“Hangover” in Spanish: 7 Slang Words from Latin America and Europe
If you’re traveling in Spain or Latin America, you may notice that the locals like to chill out with friends and a few drinks.
The night is great until you wake up with some very unfortunate side effects—a dry mouth and a pounding head. Yes, the dreaded hangover.
But these Spanish-speaking countries can make that hangover just a little more fun—with cute, creative words for “hangover” that are super fun to say.
Read this post to learn about seven Spanish slang words for “hangover” that I’ve heard while out traveling in the Spanish-speaking world.
Used in: all Spanish-speaking countries
Resaca is the most common Spanish way to say “hang over” or “hung over.”
Most people will know what you mean when you refer to resaca since it’s considered the “standard” Spanish term for this concept.
The literal translation of resaca in English is “to re-take out.” The word derives from the verb resacar which, in essence, describes a scenario of being taken out and pulled back in, only to be re-taken out again.
Resaca is also the movement waves make when they regress back into the ocean.
Resaca de las olas. — Regression of waves (also known as undertow).
Imagine a blunt, forceful undertow sucking you in. That’s exactly what resaca means, and it’s quite similar to how a person feels when being hung over.
Used in: Colombia
If you’ve traveled to South or Central America∞regions this fruit is native to—then you might already know what guayabo literally means.
It’s a guava tree, while guayaba is the actual guava fruit itself.
Keep in mind that guayabo (in its masculine form) is the only way it can be said to describe a hangover or, in some cases, being sick.
Tener guayabo — To have a hangover
Estar enguayabado — To be hung over
The feminine version of guayabo can only be said when using the estar form. Such as:
Está enguayabada. —She’s hung over.
Another way to use guayabo is in the “being sick” sense, which isn’t at all related to being hung over.
Me da guayabo ver esta gente siempre usando sus teléfonos móviles. — It makes me sick to see these people always using their cellphones.
Note: If you want to sound like a real Colombian, remember that the B in guayabo is silent. Instead they say it like: guaya-o. Forget the B entirely and you’ll quickly be honing that parcero/a accent. Other examples include:
Sentada → Senta-a — Sitting; the d is silent.
Preocupado → Preocupa-o — Worried; again, the d is silent.
See the pattern? See this word and others in natural use on the FluentU program. This langauge learning tool uses short Spanish videos to teach new vocabulary and grammar in context.
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Used in: Mexico and Central America
Most of you should know what this word means because it’s an everyday common word found in the Spanish dictionary.
Originally, crudo translates to “raw,” “undercooked” or “crude,” and is used to describe a raw or undercooked piece of meat, a crude resource such as oil or a cruel, cold person (form of expression—not literal). It can also refer to crude language or someone who uses it.
Esta carne está cruda. — This meat is raw.
Esa mujer es cruda y mala. — That woman is cold and mean.
Crudo, in its common Spanish slang form is… you guessed it! Another way to describe a hangover.
Estoy crudo… cruda. — I’m hung over. [masculine and feminine]
Tengo un mal crudo. — I have a bad hangover. [masculine]
Used in: Central America
This Spanish word has what seems like a million English translations: gum, anything sticky, an elastic substance, an adhesive or an eraser. This is sometimes even used to talk about rubber, like a goma elástica (rubber band).
¿Me prestas una goma para el examen? — Will you let me borrow an eraser for the test?
There are many “official” Spanish translations as well as colloquialisms for goma, but if we’re sticking to this list here, goma is also a common Spanish slang word for hung over.
The elasticity of a rubbery substance could resemble the way a person feels after a night of drinking, a little sticky, squished or bent out of shape. This could explain why some use goma to portray a hangover.
Goma, if you’ve noticed, is a feminine word, so it must stay that way! One can never say gomo. Period.
Used in: Bolivia and Ecuador
This is perhaps one of my favorite ways to say “hung over.”
Why? Well, because the word only exists for the sole purpose of describing a hangover. There’s no double meaning attached to the word chuchaqui and it’s pronounced exactly how it’s written: chu–cha–qui.
It’s clearly not a Spanish word, right? It just sounds different from what you might be used to hearing, This is because its roots come from Kichwa, an indigenous language.
Kichwa (pronounced kee-chwa) still thrives in large parts of Ecuador, some parts of Colombia and even in regions of Peru. It’s the native tongue of people indigenous to these parts of South America, who lived here before the arrival of Spaniards.
Although Kichwa is one of the main native languages found in South American countries that are situated along the Andes mountain range, the word chuchaqui is part of a dialect that’s only heard and used in Ecuador.
Chuchaqui derives from chaqui, which in Kichwa is a word that expresses the nausea a person gets after chewing too many coca leaves.
While there might still be natives chewing coca leaves from time to time, you certainly won’t find Ecuadorian locals doing so in more modern parts of the country. This could explain why the word chaqui, now chuchaqui, has moved over to simply describe that terrible feeling of being “hung over.”
¿Tienes chuchaqui? — Are you hung over?
Chuchaqui is chuchaqui, and it’s the only way it can be spelled or said.
Not that Bolivians sometimes spell this word as: chaki.
6. Mala Caña
Used in: Chile
I know that you’ve seen both of these words separately before, mala and caña. If we break them up we get, “bad” and “cane.” And that’s cane as in sugarcane, not a walking stick type of cane.
Mala caña is used to express that you have a hangover. The sugarcane, caña, apparently represents your state of well-being in this context. Perhaps this stems from the idea that if you’re not feeling too hot, then your sugar levels must be off, meaning they aren’t as sweet as they should be—just a stab in the dark, but it seems to make sense. Thus, you have a bad cane, mala caña, as opposed to a good one.
Tengo una mala caña. — I have a bad hangover.
Tengo una mala, mala caña. — I have a really bad hangover.
Caña can never be used without mala to express a hangover, they go hand in hand for this purpose.
Note: We use the adjective mala instead of mal or malo because the word caña is feminine, and in Spanish, words in a sentence must always agree!
Used in: Venezuela
You probably know that ratón means “rat,” but do you know what tener ratón means? Based on the theme of this blog post, I assume that you’ve already gathered it means “hangover” as opposed to being the proud owner of a lovely pet rat.
The entire expression goes like this:
Tengo un ratón en la cabeza. — I have a hangover.
As you can see above, the most literal translation of tengo un ratón en la cabeza would be “I have a rat in my head.” Having a rat in your head is the equivalent of having a headache, and that’s where this expression comes from. Rats in your head = hangovers, and hangovers = headaches! You can also say:
So the next time you’re traveling through Caracas or Angel Falls and run into some locals after a night of fun (while shoving stuffed arepas into your mouth), remember how to talk about those rats in your head!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this fun list of Spanish words for “hangover.” Try them out and you’ll be hooked, I promise.
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