slang terms from el salvador and honduras

This guide to slang terms from El Salvador and Honduras 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’re traveling to Chile, understand these common Chilean slang terms before you go to add a dose of humor to your conversations on the ground.

Cheque

Cheque is Honduran for “OK’ or ‘sounds good.’ It’s often used solo, and is one of the most commonly used of Honduras slang terms.

For example:

Person 1: Want to do happy hour at Johnny’s?

Person 2: Cheque.

Cabal

In El Salvador, you might hear “Cabal” used in palce of cheque. It means to agree or to confirm.

For example:

Person 1: ¡El juego fue un reventón! — The game was a blowout.

Person 2: Cabal. — Certainly.

Chivo

Chivo, or chiva, means “cool.” It is used to refer to something that you like, agree with, or support.

For example:

Qué chivo, amigo. — That’s cool, buddy.

Birrias

Birrias are what you might enjoy during happy hour at Johnny’s. This is how Hondurans refer to beer.

For example:

Necesito una birria.

Goma

Goma is what happens when you have too many birrias. It is Honduran slang for hangover.

For example: Si tomo otra cerveza, tendré goma mañana. — If I have another beer, I will be hungover tomorrow.

Mara

The word “mara” has two common meanings — hopefully, you’ll hear it used (or use it to yourself) to refer to your crew. On a bad day, you’ll hear it used to refer to a street gang.

For example:

Mi mara está fuera con toda su fuerza. — My crew is out in full force!

Alero

Alero refers to your best friend.

For example:

Mi alero esta en trabaja hastla las cinco.

Bayunco

In El Salvador, you’ll hear “bayunco” to mean “crazy,” often to describe a person or situation.

For example:

¡El juego was bayunco! — That game was crazy!

slang terms from el salvador and honduras

Vaya Pues

Vaya pues is what you might say to someone as you are leaving the happy hour at Johnny’s. It is Honduran slang for “see ya later.”

For example:

Person 1: Voy a casa ahora.

Person 2: ¡Vaya pues!

Paja

Paja refers to the act of lying, or more casually, or pulling someone’s leg.

For example:

¡Deja de hablar paja! No hay forma de que eso sea cierto. — Stop talking nonsense! There’s no way that is true.

Charrula

A charrula is the person who might talk a lot of Paja. It refers to someone who is full of it or who doesn’t have themselves together.

For example:

El es un charrule. ¡Ya nadie lo quiere cerca! — He is a dirtbag. No one wants him around anymore!

Catracho

Catracho is how Hondurans refer to themselves, similar to how Costa Ricans refer to themselves as Ticos.

For example:

Estoy orgulloso de ser un Catracho. — I am proud to be a Catracho!

¡Puchica!

This is how someone from El Salvador might say “damn it!” It’s a light swear word that is not super offensive.

For example:

¡Puchica! Olvidé mis llaves! — Damn it! I forgot my keys!

If you are looking to expand your Spanish vocabulary beyond slang terms before your trip to El Salvador or Honduras, 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 files directly to your inbox to help you get a basic foundation for the language, FREE!

Slang terms are a great place to start — but now your true Spanish language learning journey awaits!

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