Argentine Slang = Lunfardo

Argentine Spanish Website Resources


Basic sentences & vocabulary

– Hello! How are you?
Hola! Como estas?– How much does “X” coast?
Cuanto cuesta “X”?– How can I get to “X place”?
Como llego hasta “X place”? (place means lugar)- What time is it?
Que hora es?

– Please
Por favor

– Thank you (very much)
(Muchas) gracias

– Excuse me
Permiso or Disculpe, when passing or entering a place
Lo siento or Perdon, when saying “I’m sorry”.

– Food

– Clothing

* Vocals have only one sound (always the same for each one), except for the “U”, that is not pronunciated in the following cases: que qui gue gui.
Apart from that, is always “A” like in father, “E” like in better, “I” like in machine, “O” like in more, “U” like in put.

* “G” sounds soft in ga gue gui go gu, and hard in ge gi.

* “J” sound always like the hard “G”.

* “H” is never pronounced.

* “C” sounds like K in ca co cu and like S in ce ci.

* There’s a “special” letter, the “n”, that sounds like like a strong ni.

* “LL” and “Y” sound like a SHHHH sound

* “R” is hard when is the first letter of the word or when doubled (perro, dog), and soft in all other case.

* “CH” sounds always like it does in “cheese”.

All locals that live in Buenos Aires are called Portenos.

Political idealogy where the workers, the church and the army are the main pillars of the government. Approach named after Argentina’s famous dictator, Juan Peron.

A dance club where people dance the Argentine Tango.

Argentian cowboys usually living in the Pampas, or flat, dry land in the countryside.

Telos Hotels:
Hotels renting rooms by the hour. Ironicaly, mostly used by married couples that don’t have room for privacy at home.

The national beverage enjoyed by Argentineans and other South Americans. It is best described as a particular type of tea drank in a particular manner.

A meat grill, usually used to describe a type of lunch or dinner.

A cooked dough pocket usually filled with beef, but also chicken, cheese or vegetables.

A Mixed grill



Che                                         Hey

boludo or pelotudo              jerk, asshole, idiot, big balls – insult

Piba/pibe                              cool guy/girl

Buena onda                         good vibes

carajo                                    asshole

piola                                      cool

Chabon/chabona                 kid, guy/girl – term of endearment

Macanudo                            great,fabulous,

                                                (colloquial old school term equivalent to “wicked” most people laugh when they hear this)

Masa                                      cool

Mina                                       woman/girl/chick

Pendejo                                idiot

Re                                         interesante

Chapita                                 crazy

Guita                                    money

Flaca                                     laziness


boliche                                 discoteca

bondi                                  bus – typically called colectivo

Manzo                                one peso

Morfar                               eat

Pucho                                cigarette

Me mataste                       you got me

Portenos                           argentinians (from Buenos aires)

Ponete las pilas                get on with it

Lo llevo                             I’ll take it

Voltee, cruzar, doblar      turn

Que me aconseja              what would you recommend to me

Comisaria                          policia

Cana                                   jail

Chamuyo                        sweet talk, BS

Limado                             high

Birra                                 beer



When you meet someone, they only do 1 kiss on the left (in Spain, it’s 2 kisses – left first, then right cheek)
Say BOLUDO / BOLUDA is very common, can be good or bad, according to the time and tone.

CHE =  hey!

or for everything else, you can use all the time, almost as an auxiliary of each sentence.
In España, to say COGER to grab. In Argentina, COGER, is to have sex.

Que copado = awesome! lucky! nice, cool!

Que canchero= awesome! lucky! nice, cool!
Piola = cool
Quebrado = really drunk (literally means broken)
Vacan = cool (used more in peru)
They say “Que lindo” a lot


Shh sound for the letter Y (not the j sound)

Yo = I, me         pronounced SHO.

LL = pronounced SH.
For example
rain =  lluvia = shuvia.

Arrive = llegar = shegar

Street = calle = CASHE

Key = llave = shave
This only happens in Buenos Aires. In the other provinces speak well and say yo, lluvia or llegar. But knowing this, you will better understand the language.

The espanol spoken in Buenos Aires is quite different from what you’re probably used to hearing. We talked about you and pronounce the Y as SH (ie, to say the word I do not say io, say sho). CHE word we use much (kinda like saying hey) and good slang and hear a lot when you are there …

Use the word “thing” often

Cosa = thing

te voy a decir una cosa         I will tell you something
pasame esa cosa                   pass me that thing

hay alguna otra cosa que me quieras decir?        

Is there anything else you would like to tell me?

cualquier cosa que necesites
          anything that you need


VOS = “tu” informal you or “usted” formal you

Besides shop owners and vendors, no one cares and everyone understands what you are saying.

