Venezuelan slang terms generally consist of light plays on phrases and specific words in Spanish that are specific to native Venezuelans or those living in Venezuela.
These slang terms used by Venezuelans, catchy phrases, quick hits, old stand-by sayings, flirtatious expressions, and other figures of speech are usually regarded as an informal way of communication among people who either know each other well — and sometimes by people who aren’t very fond of one another.
Additionally, even though it is more common to spot slang in spoken language, it makes its way to the written word, especially in entertainment magazines, online publications such as blogs, and printed advertisements.
Venezuelan Slang Terms
This means to stop suddenly, as though you aren’t understanding something that someone is saying and want them to repeat themselves.
¡Taima! ¡Taima! No te entiendo. — Hold on, hold on. I can’t understand you.
Burda is used constantly as a signifier of “a lot” or “very.”
Tengo burda problemas. — I have a lot of problems.
This term means something or someone as generally nice, in a non-sarcastic sense. The term is so common in Venezuela that you’ll likely hear it before you even walk out of the airport upon arrival.
La clase fue Chévere, aprendí mucho. — The class was good, I learned so much.
Conocimos a su novio y él es muy chévere. — We met her boyfriend and he is so nice.
This term refers to your bro or your homegirl — someone with whom you are close and have a relationship that is at least on the friend level. You have their back and they have yours, like Napoleon and Pedro, to get all Napoleon Dynamite on you for a second.
¡Que pasa, chamo! ¡Siempre es chévere cuando pasamos el rato!
What you might say when your chamos are pulling your leg or telling a tall tale. Essentially, this term is a sarcastic and playful way to say that you don’t believe them.
¡Si Luis! ¡Estás tan lleno de eso! — Yeah, right! You’re so full of it!
Pana is a friendly way to call someone nice, generally used to describe someone when they are not around, though it can be used in face-to-face conversation as well.
Conocimos a su novio y él es muy pana. — We met her boyfriend and he is so nice.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you don’t want to be described as Guircho. This means you are rude or boastful, and is not a good trait. You’ll hear this term mostly in western Venezuela.
- Nos gusta, pero su amigo es muy guircho. — We like him, but his friend is so rude.
If you’ve traveled in Mexico, you undeoubtedly know the term “Claro”, which means “Alright” or “I got it!“ Si va is an enthusiastically positive version of Claro.
- Person 1: Te recogeré a las 5. — I’ll pick you up at 5.
- Person 2: Si va! Suena bien. — Alright! Sounds good.
This term describes someone who is spoiled and has extremely high standards, but hasn’t had to work or earn their status. If you’ve been to Aspen, you have certainly encountered some people who could be described as Sifrino.
- Estos niños ricos están sifrinos. ¡Nunca han trabajado un día en sus vidas! — These rich kids are spoiled brats! They’ve never worked a day in their lives.
Mamarracho refers to someone or something who is ridiculous, to the point of being laughable. This term can be used seriously or as a joke, and but it’s meaning will generally always convey a bit of humor.
Se viste como un mamarracho, ¡no quiero que me vean con él! — He dresses like a fool, I don’t want to be seen with him!
Sacar la piedra
This term literally translates to “to take out the stone,” and means to annoy the hell out of someone. It could be used to describe what happens when you meet a group of sifrinos.
- Sacar la piedra¡ Estos sifrinos me anotan muchísimo! — I’m so upset. These spoiled brats annoy the hell out of me!
Someone or something that is lazy, overrated, a copycat, or generally just not as good as it was supposed to be. Often used to refer to being disappointed in something you made or in someone who has repeatedly let you down.
- Este trabajo está muy chimbo, estoy tan cansado de eso – This job is no good, I am so tired of it.
- ¿Por qué no viniste a la fiesta? Eres tan chimbo! — Why didn’t you come to the party? You are so lame!
A word used to describe someone who you don’t trust, or who is a total cheapskate and won’t contribute to the group in the proper manner.
- Él es un pichirre, ¡ni siquiera comería cerveza! — He is a cheapskate, he won’t even chip in for beer!
- Creo que no es confiable. El es un pichirre. — I think he is untrustworthy. He is a liar!
Along the same lines, a Choro is a common thief, or someone who is trying to take advantage of someone else in a shady manner.
Another word you may hear used to describe someone with bad intentions is Muérgano.
¡Ese choro irrumpió en mi auto!
Echarse los palos
This term is what you’d say to your Chamos in hopes of luring them out for a night on the town. It means to go and have a few drinks, with a subtle nod to the fact that it might get a little out of hand.
Echarse los palos esta noche. Necisitamos desahogarnos. — Let’s go out for a few drinks tonight. We all need to blow off some steam.
Should you find yourself out at the pub drinking until 2 am, you might be best described as Pea. The term means to be totally inebriated.
- ¡Estaba tan Pea anoche! — He was so hammered last night!
Ratón refers to being extremely hungover, generally the result of Pea. You’ll also hear the term Enratonado/a used to describe someone who is hungover.
Tenía mucha ratón esta mañana. — I was very hungover this morning
Estamos burda de enratonado — We are very hungover.
Guachafa refers to chaos, disorder, or a general sense of upheaval at an event or place.
- ¡El show de punk rock de anoche fue un guachafa! — The punk rock show last night was total chaos!
In a similar manner, Bululú refers to a particular crowd as being chaotic or uncontrollable. It is generally used in a similar tense but defines something more specific than guachafa.
¿Cuál es el trato con la bululú en ese concierto? ¿Por qué están tan guachafa?
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