argentinian slang

10 Argentinian Slang Words to Speak Like a Native Argentine

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 these 10 Argentinian slang words.

This post covers those essentials and uses examples to help you commit them to memory.


1. Estar al horno

Literal translation: to be in the oven.

Another variation: estar al horno con papas  (to be in the oven with chips)

This phrase basically means that someone is in trouble.

For example:

¡Estoy al horno! (I’m in trouble)

Estás al horno. (You’re in trouble / You’ve been caught)

The addition of the chips implies that the situation is worse.

Don’t use this phrase to talk about minor problems though, such as temporarily losing your keys or missing the local bus.

2. Tener / ser mala leche

Literal translation: to have/be bad milk.

Having bad milk is different from being bad milk, so it’s important to know the difference between the two.

If someone tiene mala leche (has bad milk), he or she has bad luck.

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

¡Qué mala leche! (What bad luck!)

Ser mala leche (to be bad milk), on the other hand, is used to describe someone mean. A person who is mala leche doesn’t want other people to succeed.

Don’t use the second one lightly—being bad milk is a big insult in Argentina. It’s also not the sort of thing you’d say to someone’s face.

3. Levantarse a alguien

Literal translation: to lift someone.

Literally meaning “to pick someone up,” this is just one of many Argentine phrases related to dating.

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.

This phrase is fairly informal and isn’t the sort of thing you’d say to your grandma, but it might be useful if your friend is going out to a club and you want to know if they’re planning on picking someone up.

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

Voy a levantarme a alguien hoy. (I’m going to pick someone up today).

4. Ponerse las pilas

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.

You might use this when talking to someone who isn’t happy about going to a social event or is having trouble getting out of bed.

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

5. Estar al pedo

Literal translation: to be to the fart

Another variation: estar en pedo  (to be in fart)

Believe it or not, there’s a large number of phrases related to farting in Argentinian slang.

Estar al pedo means to not be doing anything. 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.

Estar en pedo, on the other hand, means that someone is drunk.

Estoy en pedo. (I’m drunk).

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

So if someone asks you if you want to give up learning Spanish, you can reply “¡Ni en pedo!”

Take note that both phrases are best avoided in a workplace situation, though.

6. Tener fiaca

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. But again, it’s probably best avoided in the workplace.

7. Mandar fruta

Literal translation: to send fruit.

This phrase means that someone is talking nonsense.

Estás mandando fruta. (You’re talking nonsense/blabbing on)

¡Dejá de mandar fruta! (Stop talking nonsense!)

This is a fairly informal but slight insult, so it shouldn’t offend too many people, but don’t say it to someone you don’t know well.

8. Tomátelo con soda

Literal translation: take it with soda.

“Taking it with soda” means taking something lightly, or chilling out about something.

If someone gets annoyed about you telling them to stop mandando fruta, for example, you can tell them:

Tomátelo con soda. (Chill out)

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. Don’t use this fruity phrase in more serious situations, as it won’t go down well.

9. Estar remando en dulce de leche

Literal translation: to be rowing in dulce de leche.

Dulce de leche is a substance thicker than caramel in Argentina, so to be remando en dulce de leche means to be in a situation that’s hard to get out of.

It’s like the English saying “sticky situation,” and you can use this to describe all sorts of problems.

10. Ir a los bifes

Literal translation: to go to the steaks.

Ir a los bifes has nothing to do with going to a steakhouse, but instead means “get to the point.”

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

How to Learn Argentinian Slang

Like in any country, Argentina is full of its own expressions. These 10 are an excellent way to start, but your journey into Argentinian slang shouldn’t end here.

Once you’ve got a grip on these, continue practicing and picking up new local words by immersing yourself in Argentine content with a tool like FluentU—a language learning program that takes authentic Spanish content from the internet and turns them into language lessons.

By using the video-based dictionary, you can look up slang you want to practice to instantly find definitions, example sentences and videos that use it in context. And while watching videos, you can click on words you don’t know in the interactive subtitles to learn them.

With these 10 Argentinian slang words under your belt, your Spanish will be as colorful as the houses in Buenos Aires.

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 FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app.

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