panamanian slang terms

This guide to slang terms from Panama is part of our Spanish slang guides, a collection of basic slang for different Spanish-speaking countries.

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 both countries on occasion, among younger generations.

If you plan to visit Panama, understand these common slang terms before you go to add a dose of humor to your conversations on the ground.

Arranque

“Arranque” is how Panamanians refer to a party. Using this term refers to a party that might become rowdy or be more appropriate for adults, while the general term “fiesta” might be used for tourist or family events.

For example:

¡Quiero ir de fiesta este fin de semana! — I want to party this weekend!

Chanti

Where the arranque takes place — a house!

For example:

El arranque es en mi chanti este fin de semana. — The party is at my house this weekend.

Frenes

“Frenes” are who you will arrive to the arranque with — this is Panamanian slang for friends. It’s used among close friends in place of the word “amigos.”

For example:

Mis frenes y yo estaremos allí en breve. — My friends and I will arrive shortly.

Parkin

This is what you and your friends are doing at the arranque — it is a casual way to say partying.

For example:

Yo estaba de parkin con mis amigos. — I was partying with my friends.

Chifear

You don’t want to be chifear in Panama — this means to be forgotten or intentionally left out of something. If someone didn’t invite you to their party, it could be said that you were chifearon.

For example:

El fin de semano pasado me chifean de mis frenes. No son realmente mis frenes. — Last weekend I was left out by my friends. They aren’t really my friends.

Pelao

How Panamanians refer to their “bro.” Also, used to refer to a male in casual situations.

For example:

¿Quién es ese pelao? — Who is that guy?

Juma

Panamanian for drunk, “Juma” is what happens when you consume too much chicha at the arranque.

For example:

Person 1:

¡Anoche estaba muy juma! — Last night I was very drunk!

Person 2:

Ta cool — A quick Panamanian slang expression for “It’s cool.”

Ahuevao

If a Panamanian isn’t vibing with someone, or generally thinks a person isn’t very smart, he or she might describe them as “ahuevao“. This is Panamanian slang for “stupid”.

For example:

No invites a Robert, él es ahuevao. — Don’t invite Robert, he is stupid.

Chicha e piña

This is a Panamanian slang phrase that is similar to “like taking candy from a baby” in English. It literally means “chicha with pineapple,” referring to the alcoholic drink that is so easy to make that many people craft their own chicha at home.

For example:

llegar aquí fue Chicha e piña, el tren estaba funcionando a tiempo. — I got here no problem, the train was running on time.

slang terms from el salvador and honduras

¡Ayala vida!

Another common phrase, referring to being caught off guard.

For example:

¡Ayala vida! ¡De hecho ganaron el juego! — Wow! They actually won the game!

Joven

You may hear this term directed at you in social settings while in Panama. Don’t take offense — it is a common word used to refer to someone for whom you don’t know their name.

For example:

¿Joven, me puedes tomar una cerveza? — Hey man, can you grab me a beer?

Yeyé

A sort of opposite of Joven, “Yeyé” refers to the bourgeois, the upper crust, or someone who is conceited and unapproachable.

For example:

No pueden relacionarse con nosotros, son de yeyé. — They can’t relate to us, they are high-class folks.

Birria

You may expect this to. mean beer, as it does in El Salvador and Honduras, but in Panama “birria” refers to the action of playing something, like a sport or board game.

For example:

Quiero birria al futbol. — I want to play soccer.

Diving Deeper

Expand your Spanish vocabulary beyond slang terms before your trip to El Panama, 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.

Each day for six days, we’ll send e-books and audio lessons directly to your inbox to help you get a basic foundation for the language, FREE!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Spanish-Survival-Crash-Course.jpg


Comments are closed.