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70+ Salvadoran Slang Words and Phrases You Need to Know!

Today I want to share a list of 70+ Salvadoran Spanish words that you need to know today!

Among these words you can find some of the most common words in Salvadoran caliche (dialect) and Central American Spanish including colloquial phrases, slang and even some vulgar words. 

So, whether you are traveling to El Salvador or want to communicate with native speakers, or if you simply wish to enhance your language skills, this list of 70+ Salvadoran Spanish words will guide you in your journey.

Good luck! If you know of a word missing from this list, let me know in the comments at the end of this post!

70+ Salvadoran Spanish Words and Phrases You Need to Know!

My experience with Salvadoran Slang Words

If this is your first time on my blog, welcome! I share lots of tips on how to learn Spanish, raising bilingual children and I also make free and paid Spanish printables for educators to use in the classroom!

I also dabble around in Salvadoran food and culture. Why, might you ask?

12 years ago, I met my Salvadoran husband, Carlos, and fell absolutely in love with him and his culture. 

Before meeting him, the majority of my Spanish language came from text books and a few friends from the Mexican diaspora.

With that said, my Spanish was WAYYYYY different from the Spanish I was hearing Carlos speak, and I was so intrigued.

I wanted needed to know everything he said and what it meant, in each and every way.

So, I have spent the last 12 years listening to Carlos and all of our Salvadoran friends engage in conversations and I have been compiling an ongoing list.

I also traveled to El Salvador last summer and heard these words all over too!

So needless to say, I have submerged myself in Salvadoran culture, and I have been itching to share this post with you today.

So if you are ready to boost your caliche, then have fun browsing through this list of 70+ Salvadoran Spanish words.

Make sure to share your favorite word, or a word that needs to be added to this list in the comments below!!!

Looking for a traditional Salvadoran dish? Check out some of the recipes below:

¡Va pues! ¿Qué esperas?

70+ Salvadoran Spanish Words You Need to Know today!

Ready to get your slang on? Great! Below you can find over 70 Salvadoran colloquial and slang words.

I will provide example sentences for the majority of the words as well as explanations for words with multiple meanings, or words that I think need clarification.

Also, since we are speaking Salvadoran slang in these examples, I see it most absolutely necessary to speak in vos instead of tú!

*Words with an asterisk have a vulgar component.

1.  A pija-Drunk

2. Anantes– Almost 

“Hey, anántes no te pasó por encima ese carro.”

“Hey that car almost ran you over.”

3. Bayunco– Silly or goofy

“No seas bayunco vos con las bichas. Ponete serio.”

Don’t be goofy with the ladies. Get serious.”

4. Bicho/a – Young male or female 

This is a notorious Salvadoran word that you will hear people say when they are referencing a young person.

This word can often be used to describe young children, but more often, young children will be referred to as cipotes. (See further down.)

Ex: “Todos los bichos se van a reunir en la tarde.”

All the kids are going to get together in the afternoon.”

“¿Qué ondas, bicho?”

“What’s up kid?”

5.  Bolo– Drunk

“Ese man si es un gran bolo, solo chupando pasa.”

“That man is such a drunk, all he does is drink.”

6.  Buena onda – To be friendly, likable. A good person.

“Ese maje es buena onda. Siempre le ayuda a la gente que necesita.”

“That dude is a good person. He always helps people in need.”

7. Cantón– House

“¿A qué hora vas a llegar al cantón?”

What time are you going to get home?

8. Casaca – Lie

“Deja de decirme tanta casaca, y decíme la verdad.”

“Stop telling me so many lies and tell me the truth. “

 9. * Cerote– A piece of shit, substitute for someone’s name

Cerote can be used in one of two ways. 

The first way you might hear it used is as a friendly substitute for a friend’s name. 

As in English we might say, “what’s up, man?”, you might frequently hear the younger Salvadoran generation say, ¿Qué pedo, cerote?

The second way cerote is used is as a derogatory way to insult someone. 

Ex: “Tenés que tener cuidado con ese cerote.”

“You have to be careful with that piece of shit.”

10. Chucho – Dog

If you are talking about a dog in El Salvador, skip saying perro and go with chucho.

Ex: “Tené cuidado con el chucho, no te vaya a morder.”

