argentinian slang

12 Common Argentinian Slang Expressions [With Audio and Example Sentences]

Would you love to take a trip to the land of tango, beef and a lot of local slang? Or have an Argentine friend you want to impress?

Then you need to master some Argentinian slang.

In this post, you’ll learn 12 phrases used in casual conversation in Argentina, along with examples to help you commit them to memory.

Then you can take a short quiz to test what you’ve learned!


1. Estar al horno — To be in trouble 

Literal translation: To be in the oven

This phrase basically means that someone is in trouble or in a difficult situation. For example:

No he estudiado nada y el examen es mañana. ¡Estoy al horno! (I haven’t studied anything and the exam is tomorrow. I’m in trouble!)

If you hear estar al horno con papas (to be in the oven with potatoes), it means that the situation is even worse.

Curated authentic video library for all levels
  • Thousands of learner friendly videos (especially beginners)
  • Handpicked, organized, and annotated by FluentU's experts
  • Integrated into courses for beginners
Learn more about FluentU
Learn more about FluentU

2. Tener mala leche — To have bad luck

Literal translation: To have bad milk

If someone tiene mala leche, he or she has bad luck. For example:

Ella tiene mala leche. (She has bad luck./She’s unlucky.)

¡Qué mala leche! (What bad luck!)

3. Ser mala leche — To have bad intentions

Literal translation: To be bad milk

Ser mala leche is used to describe someone with a bad character, a bad temper or bad intentions. Don’t use this one lightly—being bad milk is a big insult in Argentina and not the sort of thing you’d say to someone’s face.

Siempre trata de manipularte. Es mala leche. (He always tries to manipulate you. He’s a bad person/has bad intentions.)

4. Levantarse a alguien — To pick someone up

Literal translation: To lift someone

This is just one of many informal Spanish phrases related to dating. It means to pick someone up or hook up with someone. You can also throw in slang words for girl ( una mina, una piba ) or boy ( un chavón, un pibe ) to make your sentence even more authentic.

Video player for learners like you
  • Interactive subtitles: click any word to see detailed examples and explanations
  • Slow down or loop the tricky parts
  • Show or hide subtitles
  • Review words with our powerful learning engine
Learn more about FluentU
Learn more about FluentU

¿Vas a levantarte a alguien esta noche? (Are you going to pick someone up tonight?)

5. Ponerse las pilas — To get your act together 

Literal translation: To put your batteries in

Unlike the English phrase “to recharge your batteries,” this phrase doesn’t mean to relax, but the opposite. Ponerse las pilas means to get some energy, get your act together, concentrate or “look alive.”

You might say this to someone who needs to focus on a task or who’s having trouble getting out of bed.

¡Ponete las pilas y vamos! (Put your batteries in and let’s go!)

6. Estar al pedo — To not be doing anything

Literal translation: To be to the fart

Believe it or not, there’s a large number of phrases related to farting in Argentinian slang. You might call a friend to ask what they’re doing and they would reply “Estoy al pedo” if they’re just hanging around at home.

Quieres salir? Estoy al pedo. (Do you want to go out? I have nothing to do.)

7. Estar en pedo — To be drunk

Try not to confuse this phrase and the previous one, as they have very different meanings. 

Master words through quizzes with context
  • Learn words in the context of sentences
  • Swipe left or right to see more examples from other videos
  • Go beyond just a superficial understanding
Learn more about FluentU
Learn more about FluentU

No puedo recogerte. Estoy en pedo. (I can’t pick you up. I’m drunk.)

This phrase also has another related phrase, ni en pedo,  which means “not even if I were drunk.”

8. Tener fiaca — To feel lazy

Literal translation: To have laziness

Tengo fiaca is a common phrase in Argentina to say that you’re too lazy to do something. It’s a fairly acceptable excuse to not go out with friends, for example. 

No quiero salir … Tengo fiaca. (I don’t want to go out…I’m feeling lazy.)

9. Mandar fruta — To BS 

Literal translation: To send fruit

This phrase means to BS someone or make something up. You can use if it someone is acting like they’re an expert about something they don’t actually know anything about it. This is fairly informal so you should only use it with close friends to avoid insulting anyone. 

