chile flag in a plate of chilean food against a blue background with the words "chilean slang"

29 Chilean Slang Words You’ll Hear in Chile

If you’re years deep into studying Spanish but still can’t grasp what the characters in your favorite Chilean telenovela are saying, it’s likely because you aren’t yet familiar with Chilean slang.

This blog post will introduce you to 29 Chilenismos — words and expressions exclusively used in Chile. Plus, examples that show how to use them.


1. Cachai

Meaning: you know?

Chileans often end their sentences with cachai to make them casual or friendly. It means “You know?” or “You get me?”—very similar to the Canadian “eh?”

Ya no quiero salir esta noche, ¿cachai?
I don’t want to go out tonight anymore, you know?

You’ll hear this -ai sound at the end of many other verbs, too. That’s because Chileans often replace the usual tú (you) endings with –i. For example:

Tú hablas (You speak) → tú hablai
Tú sabes (You know) → tú sabí
Tú quieres (You want) → tú querí

2. Sí Po / No Po

Meaning: yes/no

In Chile, you’ll hardly ever hear sí (yes) and no (no) by themselves. Instead, get used to hearing “sí po” and no po.”

Po, which evolved from pues (well), is a common add-on to words and phrases.

Quieres ir a Chile conmigo? Sí po!
Do you want to go to Chile with me? Yes (of course)!

3. Pololo / Polola

Meaning: boyfriend/girlfriend

Novio or novia—the terms used in the rest of the Spanish-speaking world for “boyfriend/girlfriend”—in Chile refer to highly serious relationships like engagements and marriages.

Anything else, even year-long commitments, are pololo-worthy.

Mi pololo vive en Chile.
My boyfriend lives in Chile.

You can also use it as a verb, pololear, as in, “Estoy pololeando” (“I am dating”).

Estamos pololeamos.
We are going out/dating.

4. Engrupir

Meaning: to flirt (usually, successfully)

This slang word doesn’t just mean to hit on someone. It typically implies that the flirtatious person was successful.

Me engrupí esa mina.
I got that girl.

5. Gorrear

Meaning: to cheat (on someone)

El gorrea a su polola todo el tiempo.
He always cheats on his girlfriend.

6. Jote

Meaning: player

No está realmente interesado en ti, solo es un jote.
He’s not actually into you, he’s just a player.

7. Mina

Meaning: (attractive) young woman

Mira la mina allá
Check out that girl over there.

8. Tocar el Violin

Meaning: to third wheel

Toque el violin anoche.
I third-wheeled last night.

9. Cuico / Cuica

Meaning: upper-class

Cuico is both a noun and an adjective. It’s someone who comes from an upper-class background, and when used as an adjective, it describes someone who knows it and acts the part.

Es demasiado cuica para mi.
She’s too upper-class/preppy for me.

10. Pierna Peluda / Pierna Suave

Meaning: boyfriend/girlfriend

Another (rather astounding) way of referring to your male significant other, pierna peluda literally translates to “hairy leg.”

Female significant others can be called pierna suave which means “smooth leg,” since ladies tend to shave their legs.

Donde está tu pierna peluda?
Where’s your boyfriend?

Donde está tu pierna suave?
Where’s your girlfriend?

11. Caña

Meaning: hangover

Ay, que caña que tengo.
I have the worst hangover.

12. Carrete

Meaning: party (noun)

Be sure not to confuse carrete with the next slang word, carretear. This one is the noun rather than a verb, so you’d use it to refer to an actual party (otherwise known as a fiesta in standard Spanish).

Vamos a salir de carrete esta noche.
We’re going to a party tonight.

13. Carretear

Meaning: to party (verb)

Carretee todo el fin de.
I partied all weekend.

14. Flaite

Meaning: trashy

Que flaite este disco.
This club is so trashy.

15. Fome

Meaning: lame

Anímate, no sea fome.
Come on, don’t be lame.

16. Bacán

Meaning: awesome/cool

El carrete estuvo bacán.
The party was awesome.

17. Taco

Meaning: traffic jam

Taco is a short and sweet version of the longer trafico, which means “traffic jams.” Something you’ll likely encounter on your way to work—especially if you’re in Santiago.

Hay muchos tacos en Santiago.
There are lots of traffic jams in Santiago.

18. Al Lote

Meaning: “a hot mess,” disorderly or chaotic

El proyecto está al lote.
The project’s a mess.

19. Al Tiro

Meaning: right now/immediately

Mi jefa necesita que haga este proyecto al tiro.
My boss needs me to work on this project immediately.

20. Harto

Meaning: much/many

Hay harta gente en esta oficina.
There are so many people in this office.

21. Luca

Meaning: 1,000 pesos

Since Chilean money is counted in thousands, an easier way of talking about 10,000 pesos (the rough equivalent of $20 USD) is saying “10 lucas.

El boleto cuesta una luca.
The ticket costs 1,000 pesos.

22. La Pega

Meaning: job

Me toca la pega.
I have to go to work.

23. Achacarse

Meaning: to be sad

Pablo se achacó cuando su novia rompió con él.
Pablo was sad when his girlfriend broke up with him.

24. Al toque

Meaning: right away

Like a few other Chilean slang words, this is also a slang word in Peru.

El taxista se fue al toque.
The taxi driver left immediately/right away.

25. Buena onda

Meaning: nice

Something is buena onda when it has a nice, good vibe.

Estoy conociendo a una chica, es buena onda.
I’m getting to know a girl, she’s very nice.

26. Chato / Chata

Meaning: tired, fed up

Estoy chata de tus excusas.
I’m tired of your excuses.

27. Gallo / Galla

Meaning: guy/girl

Ese gallo no sabe nada.
That guy doesn’t know anything.

28. La micro

Meaning: bus

La micro refers to public transportation in Chile, which is a bus or metro.

¿Cómo vamos al aeropuerto?
How are we getting to the airport?

Vamos a tomar la micro.
We’re going to take the bus.

29. Pasarlo chancho

Meaning: to have fun

Voy al cine con mi amiga en una hora.
I’m going to the movie theater with my friend in an hour.

¡Genial, pásalo chancho!
Great, have fun!

Why Learning Chilean Slang Will Improve Your Fluency

The real-world conversations you’ll have in Chile will be full of colloquialisms—something your Spanish textbooks can’t quite prepare you for.

From the moment the nosy taxi driver asks if you’re in Chile to visit a pololo or polola, to your first night out in Santiago enjoying a carrete (and waking up with a caña). You’ll be prepared to respond confidently, now that you’re well-versed in Chilean slang. You can learn even more slang by using this Chilean slang dictionary.

Until then, continue to practice Chilenismos and explore more by immersing yourself in Chilean content and talking to native speakers from home.

You can do so by using a program like FluentU.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month)

  FluentU Ad


And now you’re set to go out into the world because hablai Chileno.

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. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe