿nos hace el catorce y la foto?

Dorita, will you do the favor of taking a picture?

Caption 60, X6 1 - La banda - Part 11

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8. chécheres (stuff)

The Colombian slang word chécheres is quite handy when you want to refer to a group of (mostly useless) things.

Example:

Esta sala está llena de chécheres (This living room is full of useless stuff).

 

9. chimba (a very cool person or thing)

"Chimba" is one of the most popular Colombian Spanish slang words there is! However, it is a word that can be used in many different ways. As a noun, "una chimba" is someone or something very cool.

Example:

Esa canción es una chimba (That song is very cool (literally "a very cool one").

Alternatively, the word "chimba" can be used as a synonym for "luck."

Example:

¡Me salvé de pura chimba! (I was saved by pure luck!)

 

10. chino/china (friend, dude, kid)

Although it literally means a person from China, chino/a is a Colombian slang term for "friend," which is used almost exclusively in Bogota. Additionally, this word can be used when talking about little kids.

Examples:

Oiga chino, ¿quiere ir a la fiesta? (Hey, dude, ¿do you want to go to the party?)

El parque estaba lleno de chinos (The park was full of kids).

 

11. chucha (bad body odor, referring to the armpits)

Example:

Luis tiene chucha. Debería usar desodorante (Luis has B.O. He should use deodorant).

 

12. churrias (diarrhea)

This colorful Colombian Spanish slang is usually used with the verb "tener" in the expression "tener churrias."

Example:

No puedo ir a la reunión. ¡Tengo churrias! (I can't go to the meeting. I have diarrhea!)

 

13. churro (a handsome guy)

Example:

Brad Pitt es un churro (Brad Pitt is a handsome guy).

 

14. chuspa (a plastic bag)

This is one of the Colombian slang words you will need to know when going to the supermarket. 

Example:

¿Me puede dar dos chuspas, por favor? (Could you give me two plastic bags, please?)

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15. descache (a mistake, blunder, or faux pas)

Example:

El chiste de Ricardo fue un descache (Ricardo's joke was a faux pas).

The verb form of this noun is very often used in soccer/football when a player misses a good opportunity to score.

Example:

Ronaldo se descachó (Ronaldo missed his chance/didn't score the goal).

 

16. embarrada (a bad thing, a big mistake, someone terrible or slightly crazy)

Examples:

Ese chino es la embarrada (That kid is terrible).

Conocerte fue la peor embarrada de mi vida (Meeting you was the worst mistake of my life).

 

17. gallinazo (a man who likes to flirt)

 

18. gomelo/gomela (a snob)

Generally speaking, a "gomelo" or "gomela" is someone who is young and comes from a very rich family. On top of that, gomelos tend to act in a very loud and arrogant manner.

Example:

Esa universidad está llena de gomelos (That university is full of snobs).

 

19. guachafita (chaos, disorder)

Example:

"¡Qué guachafita!", dijo el profesor cuando vio a sus alumnos corriendo y gritando en el teatro.

"What chaos!" said the teacher when he saw his students running and screaming in the theatre.

 

20. guache (a very rude or poor-mannered person)

Example:

El esposo de Claudia grita todo el tiempo. ¡Es un guache! (Claudia's husband screams all the time. He is a very rude person!)

 

21. guaro (a drink, usually the famous Colombian aguardiente)

Example:

¡Vamos a tomarnos un guaro! (Let's go have a drink!)

 

22. guayabo (hangover)

And of course, if you have lots of "guaros," you will probably have a big "guayabo."

Example:

y muere nuevamente cansado y con guayabo, que es la palabra que utilizamos los colombianos para decir resaca.

and dies again, tired and with a "guayabo," which is the word we Colombians use to say hangover.

Captions 79-81, Cleer y Lida El Carnaval de Barranquilla - Part 2

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23. jincho/jincha (drunk)

Example:

Pedro ya estaba jincho cuando llegó a la fiesta (Pedro was already drunk when he got to the party).

 

24. llave (friend, dude)

Literally, "llave" means "key." However, this is also another Colombian slang word for a pal. 

Example:

¿Cómo está llave? (How are you, dude?)

 

25. lucas (Colombian pesos)

Example:

Solo tengo 20.000 lucas (I only have 20,000 Colombian pesos).

 

26. mamera (something very boring or annoying)

Example:

Ese profesor es muy aburrido. Su clase es una mamera (That teacher is very boring. His class is super boring (literally "a very boring one")).

 

27. man (guy)

This is an adaptation of the English word "man." However, rather than its literal translation ("hombre"), this word is used as you would use the word "guy" in English.

Example:

Ese man es muy intelligent (That guy is really smart).

 

28. mecato (snacks)

This is a Colombian slang word used to indicate a group or set of different snacks such as cookies or chips. 

 

29. miércoles (shoot, oops)

If you know the days of the week in Spanish, you know very well that "miércoles" means "Wednesday." However, just like "shoot" in English, the word "miércoles" in Colombian Spanish slang is also used as a nice alternative to avoid saying that bad word that starts with "mier...

 

30. mono/mona (a blonde person)

Example:

Bueno, y ¿quién era ese mono, todo así papacito?

Well, and who was that blonde guy, all hot like that?

Caption 28, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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31. motoso (a nap)

Example:

Tengo ganas de echarme un motoso (I feel like taking a nap).

 

32. parcero/parcera (friend)

These are probably the most famous Colombian slang terms for a friend. However, keep in mind that their short form ("parce") is probably used the most throughout Colombia. This word is typical paisa slang vocabulary (see "paisa" in the "Adjectives" category).

Example:

 

Parce, venga, yo le digo una cosa, hermano, vea

Friend, come, I'll tell you something, brother, look

Caption 1, Juanes La Plata

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33. parche (a group of friends)

Example:

Ayer fui con mi parche a la fiesta (Yesterday, I went with my group of friends to the party).

 

34. paro (a strike)

Example:

Los vándalos aprovechan los paros para destruir las ciudades (Vandals take advantage of strikes in order to destroy cities).

 

35. pecueca (stinky feet)

This word is usually used with the verb "tener" in the expression "tener pecueca." Let's see an example:

Pedro tiene pecueca (Pedro has stinky feet).

 

36. perra (drunkenness)

Example:

Juan tenía una perra cuando llegó a casa (Juan was really drunk when he got home). 

 

37. pieza (bedroom)

Example:

La pieza de Rosa es grande (Rosa's bedroom is big).

 

38. plata (money)

Example:

Estamos hablando de mucha plata.

We're talking about a lot of money.

Caption 38, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 9

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39. pola (beer)

This is a slang word mostly used in Bogota and the surrounding areas.

 

40. rumba (a party)

This slang word is used with various Colombian sayings such as "¡Qué rumba!" (What a party!) or "irse de rumba" (to go out).

Example:

¿Estaba en una rumba?

Was he at a party?

Caption 42, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 12

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41. sardino/sardina (a very young person, usually a teenager)

Example:

Lárguese de esta casa. ¿Usted qué está hablando, sardino?

Get out of this house. What are you talking about, kid?

Captions 7-8, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 3

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42. sapo/sapa (a snitch, a toady)

This Colombian slang word that usually means "toad" has two meanings. First, it is used to describe someone who is a snitch:

No le digas nada a Miguel. ¡Es un sapo! (Don't say anything to Miguel. He's a snitch!)

 

Second, "un sapo" or "una sapa" is a person who is perceived as someone who flatters someone with the hope of getting ahead. Let's take a look at the following clip:

son el fruto de la sinceridad, y siguen siendo los mismos a través de los tiempos. Muy bien. Qué sapa.

are the fruit of sincerity, and remain the same throughout the ages. Very good. What a toady.

Captions 78-81, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 1

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43. tinto (a cup of black coffee)

Being the country of coffee, don't be surprised if someone in Colombia offers you "un tintico" (a little cup of black coffee) while you are waiting somewhere.

 

44. tombo (a policeman)

 

45. vaina (stuff, thing)

This is one of the most useful Colombian slang words you can ever learn. Generally speaking, you can use this word in the same way you use the words "stuff" or "thing" in English. Let's look at an example:

"Pásame esa vaina, por favor", o "No entendí nada de esa vaina".

"Pass me that thing, please," or, "I didn't understand any of that stuff."

Captions 29-31, Carlos explica Vocabulario: La palabra “vaina”

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However, this word is used in several different expressions that we will mention later on. In the meantime, feel free to check out Carlos' video about the word vaina

 

46. vieja (a girl, a woman, a chick)

The word "vieja" is usually used as an adjective to talk about someone or something that is old. However, in Colombia "vieja" is a very common word people use to talk about a woman or a girl. Let's see it in action:

A mí las viejas que más me gustan son las del INEM [Instituto Nacional de Educación Media Diversificada].

The chicks I like the most are the ones from INEM [National Institute of Diversified Middle School Education].

Captions 40-41, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 6

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Colombian Slang Adjectives

There are so many Colombian slang words to describe people and things. Let's learn some of the most useful ones. 

 

47. achantado (sad, ashamed)

Example:

Jaime está achantado porque la novia lo dejó (Jaime is sad because his girlfriend broke up with him).

 

48. amañado (happy in a particular place or with someone)

Example:

Estoy amañado en este barrio (I feel at home in this neighborhood).

 

49. bacano/bacana (cool)

If you are wondering how to say "cool" in Colombia, this is one of the words you can use.

 

50. berraco/berraca (talented, angry, tough, a go-getter)

This is an adjective that can be used in different ways. Let's take a look.

Examples:

Messi es un jugador muy berraco (Messi is a very talented player).

El jefe está berraco con su equipo de trabajo (The boss is angry at his team).

El campeón solo tiene 20 años. ¡Es un berraco! (The champion is only 20 years old. He is tough!)

 

You will note that, in the last example, although berraco is used as a noun in Spanish, its English translation is an adjective. 

