Cuban slang words and phrases you should know (2023)

Cuba is a country of exquisite cuisine, unique rum and quality cigars. His particular way of speaking the Spanish language makes it no problem to identify a native speaker and in this post we are going to teach you some of the most representative words and phrases of Cuban slang.

Cuba is an island full of history, music and taste. For many years this Latin American country was considered an enigma in the Caribbean and the curiosity to walk the mythical streets of Old Havana is present among citizens of all countries.

The political situation in Cuba is complex: for more than 60 years, when Fidel Castro came to power, thousands of Cubans left the island and established their communities in other countries of North America and Latin America, especially in Venezuela in the 1990s and 80s and in southern Florida in the United States, where they formed the basis of Latino culture in that country for several decades.

So it is very likely that you have already met a Cuban who confirms his characteristic joie de vivre and his peculiar way of speaking. Cuba has given the world incredible artists whose talent has brought the Cuban dialect to every season of the world.

Names like Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, la Sonora Matancera and more recently Pitbull are among themmost famous artistsfrom this country and you're probably on the playlist of a party you've been to.

Cuban slang is amazing and definitely very difficult to understand when you hear it for the first time. However, once you master it, you can explore the wonders that the people of Cuba have to offer and why not share a delicious rum with friends on an evening out. . , while checking the quality of their famous cigars.

So don't worry, in this post we've put together the most comprehensive selection of typical Cuban slang and idioms you need to know to learn Spanish... the wrong way.

40 Cuban Slang Words and Phrases You Should Know

As already mentioned, the CubanSpanish colloquialIt's very characterful and colloquial, and while it might confuse you at first, you'll be hooked once you learn the meaning of its signature words and phrases. These are the most common, make sure they sound like a native speaker.

1. Asere/Acere

Interestingly, if you look it up in the Spanish dictionary, its definition literally means "stinky monkeys." But in Cuba this word is used to refer to an ordinary person, colleague or friend. You can really say that in almost any context.

  • How are you doing? Time without hearing from you:friend how are you Haven't heard from you for a long time.
  • Acere, will you post the pics?:dude, are you sending the pics?

2. Qué bolá/Qué Bolero

Bola is a very common word in Cuban Spanish. It is used to ask a person how they are doing or how they are feeling.

  • Fernando, what's wrong with you?:Fernanda, how are you?
  • Aere, what bullet?:friend how are you

You can also find it as "que bola", "qué volá", "qué bolaita?" or "Which curve?".

3. Guarachar

Speaking of Cuban means speaking of “guaracha”, a genre of popular music very characteristic of the island that made everyone dance, which is why it is used to refer to a party or going to a party.

  • Let's get to Carlos' Guaracha:Let's go to Carlos' party.
  • Today I drive to Guachara:I'm going to the party today.

4. Gringo

In Spanish slang, used throughout Latin America, it's common to refer to a foreigner from the United States or Europe, but in Cuban slang it's only used for Americans.

  • There are gringos at the baseball game:There are Americans at the baseball game.

5. Its pasta

It means "your problem" without more or less. This is not a phrase you will find in any other Spanish speaking country.

  • But what you make of your life is your briefcase:Dude, what you make of your life is up to you.

6. Don't shoot a pea

Refers to lazy people who don't like to help. Next time you get the chance, speak like a local and use that term, but only with your Cuban friends, of course.

  • Maria does not shoot peas:Maria is very lazy.

7. Bye fish!... And chopped on the way back!

Cubans use it to say goodbye in an informal conversation, and it comes from the Cuban ration book, which offered fish for the first 15 days of the month and meat for the remaining 15 days.

  • Bye fish!... And chopped on the way back!: Very simple, see you soon.

8. How legal

The word refers to something ugly, bad, or disgusting.

  • How did it smell like garbage:The garbage smell is disgusting.
  • José was in a Fula car:José was in a dirty car.

9. Greatness

When something fits perfectly, it can be something, literally or figuratively. The translation would be "in size" but that doesn't work here.

  • Alejandra and Sofia form very well:Alejandra and Sofia get along very well.

10. Kamel

Cuban slang for some typical Havana buses that, like camels, have ugly, very uncomfortable humps.

  • I had to get on a camel:It was my turn to get on that ugly bus.

11. Busse

It's another popular way to hail buses in Cuban Spanish; is typical of manyLatin American countries.

  • Let's wait for the bus to go to school:Let's wait for the bus to go to school.

12. Take the bottle

It's a typical way of getting around for Cubans, at traffic lights they ask cars to take them in the direction they're going. Means a car ride, but lately it's not that popular, only women and some pros get it.

