7 Argentine Phrases You Need to Know

Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Iguazu Falls, Argentina | © Mike/Flickr | https://www.flickr.com/photos/squeakymarmot/142130823/in/photolist-dysxr-skJ7E8-t5jT6s-rKSEyy-remGLA-rmMF57-rJXYSL-rTT8yV-rmYZGK-FNvGSB-siCvCC-AKh1ZZ-nZJrtq-rHBxTw-pXcXBN-s9BroM-QDDTaA-HR2T3c-CLyTxE-5JQqy2-4eHgyz-Fp9Sfd-5xk4S1-oEKCVy-s3kded-5MVHEh-5rYN2u-NHLUz-owmvf7-cB6ssd-AMv1SU-RUsBP-N2RGp-HCCHJG-2GdTTm-2Zih9j-oxq53i-6VvFPx-8WAry-sxSYAz-2SqBe3-seA8nn-rvceab-psj16v-jF9d6d-L5wWh-Ba4D39-95RfJ-acJkY4-eaxGJK
Sorcha O'Higgins

Argentina’s Spanish is a strange and wonderful thing. The language, locally called Castellano, is full of quirks and oddities, and Argentines are fiercely proud of their native slang, or lunfardo. Here are five phrases you should know before coming to Argentina.

Che

‘Che’ is a word that many people will already be familiar with, although they may not know it. Iconic Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara was actually christened Ernesto, and was given the name ‘Che’ because of his prolific use of the word. It is definitely the word you will hear used most in Argentina, and it can mean a number of things. The most common usage means “hey!” or “man.” It is often used at the start of sentences when getting someone’s attention, such as “Che, escuchame,” or “Hey man, listen.” You will also hear it peppering conversation ubiquitously, so it’s no wonder El Che was bestowed with this worthy title.

Che Guevara

Mira Vos!

Mira vos!” literally translates into “Look at you!” which, in English, having someone say this to you would mean you’ve accomplished some sort of achievement. But here it can be translated as someone nodding their head and saying, “Oh, right.” For example, if someone asks you where you’re from, and you say “Canada,” they might nod and say, “Mira vos.” Not that there is anything particularly special to an Argentine about the fact that you’re from Canada, or anywhere else for that matter, but this can be a funny one to get your head around until you’ve heard it a few times.

Pelotudo

Argentines are a fiesty bunch, especially when it comes to traffic and road rage. So it’s natural that things can get heated if there is a traffic incident, and locals will exit their cars and have no qualms about causing a scene right in the middle of the road. A word that you’ll likely hear shouted in a situation like this is “pelotudo,” which means asshole, and it’s common to see it accompanied with lots of hand gestures to really bring home the point.

Boludo

Boludo’ is often heard following ‘che,’ such as “Che, boludo!” Together they mean, “Hey, man!” but by itself boludo can be a term of endearment or an insult, depending on how it is applied. When used with friends, it is an amicable term, and can be thrown in at the start of end of any sentence. With friends it can also be used to mean someone is silly, in a funny way. But when used in a negative way to someone, such as someone who crashes into your car, you might say, “Sos un boludo!” meaning “You’re a complete idiot!”

Los boludos

Viste?

The literal translation of “Viste?” is ”Did you see?” But in Argentina it is used to illustrate or define a point. The usage here kind of means, “You know?” or “You know what I’m talking about?” So, for example, someone might be explaining something to you, and then at the end say, “Viste?” You nod and say, “Si.” No one ever says no to viste.

Escuchame una cosita

Effectively this can be translated into ‘listen’ in the sort of informal way you would say it if you were having a conversation with someone on the phone. The direct meaning in English would be, “Listen to this little thing for me,” but you will hear it peppering exchanges between Argentines at every turn.

La concha de la lora

Perhaps the best and weirdest Argentine phrase is “La concha de la lora,” which literally means, “The shell of the female parrot,” but here it means “the prostitute’s c**t.” This is bandied about shamelessly and you will hear even the most well-to-do citizens using their fair share of vulgarities. The subject can be interchanged for your mother (“la concha de tu madre”) or your sister (“la concha de tu hermana”) at will, and each is as bad as the other.

Parrots

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

X
close-ad
Edit article