“Be careful with the dog, don’t let it bite you.”

While domestic dogs or a stray dog in El Salvador might be referred to as chuchos, they are not the only way to use chucho. 

It can also be a pejorative or sneering comment to someone who eats too much, or is greedy in nature. 

Here is an example sentence:

Ex: “¡Puchica, si comes comes un chucho!”

“Wow, you sure do eat like a dog.”

70+ Salvadoran Slang Words and Phrases You Need to Know!

 11.     Cipote – young child

 Cipote is a word commonly used to describe a child, youth or immature adult. 

When talking about a male child, you will hear cipote. When referring to a female, use cipota.

Ex: “Cuando los cipotes van a la escuela, me toca ir a trabajar.”

“When the kids go to school, I have to go home to work.”

You might also hear the diminutive form -ito, or -ita on the end.

Ex: “¿Puedes creer que ya va a cumplir 5 años la cipotita?”

“Can you believe that baby girl is going to turn 5 years old already?”

Related: Learn Spanish Through Music With These Artists

12. Baboso– Someone that is plain stupid

13.  Cabal / Cabalito– Exactly

Ex: “Cabalito eso iba a decir.”

“That is exactly what I was about to say.”

14.  Cachimbear – To hit, blow

15.  Cachimbazo – A blow

16.  Casaquero -Liar

 “Vos me dijistes que ibas a llegar ayer, si sos un gran casaquero.”

“You don’t me that you were going to come yesterday, you are such a liar.”

17.  Chafa- cheap, imitation, something that is not original.

“Esos zapatos son chafa loco, ¿quién te los vendió?

“Those shoes are fake man, who sold them to you?”

70+ Salvadoran Slang Words and Phrases You Need to Know!

18.  Chancho -Pig, glutton, fat

“Sí estás chancho maje.”

“Wow, you are fat man.”

An interesting experience I have had with the above mentioned phrase is when two Salvadorans reunite. One who has been in the U.S. for quite some time, and one who is either still in El Salvador, or recently arrived in the U.S. (or if one is traveling back to El Salvador) the recently arrived person always makes small talk by using this phrase referring that the other person has been eating well. I hope that makes sense =).

19.  Chela– Beer

70+ Salvadoran Slang Words and Phrases You Need to Know!

20.  Chele– White person

21.  Chero– A close friend, pal

22.  Chilatear -To annoy, bother someone. 

“Loco, no me estés chilateando. Te voy a pegar tu talegazo.”

“Stop messing with me man, I’m gonna beat you up.”

23.  Chinear– To carry a child in arms

“¿Quieres que te chinee?”

“Do you want me to carry you?”

24.  Chivo – Cool

25.  Choco -Blind

26.  Cholo – Strong, muscular

“Estoy yendo al gimnasio para ponerme bien cholo.”

“I am going to the gym so I am get super muscular.”

27.  Chota -Police

28.  Chuco – Dirty

“No vayas a nadar ahí, el agua está todo chucho.”

“Don’t swim over there, the water is super dirty.”

29.  Chunche -Junk, unneccesary ítems, thingamabobs

30.  Cochino -Pig, filthy, dirty

“Ese bicho sí es un gran cochino, deja botado sus calzones en todos lados.”

That boy is a filthy big, he leaves his underwear all over the place.”

31.  *Culero -Asshole

“No seas tan culero con ella maje, no ves que ella está enamorada contigo.”

Don’t be such an asshole to her man. Don’t you see she is in love with you.

32. Culo– Butt

Culo is mostly used as butt, but it also referred to as a very pretty man or woman. 

“¿Vos viste ese culo? ¡Qué mamacita!”

“Did you see that girl. What a hottie!”

33.  Dale– Go on, go ahead, come on. 

70+ Salvadoran Slang Words and Phrases You Need to Know!

34.  De choto – For free, for no reason

“Yo le hice el trabajo a la señora de choto”

“I did the work for lady for free.”

This phrase can also be used to describe doing something for no reason. For example:

“De choto fuiste a trabajar por el señor ayer, ni siquiera te va a pagar.”

“You went to work for the man for no reason yesterday, he’s not even going to pay you.”

35.  De goma -Hungover

“Ayer tomé demasiado. Ando bien de goma.”

