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Se habla espanol sign | © jairojehuel / Pixabay
Se habla espanol sign | © jairojehuel / Pixabay

All the Guatemalan Slang Terms You Need to Know

Picture of Selene Nelson
Freelance writer
Updated: 18 October 2017
If you’re planning to visit Guatemala, you might be aiming to brush up on your Spanish, or to learn a few key phrases to get by. But the thing with Spanish in Latin America is that every country has their own version. The pre-Columbian languages merged with Spanish over the years, meaning that there are big variations of the language in every republic. And then there’s the slang. Guatemala has many slang words that are used frequently in day-to-day conversation, but probably won’t appear in your phrase book. Here are the slang terms you should know.
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While the word agua means “water”, adding an “s” to the end gives it a whole other meaning. “Aguas!” is used as a warning – it’s essentially the Guatemalan version of yelling, “Heads up!” If you hear someone shouting “Aguas!” at you, it’s probably a good idea to duck or run; if they just say it conversationally, it’s more of a cautioning in the manner of, “Be careful.”


Cerote is used a lot in Guatemala, and depending on who’s saying it and how, it can mean very different things. Traditionally, cerote is used offensively; it’s like calling someone a loser. It’s still commonly used this way in Guatemala, but more recently, it’s also been used as a term of endearment when referring to a close (usually male) friend. In this context, it’s like calling someone, “dude,” “mate,” or “bro.”