Peruvian slang is generally light plays on phrases and specific words in Spanish, and sometimes their slang terms are more widely used — “Pendejo” being a good example.
Others are more restricted to a particular context, place, or group of people in Peru, or that only Peruvians would use or understand.
These slang terms used by Peruvians, catchy phrases, insults, old sayings, flirty expressions, and other figures of speech are usually regarded as an informal way of communication among people who either know each other well or who dislike each other.
They also show through their letters the shades and characters of the people that make use of them.
So, in Peru, each social sphere has its own slang.
Additionally, even though it is more common to spot slang in spoken language it make its way to the written word, especially in entertainment magazines, online publications such as blogs, and printed advertisements.
If you plan to only visit Lima or go all the way to Machu Picchu, move beyond English and speak these Peruvian slang words to have a better experience. You can use them on everyone from a close friend to a stranger met at a fiesta. Peruvian Spanish is among the easiest to learn and most useful in general conversation of any slang terms in Latin America.
Pata and Causa — This term means “the leg or paw of an animal,” and is the Peruvian’s way of referring to their “bro” or “dude” or “buddy.” It’s non-offensive and is among the first Spanish terms you should know before going to Peru, because if you interact with Peruvians you’ll hear it used constantly. Causa is someone who is closer than a Pata, like a best friend, or someone with whom you have had a close bonding experience.
Chancha — A Chancha is a pot of money put together between Patas and Causas to buy beer or do something otherwise entertaining and fun.
Chupar — Chupar is what happens once that Chancha has been used to secure the beer. It means “to suck” and is used to signify drinking.
Por Las Puras — Waste of Time, what you might be doing if you use your Chancha to Chupar with your Patas.
Tono — What Peruvians call a party. So, when you’re there with your Pata, you will “tonear.”
Al toque — This means “right now” and is common in Peru, as Peruvians are known to be in much more of a hurry than most South Americans.
Pituco — An arrogant, rich, or entitled person who is not looked upon favorably.
Pendejo — An conniving or untrustworthy person.
Jale — As Americans refer to someone being “hot” or “fine”, Peruvians refer to a person’s Jale. It refers to a person’s attractiveness, or to what it is about a person that makes them appealing to a sexual partner. For example, someone who plays in a band may have guitar skills that make them Jale, while a physically attractive person could just be called Jale.
Flaco(a) — Flaco or Flaca refers to a boyfriend or a girlfriend, in slang, (the term literally means skinny). So if you pursued a Jale person and made them your Flaco, you’d be doing quite well on the dating front.
Lechero — Lechero means lucky, which you’d be if your Flaco has Jale. Or, if you were to climb the Inca Trail without being an experienced hiker, you might be Lechero.
Piña — The opposite of Lechero, this means bad luck.
A Su — A Su Madre is an expression Peruvians use when they are caught off guard or surprised, and it is commonly shortened to A Su.
Grifo — Grifo refers to a person’s house or pad, and even if you don’t actually go to a Peruvian’s house, it’s commonly used in Airbnb listings and other crash pads that even tourists might visit.
Tombo — Slang for police officer, similar to “Cop” in the United States.
Pucha — A less-offensive way of calling someone a bitch than saying “Puta.”
Huasca — This word is Peruvian for someone who is drunk. It’s generally used casually, as in referring to your Pata at the party last night or to describe someone’s state of being.
Calabaza or Cojudo — If you were to act like a dumb tourist, you might be referred to as Calabaza. The term means “emptyheaded” or “dumb.” Cojudo is slightly more offensive, it means “idiot”.
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