The best way to learn Spanish is to practise speaking with native Spanish-speakers. Today we are going to make that easier by learning some jerga. Jerga in Spanish means slang. It also means the fabric used on the end of a mop. Certain words have multiple meanings in Spanish, but that’s a conversation for another day. Today, we will learn jerga to blend in on a night out in Zona Rosa, Mexico City. Zona Rosa is the “gaybourhood” of capital city Ciudad de México (CDMX for short). Whether you feel at home in Zona Rosa or just visit for a drag brunch with the gals, here is useful Spanish slang from the LGBTQ+ community.
The origins of LGBTQ+ slang in Spanish
Like any language, some Spanish slang originally comes from the LGBTQ+ community. Due to discrimination, LGBTQ+ people were driven underground for generations. Club owners developed secret codes and unique vocabulary words to test who was trustworthy. As a result, slang from the LGBTQ+ community is super creative. These words filter out through the art and drama kids and pretty soon you hear fun LGBTQ+ slang on mainstream Spanish-language Netflix shows.
Basic Spanish slang phrases
Even if you learn Spanish from home, you need basic Spanish slang in your vocabulary. Here are some phrases that everyone (not just LGBTQ+ people) can use in daily conversation.
- tengo té – I have tea, meaning I have gossip to share with you as we sip our tea together
- me voló la peluca – surprised in a good way, literally “my wig flew off”
- y la que soporte – whether you like it or not, literally “and whoever can handle it” (should accept it as the truth)
- no me bufes – don’t shade me, don’t talk bad about me or call me out
Tengo té. Cuando escuché que se rompieron Alexa y Laura, me voló la peluca. Hace tiempo que me enamora de Laura. Ahora es mi oportunidad de salir con ella…y la que soporte. (I have tea. When I heard that Alexa and Laura broke up, my wig popped of. I’ve been in love with Laura forever. Now is my chance to go out with her…whether you like it or not.)
The last Spanish slang uses the word bufar. This is the verb to describe an angry bull snorting in a bullfight. No me bufes literally means, don’t bull-snort on me.
Basic Spanish slang words
Now that you know some full phrases, here are some Spanish slang vocabulary words common in multiple Spanish-speaking countries. Next time you take an online Spanish class, try these words with your teacher.
- dineritas – (n.) tips, literally small money – what you give drag queens at brunch after a good lip sync performance
- obtener – (v.) to get somebody, go after them, call them out (as in “get her Jade“)
- temblaste– (v.) you were shook/scared, literally you trembled
- se quedó – (adj.) shocked, literally left (speechless)
- tostada – (v.) to feel grumpy/miffed, literally to be toasted/burnt
El domingo pasado cuando Sandra no recibió casi nada de dineritas, se quedó. Pero bien tostada. (Last Sunday when Sandra didn’t receive hardly any tips, she was shook. Like really burnt.)
Slang from Mexico City
Online Spanish lessons are my favourite. I like watching Spanish-language YouTube videos to learn Spanish at home. Thanks to Pair of A’s Brenda and Jimena, I learned the Spanish slang words below. This adorable female couple puts the L in LGBT and teaches Spanish slang from Mexico City. Watch their video on Términos & Slang LGBT+ for more information.
- de ambiente – (adj.) part of the LGBTQ+ community, literally “of the environment”
- bollera – (n.) a lesbian, literally one who eats bollos (bread rolls)
- chichifo – (n.) money boy, person who dates rich people for money, to have a rich lifestyle
- chacal – (n.) well put together, good-looking, sexy guy
- buga – (n.) a heterosexual person, not queer, not LGBTQ+
The best way to learn Spanish for conversation is to pick up common slang words. Since so much slang comes from the LGBTQ+ community, these words and phrases will help you know what’s going on around you. They will make you sound natural and help you blend in to make friends with native Spanish-speakers. Which word from today do you see yourself using the most?