Que onda! Before traveling to Spain, knowing some of the Spanish language (including a handful of Spanish slang terms) will make communication much easier — even you aren’t fluent in Spanish.
While these Spanish slang words are native to Spain, you may hear native speakers in Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and other Spanish-speaking countries use them, though they have their own slang words. (Mexican Spanish as well as Colombian and Argentinian Spanish are particularly different. See our guide to Mexican slang here and Argentinian here).
These terms are used frequently by Spaniards in casual social situations. You can use Spanish slang terms in present tense or in future or past tense, depending on the situation.
Spanish speakers use these phrases in casual situations, and while you aren’t likely to hear them in Spanish lessons, they are an important part of learning Spanish — especially if you hope to visit Spain.
Vamos a la fiesta!
“¡Anda ya!” means “go now!” and is used by Spaniards to emphasize skepticism, or that something seems fishy It’s a quick term that is thrown around casually, and doesn’t necessarily mean offense, but rather is similar to the American term “no way!”
Los Rockies ganó la World Series? ¡Anda ya! – The Rockies won the world series? No way!”
Flipa is similar to “¡Anda ya!” in that it expresses skepticism, but more in the way of surprise than that you straight up don’t believe it. It can be translated more as “we are so excited we are freaking out!” than as disbelief.
El concierto de anoche fue tan bueno, estamos flipando! — The concert last night was so good, we are freaking out!
La caña is your ultimate goal on a trip to Spain. It means you, or whoever the term is directed at, are super cool. The bee’s knees, to be more specific — pretty much the coolest person around.
If a Spanish person refers to you as La caña, you’re doing something right.
El restaurante en Calle 9 is La caña, quiero comer allí todos las dias. – The restaurant on Calle 9 is awesome, I want to eat there every day.
Es la leche — is the milk, in the literal sense — is similar to la caña but can also refer to things, places, events, or whatever the speaker is talking about. It means that something or someone is awesome!
La banda Ska-P es la leche! Mi favorito! – The band Ska-P es la leche! My favorite!
Litereally meaning “like a goat”, this term is quite the opposite of la caña. It refers to someone who has lost it, gone crazy, or come up with a hair-brained idea. Spaniards use this term both seriously and in a playful manner with friends or family.
Los politicos son como una cabra. No tienen idea de lo que están haciendo. – The politicians are like a goat. They have no idea what they are doing.
No pasa nada is used by Spaniards to indicate that everything is or will be cool — “no worries” is the closest English phrase, though this term translates literally to “nothing is happening.”
Person 1: Llegaré unos minutos tarde a recogerte para la cena. — I’m going to be a few minutes late picking you up for dinner.
Person 2: No pasa nada.
The literal translation here is “as important as a pepper.” This means that something isn’t really relevant to you, or that you aren’t going to care about it. Essentially, it’s meaningless or not a priority.
Para mí, el béisbol es tan importa un pimiento. — To me, baseball is as important as a pepper.
Ir a su bola refers to someone who does their own thing. This isn’t always a bad thing, but can be perceived as such in certain contexts, such as:
Javier no va a cenar con su familia muy a menudo, porque le gusta ir a su bola. – Javier doesn’t go to dinner with his family very often, because he likes to do his own thing.
The term can also be used to describe someone who breaks from the trends and does things their own way:
Cuando compra ropa, Rachel siempre hace a su bola. Ella nunca compra en Abercrombie and Fitch. – When she buys clothes, Rachel does it her way. She never shops at Abercrombie and Fitch.
Tío or tía — which is literally translated to uncle or aunt — refers to someone that the speaker is very close to personally, much like English speakers might use the term “bro” to describe a close friend.
Este hombre is mi tío! – This guy is my bro!
This word refers to something being “ok” or everything being “ok.” It has origins in Spain but is commonly used in Latin America as well, primarily by youth in a casual setting.
Vale, nos vemos allí. — Ok, I’ll meet you there.
Person 1: Te voy a traer er almuerzo (I am going to bring you lunch)
Person 2: Vale, estaré aquí. Ok, I’ll be here.
To learn more about Spanish slang (and the entire language as a whole), we recommend this guide to Spanish slang from our friends at VidaLingua. grab our FREE Spanish Survival Crash Course. We’ll send Spanish-learning material including study guides, audio lessons, and more straight to your inbox:
Let's connect you with a hand-picked native-speaking tutor today.