  • I go to the street to get a bottle:I go out onto the street to ask for a ride.

13. Eating crap

Its literal translation refers to eating excrement, but in Cuba it has a very different meaning.connotationmeans to tell someone that they are being deceived or that they are very stupid.

  • Maria is a shit eater:Maria is very stupid.

Interestingly in other countries likeVenezuela, the word is used to describe a person who is vain or has a superior attitude.

14. Botero

It's one of many names for the island's taxi drivers. It will be very easy to hear your friends use this word when you are in Cuba.

  • Call a boatswain who will bring you:Call a taxi driver to take you there.

15. Throw a skateboard

In Cuban slang it means to walk. You know you get it from people when it's late. As for what it means literally, the translation doesn't make much sense.

  • With the skateboard to the office:Run to the office.

16. Bembelquero

This is a difficult word in Cuban slang that you won't want to forget. It is used with people who like to gossip, people who would easily get you in trouble no matter what you say. Cubans don't like itsupporter

  • Don't go home to José, his mother is very pretty and could get you in trouble:Don't go home to José, his mother is a gossip girl and could get you in trouble.

17. Frutabamba

Cuban Spanish calls it papaya, a delicious tropical fruit, but try not to call it that on the island. You will find out.

  • I want a Frutabomba juice:I want papaya juice.

18. Papaya

That's what they call the vagina in Cuba, if you had ordered papaya juice in a restaurant you would have noticed it. Spanish words like this are used with so many other specific meanings that they become something else entirely.

(Video) Greet and Introduce yourself in Cuban Spanish.

19. Tomb of the Ibis

It would be translated as "download the maned". The language used in Cuba is just weird.

This is Cuban slang for the moment when trust and friendship are broken. You don't want to get that quote from a good friend; It's heartbreaking because people don't generally like to let their friends down.

  • José and Luis will overthrow the Guará after this argument:José and Luis will end their friendship after this argument.

20. I will make coffee

It literally means "I'm going to make coffee," but in the Cuban context, it's an expression used to make visitors understand that it's almost time to leave. You will hear your mother say these words when your friends are at your house. Of course they know what to do.

  • I make coffee:Time to go.

This may seem very strange in other cultures, but in Cuba it is very common for people to arrive at someone else's home unannounced.

21. Don't go, wait for coffee

It's a different version of the previous sentence in Cuban slang and means the same thing: it's time to go.

Coffee seems like a rude word in this language as the meaning literally means you get kicked out you would think. However, it is completely different, you will learn that this is the polite way of asking him to leave.

22. Jewa

Well, it can also refer to a hot girl, but it's not cool when you're in front of her. I am sure you will read his face if you do and understand this.

  • This jeva is beautiful:This young woman is beautiful.
  • Maria is the Jeva of Luis:Maria is Luis' girlfriend.

It is also popular in other countriesColombiaand Venezuela, with the same meaning: referring to a young woman or someone's girlfriend.

23. Manga

Mango, in Cuban slang, is used to express that someone is very horny in a sexual way. Mango is a fruit, so the word doesn't have the same meaning among Spaniards, that's just for Cuba.

  • Brenda is a great manga:Brenda is very hot.
  • Ask him which bullet for the sleeve that:Ask the hot girl how she is.

24. Enorme Mango

It is related to the previous slang, this time it means someone is very sexy orattractive.

  • Brenda is enormously bossy:Brenda is very hot.
  • Don't miss this massive mangón:Brother don't miss this hottie.

25. Yuma

This means foreigners of American or European appearance, others refer specifically to the United States.

  • You look like Yuma:You look like a foreigner.
  • This is where the Yuma arrive:foreigners come.

26. little horse

It would literally translate to "little horse". However, it is used with a different meaning (as is common in Spanish).

Use it in Cuba to identify a police officer on a motorcycle.

  • call the horsesCall the police.
  • The horses have arrived:The police have arrived.

27. Almendron

Very popular in Cuban slang, all these old vehicles that circulate through the streets of the island have been an undeniable symbol to identify the streets of Havana for years.

  • What a beautiful almond tree do you have:What a beautiful old car you have.

Cuban slang words and phrases you should know (1)

28. Enormous pack

If you want to refer to heavy and unnecessary drama, this is the correct Cuban slang. We all know someone who likes heated arguments that aren't really necessary!

  • Huge package, the pair:What drama is this couple having?

Such asmangathis is not for himSpanish languagegenerally, but only for Cuba. If you travel to Latin America you will learn that it doesn't mean the same everywhere and you really have to be careful not to make mistakes.

29. Links

Use it when you want to describe an obscure event, bribery, or illegal act that no one wants to say directly.

