Like most Latin American countries where Spanish is spoken (all apart from Brasil), the variety of Spanish in Chile is different to that found in Spain. Chileans have a way with words and some would say a different way of expressing their thoughts. A slang has developed that is forever evolving, more so with each new generation. So ‘Chilenismos’ as you might call them build up over time with more and more included in the national vocabulary.
Here are some examples of what we mean!
So, to say “Que plancha!” literally translates as “What an iron” but it really means “How embarrasing!” Or, “Estoy pato”, translated literally means “I am a duck” but of course the real meaning is somewhat different. It means “I have no money” or “I’m skint!”.
These slang terms and phrases bring a bit of colour to Chilean language and arguably give an extra identity to Chilean people.
It might be that some Chileans use it to sound cool but really it’s part of the Chilean DNA, encrypted in the culture.
Here’s a few Chilenismos to get you started!
|Avispate||wasp yourself||wake up!|
|Salta pa’l lado||jump to the other side||come off it! (I don’t believe it)|
|Cachai?||To catch||to understand|
|Eres seco para algo||you are dry for something||you are the best at doing something|
|A donde la viste?!||where did you see that?||no way!|
|Agarrar papa||grab a potato||to take advantage of a situation|
|Huevon||big egg||idiot, or friend, depending on the context.|
|Al tiro||To pull||straight away|
|Creerse la muerte||he thinks he is death||he loves himself|
|Tiene cueva||he has a cave||he is lucky|
|Dejar la escoba||to leave a broom||to make a mess|
|Buena onda||a good wave (sea)||great stuff, cool.|
|No estar ni ahi||I am not even there||I don’t care|
|Ohh esta peluda la prueba||the test is hairy||the test is really difficult|
|Péscame||fish me||listen to me|
|Eres pesado||you are heavy||you are being a nuisance|
|Te fuiste al chancho||you went to the pig||you are being ludicrous, unrealistic|
|Echar al agua||to chuck some water||he let the cat out of the bag|
|Mala/buena cueva||a bad/good cave||bad/good luck!|
|arreglarse los bigotes||to sort out your moustache||to have already arranged a deal in secret|
|Mina/o||mine (as in gold)||good looking woman/men|
|Te voy a subir y bajar||I’m going to take you up and down||I am really going to tell you off|
|Dedos crespos||curly fingers||being unhelpful|
|Sacar la cresta||to pull the crest/comb||I am goint to kill you|
|que papa||what a potato||really easy|
|Patas negras||black feet||a lover|
|Córtala!||to cut it||cut it out!|
|Marca chancho||a piggy label||a no name label (clothes, shoes, etc)|
|Eres paracaidista||you are a parachutist||a gate crasher|
If you are insterested in lerning more “chilenismos” Prof. Jaime Campusano has written a book about it!