 

51. cachaco/cachaca (someone from Bogota, the capital of Colombia)

 

52. chato/chata (dear)

This adjective is similar to querido/a and is mostly used in Bogota. It also functions as a noun as a term of endearment, as in the following example:

Mi chata, estás hermosa (My dear, you look gorgeous).

 

53. chévere (cool)

Although this word is not unique to Colombia, it is widely used throughout the country.

Example:

Vive en Medellín. Sí. -Ah, tan chévere...

She lives in Medellin. Yes. -Oh, so cool...

Caption 4, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 3

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54. chimbo/chimba (cheap or bad)

As we mentioned before, the word "chimba" has various meanings. As an adjective, Colombians use this word when they want to talk about something that is cheap or bad.

Example:

¡Qué libro tan chimbo! (What a bad book!)

 

55. chiviado (fake)

Example:

Ese bolso Gucci no es original, es chiviado (That Gucci purse isn't original, it is fake).

 

56. inmamable (annoying, unbearable)

Example:

Mi jefe me llama cada cinco minutos. ¡Es un tipo inmamable! (My boss calls me every five minutes. He is an unbearable guy!)

 

57. jarto/jarta (boring, annoying)

Example:

Antonio solo habla de él mismo. ¡Qué tipo tan jarto! (Antonio only talks about himself. What an annoying guy!)

 

58. mamado/mamada (tired, exhausted, fed up)

This adjective is usually used with the verb "estar" when you want to express tiredness or frustration. Let's see a couple of examples:

Hoy trabajé mucho. ¡Estoy mamada! (Today, I worked a lot. I'm exhausted!)

Estoy mamado de mi jefe. ¡No lo soporto! (I'm fed up with my boss. I can't stand him!)

 

59. paisa (someone from the city of Medellin and the surrounding regions)

 

60. prendido/prendida (tipsy)

This Colombia slang word is usually used with the verb "estar" as in "estoy prendido" (I'm tipsy).

"Estar prendido" doesn't mean "estar borracho" or "estar jincho" (to be drunk).

 

61. rolo/rola (someone from Bogota)

 

62. tenaz (tough, difficult)

Example:

Aprender chino es tenaz (Learning Chinese is tough).

 

Colombian Slang Verbs

 

63. achantarse (to be ashamed, to feel embarrassed)

Example:

No me digas que se achantó porque se me declaró.

Don't tell me he was embarrassed because he told me that he loved me.

Caption 13, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 5

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64. camellar (to work hard)

Now that you know the word "camello," it's time to mention its verb form, "camellar." Let's listen to Carlos' explanation about this useful Colombian slang verb. 

 

En Colombia, cuando decimos un camello, estamos diciendo un trabajo. De hecho, también usamos el verbo camellar para decir trabajar duramente.

In Colombia, when we say "un camello" [a camel], we are saying a job. In fact, we also use the verb "camellar" [literally "to camel"] to say to work hard.

Captions 12-13, Carlos comenta Confidencial - Vocabulario y expresiones

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65. cuadrar (to schedule or plan something)

Example:

Tengo que cuadrar una reunión con Sandra la próxima semana (I have to schedule a meeting with Sandra next week).

You can also use the reflexive form of this verb (cuadrarse) when you want to say that someone started to date someone else:

Luis y Andrea se cuadraron hace dos años (Luis and Andrea started dating two years ago).

 

66. embarrar (to mess up, to screw up)

Let's take a look at the following video clip to see how to use this verb:

 

Mire, por favor, Andrea, yo sé que la embarré. Ya, lo acepto. Yo lo que estoy tratando es enmendar el error que cometí

Look, please, Andrea, I know I screwed it up. OK, I admit it. What I'm trying to do is rectify the mistake I made

Captions 23-25, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 1

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67. emberracarse (to get angry, to get pissed off)

Example:

Los huéspedes se emberracaron cuando vieron la habitación del hotel (The guests got pissed off when they saw the hotel room).

 

68. gallinacear (to flirt)

This verb is typically used to describe a man who is flirting with a woman.

Example:

A Marco le gusta gallinacear con Beatriz (Marco likes to flirt with Beatriz).

 

69. guisear (to cook, to do housekeeping tasks)

When people spend time cooking and housekeeping, it is common for them to describe themselves "guiseando." This odd Colombian slang verb probably comes from the "guiso" (stew) people often prepare in the kitchen.

Example:

He estado guiseando toda la mañana (I've been cooking and cleaning the house all morning).

 

70. hacer vaca (to collect money)

Although this might literally sound like "to make cow," it actually means "to collect money." 

Example:

Ayer hicimos vaca para la fiesta (Yesterday, we collected money for the party).

 

71. mamar gallo (to waste your time, to fool around, to joke around)

This is one of the most typical Colombian slang phrases you'll learn today! While you might notice that its literal meaning is "to suck rooster," the following two examples will show us two of its common uses:

Example 1:

-¿Estás estudiando? -No. Estoy solo mamando gallo.

-Are you studying? -No. I'm just fooling around.

 

Example 2:

A Miguel le gusta reírse y mamar gallo todo el tiempo (Miguel likes to laugh and joke around all the time).

 

72. rajarse (to fail)

Example:

Me rajé en el examen de matemáticas (I failed the math test).

 

73. rumbear (to party, to go out)

Rumbear is a common verb to talk about partying. However, don't be surprised if your Colombian friend says "rumbiar" instead of "rumbear." 

Example:

Salir a rumbear sin pensar en la cuenta

To go out on the town without thinking about the bill

Caption 65, Bacilos Mi Primer Millón

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The reflexive form "rumbearse" is also a slang word that means "to make out with" someone:

Carlos y Natalia se rumbearon en el cine (Carlos and Natalia made out at the movies).

 

74. sacar la piedra (to make someone angry, mad)

La actitud arrogante de Luisa, me sacó la piedra (Luisa's arrogant attitude made me angry).

 

75. sapear (to snitch)

This is the verb form of the noun sapo we talked about earlier. 

 

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Colombian Slang Sayings and Expressions

If you want to impress your Colombian friends, we invite you to use the following, very Colombian expressions and phrases.

 

76. azotar baldosa (to dance, to hit the dance floor)

Literally, "azotar baldosa" means "to hit the floor tile." Generally speaking, however, you can use this expression when you want to say that someone is dancing. As an alternative, you can also use the verb "rayar" (to scratch) instead of "azotar."

Example:

-¿Dónde está Patricia? -Está azotando baldosa.

-Where is Patricia? -She's dancing.

 

77. ¿Bien o qué? (All good?)

Native Spanish speakers from outside of Colombia find this expression quite amusing. It is very common, however, and you can use it as an alternative way to say "hi" or "what's up?"

 

78. dar papaya (to provide an opportunity where people might take advantage of you)

Example:

Mejor dicho, no hay que dar papaya. ¿Papaya? ¡No exponernos, tía, exponernos.

In other words, we should lie low. Lie low? Not put ourselves at risk, girl, put ourselves at risk.

Captions 32-34, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 8

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79. ¡Déjate de vainas! (Don't worry about it!/Cut the crap!)

Example:

"¡Déjate de vainas!" "No te hagas problemas" o "No me vengas con cuentos".

"¡Déjate de vainas!" ["Don't worry about it" or "Cut the crap"]. "Don't worry about it" or "Cut the crap."

Captions 38-40, Carlos explica Vocabulario: La palabra “vaina”

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80. estar tragado/tragada (to be head over heels/to be totally in love)

Example:

yo he estado tragado de otras niñas antes, pero no como de Cata.

I've been head over heels for other girls before, but not like with Cata.

Captions 38-39, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 11 - Part 2

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81. ¡Guácala! (Gross!)

Example:

- ¿Sabes que en algunos países comen insectos? -¿En serio? ¡Guácala!

- Do you know that in some countries people eat insects? -Really? Gross

 

82. Hacer el oso (to do something embarrassing or make a fool of yourself)

While the meaning of these words is "to play the bear," colloquially, this expression means something very different.

Example:

Por no haber estudiado, Fernando hizo el oso delante de la clase (Because he hadn't studied, Fernando made a fool of himself in front of the class).

 

83. ¡Listo! (OK, great!)

Although not exclusively Colombian, ¡Listo! is probably the most common Colombian slang way to say "OK." This term is also used as an equivalent of "great." Let's see a couple of examples from the following video featuring Cleer and Lida:

Example 1:

Listo. Entonces, armamos el plan y nos vamos a bailar.

OK. So, we made the plan, and we're going dancing.

Caption 50, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

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Example 2:

Listo. Entonces, hasta el sábado.

Great. So, see you Saturday.

Caption 82, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

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84. ¡Ni de vainas! ("Don't even think about it" or "No way")

Example:

"Ni de vainas," que significa, "Ni lo sueñes" o "No lo haré".

"Ni de vainas" ["Don't even think about it" or "No way"], which means, "Don't even think about it" or "I won't do it."

Captions 44-45, Carlos explica Vocabulario: La palabra “vaina”

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85. paila (too bad, bummer, to be in trouble)

Example:

Si Jorge no pasa el examen final, ¡paila! (If Jorge doesn't pass the final exam, he's in trouble!)

Keep in mind that people sometimes use the plural form, "pailas."

 

86. parar bolas (to pay attention)

Example:

Hermanito, pare bolas.

Little brother, pay attention.

Caption 2, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 9

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87. pilas (watch out)

Example:

Pilas. Las viejas van en camino.

Watch out [literally: "Batteries"]. The old ladies are on their way.

Caption 53, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 4

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88. poner los cachos (to cheat on someone)

Although the Colombian slang term poner los cachos literally means "to put horns on" someone, this is a slang term for cheating. 

Example:

Luis descubrió que Virginia le está poniendo los cachos (Luis found out that Virginia is cheating on him).

