Do you speak Peruvian?

Have you gotten to a country, thinking that you would understand at least something cause you were studying the language so hard but then when you arrived, you just didn’t get what the hack are they talking about?

The same thing happened to me when I arrived to Peru. As everywhere, Peruvians also use a lot of slang. I decided to help you out a bit and explain the most common slang expressions – in Peruvian “jerga”.

  • Here are some words you can hear a lot from drivers, vendors, cobradores (bus fee collectors) to attract and greet their customers. All of them are meant to greet you very personally as a friend and at the same time compliment you

Flaquita – which literally means skinny but in this context it’s like honey

Gordita – which literally means chubby, but in this context it’s meant as well as honey, sweetheart…

Muñeca /muñequita – babydoll

  • There are dozens of words used to call your friend:

Causa – is like hey brother, or hey man

Pata – has the same meaning as cause, so bro or mate

Cholo – which is used in two different meanings, either as: “hey mate”… or as an expression to call people from “Los Andes” (mountainous part of Peru), in that case it’s very offensive

Huevón can be also used in two ways –as a “dude” but also to call someone stupid or a**hole, so be careful)

  • Other ways to get onto someone that is not your friend:

Profe – its short for professor and it’s a respectful expression used if you need to get someone’s attention (e.g. a taxi driver, waiter in a restaurant, vendor….)

Brichero – is a gringas hunter (bricheros are Peruvians that are trying to make foreign girls fall in love with them and then take advantage of their money or fact that they can get married with them and get to the USA or Europe, so girls look out if you are about to marry a Peruvian :P)

Cabro – means homosexual (offensively), don’t confuse it with “cabrito” which is very popular Peruvian dish – goat meat J

  • There are several ways to show surprise or show that something is amazing:

Eso/ Eso es… – “eso” literally means “that”, but in friendly conversations Peruvians use “eso” very often to show excitement – in that case it means “yeah”, “awesome”…. E.g. you are learning salsa and you finally master basic moves, so Peruvians will react on that “Eso es” to say “how cool” or “awesome”

Chévere – cool

Asu!!! (its short for asu madre, which is used as expression of surprise, or awesomeness, e.g. asu madre esta chica corrió diez kilometros which would be, wau, this girl ran 10 kilometres…)

  • “Ya” has many meanings:
    • apart from: already, anymore or now
    • it is also used to say that “it is enough”/”that’s it”. g. “solo recibes un sello a tu pasaporte y ya, puedes permanecer en Perú hasta seis meses con visas turísticas.” Which means “You just get a stamp into your Passport and that’s it, you can stay in Peru up to 6 months.”
    • Ya is also used as “Yes” or affirmation
  • Pues – is a perfect word to start or finish any sentence, it means “well”, “so”, “then”…. E.g.: “Listo? Vamos pues.” Which would be “Ready? Let’s go then.”
  • Osea – “well…”
  • Oe – from oye, which means, “hey, listen”
  • Wachiturro – swag
  • Aguja – “estar aguja” means that you are broke and you have no more money
  • Tacos – mean “High heels” not Mexican tacos, so if they will ask to to bring tacos unfortunately it doesn’t mean that there will be a Mexican party
  • Cancelar – most of the times meansto pay” not to cancel something!! this word can be very confusing
  • Pico – besito, which means a small kiss
  • Agarre or chapar – beso, which is a french kiss
  • Lucas – soles/local money
  • Bad day can bring a bad mood and some bad words, here are some of them that even your grandma can use:
    • Pucha shows pitty or regret, English equivalent would be “shit”, Pucha is used as an alternative to much stronger word: “puta” (bitch)
    • Yára – oh shit….Yara causa” which would be “oh shit brother”…

I hope this brief list of some slag will help you to survive in streets of Peru. For any more suggestions to add to list please write a comment below.

Carpe diem mis flaquitos,


Klara Exploradora

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