If you really wanted to sound authentic though, my best advice lies in this:

dont conjugate!

“Vos” is easier than “tu”.

Tienes as a form of tener (to have)?

Just say tenes!

Vienes as a form of venir (to come)?

Just say venis!

In other words, just substitute the “r” for an “s” at the end of each word.

Sometimes there is an exception, but you will realize very quickly that this is the most common standard for Argentina’s vosotros form.

“vos como te llamás?”           tu como te llamas      what is your name

Literal translation:

Tu como te llamas

You how do you call yourself


“vos venís conmigo?”            vienes conmigo?        Are you coming with me?
Literal translation:

You come with me?


“¿Tenés un minuto para charlar?”  Tienes un minute para charlar?

Do you have a minute to chat?


vos sos la novia de él?          tú eres su novia?       Are you the his girlfriend?

Are you the girlfriend of him?
de donde sos?                       de donde eres                       where are you from?

Literal translation:

Of where are you?


They use “aca” rather than “aqui” = here



Bajón (f)
1. a downer, something that sucks Es un bajón. Que bajón. That sucks, that´s too bad.

Bancar (v)
1. to tolerate. No me lo banco más. I can’t put up with it anymore.

Barbaridad (f)
1. something that is outrageous.

1. great, wonderful, cool. Estuvo bárbara la fiesta. It was a great party. Que bárbaro! Awesome, sweet!

bicho (m)
1. a bug/insect, critter, little animal

Bombilla (f)
1. metal straw with a filter on the end, used to drink mate.

Boliche (m)
1. Refers to a dance club/disco in Argentina. They don´t say disco, nor do they say club.

Boludez (f)
Refers to something that is stupid or ridiculous. El sistema de transporte es una boludez.
Can also refer to something that was really easy. El curso fue una boludez. Saqué un 10. The course was a joke, I got a 10.

Boludo/a (m/f)
Super super common, it is used in pretty much every sentence by Argentines. There are a few uses.
1. if you want to call someone a moron, a goof, an idiot, or a jerk, you call him a boludo. It is not that harsh, not like swearing at someone, but isn´t all that nice.
2. it is also used to say something similar to “hey man.” Here they say “che boludo.”
3. it is also used all the time when talking amongst friends. They like to throw it in most sentences, it´s sort of like saying “man” again, but not really. Used with girls or guys. See below for examples:
Pedro: Vamos al cine? Let´s go see a movie? Juan: Ni loco boludo, sale muy caro. No way man, it´s really expensive.
Pedro: Vas a la fiesta? Juan: No, estoy cansado, me quedo en casa. Pedro: Que? Boludo, es viernes, no se queda en casa.
In the first use, it is an insult. In the others, it is not, but is very colloquial. Don´t say boludo to your boss or your girlfriend´s parents, as an example.

Cana (f)
1. The police/the cops.

Capo (adj.)
1. cool, great – refering to a person. Tu amigo es un capo. Your friend is really great.

Cagada (f)
1. sucks, crap, a mess – Que cagada. That sucks. El proceso es una cagada. The process is a mess.

Chabón (m)
1. a guy, similar to ‘Pibe.’

Chamuyero (n)
1. a smooth talker, a sweet talker. Often used to describe guys that say whatever to try to pick up girls.

Chamuyar (v)
The action of being a chamuyo. Sweet talking, trying to pick someone up, scamming someone.

Chupamedias (f)
1. a suck up, brown noser (literally means someone who sucks socks).

Chupar (v)
1. to suck. Also used to talk about drinking alcohol. Vamos al bar a chupar cervezas. Let’s go to the bar for a beer.

Che (m)
1. man. If used amongst friends in this sense, it Is somewhat of a term of endearment (in a very light way). Chau che. Later man. Can also be used with people you don´t know, as a way of addressing them. Vamos che, dejame pasar. Come on man, let me in.
2. hey. Used to get someone´s attention. Che, por acá!. Hey, over here!

Cheto, Concheto (m)
1. snobby. Es un lugar muy cheto. Its a really snobby place.

Club (m)
1. Gentleman´s Club (nude women)
2. Where you join as a member to use the leisure facilities

Colectivo (m)
1. Refers to the city bus in Buenos Aires

Copado/a (adj.)
1. cool, good. Used especially for people, places, events. Tu hermano es muy copado. Your brother is really cool.

Gato (m)
1. a female prostitute, or one acting like a female prostitute. Like calling someone a whore in English.
2. a gay person.

Groso (adj.)
1. something or someone that is great, awesome. Voy a la playa! Que groso! I´m going to the beach! That´s great!!