 

89. ¡Qué boleta! (How embarrassing!)

Example:

Fredy llegó borracho al funeral. ¡Qué boleta! (Fredy arrived drunk to the funeral. How embarrassing!)

 

90. ¡Qué chimba! (How cool!)

As you can see, there are various Colombian slang words for the English equivalent "cool." In fact, this word is often used in the expression "¡Qué chimba!" (How cool!). Let's take a look:

 

Bacano. Chévere. ¡Qué chimba!

Cool. Nice. How cool!

Captions 67-69, Skampida Gustavo y David

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91. ¡Qué berraquera! (Fantastic!/Unbelievable!)

Depending on the context, this expression can be used in a positive or negative way. Let's see an example of the former:

¿Te vas para Nueva York? ¡Qué berraquera! (¿Are you going to New York? Fantastic!)

However, this expression can also be used when you want to point out something negative:

Este es el quinto paro de la semana. ¡Qué berraquera! (This is the fifth strike of the week. Unbelievable!)

 

92. ¡Qué ceba! (gross!)

This slang word is used as an alternative to "¡Guácala!"

 

93. ¡Qué embarrada! (What a pity!)

Similar to the meaning of the verb "embarrar," Colombians use the expression "¡Qué embarrada!" when they want to express disappointment or regret about something.

Example:

Mario perdió su trabajo. ¡Qué embarrada! (Mario lost his job. What a pity!)

 

94. ¡Qué jartera! (What a pain in the butt!/How boring!/How annoying!)

Example:

¡Qué jartera esta fiesta! (How boring this party [is]!)

 

95. ¡Qué mamera! (What a pain in the butt!/How boring!/How annoying!)

This is another way of saying "¡Qué jartera!" and is a very common Colombian slang expression. 

Example:

Este domingo tengo que trabajar. ¡Qué mamera! (I have to work this Sunday. What a pain in the butt!)

 

96. ¡Qué oso! (How embarrassing!)

Example:

El alcalde llegó borracho a la reunión. ¡Qué oso! (The mayor arrived drunk to the meeting. How embarrassing!)

 

97. ¡Qué vaina! (What a pity!)

Example:

"¡Qué vaina!" "Qué vaina" es una expresión que usamos cuando hay un problema o cuando algo malo ocurrió.

"¡Qué vaina!" [What a pity!] "Que vaina" is an expression we use when there's a problem or when something bad happened.

Captions 34-36, Carlos explica Vocabulario: La palabra “vaina”

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98. Quiubo (What's up/ Hi)

"Quiubo" comes from the expression "¿Qué hubo?" (What's up?) An alternative spelling for "quibuo" is "kiubo."

Example:

¿Quiuboquiubo, linda? ¿Cómo vas?

What's upwhat's up, beautiful? How are you?

Caption 3, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 8

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¡Quiubo, parce! (What's up, dude?/ Hi, dude!) would be a very typical Colombian slang expression using two of the words we have introduced you to today. 

 

99. ser una nota (to be awesome)

Literally, "una nota" is "a note." However, when you say that someone or something "es una nota," you are saying that someone or something is awesome or nice:

¡Claudia es una nota! (Claudia is awesome!)

 

100. ¡Ya dijo! (Yeah, right!)

Example:

-En dos años voy a ser millonario. -¡Ya dijo!

-In two years, I will be a millionaire. -Yeah, right!

 

And that's it! Did you enjoy this lesson about Colombian slang? We hope so. Before we go, we have a challenge for you. Are you able to understand the following short conversation?:

 

-¡Quiubo parce!, ¿bien o qué?

-Más o menos. Ayer mi novia se fue a una rumba y me puso los cachos.

-¡Uy! ¡Qué embarrada! ¿Y con quién?

-Con el mono ese que camella con ella en la oficina.

-¡Ah! Ese man es un gallinazo.

-Así es llave. ¡Gallinazo e inmamable! 

 

Did you get that? If not, we invite you to double-check those slang words and phrases we covered throughout the article. And please, send us your comments and questions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

 

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Beyond Cansado/Enojado: Describing Feelings of Tiredness or Anger in Spanish

Unfortunately, we all have times when we feel tired (cansado) or angry (enojado). So, how can we describe these emotions in Spanish, beyond those basic terms? In this lesson, we will go over some more evocative expressions to explain how you feel, say, after a hard day at the office or when you are sick and tired of arguing with that certain someone once more.

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Feeling Tired

There are several adjectives and phrases to show that we have run out of energy, one of which is estar agotado/a (to be exhausted):

 

Yo también estoy agotada.

I am also exhausted.

Caption 27, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 5

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In addition, the girls on Muñeca Brava, who are always colorful in their vocabulary and ready to share their emotions, give us three expressions in a row!

 

Te juro, Mili, que estoy muerta. No doy más. Knockout.

I swear to you, Mili, that I'm dead tired. I'm exhausted. Knocked out.

Captions 2-3, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 2

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Sometimes we are so tired that we tend to get irritable, and, in this kind of limbo before anger itself, you might feel agobio or fastidio. Unlike the previous examples, feeling agobiado or fastidioso cannot result from physical activity since these terms are related to your emotions. 

 

de un tipo que está agobiado.

of a guy who is overwhelmed.

Caption 60, Bersuit Vergarabat EPK - Part 2

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Feeling Angry

On those other days when we are just plain mad, vocabulary like cabreado (annoyed), harto (sick and tired), and arrecho (angry) might come in handy. 

Bronca/rabia (annoyance)

 

It is worth mentioning that both bronca and rabia collocate, or tend to go along with, the same verbs: dar (in this case "to cause"), tener ("to be" or "feel" in these examples), and pasar (when that feeling has "passed," or "ended"):

 

Me da bronca/rabia.    It makes me angry/annoys me.

Tengo bronca/rabia.       I'm angry/furious.

Se me pasó la bronca/rabia.    I'm not angry anymore. 

 

me empezó a apretar y lo que más bronca me dio que me...

he started to squeeze me and what annoyed me the most [was] that...

Caption 14, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 7

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que una forma de manejar la rabia es aceptar que tengo rabia y por qué,

that a way to manage rage is to accept that I feel rage and why,

Captions 51-52, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 1

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Other useful adjectives are podrido/a (informal, colloquial), which is common in Argentina, or encabronado/a, which is common in Spain:

 

Mira, mi madre y vos me tienen podrido.

Look, I'm sick and tired of you and my mother.

Caption 30, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 3

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Sacar de quicio/sacar de las casillas  (to make someone lose their temper)

 

On an episode of El Aula Azul's La Doctora Consejos, we learn the expression sacar de quicio (to annoy someone) and recommend watching this video to hear several examples of this expression:

 

¿qué cosas te sacan de quicio?

what things do you find annoying?

Caption 65, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y sentimientos

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This same video contains another idiom with a similar meaning that also uses the verb sacar:

 

¡Eso sí que me saca de mis casillas!

That really drives me crazy!

Caption 77, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y sentimientos

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And when someone has lost his or her temper, you might hear others say "Está sacado/a" (He/she lost it).

 

 

Estar hasta la coronilla

 

This additional idiom can be useful if you feel you've had enough and are short of patience:

 

Muy bien, estaba hasta la coronilla. 

Just great, I was fed up.

Caption 16, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 4

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Additional Verbs Meaning "to Make Someone Mad" (or Worse!)

Some other common verbs that can be used when something or someone "makes you angry" (or perhaps the less polite "pisses you off") include joder, reventar, sacar, embolar, and cabrear. In Spain, joder is also used as an extremely common exclamation (meaning anything on the spectrum of curse words from "Damn!" to worse), and in many countries, it can also mean "to party, "joke around with," or "kid" someone. 

 

Me revienta que me digas "te lo dije."

I hate it when you say "I told you so."

Caption 35, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 10

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Keep in mind that, as all these verbs are informal and could potentially be perceived as rude outside the company of friends, it is always safer to go with more neutral verbs like enojar, irritar, molestar, or enfadar to express the idea that something has "made you mad." In doing so, you will also avoid regionalisms that could cause confusion across different Spanish dialects. 

 

Context Is Always Key

Some words can mean either angry or, of all things, horny! As a misunderstanding in this realm could be embarrassing, always analyze the context. In Argentina, for instance, the very informal calentarse or estar caliente can have either meaning. 

 

Bueno, Llamita, pero eso tiene solución; no te calentés.

Well, Llamita, but that has a solution; don't get mad.

Captions 65-66, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 5

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The same thing happens across countries with the word arrecho. While arrecho means "angry" in Venezuela, in Colombia it can either mean "cool" or, once again, "horny." A bit confusing, right?

 

Yabla's video Curso de español Expresiones de sentimientos elaborates on this and other expressions of emotion:

 

Entonces, "arrecho" en Venezuela significa enojado, pero en otros países significa otra cosa diferente

So, "arrecho" in Venezuela means mad, but in other countries it means different things

Captions 49-50, Curso de español Expresiones de sentimientos

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The word arrecho is also used by the Colombian band ChocQuib Town, with its alternative meaning:

 

Y si sos chocoano, sos arrecho por cultura, ¡ey!

And if you are from Chocó, you are horny by culture, ay!

Caption 20, ChocQuibTown Somos Pacifico

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That's all for now. We hope that you have found these alternative manners of talking about tiredness and anger useful (and that you don´t need to use them too often)! And don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments

 

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Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (In Spanish)

As the old song goes, "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," in any language! That said, as there are an abundance of ways to describe the concept of "breaking up" in a relationship in Spanish, we thought we'd introduce you to several, many of which are featured in videos from our Yabla Spanish library. 