  • We choose the left with these officials:We solved it by bribing these officials.

Regarding the translation that you will learn in dictionaries, you should know that it is also correct to use the expression in Cuba to indicate that people have to move with their left side.context is everythingin the tongue!

30. Blume

Cuban slang for women's underwear. If you are not with your friends, we recommend you not to use it. It really doesn't mean anything if you stick to the translation.

(Video) Cuban Spanish Most Popular Slang

  • What a beautiful flower do you have:What beautiful panties you have.

31. Distribute this size

It's the expression Cubans use when they want to express that it's time to put things in the past, for example: a breakup, a bad experience at work, or a heated argument with someone to get over it.

  • Pass this size and talk to him again:Forget what happened and talk to him again.
  • Distribute this size, the best thing that happened:Forget it, the best thing is what happened.
  • Fainting from this size did not do this woman any good:Forget her, that woman wasn't good.

32. It's burned

It expresses something incredible, a truly amazing fact. You can read this comment from Cubans when they post their travel photos on their social networks.

  • The experience flew:The experience was incredible.
  • The party is booming:The party is really good.

33. On fire

Cuban slang referring to a time of adversity or a difficult moment with no obvious solution in sight. Use it on your friends after reading their sad faces.

  • Joseph burns:Joseph is going through a difficult time.
  • The family burns:The family is not doing well.

34. Throw a rope

Well, it has many meanings in Cuba, the most common being related to getting close to a person and helping them with any problems they might have.

  • I need someone to throw me a rope:i need someone to help me
  • Luis throws rope to Fernando during this difficult time:Luis helps Fernando through this difficult time.

If you already know some Spanish, it's similar tohelp(give a hand).

35. Jamar

In Cuba they say: Eat, just like that.

  • I'm going crazy:I'll eat.

OthersCountries that speak spanishDon't use that word

36. Pulling a thread

In this case thesentence in spanishrefers to a phase of bankruptcy when someone is bankrupt, unemployed, and does not have enough money to cover their expenses.

  • I want you to know that I can't accompany you to the party, I'm pulling a string:I want you to know that I can't go to the party with you, I don't have any money.
  • If I lose my job, I have to take a telegram with me:If I lose my job, I lose my money.

37. Curl up

More or less means being enthusiastic or very encouraged by something or someone. This Spanish word is widely used not only in Cuba but also in several Latin American countries.

  • If we win the championship, everyone will riot:If we win the championship, everyone will be thrilled.
  • Luis is excited because he will see his girlfriend:Luis is happy to see his girlfriend.

38. Obtain Balas

Know that in Cuba it has nothing to do with guns, it simply refers to looking for some money, be it looking for work or any momentary activity that makes money.

  • I'm looking for bullets so I can go on a journey:I'm looking for money to go on a trip.

39. Monster

It literally means monsters, but in Cuba and other parts of Latin America it can also be used to describe when a person is very good at what they do, for example a baseball player breaking a home run record, someone who finishes at work, among other things faster than the rest.

  • José is a monster that repairs vehicles:Jose is very good at fixing vehicles.
  • Margarita is a monster with math:Margarita excels at math.

40. Store can with lid

It is used to tell someone not to reveal a secret or to remain silent if it is not their position to speak.

  • I heard who the winner of the contest is, but I gotta keep my lidded jar:I heard who the winner of the contest is, but I have to shut up.
  • I'm telling you something important, keep your lidded can.I'm going to tell you something important, you shouldn't say anything.

You know that sometimes it's an advantage not to say too much.

41. I slip

It means you don't care.

  • I miss that Maria thinks badly of me:I don't care if Maria thinks badly of me.

After reading the title, I realized I had missed the content:As soon as I read the title, I realized that I didn't care about the content.

(Video) How to Cuss in Cuban Spanish *bad words* | Cuban Slang

Other jargon and expressions widely used in Cuban Spanish

  • puncture:Work.
  • The thorn:The work.
  • Dichabar:Betray the trust.
  • we plunder:See you later.
  • Drop it:Forget it.
  • You have to score:I'm leaving.
  • The goat:On the bike.
  • To sing:To travel.
  • Ach Gabeto:Haus.
  • Lay Stack:Galanteo.
  • square type:An uncompromising person.
  • Surnar:Sleep well.
(Video) CUBAN Sayings In ENGLISH !

Cuban slang words and phrases you should know (2)

final thoughts

The Cuban dialect is very peculiar, its particular use of the S and the inversion of the R with the L at the end of each word, obtaining a characteristic accent that is very easy to identify.

Cubans become part of social circles practically all over the world, they are very friendly so starting a conversation with them will not be a problem and we guarantee a pleasant experience if you follow the rules given in this post.

