Spanish Phrases You Only Hear in Colombia

03 May
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Spanish Phrases You Only Hear in Colombia

Monday May 03, 2021 - Posted by admin

A Guide to Colombian Slang: Colombianismos

There are Spanish phrases you only hear in Colombia. Spanish is the official language of Colombia. But, like all countries in Latin America, Colombians have their own way to speak Spanish to make them stand out from the crowd. Slang and expressions can be challenging when you are learning the language, because they are so country specific and never literal. Slang has many layers of historical and cultural context that can sometimes take time for a non-native speaker to understand. But with our help, you’ll master Colombia Slang, learning the Spanish Phrases You Only Hear in Colombia.

A Guide to Colombian Slang

#1. Greetings

¿Qué más?

Definition: “Hey, what’s up?” “What’s up bro?”

Example: Spanish: ¡Hola! ¿Qué más pues?
English: Hey! What’s up?


Definition: This Colombian slang word is a contraction of “¿qué hubo? It means: “What’s up? If you take a Spanish course in Colombia you will hear this phrase often!

Example: Spanish: Quiubo parce, ¿todo bien?
English: What’s up man, all good?

#2. With Friends / Plans

Llave / Llavero

Definition: Llave literally means, “key” and llavero means, “key chain”. But the Colombian slang term you will hear when you learn Spanish in Colombia actually means friend / a close circle of friends.

Example: Spanish: Voy a salir un rato con mi llave por ahí.
English: I’ll go out with my friend and hang around.

Parce / Parcero

Definition: When you study Spanish in Colombia you will hear this phrase all the time and it means, a really good friend, bro or dude.

Example: Spanish: Parce, ¿ me regala un café? Me estoy durmiendo.
English: Dude, could I have a cup of coffee? I’m falling asleep.

3. Parche

Definition: a close group of friends

Example: Spanish: ¿Qué vamos a hacer? ¿A donde salimos con el parche?
English: What are we gonna do? Where are we going out with the squad?

Colombian Slang for amigos

4. Parchando

Definition: hanging out with friends

Example: Spanish: Estamos parchando en la plaza, si quieres vienes más tarde.
English: We’re hanging out around the plaza, if you want, come later.

5. Puente

Definition: holiday or long weekend

Example: Spanish: El martes es festivo, así que vamos a tomarnos el lunes también para hacer puente.
English: Tuesday is a holiday, so we are going to take Monday off as well to make it a long weekend.

6. Rumba

Definition: party

Example: Spanish: ¿Cómo estuvo la rumba anoche?
English: How was the party last night?

Spanish Phrases Party in Colombia

7. Me abro / Ábrase

Definition: Ábrase is used as “leave” or “scatter” in plural but you can also say “me abro” to inform someone you will be leaving.

Example: Spanish: Bueno, ya es tarde, yo me abro, nos vemos mañana.
English: Well, it’s late, so I’ll be going, see you tomorrow.

8. Te caigo

Definition: This literally means, “I’ll fall on you,” but is used as an expression to tell a friend you will stop by their current location. Study Spanish in Colombia to get more fun phrases like this!

Example: Spanish: Claro, avísame cuando salgas de la casa y te caigo por la plaza.
English: Sure, let me know when you’re on your way and I’ll see you at the plaza.

# 3. Alcohol / Food


Definition: When study Spanish in Colombia you are going to hear “polas” a lot, which are used to refer to beers.

Example: Spanish: Te invites a tomarnos unas cuantas polas en el bar.
English: Let’s go drink a few beers at the bar.


Definition: This is the shortened name for the Colombian national drink, aguardiente, which translates to burning water. The drink is made from sugarcane and flavored with aniseed. At your Spanish school in Colombia you should try some aguardiente!

Example: Spanish: Pues claro, quedó jincho después de tantas polas mezcladas con guaro.

English: Of course, he’s hammered after so many beers with guaro.

Estar prendido

Definition: to be buzzed

Example: Spanish: Ese parce está prendido, lleva bebiendo desde la tarde.
English: That dude is really buzzed, he’s been drinking since the afternoon.