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Ways to Say "to Break Up" in Spanish

Interestingly, many common verbs with different meanings in everyday use can also mean "to break up" in Spanish in certain contexts. The way one chooses to speak about "breaking up" in Spanish will depend upon both regional tendencies and personal preference. Let's take a look at some of them:

 

1. Acabar con (alguien)

 

Starting with an example from our lesson on the verb acabar, literally meaning "to finish with," acabar con is one manner of saying "to break up" in Spanish:

 

Pienso acabar con mi novio.

I'm planning to break up with my boyfriend. 

 

2. Terminar (a alguien) 

 

The Spanish verb terminar also means "to finish," but it can also mean "to break up." So, naturally, terminar a alguien (literally "to finish someone") means "to break up with" that person. We encounter these expressions a lot in Colombian series like Los Años Maravillosos and Confidencial: El rey de la estafa:

 

Van a terminar.

They're going to break up.

Caption 64, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 1

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Andrea, Andrea, no me diga que es en serio que usted me va a terminar.

Andrea, Andrea, don't tell me it's serious that you're going to break up with me.

Caption 47, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 13

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3. Cortar 

 

Literally meaning "to cut" or "cut off," cortar is yet another Spanish verb used to speak about "breaking up" with someone:

 

No está enamorado de Andrea y no sabe cómo cortarla.

He's not in love with Andrea and doesn't know how to break up with her.

Caption 89, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 1

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4. Dejar 

 

The Spanish verb dejar means "to leave." Let's look at an example where the verb dejar in the preterite tense has been translated as "broke up with":

 

Salía con un chico, pero la dejó hace dos semanas.

She was dating a guy, but he broke up with her two weeks ago.

Captions 54-55, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y persona ideal

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Although this sentence may alternatively have been translated as "he left her two weeks ago," the English expression "to leave someone" is arguably used more commonly to talk about abandoning a longer-term relationship. So, in this context, where someone appears to have been dating someone for a shorter time, "to break up with" serves as a viable translation for the verb dejar

 

5. Pelearse

 

Although the Spanish verb pelearse typically means "to fight," "have an argument," or even "come to blows with," in certain countries like Argentina, it can also mean "to break up":

 

More, vos acabas de pelearte con Tomás,

More [Morena], you just broke up with Tomas,

Caption 49, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 1

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That said, should you hear se pelearon (literally "they fought") or están peleados (they're in a fight), additional clarification may be required. While in certain regions or contexts, these two utterances might simply describe people "in a fight" or "mad at each other," in others, they can mean "they broke up," "split up," or "are broken up" temporarily. 

 

6. Romper con 

 

The verb romper in Spanish can mean to "to break," as in an object, but when combined with the preposition con (with), it can additionally mean "to break up":

 

Ella rompió con su novio hace dos semanas.

She broke up with her boyfriend two weeks ago. 

 

Of course, the verb romper could also be used to describe the "breaking" of one's heart following the breakup: 

 

A las niñas, les rompen el corazón.

Girls, they get their hearts broken [literally, "they break their hearts"].

Captions 44-45, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 7

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Additional Spanish "Breakup" Verbs

Vamos a terminar ("Let's conclude," in this context) this lesson with two terms that should be easy to remember since they are very similar to their English counterparts:

 

7. Separarse

 

The Spanish verb separarse means "to get separated":

 

Pasa que mis viejos se separaron, por eso.

It so happens that my parents got separated, that's why.

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 6

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8. Divorciarse

 

As you might guess, the Spanish verb divorciarse means "to get divorced":

 

Pero... como mis papás se divorciaron cuando yo tenía dos años y mi mamá no se volvió a casar...

But... since my parents got divorced when I was two years old, and my mother didn't remarry...

Captions 54-55, La Sub30 Familias - Part 2

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Now that we've provided you with a multitude of ways to say "to break up" in Spanish, te dejamos. But don't worry! We're not breaking up with you. We're just saying goodbye for today— and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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Top 10 Ways to Say Goodbye in Spanish (Standard and Slang)

Do you know how to say goodbye in Spanish? Believe it or not, there are many different ways to say goodbye in Spanish. In this lesson, we will review some of the standard terms you can use as well as other alternative ways of saying goodbye in Spanish slang. Let's take a look.

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Adiós: The Top Choice for Saying Goodbye in Spanish

If you want to know the most standard way of saying goodbye in Spanish, adiós is your go-to term. Let's hear how to pronounce it:

 

Adiós. -Adiós.

Goodbye. -Goodbye.

Caption 50, Cita médica - La cita médica de Cleer

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Bueno, mucho gusto, Ana. -Mucho gusto.

Well, nice to meet you, Ana. -Nice to meet you.

Adiós. -Adiós.

Goodbye. -Goodbye.

Captions 67-68, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 3: ¿De quién es esta mochila?

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How to Say Goodbye in Spanish Using the Preposition hasta 

The preposition hasta (usually translated as "until" or "even" in English) is quite useful when we want to say bye to someone. While the following expressions are not as literal as adiós, people use them often when they want to say goodbye in Spanish. The idea here is, "Let's meet at some point in the future." Let's take a look:

 

1. Hasta luego (See you later)

 

Así que, ¡nos vemos muy pronto!

So, see you very soon!

¡Hasta luego!

See you later!

Captions 83-84, Amaya - Mi burro Pepe

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2. Hasta pronto (See you soon)

 

¡Adiós, amigos de Yabla, hasta pronto!

Bye, friends of Yabla, see you soon!

Caption 51, Ariana - España

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3. Hasta la próxima (See you next time)

 

Gracias por su atención y hasta la próxima.

Thank you for your attention, and see you next time.

Hasta luego.

See you later.

Captions 74-75, Carlos explica - Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para'

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4. Hasta mañana (See you tomorrow)

 

Hasta mañana, Ivo. -Chau, mi amor. -Chau.

See you tomorrow, Ivo. -Bye, my love. -Bye.

Chau, papá. -Chau.

Bye, dad. -Bye.

Captions 79-80, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión

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5. Hasta la vista (So long)

 

Bueno, os esperamos por Madrid.

Well, we await you in Madrid.

¡Hasta la vista!

So long!

Captions 91-92, Marisa en Madrid - Parque de El Retiro

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Chao or Chau: Your Easiest Options for Saying Goodbye in Spanish Slang

Are you wondering how to say bye in Spanish in the shortest possible way? Look no further. These slang terms, taken from the standard Italian manner of saying goodbye (ciao), are the words you're looking for. Let's see how to pronounce chao and chau:

 

Bueno... Nos vemos en la casa, chao.

OK... See you at home, bye.

Caption 53, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 9

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...porque ahora tengo un compromiso. Claro.

...because now I have an appointment. [Is that] clear?

Chau, Andrea. -Chau.

Bye, Andrea. -Bye.

Captions 21-22, Muñeca Brava - 2 Venganza

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Three More Ways to Say Goodbye in Spanish

Instead of the previous choices, some people tend to use the following expressions when saying goodbye:
 

1. Nos vemos (See you)

 

Ha sido un placer estar con vosotros.

It has been a pleasure being with you.

Nos vemos. Un saludo.

See you. A greeting.

Captions 34-35, Azotea Del Círculo de Bellas Artes - Andrés nos enseña una nueva perspectiva

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2. Cuídate (Take care)

 

Sobres, cuídate.

OK, take care.

Caption 7, El Puesto de Frutas de Javier - Haciendo una ensalada de frutas

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3. Suerte (Good luck)

 

Solamente quería saber si usted estaba vivo todavía.

I just wanted to know if you were still alive.

Suerte, Magoo.

Good luck, Magoo.

Captions 36-37, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1

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That's all for today. We invite you to use all the expressions we mentioned throughout this article, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions
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Afuera vs Fuera

Let's talk about adverbs! In this lesson, we have a big match: afuera vs. fuera. Do you know the meaning of these two words? Let's explore how to use and pronounce these frequently used Spanish adverbs.

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The meaning of afuera and fuera

As an adverb, afuera refers to a place that is outside of where you are:

 

Todo lo malo me pasa dentro de esta casa, no afuera.

All the bad things happen to me inside this house, not outside.

Caption 20, Muñeca Brava - 18 - La Apuesta

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Similarly, the adverb fuera is used to talk about the exterior part of something:

 

Puedes ir a tomar café a una cafetería fuera de la escuela.

You can go to drink coffee at a cafe outside of the school.

Caption 17, El Aula Azul - Las actividades de la escuela

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Using afuera and fuera to indicate movement

If you want to indicate that someone is going outside, toward the exterior, or even abroad (with verbs of movement), you can use either afuera or fuera. Both forms are correct and are used indistinctly in both Spain and Latin America. Let's see some sentences:

 

Vení, vamos afuera.

Come, let's go outside.

Caption 28, Yago - 9 Recuperación

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Cuando los cuatro compañeros nos fuimos a estudiar fuera.

When we four friends went to study abroad.

Caption 7, Escuela de Pádel Albacete - Hablamos con José Luis

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Using afuera and fuera to indicate a condition or state

When you want to indicate that someone or something is outside, or when you want to make a reference to the outside world, you use fuera in both Spain and Latin America. However, it is also very common to use afuera throughout the Americas. Let's hear the pronunciation of these two words one more time:

 

¡Qué lindo que está afuera! ¿No? El clima está divino.

How nice it is outside! No? The weather is divine.

Caption 15, Muñeca Brava - 1 Piloto

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Me doy una buena ducha aquí fuera.

I take a good shower here outside.

Caption 31, Amaya - "Mi camper van"

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The interjections afuera and fuera

Both afuera and fuera can be used as interjections. Generally speaking, you use these interjections when you ask someone to leave a place. 

 

¡Suficiente, fuera de mi casa!

Enough, out of my house!

Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 4

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Idiomatic expressions with fuera

There are several useful idiomatic expressions with the word fuera. Let's see some of them:

 

Este hombre vive fuera de la realidad, Señoría.

This man lives outside of reality, Your Honor.

Caption 36, Los casos de Yabla - Problemas de convivencia

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Su ropa está fuera de moda.