And if you are planning oneExcursion to the islandDon't hesitate to try its gastronomy, its rum and the best cigars in the region, a unique experience that will give you a new perspective on one of the most well-known and still little-explored cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Cuban Spanish is unique and learning will not be difficult if you are accompanied by a qualified Spanish teacher who will explain the correct context in which to use all of these phrases. sign up for onefree private lessonthe oneFree 7-day trial of our group coursesso that you can apply what you have learned.

Do you want to learn Spanish quickly?

Download our eBook Easy Spanish Shortcuts and learn your first 1,000 Spanish words in less than a day!

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(Video) Learn 7 Cuban Slang Verbs MEANING+EXAMPLES to understand Cuban people.

FAQs

What is Cuban slang for cool? ›

The 30 Coolest Words That Mean “Cool” in Spanish Slang
  • Bacán/Bacano. In Chile, Colombia, Peru and Cuba, bacán is used to describe something as cool. ...
  • Bárbaro. This word literally means “barbarian” or “barbaric,” so you'd think it would be a negative. ...
  • Buena onda. ...
  • Buenazo. ...
  • Cachete. ...
  • Cachilupi. ...
  • Calidá ...
  • Chévere.
Jul 10, 2022

What's up in Cuban slang? ›

¿Qué Bolá? One of the most common phrases in Cuban Spanish, that translates to “What's up?” or “How's it going?” Alternatives include “¿Qué bolero?” and “¿Qué vuelta?” ¿Qué bolá? (What's up?)

What is Cuban slang for bro? ›

Definition: Que bola (usually written sans accent marks) is Cuban for “What's up man, how's it hangin'?” Asere is the Cuban word for “bro.” Just to be clear: Asere que bola is to Cuba as Che boludo is to Argentina or No mames wey is to Mexico as “Hella awesome dude” is to California.

What does Pinga mean in Cuban? ›

#4 Pinga is…

Literally translated it refers to the male genital organ. However, conjugated in a wide variety of ways and placed into all sort of different contexts, it can mean anything from “it is horrible” (está de Pinga), “amazing” (empinagado), “what the hell is up with you” (qué Pinga te pasa a tí)…

Do Cubans say Pinga? ›

De pinga. This Cuban curse word has a pretty NSFW translation (which refers to a certain part of the male anatomy) but all you need to know is that it is used to convey frustration, anger or dissatisfaction. Example: Bro, do we not have any eggs? De pinga!

What are some Cuban sayings? ›

20 Cuban Slang Words
  • Me voy a pinchar, nos vemos más tarde. I'm going to work, see you later.
  • ¿Qué vamos a jamar hoy? ...
  • ¿Dónde puedo agarrar un camello? ...
  • Hey acere, ¿qué pasa? ...
  • Voy para la pincha, ¿me das la botella? ...
  • Hay muchos yumas en la playa. ...
  • El nuevo paladar del centro está muy bueno. ...
  • ¿Me prestas dinero?
Aug 11, 2022

What does Titi mean in Cuba? ›

term of affection for a grandmother. Titi (noun)

What does pucha mean in Cuban? ›

feminine noun. Cuba) (= ramo) bouquet.

What does Yayo mean in Cuban? ›

grandfather; grandpa; granddad.

What is Daddy in Cuban? ›

Things You Should Know. Papá means “dad,” while padre means “father.”

What is Cuban slang for girl? ›

Jeva. This can mean either a girl or a girlfriend. So mi jeva is “my girlfriend.”

What is Cuban slang for police? ›

As with most Latin American countries, most locals prefer to use slang to describe the police. In Cuba, they use caballito as a word for a policeman on a motorcycle. If you are not from Cuba, you are just a yuma. Don't take any offense to this, but this is Cuban slang for all foreigners.

What does Pepito mean in Cuban? ›

masculine noun. Cookery) meat sandwich. Andes, Central America, Caribbean) (informal) (= petimetre) dandy. Word Frequency.

What is the meaning of Pucha? ›

Interjection. pucha. (Argentina, Chile, Peru, colloquial) expresses pity, disappointment, sympathy quotations ▼synonyms ▲

What is Flaca in Cuban? ›

Noun. flaca f (plural flacas) (colloquial, Peru) girlfriend.

Why do Cubans say Pipo? ›

Pipo: (pee-po) it's similar to guy, or che in Argentinean slang. Ironically they don't use che here even though his face is everywhere. Tata/Titi: Similar to honey or sweetie.

What is Mami slang? ›

What does mami mean? Mami is a Spanish slang term variously used to refer to a mommy, attractive woman, female romantic partner, or close female friend.