Guita (f)
1. Money. No tengo gita. I don´t have any money.

Laburar (v.)
1. to work

Lunfardo (m)
1. refers to the street slang and the slang of people who danced tango in Buenos Aires in the earlier 1900s. Many words and expressions are still used today.

Mangos (m)
1. pesos. Me costó 120 mangos! It cost me 120 pesos!

Mate (m)
1. Refers to a special type of tea that the Aregentine´s like to drink.
2. Refers to the gourd in which the Yerba (mate tea) is put

Micro (m)
1. bus that goes out of the city, from one city or town to another

Mina (f)
1. refers to a girl or women (teens and up). It is slightly degrading, but not really. It’s very common to talk among guy friends that you were talking to a “mina”, or met some “minas.”

onda (m)
1. the literal meaning is a wave, like a sound wave. However, it is used to talk about a situation or person in a good way. Tu amigo tiene muy buena onda. Your friend has a great vibe/is really cool. It is not only used in Argentina, but is used a lot, so is important to know.

Pelotudo/a (m/f)
1. an idiot, moron, jerk, just like boludo. It is not used to say “man” or when talking to your friends, in the same way boludo is.

Pibe (m)
1. a kid, boy/girl, though more common to use for a boy

Porro (m)
1. a joint, weed

Porteño/a (m/f)
1. a person that is from the city of Buenos Aires
2. is also used as an adjective to describe something that is very typical of Buenos Aires. Ese bar es bien porteño. That bar is very typical of the bars in Buenos Aires.

Pucho (m)
1. cigarette

Quilombo (m)
1. a mess, a disaster, chaotic. El tránsito en Buenos Aires es un quilombo.

Remera (f)
1. t-shirt

Tipo (masc noun or adv. )
1. a guy conocí a un tipo. I met some guy.
2. around, approximately La fiesta empieza tipo 20h The party starts around 8.

Toque (m)
1. a touch, a little bit. Falta un toque de sal. It’s missing just a touch of salt.

Trucho/a (adj. or m/f noun)
1. fake/counterfeit items. Compré una remera trucha. I bought a counterfeit t-shirt. Esos son truchos. Those are fake.

If you are interested in buying an Argentine book about slang, your best option is “Che Boludo: A gringo’s guide to understanding the Argentines.” by James Bracken. It is a useful book, and is very current – all the expressions you find in the book are used kind often here. The book is slightly limited in that it does not provide many examples, so often you don’t understand how it may be used in speech. Also, it doesn’t indicate which are really common, and which ones you won’t hear very often. It can be purchased in the main bookstores in Buenos Aires.



1. this is one of the first words you will learn in Spanish, but in Argentina, they use it more than anywhere else. Although this meaning exists in Spanish from all countries, it is used much more often in Argentina, in pretty much every sentence. It is used to mean ‘well’ or ‘alright.’ Bueno, no sé. Well, I don´t know. Bueno, hablamos más tarde? Alright, let´s talk later? Vamos al cine? Bueno. Let´s go to a movie? Alright.
2. used to say something is good. Again, this is used in all Spanish speaking countries. However, in other countries, they may use other descriptive words to say something is good, whereas Argentines use bueno/a to to label any thing as good, all the time. Que tal la carne? Está buena! Conociste a Lucia? Si, está buena!! Did you meet Lucia? Ya, she’s good (as in attractive). Que bueno!! That´s great/Awesome/Right on!

1. Similar to the “vale”used in Spain, dale is one of the ways Argentines agree to something (like saying ok. Juan: Vamos al cine? Luisa: Dale. Juan: Let’s go to the movies? Luisa: Ok.

Mira Vos
1. The Argentines say this ALL the time. It is said after someone has told you something, and you want to say either “wow, look at you” meaning “what you´re doing is great!” It can also be translated as “is that right?” or “really?” or “wow.” You say it after someone says something that you think is good or that surprises you. Juan: Ayer, fui al banco, despúes estudié por 5 horas, y desúes jugué dos partidos de futbol. Kara: Mira vos! Juan: Yesterday I went to the bank, studied for 5 hours, then played two football games. Kara: Wow, right on. Juan: No tengo plata, porque viajo 5 veces por año. Kara: Mira Juan: I don´t have any Money, because I travel 5 times a year. Kara: Wow, is that right?

Pasa que
1. used to say “the thing is” when describing or explaining something. Pasa que no tengo plata para ir, así que… The thing is, I don´t have any money to go, so…

Tal cual
Used to answer someone and say “yes, exactly,” or “I agree.” Tal cual can be used in many ways, but this particular use is very common in every day speech. Prefiero vivir en el campo porque la gente de los pueblos es mucho más alegre y amable. Sí, tal cual. I prefer living in the country because the people are much more lively and kind. Yes, exactly, I totally agree.