Definition: wasted / drunk / hammered

Example: Spanish: ¿Y qué le pasó a este, ya se puso jincho?
English: What happened to him, is he already drunk?


Definition: hangover

Example: Spanish: Juan dice que ponerme limón en las orejas me curare el guayabo.
English: Juan says that putting lime on my ears will cure my hangover.


Definition: a street side Colombian BBQ or a fried food platter. It’s a common Colombian weekend activity for friends and family to get together to have this typical Colombian BBQ. When you study Spanish in Colombia, learn about a typical fritanga and get to know everyone in the neighborhood.

Example: Spanish: La fritanga que sirven en este bar me da asco.
English: The BBQ they serve in this bar makes me sick.

Fritanga comida Colombiana


Definition: Ñapa comes from a Quechua word, an indigenous language, meaning “help” or “increase.” A ñapa is something extra given for free. It’s normally used when buying foods in the market or on the street. For example, extra bread the baker slips into your bag or the extra juice in the blender at the market stall to refill your cup. If you learn Spanish in Colombia you will even get to know some vocabulary from other languages as well!

Example: Spanish: Vecino, ¿y la ñapa?
English: Neighbor, and the extra?


Definition: black coffee

Example: Spanish: Cada mañana, tomo un tinto con dos huevos hervidos para el desayuno.
English: Every morning I have black coffee with two boiled eggs for breakfast.

Cafe colombiano Slang

More Spanish Phrases You Only Hear in Colombia

#4. Love


Definition: heartbreak

Example: Spanish: El poema refleja la tusa y la tristeza que sintió el poeta cuando lo dejó su esposa.
English: The poem reflects the heartbreak and the sadness that the poet felt when his wife left him.

Echar los perros

Definition: to flirt

Example: Spanish: Le estoy echando los perros a Mónica.
English: I’m flirting with Monica.



Definition: nice, cool

Example: Spanish: Parcero, eres un bacano, gracias por esa vuelta.
English: Man, you’re the best, thanks for that solid.

Spanish: ¿Has estado en Medellín? Es muy bacano.
English: Have you been to Medellín? It’s so cool.

Nanay Cucas

Definition: a very old Colombian way to say “no way.” If you learn Spanish in Colombia and stay with a host family, you might hear the grandma say, “nanay cucas.”

Example: Spanish: ¡Nanay cucas! No tengo hambre ni quiero salir.
English: No way! I’m not hungry and don’t want to go out either.

¡Qué nota!

Definition: it’s awesome!

Example: Spanish: Ella es una nota bailando.
English: She’s awesome at dancing.

Qué chimba

Definition: that’s great

Example: Spanish: ¡Me gané un viaje a Europa! -¡Qué chimba!
English: I won a trip to Europe! -That’s great!


Definition: “Tough luck” or “Wow, that’s too bad” when something does not go as planned and someone has to face the consequences.

Example: Spanish: Paila, se le hizo tarde y ya se acabó todo.
English: Tough luck, he got there late and everything was over.

Fresco / Fresca

Definition: The literal definition means fresh, but if you hear this word in Colombian Spanish it will mean to chill out, relax or don’t worry. This is a great word to use with your Colombian friends.

Example: Spanish: Nena, lo siento, mañana no puedo acompañarte al medico. –No pasa nada, ¡fresca!
English: Babe, sorry, I can’t come with you to the doctor. –Not a problem, don’t worry!
We hope you enjoyed reading the Spanish Phrases you Only hear in Colombia.   Interested in reading more? Soon we’ll publish: Spanish Phrases you will Only Hear in Colombia part II.

Would  you like to read more about slang:  Check our article:

Learn Spanish From Latin America: Peruvian Slang

If you want to improve your Spanish quickly, study Spanish in Colombia and learn with native Spanish teachers. Spend time with Colombians of all generations and practise your Spanish in informal public areas like cafes, bars, parks and restaurants.

Spanish in Medellin —– Spanish in Cartagena —– Spanish in Bogotá

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