His clothes are out of fashion.

Caption 8, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam

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No hay nada fuera de lo normal.

There isn't anything out of the ordinary.

Caption 38, Negocios - Empezar en un nuevo trabajo

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That's it for today. We hope this review helps you to use correctly the adverbs fuera and afuera. As you could see throughout this lesson, more than talking about afuera vs fuera, we should really treat this subject as afuera = fuera! Keep that in mind and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions

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The Spanish Interjection Hala: Meaning and Spelling of a Popular Slang from Spain

Today, we'll share with you the meaning of the interjection hala, a short slang term that's typical of the kind of Spanish people speak in Spain. Let's look at the meaning, uses, and spelling of this interjection.

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The meaning of hala

When it comes to its various meanings, hala can be used in the following ways:

 

1. To express encouragement or disbelief. It works like the English expression "come on":

 

Bueno, y si no puedes... ten cuidado.

Well, and if you can't... be careful.

Oh... No importa.

Oh... It doesn't matter.

¡Hala!, ¡hasta luego! -OK.

Come on! See you later! -OK.

Captions 55-58, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

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2. To express surprise, sort of like "Wow".

3. To get someone's attention, just like the English "Hey". 

4. To express the regular, repetitive beat of a march. In this case, you need to repeat the interjection (hala, hala).

 

The spelling: hala, ala and alá

One of the easy things about this interjection is its spelling. In fact, the only thing you need to know is that you can use either hala, ala, or alá to express the things we mentioned above. 

 

What does "hala Madrid" mean?

As you know, soccer/football is a big thing in Spain. Even if you aren't a soccer/football fan, you are probably familiar with the Real Madrid and Barcelona teams. But why are we mentioning this? Well, because one of the most common expressions you'll hear from Real Madrid fans is "hala Madrid," which means "let's go Madrid". In this case, hala conveys its meaning as an expression of encouragement.

 

Ala in Colombia

Finally, it is worth saying that some people in Bogota, Colombia, tend to use the interjection ala when they want to get the attention of someone in a very nice way.

 

It can also be used to express surprise. In fact, one of the most typical expressions you can use in Bogota for indicating surprise is "Ala carachas," which is sort of saying "Wow". If you ever go to Bogota and use that expression among locals, you'll be sure to blow everyone away.

 

And that's it for this lesson. We hope you liked it and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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Top 10 Argentinian Slang Words You Need to Know

Unlike other Latin American countries, Spanish in Argentina was heavily influenced by Portuguese and Italian languages (from the massive immigration at the beginning of the 20th century). With that being said, let's take a look at some of the most popular Argentine slang words and terms:

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1. Guacho  (Meaning: Orphan)

It’s a term that seems to come from wakcha in Quechua, the language spoken by the indigenous people in Cuzco, Perú. 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. -¡Padre!

No no, no, she hasn't got parents, she's a bastard. -Father!

Caption 11, Muñeca Brava - 1 Piloto - Part 1

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2. Mina (Meaning: Girl)

The term comes from the old lunfardo [criminal slang tango composers used in many of their lyrics] and contrary to what most people think it’s not a derogatory term although it’s not a word you’d use in environments of respect such as your workplace, university or at a doctor’s office.

 

¿No viste esa mina?

Did you see that chick?

Caption 35, Muñeca Brava - 1 Piloto - Part 6

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3. Dar bola (Meaning: Pay attention) 

The origin of the expression is unclear. The most widely accepted story is that comes from the 1920s in Argentina, when students playing hookey would go to the bars to play pool. Since most of them were new players, and the risk of them tearing the green felt surface of the pool table increased with every kid who arrived, the waiters were given the order “not to give them balls” which was also a way to “ignore” them. So today, used in its negative form, it means “to ignore” and used in its affirmative form it means just the opposite “to pay attention”.

 

Pero si a vos no te dio bola. ¿Qué te importa?

But she didn't even look at you. What do you care?

Caption 7, Muñeca Brava - 1 Piloto - Part 7

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4. Boludo (Meaning: Fool, idiot, dude)

Boludo is a former insult that has been misused so much that it has become something else. The origin of this word (that can be used as an adjective or noun) lies in the term bolas (balls) and yes, someone boludo is someone with big balls. It’s not clear why it has been used to describe a fool, though. However, in Argentina almost every informal sentence has the word boludo or boluda in it. It has become a way to address someone you are very, very familiar with.

 

Sí, pero a veces se cae uno a la tierra, boludo, y camina.

Yes, but sometimes one falls to the earth, idiot, and walks.

Caption 39, Muñeca Brava - 48 - Soluciones - Part 4

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5. Chirusa (Meaning: Vulgar woman)

It’s an old term that has its origins in the 1920s. It's a derogative way to call women of lower classes and/or those women whose lack of manners make them look like someone from a lower class. There’s a Tango song called “Chirusa” about a poor woman who fell in love with a rich man who was only toying with her. In Muñeca Brava, Milagros is considered a chirusa because of her status as a maid at a manor full of rich people.

 

¿Qué es chirusa?

What is chirusa?

Y, se podría considerar una mujer vulgar.

And, it could be considered a vulgar woman.

Captions 45-46, Carlos y Cyndy - Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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6. Bailanta (Meaning: Club/Discotheque)

The bailanta is a discotheque where they play cumbia, and other kinds of tropical music. In Argentina, people who go to the bailanta are considered of a lower class. As it happens in the episodes of Muñeca Brava, Mili goes to the bailanta because she likes the kind of popular music they play there and also the social environment of the place.

 

You can see that Ivo is disgusted by it because he comes from a wealthy family and probably goes dancing at other discotheques where they play electronic music or other kinds of tunes associated with a higher socio-cultural level.

 

Tranquilizate. Vamos a la bailanta, loco.

Calm down. Let's go the club, man.

Caption 71, Muñeca Brava - 18 - La Apuesta - Part 2

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7. Colectivo (Meaning: Bus)

The origin of the word colectivo comes from the early days of taxicabs. When, because of the economy, taxis became too expensive for a large portion of the population, they put in place a sort of carpooling service where two or more strangers would share the ride and split the cost. As more and more people began sharing the same taxi, transportation companies saw this trend as an opportunity and built larger taxicabs which they called colectivo coming from the word “collective” since they transported a group of people in them.

 

In Argentine slang, another way to refer to the colectivo is bondi. Since the colectivo is one of the least expensive ways to travel, a recently founded airline in Argentina named themselves “flybondi” and offer low-cost flights within Argentina.

 

No crea, ¿eh? En bondi, eh... en colectivo, llego al toque.

Not really, huh? By bondi [slang for "bus"], um... by bus, I get here in a jiffy.

Caption 32, Muñeca Brava - 47 Esperanzas - Part 6

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8. Che (Meaning: Hey)

Argentinians use the word che in almost every sentence. It's an interjection with no specific meaning, used to get someone's attention. It is unclear where the word comes from, although there are several theories. Some people say it comes from the Mapuches indigenous people, in whose language che means “person”.

 

Another theory suggests it comes from the sound someone makes when they want to be heard, very similar to the “pstt” but more like “chh”.  Che is used during conversations (never in formal speech) the same way you would use the word “hey!” or at the end of the sentence, as a tag, in a conversation.

 

Che boluda... ¿qué te pasa? Estás como loca hoy.

Hey silly [potentially insulting, not amongst close friends]... what's up? Today you're like crazy.

Caption 3, Cuatro Amigas - Piloto - Part 3

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9. Rajar (Meaning: To fire someone / To leave)

Rajar connotes urgency. When people use rajar at the moment of firing an employee or when they ask somebody to leave, the idea is to do it “immediately.” Let's see an example:

 

"La voy a hacer rajar". "Rajar", ¿qué significa? Significa "la voy a hacer echar". -Mmm.

"La voy a hacer rajar." "Rajar," what does it mean? It means "I'm going to get her fired." -Mmm.

Captions 72-74, Carlos y Cyndy - Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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10. Arrugar (Meaning: To get scared / get cold feet)

The term arrugar literally means “to wrinkle”. In the context of physical combat, when one of the fighters gets scared, insecure or for any reason doesn’t want to fight, you can easily compare their body language to the action of wrinkling. Today in Argentina the term is used for any situation, not only physical combat. It’s mostly used when somebody dares another person to do something and they agree at the beginning but change their minds at the last minute.

 

Vine porque tengo muchísimas ganas de cobrar mi apuesta. ¿Qué apuesta? ¿No me digas que arrugaste?

I came because I'm eager to collect my bet. What bet? Don't tell me you're backing out?

Captions 10-12, Verano Eterno - Fiesta Grande - Part 8

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With this last term, we have arrived to the end of this lesson about top Argentinian slang and idiomatic expressions. Now that you’re ready to walk around the streets of Buenos Aires we want to leave you with a final challenge. Do you understand the meaning of the following sentence?: 

 

¡Che, boludo, ese colectivo nos lleva a la bailanta! No arrugues ahora, que vamos a conocer muchas minas.

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The Meaning of Bravo in Spanish

Bravo/brava is an adjective with various meanings in Spanish. We use it when we want to say someone is brave or courageous. In some Spanish-speaking countries, however, bravo/brava is also used as a synonym for angry, mad or upset. This adjective can also help us describe the world around us by meaning rough or fierce. Finally, we also use bravo when we want to acknowledge someone's work in a positive way

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Using bravo/brava to describe someone

 

As mentioned above, bravo is synonym for brave or courageous. Let's take a look at the following sentence:

 

Siendo el más bravo de todos, Miguel fue el primero que saltó del trampolín.

Being the bravest of all, Miguel was the first to jump off the diving board.

 

In some countries such as, for example, Colombia, bravo/brava is used when we want to say that someone is angry or upset:

 

Kevin, su novia está muy brava. Deb'...

