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13 El Salvador Slang Phrases to Sound Like a Native

el salvador slang

El Salvador has extra to supply than most individuals notice.

Not solely is it residence to greater than a dozen lively volcanoes, there are Mayan ruins at Tazumal and 191 miles of Pacific shoreline and seashores.

No matter you do in El Salvador, attending to know some native lingo might be vital for speaking with the locals throughout your journey. 

Listed here are 13 important El Salvador slang phrases and phrases to infuse your Spanish with native coloration.


Important El Salvador Slang Phrases and Phrases

1. Chucho  — canine

Don’t anticipate to listen to the furry little buddy with a wagging tail following you across the market known as perro (canine). You might take a look at his large, soulful eyes and assume perro (canine) however you’ll be the one one with that time period in thoughts.

A canine is at all times known as chucho in El Salvador. It doesn’t appear to have a literal translation, however that doesn’t matter—simply memorize it, since you’ll be seeing a variety of cute canine in El Salvador.

¡Mira! ¡El chucho nos sigue!
Look! The canine is following us!

2. Casamiento  — conventional rice and bean dish

This phrase actually means “marriage,” however don’t get nervous if somebody gives you casamiento—they’re not proposing.

Casamiento is a conventional Salvadoran dish made with white rice and black beans—and the 2 parts, rice and beans, are mentioned to “marry” when mixed, which provides the dish its identify.

This can be a staple meals, so it’s seemingly it’ll be provided no less than as soon as. In case you’re hungry, settle for as a result of whereas it’s easy fare, it’s very nourishing and attractive.

Prueba el casamiento. ¡Es muy bueno!
Attempt the casamiento. It’s superb!

3. Vaya pues  — so long

Actually, “go then,” however the expression is used to say a pleasant “so long.”

Adiós (goodbye) isn’t heard when ending a telephone dialog or perhaps a transaction in una tienda (a store). As a substitute, vaya pues is the usual in such conditions so it’s a useful time period to remember.

A refrain of vaya pues will observe you from any crowd in case you’ve made no less than one informal connection.

4. ¡Puchica! — rattling!

This can be a minor swear phrase that loosely translated means, “oh, man!” or “rattling!” This multipurpose exclamation works in virtually any state of affairs that locals use freely.

Did you drop your telephone? Miss the final bus again to the resort? Discover the restaurant all out of pupusas for the day?

Be happy to say “¡Puchica!” and mix in with the locals.

5. Cabal  — settlement

The literal translation of cabal is “thorough” nevertheless it’s used to point out settlement right here in El Salvador—a phrase that replaces “precisely” or “definitely.”

El costo del café es demasiado alto. 
The price of espresso is simply too excessive.


It’s a really helpful phrase and provides to any dialog the place two events are in accord.

6. Chera / chero  — buddy

This has no literal translation—it’s merely a phrase generally used to switch amigo or amiga (buddy).

Eres un gran chero.
You’re an ideal buddy [masculine].

7. Chivo / chiva  — OK, nice, cool

Chivo means “nice” or “cool.” In case you give one thing a thumbs up, it’s chivo/chiva. You can even use this to convey “OK” or settlement.

That is considered one of my favourite Salvadoran slang phrases as a result of it’s enjoyable to say and its which means is so constructive! I imply, actually, who can say this with out smiling?

¡Qué chiva!
That’s cool!

8. Buena onda  — good vibes

Buena onda interprets actually to “good wave,” however this phrase is used to point out a very good feeling about an individual, place or state of affairs. In different phrases, buena onda is Salvadoran for “good vibes.”

El membership está bueno, ¿no? 
The membership is nice, no?

Sí, tiene buena onda.
Sure, it has good vibes.

9. Tener goma  — having a hangover

The precise translation is “to have glue,” nevertheless it’s the slang time period for having a hangover and is utilized in different nations within the area as nicely.

That is broadly used, so you need to tuck this one into your slang package. You might (or might not, relying in your journey plans!) hear it typically.

Me quedé demasiado tiempo en la fiesta. ¡Tengo goma
I stayed too lengthy on the occasion. I’ve a hangover!

10. Bayunco — loopy

Bayunco is the slang time period for loopy, so don’t anticipate to listen to loco (loopy) in El Salvador.

Actually, bayunco is one other enjoyable phrase that rolls off the tongue and brings smiles. And shared smiles in another country? That’s a win/win state of affairs!

¡Qué bayunco!
It’s loopy!

11. Bajonear — to eat

This verb actually means “to go down,” however Salvadorians use it to imply “chow down” or eat.

¡Estoy hambriento! Vamos bajoneamos.
I’m ravenous! Let’s eat.

12. Bicho — kids or folks youthful than you

This phrase’s true which means is “bug,” however this cute slang phrase is used to discuss with kids, or actually anybody that’s youthful than you.

Ese bicho siempre quiere pasar el rato.
That child at all times desires to hang around.

13. Pista  — cash

In Mexico, a pista is an alcoholic beverage, however in El Salvador, it’s considered one of many slang phrases for cash.

No tengo pista.
I’ve no cash.

What You’ll Hear in El Salvador

Spanish is the official language, though it’s barely completely different from what most of us be taught by way of mainstream language examine.

Salvadorans use the voseo type of verb conjugation slightly than the one most of us know, the tuteo type. It merely signifies that vos (you) takes the place of the second individual pronoun—as a substitute of (you). Just a few different nations use this conjugation variance, most notably Argentina.

Usually known as Salvadoran Spanish, the speech distinctive to El Salvador is named Caliche. It’s a mixture of customary Spanish and native Salvadoran slang spoken amongst locals.

Moreover, Nahuatl remains to be spoken on a restricted foundation. Traditionally, it has been known as Aztec and at this level, some contend it’s a dying language. Others, nevertheless, deem it worthy of continued examine.


I by no means journey to a rustic with out making an attempt to get a few of the native expressions underneath my belt. It simply appears pure to wish to talk successfully with these I meet—and apart from, it’s enjoyable to have the ability to lay down the lingo like a neighborhood.

Utilizing this record of phrases and different Spanish slang in El Salvador will ramp up your communication expertise, open doorways and possibly even garner an invite or two to some native occasions. 

Converse just like the locals, with the locals—and that’s simply one of the best ways to speak, isn’t it?

¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)



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