What does Chucho mean in Cuba? ›

What does chucho mean in cuba? Chucho: to tease someone or to mess with someone in a friendly way by joking around. Cojones: it literally means balls, but more often refers to strength or bravery. Takedown request | View complete answer on baconismagic.ca.

How do you say hello in Cuban slang? ›

You probably already know that “Hola” is the Spanish word for hello. This is quite sufficient for greeting someone in Cuba, since it's a fairly informal society.

What does Pepe Popo mean? ›

Pepe popo (stylizd in lowercase, pronouncedd "peepee poopoo") is a random player of Among Us seen in the video "Among Us but I confuse the entire ship". Kevin has said that he and Pepe popo were "the ultimate team" and that they were "the world's greatest detectives".

What does Chichi mean in Spanish? ›

feminine noun. vulva) fanny (Brit) (vulgar) ⧫ beaver (esp US) (vulgar) Mexico) (= teta) tit (vulgar)

What does Pina mean in Cuban? ›

Translations. piña Noun. piña, la ~ (f) (ananásananá) pineapple, the ~ Noun.

What drug is Yaya slang for? ›

Yaba is a combination of methamphetamine (a powerful and addictive stimulant) and caffeine. Yaba, which means crazy medicine in Thai, is produced in Southeast and East Asia. The drug is popular in Asian communities in the United States and increasingly is available at raves and techno parties.

What is dad daddy Zaddy? ›

While a daddy is an attractive older man, a zaddy is a man "with swag" who is attractive and also fashionable. It appears that it has less to do with age. Zayn Malik, previously of One Direction, is a popular zaddy. Ryan Reynolds is also likely a zaddy. — Justin Kirkland, Esquire, 15 June 2018.

What is Mack daddy mean? ›

mack daddy (plural mack daddies) (US, slang) A pimp, especially a prosperous one. (US, slang) A flirtatious and seductive man. quotations ▼

What does Mami mean in Cuban? ›

mami f (plural mamis) (informal) mommy. (Central America, Philippines) mother. (Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela) attractive woman; momma.

How do you say pretty in Cuban? ›

1. Bonito/a. In English, this word translates to “beautiful,” “pretty,” or “lovely.” Bonito/a is widely used in Spanish-speaking countries, and it's generally a loving word. ¡Qué bonito eres!

What is Cara de Pinga? ›

cara de pinga [adj] NI CR. rude and inconsiderate.

What does Papi mean in Cuba? ›

Papi is a colloquial term for “daddy” in Spanish, but in many Spanish-speaking cultures, particularly in the Caribbean, it is often used as a general term of affection for any man, whether it's a relative, friend, or lover.

What does Bollo mean in Cuba? ›

bollo [adj] CO:N derog. good looking and attractive.

What does Lupita mean in Cuban? ›

Girl. Spanish. Taken from a Spanish place name, meaning "river of the wolf".

What does Papi Chulo mean in Cuban? ›

What does papi chulo mean? In Latin-American Spanish slang, a papi chulo is an attractive man. While the term originally names a pimp, it has broadened to refer to a ladies' man.

What is a toppie? ›

Noun. toppie (plural toppies) (South Africa) An old man. quotations ▼

What does Chingarle mean in English? ›

(Mexico, idiomatic, vulgar) to work hard; to bust one's ass.

What is a Flaka girl? ›

From colloquial Spanish flaka (“an elegant, charming woman”), derived from Spanish flaca (“skinny, slender”).

How do you say handsome in Cuba? ›

Guapo / Guapa – “Handsome”

How do you say hot in Cuba? ›

Mango, in Cuban slang, is used to express that someone is very hot in a sexual way. Mango is a fruit so the word doesn't mean the same among Spanish speakers, this is only for Cuba. What is this? Brenda es un tremendo mango: Brenda is very hot.

What do Papi Chulo mean? ›

A direct translation of papi chulo from Spanish is “pimp daddy,” with papi being a diminutive form of “father” (and used like “baby”) and chulo meaning “pimp” but also “attractive,” “cocky,” or “cool” in colloquial settings. Chulo alone has a storied history in American English.

What does come pinga mean? ›

comer pinga [v] CU. speak without thinking. ×

What is Cuban slang for girlfriend? ›

Jeva. This can mean either a girl or a girlfriend. So mi jeva is “my girlfriend.”

What not to say in Cuba? ›

Don't talk about politics

If you strike up a discussion about politics or the government you'll likely make people uncomfortable, and you could end up being reported to the police for being a subversive foreigner.

What do the word Punta mean? ›

punta f (plural puntes) point, tip. pinch, bit (small amount) peak, top. point, purpose, reason.

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