Kevin, your girlfriend is very mad. You nee'...

En este contexto, "brava" es sinónimo de enojada o enfadada.

In this context, "brava," is a synonym of mad or angry.

Captions 17-18, Carlos comenta - Los Años Maravillosos - Forma de hablar

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Bravo for describing the world around us

 

Bravo is also a very useful word for describing nature. For instance, bravo is a very common adjective when talking about a rough or choppy sea or river. Similarly, when talking about animals, bravo/brava can describe an animal that is fierce

 

El agua estaba muy brava, y soplaba un viento muy fuerte.

The water was very choppy, and a very strong wind was blowing.

Captions 30-31, Guillermina y Candelario - Capitan Candelario

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¡Bravo! Well done!

 

Have you ever been in a theater where people shout "bravo" at the end of a play? Well, in Spanish we also use bravo the same way. However, we also say bravo/brava when we want to tell to someone they did something good, or did a good job. In other words, we use bravo/brava to say "well done" or "good for you."

 

Apart from that, we also use bravo/brava in various specific situations. For example, when you have to do something you don't want to do, you can say you did it "a la brava" (by force). We also use brava/bravo to express a very strong desire:

 

¡Oiga, que sed tan brava!

Hey, what a strong thirst!

Caption 52, Kikirikí - Agua - Part 1

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Bravo/brava is also used in the context of sports:

- Barra brava or barrabrava (a group of hooligans in football/soccer)

- "Hacer barra" (to cheer up someone or a team)

 

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Learning Idiomatic Expressions

We use idiomatic expressions all the time in our conversations. However, learning to use idiomatic expressions in a foreign language is something that most students find particularly challenging. Let’s find out how to say “a piece of cake,” “raining buckets,” “get away with it,” and “feel like” in Spanish.

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In English, when something is extremely easy to do we say that it"s “a piece of cake.” In Spanish, the equivalent expression is pan comido (eaten bread):

porque componer para mí es pan comido.

because for me composing is a piece of cake.

Caption 80, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 9

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In English, there’re several expressions that can be used to express that it’s raining heavily, for example “to rain buckets” or “to rain cats and dogs.” If we want to express the same idea in Spanish we must use the expression llover a cántaros [literally "to rain jugs"]:
 

Sí, llueve a cántaros.

Yes, it's raining buckets.

Caption 45, Español para principiantes - Saludos y encuentros

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In English, when someone manages to do something bad without being punished or criticized for it, we say that he/she “gets away with it.” In Spanish, the phrase used to express the same idea is salirse con la suya:
 

Yo no pienso dejar que esa sifrina se salga con la suya.

I don't plan to let that snob get away with it.

Caption 79, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 10

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Finally, when we want to say that someone has the desire to do something, we use the expression “to feel like.” In Spanish people use the phrase tener ganas de:
 

Si tienes ganas de más aventuras,

If you feel like more adventures,

Caption 20, Marta - Los Modos de Transporte

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¿Tienes ganas de practicar más? [Do you feel like practicing more?]. Try finding more idiomatic expressions in our catalog of videos! And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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Idiomatic Expressions with The Verb Tener

In this lesson, we will review some very useful idioms and expressions with the verb tener (to have).
 

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Very often, we use idiomatic expressions with tener in the present so let’s review the conjugation of this verb in the present tense:
 
Yo tengo | I have
Tú tienes | You have
Él/Ella tiene | He/She has
Nosotros tenemos | We have
Vosotros tenéis | You have
Ellos tienen | They have
 
There are many idiomatic expressions with the verb tener that Spanish speakers use to express physical sensations. These include expressions like tener frío/calor (to be cold/hot), tener hambre (to be hungry) and tener sueño (to be sleepy):

 

Bueno, pero tengo frío.

Well, but I'm cold.

Caption 31, Natalia de Ecuador - Palabras de uso básico

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Y más que tenemos hambre ya a esta hora.

And plus, we're already hungry at this hour.

Caption 106, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

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Tenemos sueño.

We are sleepy.

Caption 38, El Aula Azul - Estados de ánimo

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Apart from physical sensations, we can also use the verb tener to express other more psychological states such as tener miedo (to be afraid), tener ganas (to want/to desire), tener prisa (to be in a hurry) and tener vergüenza (to be ashamed):

 

¡Tengo miedo, tengo miedo, tengo miedo!

I'm afraid, I'm afraid, I'm afraid!

Caption 42, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión

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Siento que te cansaste y tienes ganas

I feel that you got tired and you want

Caption 4, Circo - Velocidades luz

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La gente parece que siempre tiene prisa...

People seem to always be in a hurry...

Caption 38, Maestra en Madrid - Nuria y amigo

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En este momento duda porque tiene vergüenza de ir a la escuela.

At this moment she hesitates because she's ashamed to go to school.

Caption 49, Con ánimo de lucro - Cortometraje

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And finally, don’t forget that you also need to use an idiomatic expression with the verb tener when you talk about age:
 

Tengo veintiún años y soy estudiante de negocios internacionales.

I'm twenty-one years old and I'm a student of international business.

Caption 2, Amigos D.F. - Consejos para la calle

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That's all for now. We challenge you to try finding more idiomatic expressions with the verb tener in our catalog of videos! And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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Irse de boca

Let's continue learning idiomatic expressions that use names of body parts. This lesson focuses on the word boca (mouth).
 

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The expression llevarse algo a la boca (literally "to put something in one's mouth") means "to eat." You can see an example in the following quote from our catalog of videos:

que te lleves algo a la boca. -¡Hombre, algo a la barriga!

you put something in your mouth. -Man, something to put into my belly!

Caption 88, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 10

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Somewhat similar is the expression no tener nada que llevarse a la boca (literally, "to lack something to put in one's mouth"), which basically means "to be very poor."
 
Two very useful phrases using the word boca (mouth) are boca arriba (face up) and boca abajo (face down):
 

Túmbese, boca arriba.

Lay down, face up.

Caption 34, Club de las ideas - Técnico en imagen para diagnóstico

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The expression abrir la boca (to open one's mouth) means "to speak out," "to confess or reveal a secret," or "to spill a gossip," depending on the context:
 

Eso sí, miralo y no abras la boca hasta que volvamos a hablar vos y yo, ¿eh?

Mind you, watch it and don't open your mouth until we speak again, you and I, OK?

Caption 6, Muñeca Brava - 9 Engaños - Part 8

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Also similar is irse de boca (literally "to go mouth on"), that is "to run off at the mouth" or simply "to be indiscreet":
 

No te habrás ido de boca diciéndole la verdad a ese Sirenio, ¿no?

You wouldn't have been indiscreet by telling that Sirenio guy the truth, right?

Caption 52, Yago - 9 Recuperación - Part 12

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El presidente se fue de boca otra vez.
The president ran his mouth off again. 

 

Finally, keep in mind that irse de boca is also a synonym phrase of caerse de boca (to go headlong, to fall flat on your face). This is a very colloquial expression that you probably won't use in a formal situation:

 

Se fue de boca y se fracturó la nariz.
He went headlong and fractured his nose.

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That's all for now. We challenge you to try finding more expressions using the word boca in our catalog of videos! And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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A mano

Let's continue learning idiomatic expressions in Spanish that use body parts. This lesson focuses on the word mano (hand).
 

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The expressions echar una mano (to throw a hand) or dar una mano (to give a hand) mean "to help." Frequently, people use this expression with negation in the interrogative form: ¿no me echas una mano? or ¿no me das una mano? are common ways to ask for help in Spanish:

 

¿No me das una manita con Pablo?

Won't you give me a little hand with Pablo?

Caption 44, Muñeca Brava - 30 Revelaciones - Part 4

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See? You can even throw in a diminutive like manita (little hand)! Native Spanish speakers use diminutives a lot, so you can use this truquito (little trick) to make your Spanish sound more natural.
 
Now, dar una mano (to give a hand, to help) is different from dar la mano (literally, "to give the hand"), which means "to shake hands" or "to hold hands." Usually the verb dar (to give) is used with a pronoun in these expressions. So you can say: le doy la mano (I shake his/her/your hand), nos damos la mano (we shake hands, we shake each other's hands). In other cases the pronoun can be added to the verb dar as a suffix, for example: ¡dame la mano! (shake my hand!), or:

 

En ocasiones más formales también podemos darnos la mano.

For more formal occasions, we can also shake each other's hands.

Captions 11-12, Raquel Presentaciones

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Slightly different is tomar la mano de alguien (to take somebody's hand):

 

Bachué se despidió llorando y tomó la mano de su esposo.

Bachué said goodbye crying and took her husband's hand.

Caption 49, Aprendiendo con Carlos - América precolombina - El mito de Bachué

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If you add the preposition de (by) you get the expression de la mano (by the hand, holdings hands). Tomar de la mano is "to hold by the hand," estar de la mano is "to be holding hands," cruzar la calle de la mano de tu mamá means "to cross the street holding your mom's hand," and caminar de la mano con tu novia means "to walk with your girlfriend holding hands". Here's one more example:

 

Un helado, un paseo, tomados de la mano

An ice cream, a stroll, holding hands

Caption 4, Alberto Jiménez - Causalidad - Part 2

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On the other hand, estar a mano (literally, “to be at hand") means "to be even:"
 

Estaríamos a mano. ¿Eh?

We would be even. Huh?

Caption 30, Muñeca Brava - 2 Venganza - Part 6

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The expression hecho a mano means "made by hand." And the phrase a mano can either mean "by hand":
 

Los que se pueden coger con la mano desde abajo, se cogen a mano.

The ones that can be picked by hand from below are picked by hand.

Captions 88-89, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 16

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or "at hand," which can also be spelled a la mano:

 

 Ponte lo que tengas a [la] mano.
Wear whatever you have at hand.

 
To do something mano a mano (hand in hand) means to do something together:
 

Los investigadores trabajan con los pescadores mano a mano.
The researchers work with the fishermen hand in hand.

 
In Mexico, Dominican Republic, and other Spanish speaking countries, people use mano to shorten hermano/a (brother, sister), just like “bro” and “sis” in English. For example: No, mano, así no se hace (No, bro, that's not how you do it), Oye, mana, vámonos a casa (Hey, sis, let's go home).

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How to Express Support in Spanish

The word in Spanish for empathy is empatía, and the word for sympathy is simpatía. You can combine either noun with verbs like tener (to have), mostrar (to show), or expresar (to express), among others:

 

La gente le tendría simpatía y admiración al mismo tiempo. Y hasta lástima.

People would feel sympathy and admiration for you at the same time. And even pity.

Captions 72-73, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión - Part 3

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To use the verbs mostrar and expresar instead of tener, you might say:
 

La gente le mostraría simpatía | People would show sympathy for you.

La gente le expresaría simpatía People would express sympathy to you.

 

But how can you directly express your sympathy to a person? The expressions te tengo simpatía ("I sympathize with you" but also "I like you" in some contexts) and soy empático contigo (I'm empathetic toward you) are correct but not very colloquial. You can use other expressions instead, for example, estoy contigo (I'm with you):
 
¿Confías en mí? -Sí. Yo estoy contigo.
Do you trust me? -Yes. I'm with you.

Another good way to show support is by simply saying te apoyo (I support you):

Ay, amigui, yo te apoyo.

Oh, friend, I support you.

Caption 8, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 11

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In the case of more serious situations, for example, when receiving bad news about something, the most common way to show your support is by saying lo siento mucho (I'm very sorry), or the more emphatic cuánto lo siento (literally "how sorry I am"). There are different ways to use these phrases, depending on what you want to say. For example:
 
Mi papá está muy enfermo. -Oh, lo siento mucho.
My dad is very sick. -Oh, I'm so sorry.
 
Siento mucho que no puedas visitar a tu familia ahora.
I'm very sorry that you can't visit your family right now.
 
¡Cuánto lo siento que tuvieras que pasar por eso tú sola!
I'm so, so sorry that you had to go through that all by yourself.

Just pay close attention to the context and tone because, like in English, lo siento is also used commonly in less serious situations:

 

Lo siento, pequeña, pero aquí las cosas hay que ganárselas.

I'm sorry, little one, but here things have to be earned.

Captions 30-31, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 5

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You can also use lo siento mucho to offer your condolences. Altenatives include te ofrezco mis condolencias (I offer you my condolences) or recibe mis condolencias (receive my condolences), expressions that many people shorten to just mis condolencias (my condolences), or mis más sentidas condolencias (my heartfelt condolences):
 
Mis condolencias, Sr. Gutiérrez. -Gracias. 
My condolences, Mr. Gutierrez. -Thank you.
 

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Finally, showing support is also about extending a helping hand, right? In Spanish you can use expressions such as ¿en qué te puedo ayudar? (how can I help you?), ¿te puedo ayudar en algo? (can I help you with something?), cuenta conmigo (you can count on me), estoy para lo que necesites (I'm here for whatever you need), among others. A very colloquial expression is echar una mano (to lend a hand):

 

...para echarle una mano a la familia.

...to lend a hand to the family.

Caption 61, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5

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We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions.

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¿De cuándo acá? and Other Rhetorical Questions

In the first installment of Tu Voz Estéreo, our brand new series from Colombia, we hear a conversation between two not very pleasant characters who are planning to steal a guide dog (ಠ_ಠ!) from his blind owner:
 

Ay, pero ¿cómo y de cuándo acá nos gustan tanto los perros?

Oh, but how and since when do we like dogs so much?

Caption 9, Tu Voz Estéreo - Laura - Part 1

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The idiom de cuándo acá (since when) is a rhetorical question. In Spanish, asking ¿Desde cuándo te gustan los perros? is not the same as saying ¿De cuándo acá te gustan los perros? The first one is a simple question, while the second one is asked in order to create a dramatic effect of surprise, outrage, disbelief, or disapproval:

¿Y de cuándo acá eres mi juez?
And since when are you my judge?

Órale, ¿de cuándo acá tan bien vestidos? ¿Dónde es la fiesta?
Wow, since when you dress so well? Where's the party?

There are different ways to translate the English expression "how come?" into Spanish. As a standalone expression, you can use questions such as ¿cómo es eso? (literally "how is that"), ¿cómo así? (literally "how this way"), ¿cómo? (how), or ¿por qué? (why). It's important to add a special emphasis to the way you pronounce these questions:

 

No había nada interesante que hacer. ¿Cómo?

There was nothing interesting to do. - How come?

Captions 38-39, Guillermina y Candelario - Una aventura extrema - Part 1

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But when the expression is part of a sentence (for example, "How come you don't know that?") you can use the idiom cómo que (literally "how that") or cómo es que (how is that):

¿Cómo es que no sabes eso!
How come you don't know that?!

¿Cómo que no trajiste nada de dinero?
How come you didn't bring any money?

You could say that by using this phrase cómo que we're simply omitting the verb decir (to say), as shown in this example:
 

¿Cómo (dices) que te echaron?

How come (you say) they fired you?

Caption 8, Verano Eterno - Fiesta Grande - Part 5

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In Colombia and other Latin American countries, some people add the word así after que:
 

¿Cómo así que chucho?

How come it's the chucho?

Caption 33, Festivaliando - Mono Núñez - Part 4

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Thank you for reading!

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Abbreviated Expressions in Spanish

Let's learn a few abbreviated expressions and words in Spanish. They are really useful to make your Spanish sound more natural:

Entre nos comes from entre nosotros (between us). It's used to indicate that what you are about to say should not be shared with anyone else, it's between you and your interlocutor:

Aquí entre nos, quien sí me importa es Leo.
Between you and me, the one that does matter to me is Leo.

 Instead of por favor, you can simply say porfa:

 

Tranquilo, tranquilo. -Tranquilo, pibe, tranquilo. -Gardel, porfa... -Pero...

Calm down, calm down. -Calm down, boy, calm down. -Gardel, please... -But...

Caption 55, Yago - 11 Prisión - Part 5

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Some people prefer to use porfis for a more playful or silly tone:

 

Porfis, porfis, reporfis.

Pretty please, pretty please, extra pretty please.

Caption 58, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 10

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As in English, there are many words that are usually abbreviated in Spanish. For example most people say bici instead of bicicleta (bicycle), moto instead of motocicleta (motorcycle), refri instead of refrigerador (fridge), conge instead of congelador (freezer), compa instead of compadre (buddy), depa instead of departamento (apartment), or peli instead of película (movie). 

 

A mí que ni me busquen, compa

For me, don't even look, buddy

Caption 51, DJ Bitman - El Diablo

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y ahí nos mo'... nos movíamos en bici,

and from there we mo'... we would move around by bike,

Caption 4, Blanca y Mariona - Proyectos para el verano

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Another classic example of an abbreviated expression in Spanish is the use of buenas as a greeting instead of buenas tardes, buenas noches, or buenos días:

 

¡Muy buenas, Mar! -Encantada. -Soy de 75 Minutos.

Very good afternoon, Mar! -Delighted. -I'm from 75 Minutes.

Caption 5, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 6

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It's also common to use abbreviated versions of names and titles. For example you can use abue instead of abuela (grandmother), ma or pa instead of mamá (mother) and papá (father), poli instead of policía (police, cop), profe instead of profesor (teacher), secre instead of secretaria (secretary), dire instead of director (principal), ñor and ñora instead of señor (sir) and señora (madam) [or seño instead of both], peques instead of pequeños (the little ones, kids), etc. 

 

Felipe López. -Yo lo planché ahorita. -Acá, profe.

Felipe Lopez. -I'll iron it right now. -Here, Teach.

Caption 43, Misión Chef - 2 - Pruebas - Part 2

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Using the Word "Sea" - Subjunctive | Verb Ser (to be)

The present subjunctive of the verb ser (to be) is the same in both the first- and third-person singular: sea. This little word is used profusely in Spanish for the most varied purposes. Let's explore and learn a few.
 

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The first person yo (I) uses sea. You can use it to express other people's wishes or expectations placed on you:
 
Quieres que [yo] sea cuidadosa
You want me to be cautious
 
or to deny hypothetic situations or conditions:
 
No es que yo sea mala...
It's not that I'm bad...
 
The third person (he, she, it) also uses sea. Here are examples using sea to talk about people (he, she). The tricky part is that Spanish usually gets rid of the pronouns él or ella, so you will only hear or see the verb sea.
 

No importa que sea morena, blanca, rubia o canela

It doesn't matter if she is dark-skinned, white, blonde or brown

Caption 52, Alberto Barros - Mano a mano

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¿Cómo me voy a andar fijando en él por más simpático... alto, caballero y bello que sea?

How am I going to go around thinking about him no matter how nice... tall, gentlemanly and handsome he might be?

Captions 74-75, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 11

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It's the same when you use sea to, for example, talk about a poisonous mushroom:
 

Por tocarlo no pasa nada. Aunque sea mortal.

Nothing happens by touching it. Even though it's lethal.

Captions 114-115, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 11

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However, the use of sea extends far beyond that in Spanish. Many idiomatic expressions use it. For example, the expression sea lo que is used to express fatalistic sentiments. Use this model phrase to learn it: sea + lo que dios mande (literally, let it be what God commands). Note that it uses subjunctive plus subjunctive:
 
Que sea lo que dios mande
Let it be God's will.
 
Of course, it's possible to get rid of the pronoun que (that) and combine the phrase with a different verb, like querer (to want):
 

Sea lo que Dios quiera.

Let it be God's will.