“Yesterday I drank way too much. I am super hungover.”

36.  Desmadre – Mess, disorder, chaos 

37.  Desvergue – mess, disorder, chaos

“A ver quien va a limpiar todo este desvergue que dejaron anoche.”

“I wonder who’s going to clean up all this mess you guys made last night.”

38.  Dundo– Silly, stupid, dumb

“Puchica vos, otra vez botaste tu agua. Sí sos dudito.”

“Wow! You spilled your water again. Geez you’re dumb.”

Related: 12 Tips to Become Fluent in Spanish (Outside of the Classroom)

39.  Garrobo– Tropical lizard

40.  Guanaco– Salvadoran, someone pertaining to the Republic of El Salvador

41.  Guaro -Alcohol

40.  Encachimbar– to make angry

“Se va encachimbar tu papa si hagas eso.”

“Your dad is going to get so angry if you do that.”

42.  Huiste– A piece of glass

43.  *Joder– to fuck up, to piss off, to annoy, to screw up.

Joder is a multi-use Spanish verb that you will hear frequently used by Salvadorans and Central Americans. 

It’s used mostly in a negative angle to talk about someone fucking up, pissing off, annoying or screwing something up. 

You might hear the phrase:

“Vos sí jodes mucho.”

“Damn you’re annoying.”

It can also be used as an expression of disbelief. Here’s an example conversation below.

“Ayer me case loco” 

“Yesterday I got married, man.”

“¡No jodas! Felicidades, maje.”

“Seriously! Congratulations man.”

70+ Salvadoran Spanish Words and Phrases You Need to Know!

44.  La mara – Gang, group of friends

While la mara literally translate as gang, the Spanish slang term can also be used when referencing a group of people or friends. 

“Toda la mara va a ir a la fiesta esta noche. ¿Vos vas a ir?

“Everyone is going to the party tonight. Are you going to go?”

45.  Maje– guy, dude, man

Maje is a very used word in El Salvador. It is used similarly as the Mexican “güey” to refer to a guy, dude, man or friend. 

46.  Mañoso -Cunning, slime bag, 

“Hay que tener cuidado con ese vato, es un gran mañoso.”

 “You have to be super careful with that man, he is a slime bag.”

47.  Marero -gangster

48.  Metiche -Meddler, someone that interferes with others. 

“Si sos un gran metiche. Solo metiéndote en las conversaciones de los demás.”

“You are such a meddler. All you do is butt into other peoples’ conversations.”

49.  Neta – Truth

    “La pura neta es que yo nunca te amaba.”

    “The truth is that I never loved you.”

50.  Paja -Lie

51.  Pajero -Liar

“Si sos un gran pajero. Siempre dices que vas a venir y nunca vienes.”

“You are such a liar. You always say that you are going to come and you never do.”

52. * Paloma – A sexual reference for the penis.

53.  Pasmado -Stupid, clumsy

54.  Pelado– Naked

55.  *Pija – 

Pija can be used a few different contexts.

It can be used as penis.

Or, it can be used in a phrase:

“Te voy a dar pija.”

“I am going to beat you up.”

Or it can be used to express how awesome an event or something was.

“Que pija de concierto dio esa banda.”

“What a great show that band put on.”

56.  Piscucha– Kite

57.  Puchica– Wow

¡La gran puchica!– Goddamnit!, Oh wow! That can’t be.

¡A la puchica!-  That’s so weird, how strange.

58.  Pupusas

A typical Salvadoran meal made out of corn masa. Shaped like a tortilla, but stuffed with cheese and other delicious ingredients such beans, pork, chicken.

70+ Salvadoran Slang Words and Phrases You Need to Know!

59. * Puta – damn, fuck

While you might be familiar with the word puta in Spanish meaning bitch or whore, in El Salvador, puta is frequently used to exclaim frustration or surprise. 

If you are ever around a bunch of El Salvadorans during a soccer game and their team is losing, expect to hear this word quite a bit.

A more polite way to portray shock or disappointment is by using the word puya.

60.  ¿Qué pedo? – What’s up

¿Qué pedo? Is a colloquial way of saying what’s up. It is usually followed by a friendly slang word such as maje, loco, cerote, bicho.

“¿Qué pedo bicho, cómo has estado?”

“What’s up boy, how have you been?”

61.  Riata -Beating

62.  Salvatrucho

Member of the salvatrucha gang, but also sometimes Salvadorans refer to themselves as “salvatruchos.

70+ Salvadoran Slang Words and Phrases You Need to Know!

63.  Seco -Dry, skinny

Seco generally means dry in Spanish, however, Salvadorans often refer to people who are very thin as seco. 

Likewise, it is frequently used as a nickname for a skinny friend. 

In El Salvador, you can find Spanish nicknames for almost all your friends: “el gato, el seco, etc.”

In addition, it can be used when there is nothing left to drink. 

For example:

“Ya no hay mas chelas, estamos secos.”

“There are no more beers, we are all out”

64.  Talegazo– A punch, beating. 

 Talegazo derives from the verb taleguear meaning to punch. 

“Si ese hombre me sigue encachimbado, va a aguantar un buen talegazo.”

“If that man keeps pissing me off, he is going to get a real good beating.”

65.  Tierno – Tender, Young, 

“Su bebé es bien tiernito. Tiene apenas dos semanas.”

“Her baby is so tiny. He is only two weeks old.”

66.  Utualito – Just now, just recently, right now.

“Utualito estaba haciendo los tamales cuando me llamó tu tía María.”

“I was just making tamales when your aunt María called me.”

67.  Va pues -Okay, fine 

“Primero vamos a ir al mercado y luego nos cortamos el pelo.”

First we’ll go to the market and then well get our hair cut.

“Va pues, está bien.”

“Okay, that fine.”

68.  *Valer pija– To not care, not give a damn. 

“Te vale pija lo que dices, verdad?”

“You don’t give a damn about what you say, right?”

69.  *Valer verga– To not give a fuck, to be worthless.

There are many different ways to use valer verga and valer pija.

Check out some of the situations below.

“No voy a poder ir al gimnasio hoy. Man, vale verga.”

“I’m not going to be able to go to the gym today. Man, fuck it.” 

“¡Me vale verga!”

“I don’t give a fuck.”

“Vos te fuiste a la cita sin peinarte el pelo. Te vale verga verdad?

“You went on the date without brushing your hair. You don’t give a damn, right?”

70.  Vato – guy, man

“No sé de dónde, pero yo conozco ese vato.”

“I’m not sure from where, but I know that guy.”

71.  Veá -Short for Verdad, true, right.

Salvadorans tend to shorten the word verdad, which means true, right or correct, to veá.

“¿Veá que vas a venir a la fiesta esta noche?”

“You’re going to come to the party tonight, right?”

72.  Vergón -Cool, alright. 

While the word vergón might have a vulgar in Spain and other Latin American countries, in El Salvador, you might frequently hear vergón used in El Salvador as a praise word, or affirmation, like cool, or nice.

Take the conversation below, for example:

“Maje, voy a caer a tu cantón a las cinco.”

“Bro, I am going to be at your house at five.”

“Dale maje, está vergón.”

“Alright man, that’s cool.” 

73.  Zarco – Someone with light eye color.

Well, did you learn some new words? I know I learn a complete new language when I started listening to El Salvador’s slang words.

If you have any questions regarding these Salvadoran Spanish words, please feel free to drop it in the comments below and I’ll respond to you shortly.

Thanks for reading!

More posts you might enjoy:

70+ Salvadoran Slang Words and Phrases You Need to Know!


Wednesday 26th of April 2023

My personal advice after learning Castilian Spanish in school, actually learning to speak Spanish with migrant farmworkers, seven years in Cali, Colombia (where I learned an entirely new Spanish vocabulary), and now 30 years back in California working with Hispanics from a dozen different countries-know your audience and setting before you try out new slang phrases. You don't want to come across as overly familiar or even vulgar. People often have different linguistic expectations of foreigners who speak Spanish, as in you might be better educated (in the formal sense) and they might be surprised if something unexpected is coming out of your mouth. Cultural competency and linguistic competency are equally important.


Wednesday 26th of April 2023

Hi Linn,

Thank you for commenting! I absolutely agree with your comment. My intention with this post is to not encourage language learners to go out and use these words, but rather to help navigate conversations more easily if they are around Salvadoran Spanish speakers.