El Salvadoran Slang: 25 Spanish Words That You Probably Never Heard

Get our free email course, Shortcut to Conversational.

Have conversations faster, understand people when they speak fast, and other tested tips to learn faster.

More info

We often say that a good way to befriend a native Spanish speaker is to use their local slang and in this post, we’ll tell you the 25 most common Salvadoran slang words that you should know if you ever meet a local from El Salvador.



Sidenote: This post is the latest post in a series where we explore slang for every Spanish speaking country

1) Aguja

When you are ready, prepared, or focused.

  • Estuve aguja todo el semestre y pude sacar buenas notas – I had to focus and get prepared the entire semester and I could get good grades

2) Arrecho

This one seems to have several meanings across South America, but in Salvadoran slang, it means good, perfect, or great. Also used in Colombia and Venezuela with some variations.

  • Te está quedando arrecha esa pintura – That painting is looking awesome already

3) Baboso

Although this translates as “drooler”, it is typically used to express “dumb”.

  • Deja de molestar, ¡baboso! – Stop being such a bother, you dumbass!

4) Bajonear

The literal translation is “to make go down”, but is Salvadoran slang for “to eat”.

  • Luego de salir de acá podemos ir a bajonear algo – After we’re done here we can go to eat something

5) Bicho

This literally means bug, but in Salvadoran slang is used to refer to children or simply people younger than you. How cute.

  • Ese bicho es mi vecino, siempre está jugando ahí – That kid there is my neighbor, he’s always there playing

6) Bolado

Slang for a ‘thing”, and it can be applied to anything really.

  • Pásame dos de esos bolados, por favor – Pass me two of those things, please

7) Cacaso

Salvadoran slang for something that is sad, extremely poorly done, looks ugly or perhaps is very boring.

  • Qué cacaso esa película, ni valio la entrada – Man! that was a bad movie, not even worth the ticket

8) Chafa

Also heard in Mexican slang, this word refers to something that is of poor quality, or perhaps a bootleg.

  • Eso me pasa por comprar cosas chafa, no duró ni un mes – I had it coming for not buying the originals, it didn’t last a month

9) Chero  

The Salvadorian common word for friend, your close compadre.

  • Vine con dos cheros para que cargar todo sea más fácil – I came with two friends so carrying everything becomes easier

10) Chivo

Ok! Fantastic! Nice! Basically, any positive word you can think of. ¡Chivo!

  • El desayuno estuvo chivo, ni siquiera tengo hambre – I had a great breakfast, I’m not even hungry yet

11) Chucho

This is a cute word used for dogs, but in some places, randomly enough, you might hear it used as a nickname for people named “Jesús”

  • Tenemos tres chuchos en la casa, necesitamos un poco más de comida – We have three dogs at home, we’re gonna need a bit more food
cta photo

Unsure what to learn next?

Download the exact curriculum that thousands of BaseLang students have used to become fluent in Spanish.


Download Guide Now!

12) Chuco

This will simply mean “dirty” or “messy”

  • Deberías limpiar tu cuarto, está todo chuco – You should clean your room, it’s all dirty

13) Cipote

Another word for a young person, be it a teenager, a kid, or someone who a lot of time ahead of them.

  • Hay muchos cipotes así en el vecindario – There are many kids like that in the neighborhood

14) De Choto

Another way to express “for free”.

  • Compré algunas cosas en la tienda y me dieron un caramelo de choto – I bought some things at the store and they gave me a candy for free

15) Desmadre

This is also used in Mexico, it means “chaos” or “disorder”, usually accompanied by the verb “armar” which means “to assemble”. So if you hear “armar un desmadre”, this something is about to become a complete shitshow.

  • Cuando comenzó la música se armó un desmadre – When the music started the chaos began as well

16) Dundo

Similar to “dumb”.

  • No seas tan dundo, hasta te lo explicó lo mejor que pudo – Don’t be so dumb, he even explained it to you as good as he could

17) Está Yuca

This expression means “it’s hard” that is commonly used by people who wish to complain about anything complex – like a verbal sigh.

  • No creo que pueda ir, esta muy yuca llegar caminando – I don’t think I’ll be able to go, looks really hard to get there by walking

18) Pisto

Your standard word for money, cash, or dinero.

  • Me sobra algo de pisto, quieres algo de comer? – I have some money to spare, want to grab a bite?

19)  Pupusas-

A traditional Salvadoran dish, similar to tortillas made out of rice or corn, filled with all kinds of ingredients, cheese, beans, chicharrones, beef, prawns, etc. Your choice.

  • ¿Quieres ir conmigo y comer pupusas en casa? – Do you wanna go with me and eat pupusas at home?

20) Puya

Or Puchica, a basic single word expression derived from a curse word (Puta), in this case, it’s more censored and is used to express shock or surprise.

  • Puya! Me asustaste saliendo de ahí – Jesús! you scared me coming out from there

21) Remar

To walk a long way, for quite a long time.

  • Hoy tengo que remar al trabajo – I have to walk to work today 

22) Salu

Looks like a shortened version of the Spanish word for “health” (salud), but it actually means “goodbye“ and might be derived from the French word “Salut”, which actually means “Hi”.

But who knows.

  • Bueno, nos vemos mañana, salu! – Well, see you tomorrow, bye man!

23) Seco

Translates as “dry” but is Salvadoran slang for someone skinny, and is said in a light hearted manner.

  • Pero mira como estás todo seco, seguro que estás comiendo bien? – But look at you! All skinny, are you sure you’re eating well?

24)  Vato

Just like Mexican slang, this term refers to a young man.

  • No conozco mucho vatos que vivan por acá – I don’t know too many young people that live around here

25)  Vea

“For real!” When you’re in a conversation, you’ll hear this somewhere to get your attention and tell you something is indeed real.

  • Vea, que ayer estuvo la policía preguntando por ese señor – Hey, the police was asking about him yesterday

Get our FREE 7-day email course, Shortcut to Conversational

The exact strategies you need to become conversational in Spanish this year. Join the course now, before we come to our senses and charge for it!

This blog is presented by BaseLang: Unlimited Spanish Tutoring for $179 a Month. Learn more here.