Before traveling to either country, having a basic understanding of common phrases, quick hits, and old stand-by sayings will make communication much easier on the ground.
Even though it is more common to see slang in spoken language it does appear in the written language in Spanish language countries on occasion, among younger generations. Nicaraguan Spanish is unique as it is derived of local customs and traditions — and the terminology that has evolved around them. The slang words you hear here won’t be the same as what you hear in Argentina, Panama, or other Spanish-speaking countries.
When visiting Nicaragua, understand these common slang terms before you go to add a dose of humor to your conversations on the ground.
Alright, Okay, let’s do it, or yes thank you. Used to confirm almost everything, among strangers as well as people who know each other well.
¿Taxi? Dale pues. — Taxi? Yes, please!
This is how Nicaraguans refer to a guy or girl. It’s used in common conversation as well as being directed at foreigners.
Hey chele, ¿cómo estás? – Hey dude, how are you?
If there’s a big party in Nicaragua, it’s a ‘bacanal.’ Formal or informal, and referring to organized events and impromptu get-togethers that geta bit out of hand.
¿Vas al bacanal? — Are you going to the party?
Baby or youngest of the family.
La sopa es para el cumiche. — The soup is for the baby.
Guy and young lady, used generally with a bit more respect than ‘chele.’
Ese chaval. — That guy.
I am broke.
¿Vamos al cine?
No, ando palmado.
Should we go to the cinema? No, I am broke.
Liar or someone with a big mouth. It’s not a good thing to be known as a ‘tapudo’ in Nicaragua.
No seas tapudo. — Do not be a liar!
Novio o novia is tbe formal term, but this is how Nicaraguans refer to a girlfriend or boyfriend in casual conversation.
Tu jaña me dijo que era tu cumpleaños. — Your girlfriend told me it was your birthday.
This is how Nicaraguans refer to pretty much anything that could simply be described as a “thing.” Maybe that’s a box, maybe it’s a cupholder, whatever it is, it’s a ‘chunche.’
Pásame el chunche ese. — Pass me that thing.
Cool or awesome! This word is used at quick bouts of excitement, or as a reaction to something the person liked.
Encontré 100 riales en la calle. ¡Deacachimba! – I found 100 riales on the Street. Awesome!
‘Cordobas’ is the real name for Nicaraguan currency but locals call it riales.
Yo no tengo muchos riales. — I don’t have much money.
Expand your Spanish vocabulary beyond slang terms before visiting Nicaragua, and have a better trip for the effort. Learn more about how to talk like a true local by starting with our Spanish Survival Crash Course.
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