103 Ecuadorian Slang Words to Communicate with Locals

Ecuador might just serve up the best slang in the Spanish-speaking world.

Okay, I’m definitely too biased and not quite well-traveled enough to make that statement—but I can tell you that Ecuadorian slang is a unique blend of Spanish, Kichwa (the nation’s indigenous language) and foreign loan words.

Not to mention, the slang is as diverse as the nation itself. You’ve got the coast, the mountains and the jungle, all of which have their own unique variations on Spanish and Kichwa.

The variations are striking, so much so that even after spending three months in Quito and chatting constantly with your new Quiteño buddies, the Spanish spoken on the coast or in the jungle can totally throw you for a loop.

Lucky for you, this post will give you a good foundation in Ecuadorian slang so you can start sounding like a local!


General Ecuadorian Slang Words

1. Canguil  — Popcorn. The non-slang term is palomitas .

2. Chichis   Boobies

3. Estar chiro/chira — To be broke

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4. Pelado / Pelada  — Boyfriend/Girlfriend

5. Pelucón  — Wealthy person

6. Foco  — Flashy, showy

7. Cargoso / Cargosa — Someone who likes to joke around at others’ expense.

8. Choro  — Thief, robber

9. Chapa  — Police officer

10. Policía acostado  — Speed bump. Literally, it means “police officer laying down.”

11. La yoni  — The United States

12. Chompa  — Sweater, jacket

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13. Acolitar   To help or support

14. Zancudo  — Mosquito

Words with Friends

15. Amiguero / Amiguera  — If you’re amiguero, then you’re extra friendly and amiable. 

16. Tímbrame  — After exchanging numbers, you might say “¡Tímbrame!” or “Ring me!”

It doesn’t always mean “call me,” rather, your friend is suggesting that you just set off their ringtone so they see your phone number or know you’re ready to meet up.

17. Pana  — Buddy. This one belongs more in Guayaquil, but it’s used around the country.

18. El man/La man — Ugh, this one is confusing when learning Spanish, mostly because it’s hard to distinguish if the speaker’s talking about a girl or a guy. 

Man is pronounced “mahn,” with a Spanish accent. El man means something like “the guy” and la man is the female version, best translated as “the chick” or something similar.

You can use it to sound chill when referring to any friend, acquaintance or complete stranger.

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19. Amiguis  — A cutesier way than amigos  to say “friends,” best reserved for girlfriends.

20. Porfis  — A super cutesy version of por favor  used to say “please” in the most adorable way possible. 

21. Mi llave  — Literally means, “my key,” and is just a nonsense phrase used to refer to friends humorously and make your sentence sound silly.

Ecuadorian Exclamations

Want to sound enthusiastic? Here are all the phrases you’ll need!

22. ¡De ley!  — Absolutely!

23. ¡De una!  — Absolutely!

24. ¡Pilas!  — Look sharp!

25. Simón  Yeah, man!

26. Verás  — This is used in a variety of contexts to mean, “You’ll see,” “Watch out,” or “I told you so.”

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When making plans to hang out, you can humorously warn your friend not to break the plans by saying “Quedamos para el jueves. ¡Verás!”  (We’re on for Thursday. Or else!). 

You could also use this to warn someone to exercise caution or be wary of the outcome of their actions.

27. Ya saaabe  — A super chill way to say, “You already know, man!” or “You know it!” The longer you stretch out that aaaa, the chiller you are.

28. ¿Mande?  — Come again? This one has historical context rooted in the times of Spanish conquerors, as it was the proper way for a subject to address their ruler.

Mande is the polite “you” form of mandar  (to command), so you’re basically politely asking, “What do you want me to do?”

It’s considered to be polite, so you may use this as you please in Ecuador with whomever you’re addressing.

29. ¡Chuta!  — Shoot! If you’re feeling especially frustrated, try elongating the u and saying chuuuuuta  or chuuuu .

30. azo — Adding this to the end of a word expresses that the thing in question is large.

Some examples of its usage are buenazo  (awesome) instead of bueno , or ricazo  (delicious) instead of rico .

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31. ¡Qué huevada!  — What a load of crap!

32. ¿La plena?  — Really? Seriously?

33. Huevón Jerk, a**hole. Commonly used between male buddies when joking around.

34. ¡Mentira!  — This is used frequently in conversational Ecuadorian Spanish to express disbelief or astonishment.

If you’re super incredulous about something your buddy just said, shout “¡Mentira!” in a high-pitched tone of voice.

35. Bacán  — Cool

36. Chévere  — Cool. This is more common than bacán in Ecuador.

37. ¡Qué asco!  — Gross! This can be used humorously when someone tells a vulgar joke or gritty story. You can also just say “¡Asco!”

38. ¡Carajo!  — Darn, damn

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39. Fresco  — Fresh, smooth. If someone asks you how your trip to the coast went, you can tell them how chill it was by saying, “Todo fresco.”

40. Caramba  — An exclamation used to express surprise, anger and excitement. It’s often said directly to a misbehaving child or dog and comes off sounding more like, “You rascal!”

41. Cacho  — Time-out, pause. This is used when things need to be stopped temporarily. For example, kids say this when they want to take a time-out from a game like hide and seek. 

42. ¿¡¿¡Quién dice?!?! — Who says?!?! Say this mischievous phrase when someone tells you that you shouldn’t do something, or that something you want to do is a bad idea. You can’t swim right after eating? You can’t go to that concert on the dangerous side of the city? Who says?!?! This became popular thanks to the Ecuadorian comedy group EnchufeTV—you can watch one video in the famous series here. You’ll also hear a TON of Ecuadorian slang in this video.

43. Cojudo  — Silly, stupid person

44. Loquillo  — Crazy person

45. Cholo  — Tacky, vulgar, in poor taste

46. ¡Dale!  — Hit it!

47. O sea  — Used to join thoughts together much like “Ummm…” Drawn out to sound like “o seaaaaaa…” when a long pause is needed in conversation.

48. ¡Sale!  — Get out of here! This is shouted like “shoo!” to dogs and other animals.

49. Chucha — Darn! This one’s a bit vulgar and should only be used informally because, in certain contexts, it’s slang for female lady parts.

50. ¡Qué bestia!  — “How crazy!” or “That’s wild!” The word bestia  means “beast,” so that’s where the wild and crazy element comes from.

51. ¿Qué cosa?  — What was that? Say this when you didn’t quite understand someone and want them to repeat or clarify something.

52. ¿Qué fue?  — What’s up?

53. ¿Qué más?  — What else is up?

You can use this after you’ve already asked “¿Qué fue?” and want to encourage your conversation partner to keep chatting about their life.

54. ¡No me jodas!  — Don’t mess with me! This is exclaimed to express disbelief or excitement. 

55. ¡Ojo!  — Watch out!

Ecuadorian Party Words

When you get to Ecuador, you’ve got to be prepared for a party or two. Here are some words you might need if you walk into the club:

56. Finde  — The shortened slang version of fin de semana  (weekend).

57. Chumar  — To drink

58. Chumado / Chumada  Drunk

59. Chupado  — Drunk 

60. Biela  — Beer

61. Trago  — Drink, shot

62. Vacilar  — Dance provocatively; hook up

63. Agarrar  — Hook up, make out

64. Jaba  — A crate of 12 beers. This is the cheapest way to buy them, as you can usually get 12 beers for $10. 

65. La farra  — Party

66. Changar  — Hook your legs around someone when dancing, cuddling, etc.

67. Arrecho  — This all-purpose adjective expresses a heightened state of emotion.

If you say that you’re arrecho, it could mean that you’re feeling awesome, frustrated, infuriated, energetic or ecstatic. It’s a great word to have on hand for party night!

68. Embalado — Super excited, pumped

69. Cueeeeeenta  — “Tell me!” or “Spill!” Say this when you want your friend to spill her juiciest gossip over a beer.

70. Chuchaqui  — Hungover/hangover. What you’ll be feeling after you sample all those drinks.

This word also belongs to the next section as it’s derived from Kichwa.

If partying is your thing, you may also want to check out this list of Mexican party expressions!

Kichwa Derived Slang in Ecuador

71. Wambra  or Guambra  — Kid

72. Wawa  or guagua  — Baby

73. Taita  or tayta  — Dad, father

74. Achachai  — Cold. Say “¡Achachai!”  when you’re chilly and shivering.

75. Arrarrai  — Hot. Say “¡Arrarrai!”  with strongly rolled rr sounds when you burn yourself.

76. Ñaño / Ñaña  — Brother/Sister

77. Chullo — One. For example, “¡Solo tengo un chullo zapato!”  (I only have one shoe!)

78. Yucho   Naked, stark naked

79. Chancleta   Sandal, flip flop. You can also have la chancleta de biela  (the case of beer).

Quito Speak

80. Aniñado  — Literally, this means something like “childish” or “spoiled.”

This meaning is not totally lost in the slang, as it refers to a wealthy person, usually one from a fancier neighborhood in Quito or Guayaquil.

You’ll often hear people exclaim, “¡Qué aniñado!” about stuck-up people or discuss the ulterior motives of los aniñados  in politics and social issues.

81. Quitop / Quitoffff  — Add a p or an elongated ffff sound to the end of a word which ends in a vowel, and you’ll sound super Quiteño .

It’s a defining characteristic of the accent particular to Quito. For this reason, many people will humorously refer to Quito as Quitop or Quitoffff.

82. Chiva  — You haven’t truly partied in Ecuador until you’ve ridden on a chiva, or party bus.

You all pile on, hold onto the poles, drink out of cups tied to your neck with string and try to dance salsa while the driver guns it around city streets. 

The bus will even make special stops so you can hop off the bus and dance at historical sites.

83. Serrano  — This means “mountain person” or “highlander,” and is used to refer to anyone living in the mountainous regions of Ecuador.

It’s proper Spanish, not quite slang, but it’s important to know for any casual conversation.

84. Sorroche  This is altitude sickness, which you will probably encounter at some point if you head to the mountainous regions.

85. ¡Chendo!  — Just kidding!

86. Liguista — A soccer fan who roots for Liga Deportista Universitaria de Quito  (a.k.a Liga de Quito  or La Liga ). They’re now in the professional league instead of the college league.

87. La Casa Blanca  — The stadium where La Liga plays. Since their team color is white, their stadium is known as the White House.

88. Muerte Blanca  — This is the no-holds-barred section of the soccer stadium where only the most rabid fans are seated.

Guayaquil / Coastal Language

89. Lámpara  — Sketchy. If you know how sketchy parts of Guayaquil can be, then you’ll know exactly how handy this word is.

It’s used a lot in Guayaquil, but don’t be surprised if people outside the city haven’t heard it.

You can also say lamparota  if something is super sketchy, and you can even use it as an exclamation: ¡Qué lámpara!  (How sketchy!)

90. Mono  — Literally means “monkey,” but refers to coastal Ecuadorians.

Context plays a big part in this one as it can be used as a term of endearment but it can also be derogatory. 

91. Coco  — This favorite coastal fruit (coconut) is also coastal slang for “virgin.”

92. Caleta  — Perhaps my favorite coastal slang word, this one literally means “cove,” but actually refers to a house or home. 

93. Barcelonista  — Fan of the Barcelona soccer team in Guayaquil. The other major team in Guayaquil is Emelec.

94. Hornoquil — Fusion of the word horno  (oven) and Guayaquil, which is used to curse the unbearable heat of this city. 

95. Guayaco / Guayaca  — This isn’t necessarily slang because it can be used more formally, but it refers to something or someone from Guayaquil.

For example, you can order la comida guayaca  (Guayaquil food) or call your friend la guayaca (the girl from Guayaquil).

English Loan Words in Ecuadorian Spanish

English has made it all over the world, so it’s no real surprise that it’s made it to Ecuador.

Here are some of the English loan words that you can expect to hear in Ecuador.

96. Full  — Full, total, complete, crowded. 

Full is pronounced with a Spanish accent (“fool”) and precedes nouns as an adjective. For example, ¡Full fiesta!  (Total party!)

97. Cool   Same as English!

98. Fresh   Fresh (as in fresh air) or chill, relaxed

99. Relax   This is spoken with an elongated rolled rr sound, and is spoken as a one-word motto. Like, hey man: rrrrrrrelax .

100. Super  — Can be used to replace muy  or demasiado . 

101. Happy  — How you feel after a night of partying, tipsy.

102. Broder  — Brother. This is used like “bro.” It’s pronounced with a strong rr roll and an extra long oooo, like “broooooder.”

103. Chance  — When you’re out of options you can say, “No hay chance” (There’s no way), or you could say “¡Dame otra chance!”  (Give me another chance!).

It’s pronounced more like “chans” or perhaps the name “Chauncey.”

How to Use Ecua-slang Like an Ecuadorian

The very phrase “ecua-slang” gives me away as a foreigner. Expats living in Ecuador have a strong tendency to prefix many words with Ecua-, often when expressing that that thing is quintessentially Ecuadorian.

For example, “Man, I had to go to four different offices and get this document notarized twice today, such an Ecua-day.”

That’s fun to say and all, but what about when you want to blend in and sound Ecuadorian? Here’s what you need to know about native slang usage in Ecuadorian Spanish.

  • Kichwa words are thrown into conversation casually and regularly, so you’ll need to know the most commonly used vocabulary to get by. Sometimes the Kichwa words are used with a delicate touch of humor, as they indicate that the speaker is a true homeboy.
  • If you know the indigenous words and use them to describe things that you love or own, then that’s a dead giveaway that you’re an Ecuadorian de corazón  (in your heart).
  • The Kichwa slang words can be used in pretty much any situation, in formal or informal conversation, since they’re not suggestive (mostly).
  • This nation’s sense of humor is unrelentingly cheeky. Slapstick and loud, bombastic jokes are the ones that get the most laughs. It’s totally irreverent in the sense that very little is off limits, and things that are typically taken very seriously become the butt of the joke. So, it’s only natural that so much of Ecuadorian slang is super in-your-face.
  • Many daily things are given more silly-sounding or affectionate slang names. People are called by terms and nicknames which often sound callous or disrespectful to sheltered American ears. You can whip out the more rambunctious or suggestive slang words and use them profusely when it’s time for casual conversation or joke telling.

You can get a better sense of how Ecuadorean Spanish actually sounds with FluentU.

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If you’re in need of more local lingo, check out this post, where you’ll find all our Spanish slang blog posts.


Alright, now you know enough Ecuadorian slang to get you started in navigating this beautiful country and its beautiful language!

Enjoy, and have an extra canelazo  or two for me!

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