¡Dejá de mandar fruta! Dime la verdad. (Stop BSing me! Tell me the truth.)

10. Tómatelo con soda — Calm down

Literal translation: Take it with soda

Stop memorizing words.
Start building sentences.
  • FluentU builds you up, so you can build sentences on your own
  • Start with multiple-choice questions and advance through sentence building to producing your own output
  • Go from understanding to speaking in a natural progression.
Learn more about FluentU
Learn more about FluentU

Tómatelo con soda is a way of telling someone not to get worked up, to calm down or to “take a chill pill.” This expression comes from the practice of mixing alcohol (usually wine) with soda water to dilute it and make it go down smoother.

Tómatelo con soda, estoy bromeando. (Calm down, I’m just kidding.)

This phrase isn’t as common as it used to be but is still widely understood. You could alternatively just say tranquila, which means basically the same thing but isn’t as fun. 

11. Remar en dulce de leche — To do something difficult

Literal translation: To row in dulce de leche

Dulce de leche is a substance thicker than caramel in Argentina, so remar en dulce de leche means to do something that takes a lot of effort or is difficult to achieve. It’s somewhat similar to the English saying “sticky situation.”

Hacer ese tramite fue como remar en dulce de leche. (Doing that procedure was like rowing in dulce de leche.)

12. Ir a los bifes — To get to the point

Literal translation: To go to the steaks

Ir a los bifes has nothing to do with going to a steakhouse, but instead means to get to the point or to face a difficult situation head-on. 

Vamos a los bifes. (Let’s get to the point.)

Accurate, detailed word explanations made for you
  • Images, examples, video examples, and tips
  • Covering all the tricky edge cases, eg.: phrases, idioms, collocations, and separable verbs
  • No reliance on volunteers or open source dictionaries
  • 100,000+ hours spent by FluentU's team to create and maintain
Learn more about FluentU
Learn more about FluentU

Quiz on Argentinian Slang

Now that we’ve gone over some Argentinian slang expressions, it’s time to test what you’ve learned! Take the short quiz below (without looking at the answers above!) and just refresh the page if you want to start over or retake it.

Which expression would you use to say that you're feeling lazy?
Correct! Wrong!

Which expression would you use to tell someone to calm down?
Correct! Wrong!

Which expression would you use to say that someone has bad luck?
Correct! Wrong!

What does the expression ir a los bifes mean?
Correct! Wrong!

What does the expression mandar fruta mean?
Correct! Wrong!

What does the expression remar en dulce de leche mean?
Correct! Wrong!

What does the expression levantarse a alguien mean?
Correct! Wrong!

What does the expression ponerse las pilas mean?
Correct! Wrong!

Argentinian Slang Expressions
Keep practicing!
Review this post a few more times and then refresh the page to retake the quiz. You can do it!
You're getting there!
You've picked up some Argentinian slang expressions! Review this post a couple more times and then refresh the page to retake the quiz and try for a higher score.
Nice job!
You're well on your way to mastering these Argentinian slang expressions! Review this post one more time and then refresh the page to retake the quiz and try for a perfect score!
You've mastered these Argentinian slang expressions. Now it's time to start using them in your Spanish conversations with Argentines!

How to Learn Argentinian Slang

Like in any country, Argentina is full of its own expressions. This post is an excellent place to start, but your journey into Argentinian slang shouldn’t end here.

You can find plenty of videos on YouTube either featuring authentic, informal speech by Argentines or specifically made to teach you Argentinian slang words, like this one from Spanish55:

For video clips with additional support for learners, you can use an immersive language program like FluentU. FluentU takes authentic Spanish content and turns it into language lessons.

The program’s video-based dictionary lets you look up slang you want to practice to instantly find definitions, example sentences and videos that use it in context. While watching videos, you can click on words you don’t know in the interactive subtitles to learn their meanings and usages.  


With these Argentinian slang words under your belt, your Spanish will be as colorful as the houses in Buenos Aires!

To learn more Argentinian language, check out this post next:

And One More Thing…

If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Spanish with engaging material and will then love FluentU.

Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.

FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:


FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.


Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.


Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.


The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Sign up now to take advantage of our current sale!

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe