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7 Must-know Uses of the Word “Boludo” in Argentina

When it comes to the Argentine dialect of Spanish, there are a few words and phrases unique to the country and region that are absolutely essential to know if you want to surpass the status of “tourist” and advance to “traveler.”

The word I would like to stress here in this post is without a doubt the most important word in the Argentine vernacular, and only a fool would forsake its use.

In this post, I’ll explain to you seven key boludo meanings in Argentina, and provide examples of situations in which the word might be used.

Contents

What Does Boludo Mean?

Boludo  literally means “person who has large balls”.

As arguably the most important word when considering the Argentine dialect of Spanish, boludo/a is loaded with humorous versatility, and the proper usage of this word goes a long way.

The main rule for using boludo is to only use it around individuals in your own age group, or around those with whom you have established a kind of bantering familiarity.

This is not a word you want to employ around your Argentine exchange-student-friend from high school’s grandmother, nor at the office.

7 Usages of the Argentine Spanish Word “Boludo”

Boludo typically takes three forms, which we will get to in due time.

1. Boludo with friends

The simplest and most common usage of the word boludo may be likened to the English usage of the word “man” or “dude.”

This usage only applies between friends, and could be misconstrued as an insult if the person you are talking to is not yet comfortable in your presence.

For example:

¿Como estás, boludo? (What’s up man?/What’s going on?)

Boludo, ¿qué hacés esta noche? (Hey man! What are you doing tonight?)

2. Boludo as an insult

Boludo is also used to insult another person and expresses the same linguistic disdain as the English words “a**hole,” and “dumba**.”

My personal translation and arguably the most accurate in many cases, “putz” (a hilarious American English word derived from Yiddish used to denote a stupid, ignorant or clumsy person. Also used as an intransitive verb: “to putz around” denoting the worthless and unproductive activities of said stupid, ignorant or clumsy individual).

For example:

¿Qué te pasa, boludo? (What’s your problem man?)

In this case the word “man” carries more linguistic weight and is more like saying “a**hole.”

¡Boludo, olvidaste las entradas! (You dumba**/putz, you forgot the tickets!)

In this case, if the conversation is between two friends it carries less weight than calling someone a “dumba**,” and depending on inflection, situation and intensity of hand gestures, may be translated as “putz” or “fool.”

3. Boludo for talking to yourself

Another and rather common usage is the self-directed usage of the word.

For example:

¡Che, perdí las llaves! ¡Qué boludo! (Man, I lost the keys. What an idiot/putz!)

This usage comes naturally after a while, especially if you are accustomed to losing stuff and are constantly the source of setbacks and logistical issues among your Argentine peers.

Moving on.

4. Boludo when you’re really irritated with others

This usage is the same as the self-directed usage, though it is directed at a third-party.

Use it to describe the spiteful asador (the guy who cooks meat on the grill) who sent you out the worst piece of asado (BBQ); or in the following scenario—that maniac Argentine driver who almost crashed into you on the street.

¿Viste esta boluda? ¡Casi me chocó! (Did you see that a**hole/dumba**/putz? She almost crashed into me!)

Mirá este boludo, no sabe manejar. (Look at this a**hole/putz, he doesn’t know how to drive.)

Now moving on to my personal favorite use of boludo.

5. Boludo as a verb

In English we use verbs such as “to mess around,” “to horse around” or again, my favorite, “to putz around” to classify such loathsome behavior as watching “Seinfeld” and eating Doritos in your underwear when you should be doing work.

In Argentine Spanish, the verbal form of the word boludo is boludear, and it’s used to express pretty much the exact same thing as the English “to putz around.”

For example:

¿Qué hacés, boludo? (What are you doing man?)

Nada, estoy boludeando. (Nothing, just messing/putzing around.)

Now, as a verb, boludear functions in the simple present as follows:

Yo boludeo
Vos boludeás
El/ella boludea
Nosotros boludeamos
Ustedes boludean

6. Boludo as a more wicked verb

Another usage of the verb boludear may be likened to the English verb “to mess with,” or to in some cases “to lie” or “to cheat” depending on the context.

For example:

No me boludees. Dejá de boludearme. (Don’t mess with me.)

Note: Depending on the context, the speaker could also be saying “You have got to be kidding me.”

No lo compré, estaba boludeándome. (I didn’t buy it, he was messing with me.)

Or in reality, “He was trying to screw me over.”

7. Boludo as nonsense

Furthermore, boludo can also be used to refer to any activity that is worthless, time-consuming or ridiculous in nature with the noun boludez.

For example, watching “Anchorman 2” could possibly elicit the following commentary:

Che, qué boludez.  (Man, what a crappy movie.)

(Che is Argentine for saying “man” or as a way to grab attention, by the way.)

Although the speaker did not actually say that the “movie” was “crappy,” the word boludez infers that the movie is “crappy” or not worth the time, in the context of two friends watching “Anchorman 2” in their underwear covered in Doritos.

Son boludos, ¿no? (They are putzes, right?)

You can also consider boludez a synonym of tonterías (nonsense/foolishness), which becomes boludeces in the plural form.

¡Dejen de hablar boludeces! (Stop talking nonsense!)

Isn’t it a fun word? 

Overview of Boludo Meanings

The three forms of the word boludo we went over are outlined below:

Boludo (n.)

In the form of a noun, boludo functions the same way as the English “man” or “dude,” or conversely as an insult similar to “idiot,” “putz” or dumba**.”

Boludear (v.)

As a verb, boludear is used to describe the same as the English “to putz around,” and describes worthless or unproductive activities.

It is used to express the same as the English “to mess with” or “to cheat.”

Boludez (n.)

In the boludez form, the word refers to any activity or thing that is simple or worthless.

It is also used to describe something that is nonsensical.

 

You now know seven main boludo meanings in the Argentine Spanish dialect! For more context, you can see this word and many others in use naturally in the videos on FluentU.

Remember, if you’re in doubt about the usage of a word, it’s important to ask others.

Ask local friends, or consult the almighty internet. At the end of the day people will respect you more for learning the little nuances of their language and culture.

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