1. can be used as a noun (m), meaning “guy.” Ayer hablé con un tipo… Yesterday, I spoke with some guy…. However, in Argentina, this is not as common as they often use other words.
2. In Argentine, it is very common to use it to describe a not-so-specific-time. La fiesta empieza tipo 9. The party starts around 9.
3. It is also used to describe the type or style of something. El restaurant es tipo parilla, pero más elegante. The restaurant is similar to (like) a BBQ restaurant, but more elegant.

Todo bien
1. This the most common way of asking someone how they´re doing in Argentina. Todo bien che? Si, todo bien. How´s it going man? It´s all good, thanks/I´m fine thanks. Te molesta? No, está todo bien! Am I bothering you? No, it’s all good!

Ya fue
1. you say it when something is over, or has finished, and it´s time to forget about it. Juan: Estoy muy triste, porque me olvidé mi cámara. Simon: Bueno, ya fue. It´s like saying, forget about it, there´s nothing else you can do. The Argentines love to say it.

Muletilla (f)
1. Comes from muleta, which means ‘crutch.’ A muletilla is the word the argentines use to describe colloquial words that they say every sentence, something they can say when they have nothing else to say, as a filler. In English, for example, we say “like ” “you know” or “um.” Here are the most common ones used in Argentina. It is good to know them, but don’t make a habit of using them. Just like the equivalents in English, when they are overused, it sounds really bad.

1. This is probably the most common, and very Argentine. It is not really used in other Spanish speaking countries. It is nearly an exact translation of “you know” in English. No me gusta ir a la playa, viste, siempre hay mucha gente. I don’t like going to the beach, you know, there’s always a lot of people. Siempre hay mucha basura en la calle viste. There’s always a lot of garbage in the streets, you know? Sí, pero son locas viste? Ya, but they’re crazy, you know?

O sea
Almost identical to “I mean” in English. This is used throughout Latin America. Some people use it in nearly every sentence. Bueno, no sé, o sea, que más puedo hacer? Well, I don´t know, I mean, what else can I do?

Que sé yo
Pretty much identical to “I don´t know” which is it´s literal meaning. Argentines use it all the time as a filler, similar to how we do in English. Es un helado, que sé yo, cremoso y dulce. It´s a type of ice cream that´s, I don´t know, creamy and sweet. Salís esta noche? No, quiero quedarme en casa para, que sé yo, limpiar, ver tele.

Saying “maybe” in Argentina: Quizás and tal vez are not often used in Argentina to say maybe. Here are the more common words used:

Puede ser
1. means “it´s possible.” Puede ser que vaya a Londres. It’s posible I will go to London.
2. maybe, might, we´ll see. Puede ser que vaya a una fiesta. I might go to a party, maybe I´ll go to a party. Querés ir? Si, puede ser. Do you want to go? Ya, maybe/we´ll see.

1. maybe, might Capaz que vaya a una fiesta. I might go to a party, maybe I´ll go to a party. Similar to tal vez, quizás, puede ser.

Tal cual
Used to answer someone and say “yes, exactly,” or “I agree.” Tal cual can be used in many ways, but this particular use is very common in every day speech. Prefiero vivir en el campo porque la gente de los pueblos es mucho más alegre y amable. Sí, tal cual. I prefer living in the country because the people are much more lively and kind. Yes, exactly, I totally agree.


If you understand and want to practice your spanish,

take this advice from the Argentine Locals!

En cuanto al vocabulario, no decimos tu, decimos VOS. Y es bastante dificil explicar cuando.
DEcir BOLUDO/BOLUDA es algo muy comun, puede ser bueno o malo, segun el momento y el tono.
El CHE, es algo que se usa como para decir hey! o para todo lo demas, podes usarlo todo el tiempo, es casi como un auxiliar de cada frase.

En Espania dicen COGER para agarrar. En Argentina, COGER, es tener sexo.

Si alguien te invita a tomar MATE, jamas, pero JAMAS! debes mover la bombilla. Y se dice GRACIAS solo cuando quieres dejar de tomarlo.

En Cordoba no dejes de probar el FERNET, podes probarlo en Baires tambien, pero el FERNET en Cordoba es algo muy especial y sienten pasion por esa bebida!

No decimos io (para yo), decimos SHO. Tanto la Y como la LL, suenan como SH. Por ejemplo, lluvia: shuvia. Llegar: shegar. calle, es CASHE.
Esto solo ocurre en Buenos Aires. En el resto de las provincias hablan bien y dicen io, iuvia o iegar. PEro sabiendo esto, vas a entender mejor el idioma.