Caption 9, Baile Folklórico de Puerto Rico - Los Bailarines

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But there's also the expression sea lo que sea, literally meaning "let it be whatever it might be," or more simply put: "whatever it may be."
 
Sea lo que sea, quiero saber la verdad.
I want to know the truth, whatever that may be.

The shorter expression lo que sea (whatever) is even more common:
 

No es solamente utilizar una moneda local o lo que sea.

It's not just to use a local coin or whatever.

Caption 67, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 4

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...sea hombre, mujer, o lo que sea.

...whether it's a man, a woman or whatever.

Caption 60, Arume - Barcelona

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The clause para que sea (for it to be, so that it is) is also a great addition to your Spanish vocabulary:
 

Entonces, para que sea una sorpresa también.

So, for it to be a surprise also.

Caption 12, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 10

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Para que sea más fácil, le cortáis por la mitad.

So that it is easier, you cut it in half.

Caption 49, Cómetelo - Crema de brócoli - Part 3

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Finally, don't forget the expression o sea (I mean, meaning):
 

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¡O sea, esto es más de lo que cualquier chica popular puede soportar!

I mean, this is more than any popular girl could bear!

Caption 1, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 4

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Good and Cold and Handsome and Hot

We have a gem and we want to share it with you. It's a little slip of the tongue that Rosie, one of the girls in the NPS series, makes while being introduced to a handsome new sports instructor:
 

Ay, a mí me encanta el deporte y más si el "teacher" está así de bueno.

Oh, I love sports and even more if the teacher is so good-looking.

 

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Rosie's subconscious betrayed her for a moment there, because that's apparently not what she wanted to say, as she immediately corrects her blunder:

 

Ah, ay, digo, digo si es tan bueno.

Uh, oh, I mean, I mean if he's so good.


The difference between estar bueno (to be good-looking*) vs ser bueno (to be good) is the classic example used to explain the proper way to combine the verbs estar and ser (both meaning "to be") with adjectives, and to understand the sometimes not-so-subtle difference in meaning that results from it: if you use ser, the adjective is a fundamental characteristic of the person or thing you are describing, whereas if you use estar, it's a description of a mood or appearance, something less intrinsic or something not permanent. Having the chance to learn this rule with a pun is priceless, don't you think?
 
There are many interesting examples of adjectives that change meaning when they are combined with the Spanish verbs ser and estar to describe people. For example, the adjective frío, which means "cold."
 
You can use this adjective with the verb ser to describe a fundamental characteristic of a person or group of persons:
 

Lo siento. Pero acá la gente es fría y distante, es una... -¡Mentira!

Sorry. But here the people are cold and distant, it's a... -Lie!

Caption 73, Yago - 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 3

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But if you say that someone está frío, that can only mean that the person('s body) is actually cold. Here is a grim example:
 

Está en la cama, muerto. Está frío y azul.
He's on the bed, dead. He’s cold and blue.


 That's why, in fact, the combination of the verb estar with the adjective frío is much more commonly used to describe objects, concepts, and beings regarded as inanimate: la noche está fría (the night is cold), la champaña está fría (the champagne is cold), etc. But careful: that doesn't mean that you can't use ser + an adjective to describe such things. You can, especially with concepts and abstract ideas. For example:
 

...si la temperatura exterior es más fría que la interior

...or if the temperature outside is colder than the inside [temperature]

Captions 58-59, Tecnópolis - El Coronil

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En Buenos Aires las noches están frías.
In Buenos Aires nights are cold.

 
Yet that doesn't mean that you can't say en Buenos Aires las noches están frías. It's just definitely less common and actually incorrect if what you mean is that all nights in Buenos Aires are generally cold. So, if you ever find or hear such an assertion using the verb estar instead of ser, it would probably be accompanied by certain implicit or explicit clues that would tell you that the adjective frías (cold) is being used to describe a temporary situation. For example:

En Buenos Aires las noches están frías, por ahora.
In Buenos Aires nights are cold, for now.
 
No salgas, está frío afuera.
Don't go out, it's cold outside.

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 So, you may be wondering: how do I say in Spanish that someone is cold, meaning that the person feels cold? Well, you have to use a different verb instead: tener (to have). Have you ever heard a Spanish native speaker say "I have cold" by mistake? That's why.

 

...y yo nada más tengo frío y hambre y no sé qué hacer.

...and I'm just cold and I'm hungry and I don't know what to do.

Caption 23, Yago - 6 Mentiras - Part 1

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So, unless you are a zombie or another kind of undead creature, don't ever say estoy frío.

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*Just so you know, the adjective bueno in estar bueno is actually closer to "yummy" or "hot" than to "good-looking."

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How to Say "Cool" in Spanish

Do you know how to say "cool" in Spanish as in, "That video is so cool!"? What is the best equivalent of this slangy English word that can have such meanings as "good," "nice," "great," "OK," or "in fashion"? Let's find out.

 

A Headache for Translators

Any translator knows well that translating the word "cool" into Spanish poses a big challenge. In fact, there are many Spanish words for "cool" depending upon the speaker's country or origin. In the following sections, we'll provide you with some of those terms.

 

How to Say "Cool" in Mexican Slang

In Mexico, many people use padre and chido. While the use of padre is more generalized, chido is typically more popular among younger generations:
 

Y, y en cuanto la vi... No, ésta tiene que ser mía. -¡Qué padre!

And, and as soon as I saw it... No, this one has to be mine. -How cool!

Caption 34, Sergio en Monterrey - El ámbar mexicano

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Muy padre, porque la escalera viene así, después tiene un descanso,

Very cool, because the staircase comes down like this, afterwards it has a landing,

Caption 50, El teatro. Conversación con un doble de acción.

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...que está chido que estemos en Estados Unidos.

...it's cool that we're in the United States.

Caption 47, Belanova - Entrevista - Part 3

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Of course, since Mexico has such diverse people living across a vast territory, you'll find other, similar expressions as well. Conmadre (literally, "with mother") and suave (smooth) are good examples. You can hear suave in one of our videos from Monterrey, Mexico. However, it is worth noting that this expression is not very common in that particular city, and the student who utilizes it is from another state.
 

Aunque a veces sí está pesado, está muy suave porque se te van volando.

Although sometimes it is hard, it's very cool because they go flying by for you.

Captions 28-29, Yo estudio en el Tec - de Monterrey

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Versions of "Cool" in Additional Latin American Countries

Many people in countries like Colombia, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador use the word chévere:
 

¡Súper chévere que la... el hijo de uno diga "No, mi mamá es una chef"!

Very cool for one's child to say, "No, my mom is a chef!"

Caption 13, Misión Chef - 2 - Pruebas - Part 1

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In Colombia, a newer alternative to chévere is bacano (and bacán in Cuba, Peru, and Chile):
 

Mi papá era un médico muy bacano, muy interesante.

My father was a very cool doctor, very interesting.

Caption 13, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 2

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In Argentina, people tend to use words like copadomasa, and groso:

 

Podemos sacar algo copado esta noche.

We can get something cool tonight.

Caption 87, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema - Part 3

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¡Soy una masa!

I'm so cool!

Caption 69, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema - Part 1

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"Cool" in Spanish from Spain

In Spain, you'll often hear guay:
 

Y realmente la improvisación fue... fue la clave. Era muy guay.

And really the improvisation was... was the key. It was very cool.

Captions 31-32, Blanca y Mariona - Proyectos para el verano

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Sam, tengo esta ropa para ti. Vas a estar guay.

Sam, I have these clothes for you. You're going to look cool.

Caption 23, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2 - Sam va de compras - Part 5

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In the following clip, Carlos (from Colombia) and Xavi (from Spain) talk about how they say the word "cool" in their countries. You will see that the word chulo is used in Spain as an alternative term for the more common guay:

 

¿Qué significa guay? Guay es bueno, chulo, divertido. OK. En Colombia nosotros diríamos chévere o bacano.

What does "guay" mean? "Guay" is good, cool, fun. OK. In Colombia, we'd say "chévere" or "bacano."

Captions 39-41, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y Vosotros

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While the multitude of terms we've provided as equivalents for "cool" by no means constitute an exhaustive list, they should definitely get you started on your journey to express or understand this idea in many Spanish-speaking countries. 

 

How to Say "Cool" in Standard Spanish

We want to remind you that, regardless of the culture, country, or language, slang words are inextricably linked to the cultural or individual identity of the people who use them, and one can never be too respectful of this. In that spirit, it's always wise to learn more "neutral" alternatives to slang. Genialestupendo, and, to a certain extent, bárbaro are a good fit to express the idea of "cool" or its equivalents (and be cool in Spanish as well!). 

 

¿Te parece que tus patrones se enojarán? -¡No, está bárbaro!

Do you think that your bosses would get mad? -No, it's cool!

Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 6

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¡Este grupo está genial!

This group is great!

Caption 27, Raquel - Expresiones para un festival de música.

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¡Muy bien, estupendo!

Very good, great!

Caption 11, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam - Part 5

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The superlative of bueno (good), buenísimo, is also a good alternative:
 

Bueno, buenísimo, como anillo al dedo.

Well, very good, it fits like a glove [literally: like a ring to a finger].

Caption 69, Muñeca Brava 9 Engaños - Part 8

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In other contexts, the non-slang expression, está bien, might be used in a case in which an English speaker might say "that's fine" or "that's cool," while está de moda might be used to indicate that a certain trend, for example, is currently "cool" or in fashion. 

The Easiest (But Not Proper) Way to Say "Cool" in Spanish

By the way, unless you're a purist, you could even go with "cool" in English as many Spanish speakers do frequently these days: 

 

El estilo es súper vanguardista. Un estilo muy cool.

The style is super avant-garde. A very cool style.

Captions 12-13, Arume Barcelona

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Las chicas visten cool para impresionar

The girls dress cool to impress

Caption 25, Dhira La Noche

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That's all for for today. We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. And of course, stay cool!

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