Argentinian Spanish: What makes it unique? Many would say it is the variety of Argentinian Slang Terms.
The spelling doesn’t change amongst territories like it does in British and American English; what varies most is actually the vocabulary, in particular, the slang, and the customs, which are tied to local cultural references.
The Argentinian accent is beautiful, but it does make the language much harder to understand for beginners. Many people say the Argentinians sound a bit like Italians, but who speak Spanish (though we’ve heard plenty of Argentinians dispute this claim!)
Sometimes even native Spanish speakers form Mexico or Spain have a hard time understanding Argentinians because of their thick accents, whether or not the rumors of Italian influence are true.
Additionally, Argentinians also speak much quicker and use a different way to refer to others, Vos.
But the main thing you need to know before traveling to Argentina are the basic Argentinian slang terms.
This is the term for Argentinian-Uruguayan Spanish, derived from the Río de la Plata Basin of Argentina and Uruguay.
It is also referred to as River Plate Spanish or Argentine Spanish. This is the most widely-spoked dialect in Spanish to employ “vos” in both the written and verbal form of the language.
This version of Spanish is most similar to dialects spoken in Eastern Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, and whether or not Argentinians want to identify with the Italians, their version of Spanish generally uses the intonation of Neapolitan language of Southern Italy.
Not everyone speaks this way, however.
Argentinian Slang Terms
Que mala leche
“What bad milk” refers to having bad luck. You’ll often hear this phrased as “Tener mala leche,” which means “to have bad milk” or “Tengo mala leche,” I have bad milk.
Estar remando en dulce de leche
“To row in dulce de leche” is the literal translation, but this term refers to being in a sticky spot and having to figure out how to get yourself out of it.
Ir a los bifes
They love their steak in Argentina, so “to go to the steaks” is meant as a common way to say “get to the point” or “get to the good stuff.”
Whenver something is exceptional or more than it seems, use “Re.” It basically means “very” or “super,” like Re Copado, which means “Super Awesome!”
Mango is the Argentinian slang term for money, which is the Argentinian peso. It’s similar to how Americans say “buck” or “clam.”
Quilombo means disaster in the casual, social sense — like how someone might describe the current political climate or the results of last night’s football match.
As an American might say, “You tell ‘em brother!”, an Argentinian says “La Posta!”. It basically means, “that’s the truth!”
This phrase means, Duh, or a sarcastic incarnation of “Oh, really?” It can also be loosely used to mean, “No Shit, Sherlock!”
“Hey, dude!” This is a common, casual greeting used daily in Argentina.
Referring to either a male or female (hence the two terms), this is the casual way of saying guy, girl, chick, bro, or dude.
Estar al horno (con papas)
This phrase, which translates literally to “in the oven with potato chips”, refers to a person who is in hot water. It’s not for light use, but for when something is actually very wrong.
Want to learn more Argentinian slang?
Familiarize yourself as much as possible before your trip! You’ll thank yourself once you touch down in Buenos Aires. Here are the latest articles:
- Common Fruits and Vegetables in Spanish
- Peruvian Slang Terms
- Caminar vs Andar — When To Use Each
- The Difference Between Quebecois and French
- Spanish Present Tense
We encourage you to sign up for a free trial lesson with a native Argentinian Spanish speaker.
To learn more about Mexican slang (and the entire language as a whole), grab our FREE Spanish Survival Crash Course. We’ll send Spanish-learning material including study guides, audio lessons, and more straight to your inbox: