1. ¡Ay bendito!
You gotta love this Puerto Rican slang term, as it’s used to express all kind of emotions from happiness, surprise or sadness. The tone you use will dictate how it’s interpreted, similar to how you would say “Oh my god” in English.
- ¡Ay bendito! que alegría verte – OMG! what a joy to see you!
The name given to people born in Puerto Rico.
- El nació en Puerto Rico, es Boricua – He was born in Puerto Rico, he is Boricua
Puerto Rican slang or spanglish for “hang out”.
- Vamos a hanguiar un rato esta tarde – Let’s hang out for a while this afternoon
The Puerto Rican slang for your friend, which comes from the English word “brother”.
- No hables así de mi broki – Don’t talk like that about my friend
More spanglish here. You might have noticed that this looks like the English word “Goofy”? Well, the meaning is very similar as it means to fool around or joke around.
- Deja ya de gufear, y ponte a trabajar – Stop joking around and start working
6. Al Garete
A really fun and crazy moment.
- ¡Tu fiesta de cumpleaños estuvo al garete! – Your birthday party was crazy!
In Mexico, chavos means young people. But in Puerto Rican slang, it’s another word for money.
- No tengo chavos para el taxi – I don’t have any money for the taxi
This word is very popular, and you’re likely to hear it in a lot of songs. Mamey is the word you need to use when something is very easy to do. Similar to “easy peasy” in English.
- Esto en un mamey. Yo lo puedo hacer – This is easy peasy. I can do it
This is the short version for hermano o hermana which mean ” brother or sister” in Spanish, and it has the same meaning. It can also be used with good friends. This slang is also found in the Dominican Republic.
- Oye mano, vámonos de viaje este fin de semana – Hey buddy, let’s go on a trip this weekend
Everybody loves a good Jartera. Because when you had a Jartera, it means that you probably ate like a crazy, and your stomach it’s about to explode.
- Que jartera tan buena tuvimos anoche en casa de tu abuela – What a good meal we had last night at your grandmother’s house
Bembé is actually a religious party, but in Puerto Rican slang, there’s nothing religious about a Bembé, as it’s a big party.
- Nos invitaron a un bembé – We were invited to a party
12. Duro / Dura
This word normally means “hard” but, in Puerto Rican slang means that someone is really good at what they do.
- Ella es una dura bailando – She is the best at dancing
Someone who is well dressed, well groomed, who smells fine.
- Voy a acicalarme, porque voy a salir con mi novia – I’m going to dress up, because I’m going out with my girlfriend
Puerto Rican slang for traffic.
- Hay mucho tapón y voy a llegar tarde – There’s a lot of traffic, and I´m gonna be late
Breagar normally means to struggle, or deal with something. But in Puerto Rico, this word is used to describe being busy doing something that is not necessarily fun.
- Estoy bregando con algo de última hora en el trabajando – I’m struggling with something last minute at work
When you party hard, and drink too much, it’s likely that you’ll end up Jumeta, which is another word for drunk.
- Ellos agarraron una buena jumeta en tu fiesta – They were really drunk at your party
17. Abombao / Abombada
It is used to explain that something, almost always referring to food, is rotten or damaged.
- Bota esa comida que ya está abombada – Throw away that food, is already damaged
Sounds and look like “brutal”, which in English is normally a bad thing. In Puerto Rico, it means that something is beyond awesome.
- Ayer en la disco la pasamos brutal – Last night at the disco we had a great time
19. Nene / Nena
In Puerto Rico, you will never hear the locals say ” niño or niña”, instead they’ll used the slang terms it’s nene for little boys and nena for little girls.
- Dile a la nena que venga a cenar – Tell the girl to come to dinner
Another word for a mess.
- Mira ese revolú que tienes en tu cuarto – Look all that mess in your room
Jíbaro is the name for the people who live in the countryside, in the island of Puerto Rico.
- ¿Y tú por qué estás vestido como un jíbaro? – Why are you dressed like a country guy?
Once again, Spanglish for parking.
- Voy a parquear el auto – I’m going to park the car
Sounds like beer, right? Well, yes, it is another word for beer.
- Te invito una birra esta noche – I’ll invite you some beers tonight
In Spanish, gato is normally a male cat and gata is a female cat.
In Puerto Rican slang, it can also have this meaning, but it’s also used to talk about a man or women who is very good looking.
- Mira ese gato que viene ahí. Que guapo que está – Look at that handsome man that comes there. How gorgeous he is
25. Ahorita / Orita
These words mean “right now” in almost all Latin American countries.
But not in Puerto Rico. Ahorita or orita can mean llater, but not right now, maybe later is a day, or a week, or 6 hours. So if someones tells you that they’ll meet come “ahorita”, it’s best to ask for clarification.
- Ahorita nos vemos – I’ll see you later
Another word for gossip.
- Alguien me dijo un bochinche de la vecina muy malo – Someone told me a very bad gossip about the neighbor
When someone is telling a lie, you say it is an embuste
- Ayer conocí a Luis Fonsi en la disco. Cállate, eso es embuste – Yesterday I met Luis Fonsi at the Disco. Shut up, that’s a lie
28. Perreo / Perrear
The Boricuas are mostly proud of this word, and you’ve probably heard it in some current reggaeton songs. Perreo is actually dancing like a madman, without stopping. Dance very fierce. But, now, it’s actually some kind of dirty dancing.
- Vamos a la disco que quiero perrear – Let´s go to the disco, ´cause I wanna dance
There is no direct translation for this one. It’s Puerto Rican slang for something that smells really bad, and must always be accompanied by a gesture or look of disgust on the face, or it won’t work.
- Fó! Huele muy mal aquí – It smells really bad here
30. Come mierda
Yep, I know you have seen this word before. In Cuba, they use it too. “Eat poop”, but in Puerto Rico, this expression is used to talk about someone very arrogant with an unfriendly character.
- ¡Oye! Deja de comportarte como un comemierda con tu novia. – Hey! Stop being an idiot with your girlfriend
Boricua is the local name for a Puerto Rican. The word derives from the indigenous name for the island of Puerto Rico: Boriken or Boriquín.
The Boricuas first inhabited the island many, many years ago long before the Spanish came and conquered. The name signifies, “Brave and noble Lord”.
So, next time you see a Puerto Rican, make sure to say, “Que tal, Boricua”. It might catch them by surprise.
In addition to the traditional meaning of tirar, “to throw away”, in Puerto Rican slang, tirar also means to make fun of someone.
The noun derived from the verb form, tiradera or tiraera means a dis or verbal feud and often refers to feuds between rappers.
3. Al garete
Al garete is used to refer to someone or something that is adrift or going poorly.
It has a nautical origin. The garete is the rudder that is used as a last resort when a ship finds itself without a mast or oars, and al garete originally referred to a ship that was adrift.
You can say that something “se fue al garete”, meaning it started to go disastrously, such as “el partido se fue al garete” (the game went poorly).
You can also tell some “vete al garete” or “get lost” if they are bugging you. Careful with whom you use this one though, as context is key.
Chavos is a Puerto Rican slang word for money.
It is derived from a contraction of ochavo in old Spanish, or one-eighth, which in turn refers to the eight pieces a silver coin was divided into in previous centuries.
Before you head off for Puerto Rico, make sure you bring along some chavos.
Bregar means to struggle or to work on something with a lot of effort.
In Puerto Rican slang, both “bregaste Chicky Starr” and “bregar cajita de pollo” mean to betray someone or play dirty.
Chicky Starr was a Puerto Rican wrestler who takes on the antagonist. La cajita de pollo (box of chicken) refers to Kentucky Fried Chicken’s box of soggy chicken pieces that were not worth the money, at least originally.
As you can imagine this one is a bit of a silly phrase, but it is another way of saying, “you did me wrong”.
- Have you gotten the cheat sheet yet? Download the Slang Words Cheat Sheet.
Wepa is more an exclamation than a word.
It is yelled to express joy and utter happiness. Puerto Ricans will yell it nasally and hold the “e” and “a” for a long time.
This may be used to celebrate a victory, a birthday or a good exam grade. Make sure to use it often and you will be confused as a Puerto Rican in no time!
Say the word janguear out loud, and you may be able to determine its definition: to hang out.
This is an example of an English words penetrating Puerto Rican Spanish.
Someone might say, “Voy a janguear con mis amigos en el parque esta noche.” This of course means, “I am going to hang out with my friends in the park tonight.”
Acho and chacho are contractions of the Spanish word “muchacho” which means “boy”.
Just like most Spanish speaking countries, Puerto Ricans have a way of shortening words.
So, if you are trying to say, “What’s up, dude?” you can say “¿Que tal, acho?”
They are also used as fillers between thoughts and sentences when speaking. It’s similar to “well” in English.
9. A mí, plín
A mí, plín is a slightly vulgar way to say “I don’t care” or “no me importa”.
It is thought to have come from the English word “plink”, which means to shoot randomly and casually at targets.
Hopefully, by this point you aren’t thinking, “A mí, plín” to these Puerto Rican Slang expressions.
Corillo is quite a useful word to know when talking to your new Puerto Rican friends.
The word “corillo” is the Puerto Rican slang for friends or a group of friends. You might hear someone say, “Vamos! Salgamos con el corillo!”
This signifies: “Let’s go! Let’s all leave together!”
Try out a few of these slang terms for Puerto Ricans and you are sure to make a “corillo” in no time.