Clearly, one of the most enjoying aspects of studying Spanish is learning local slang or regionalisms. Peru is no exception and there are literally thousands of words which could be described as slang or modismos. However, these words take experience and caution as to when or not to use them. Vocabulary among Peruvians often signals as to what social class an individual is from.
- Arruga – “deuda – debt”
Means you have a debt.
Tengo una arruga con el bodeguero.
- Al toque -“In a second; in a heartbeat.”
Means you will do something very fast.
Te voy a pasar los datos al toque.
- Chamba – “Work or job”
Chambear means ‘to work
Mi chamba es en Trujillo
- Aquisito nomás – “Really close by.”
Often used when bargaining on buses or in taxis to emphasize the distance is in fact very close.
“¿A dónde vas?” “Aquisito nomás.”
- Bacán – ‘Cool!’ or ‘Great!’
Esa moto está bacán.
- Bróder – friend, amigo
Comes from the English “brother”
Juan es mi broder.
- Caleta – “Discreet, kept on the down-low.”
Often used when one wants to keep something from public eye.
- Atracar – To accept a proposal;
to going along with a request.
Yo atraco en ir a la playa
Nos vemos en el café de la esquina. Es caleta, nadie nos ve.
- Chapar – To grab a bus or To kiss, to make out
Te veo allí, ahorita voy a chapar mi combi.
La encontré en una fiesta y esa noche chapamos.
- Lechero – “How lucky.”
As one story tells it, the slang has its roots about sexually unfulfilled wives who waited for the milkmen, lecheros, every morning. For that reason, how lucky to be “el lechero”!
Te ganaste la lotería, que lechero eres.
- Chato – Short.
Mi novio es chato, no mide más de 170.
- Chela - “beer.”
An expression usually used in bars. Chelas means beer.
Cantinero, tráigame dos chelas.
- Chévere – used in the same way as ‘bacán’, to express delight or a positive opinion.
Muy chevere tu nueva camisa.
- Huasca – “wasted.”
Often used when you feels the alcohol going to your head.
Me siento huasca, me tomé muchas chelas.