El espaniol que se habla en Bs As es bastante distinto de lo que estas acostumbrada a escuchar seguramente. Hablamos de vos y pronunciamos la Y como SH (es decir al pronunciar la palabra YO no decimos io, decimos sho). Usamos mucho la palabra CHE (algo asi como decir hey) y bueno muchisimo slang que ya escucharas cuando estes alla…
queremos sumergirnos en la cultura y vivir como los argentinos! =) queremos conocoer la cultura profundamente =)

SLANG: Puede que te suene raro al principio, usamos el VOS en vez de Usted o Tu y el vergo se conjuga como en el indicativo. Aparte de eso, la “ll” como el “calle, lluvia, llave” se pronuncia como la “y” (sh), entonces sería: “cashe, shuvia, shave)… pero ya te vas a acostumbrar. En cordoba en particular la gente tiene un acento que a las mujeres nos encanta jajaja.

El “vos” es la menera común de referirse a alguien “vos como te llamás?”, “vos venís conmigo?”, en vez del “tu” usamos el “vos”, igualmente si usas el “tu” te entienden perfectamente. Están acostumbrados a los turistas.
En cuanto al lunfardo… nadie habla lunfardo la verdad. Hay palabras que sí estan inmersas en nuestro vocabulario como “che” que no tiene traducción a ningún idioma, es una manera de llamar a alguien con confianza. Después “pibe” es también una manera de llamar a un chico joven, con confianza. A los colectivos se les dice “bondi”, pero es una manera muy informal de decirlo.

Yo creo que en general el español varía bastante de país a país, pero la diferencia con Argentina es que nosotros hablamos castellano, no español. El “vos” hace que conjuguemos todos los verbos diferente, es cierto, pero si a la gente le hablas de “tu” no vas a tener ningún problema. Lo otro que vas a notar es que tenemos una pronunciación muy fuerte de la letra Y. Y bueno, muchos modismos propios del país, pero no creo que tengas ningún problema en absoluto para comunicarte. Además, la mayoría de la gente habla inglés, por lo menos un poquito.

-BUeno, por ultimo y espero no olvidarme de nada, sino, seguimos en contacto, el lunfardo o slang, no es dificil. El uso del “vos” reemplaza el “tu” siempre, por lo cual no creo que sea motivo para no entendernos. Las expresiones o lunfardo que puedas encontrar varian de acuerdo al nivel de educacion de las personas, pero es algo parecido a lo que ocurre en españa y con varias diferencias que pueden causar risa entre los que te escuchan hablar. Por ejemplo, aqui no decimos “cojer” como sinonimo de levantar, sabemos su significado, lo compartimos con los españoles, pero solo en el diccionario y no en el uso diario. En el lenguaje cotidiano y argentino tiene una connotacion sexual, que te contare cuando nos veamos, ahora me da un poco de pudor ya que no nos conocemos. El resto de expresiones se aprenden, pero no te preocupes que no es dificil de entender nuestro español. La otra diferencia con el español de españa o de otros paises de latinoamerica como Mexico y Colombia es la acentuación que le damos a los verbos o su forma, por ejemplo: el verbo “tener” en “¿Tiénes un minuto para hablar?” (acentue la palabra para marcar la diferencia), en argentina y mas bien en BA diriamos: “¿Tenés un minuto para charlar?”, y cosas asi, creo que se entiende, ¿verdad?

No te preocupes que vas a entender todo perfectamente…decimos algunas cosas distinto a los españoles, pero si vas abierta a entender, vas a poder hacerlo sin problemas!
usamos la palabra “cosa” en todo! 😛 (Thing) como:
te voy a decir una cosa
pasame esa cosa
hay alguna otra cosa que me quieras decir?
cualquier cosa que necesites

Decimos vos, en vez de tu:
vos sos la novia de él? (tú eres su novia?)
de donde sos? (en vez de: de donde eres)

Y despues hay palabras como:
no cojemos la jarra, sino que agarramos la jarra. (coger, en Argentina, es “fuck”) asique intenta no confundirte! pero de todas formas entendemos igual…por ahi nos causa un poco de risa, pero nada mas! =)
El cristal, es un vidrio aca
decimos “aca” en vez de “aqui”

Con respecto al slang debo confesar que los cordobeses tenemos una tonada muy especial, hay veces que no pronunciamos las eses y es como que alargamos más las vocales. y hay muchas palabras tipicas como “culida/o” es algo muy nuestro, es una muy mala palabra pero todo depende como las uses y el tono que uses.

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