peruvian slang

46 Peruvian Slang Words That’ll Help You Fit in With the Locals

Knowing Peruvian slang will help you understand more about the rich culture in Peru and be able to communicate better with the locals. 

This post will show you 46 of the most important Peruvian slang terms you should know to sound like a native!


1. Pata

Pata in standard Spanish means the leg or paw of an animal (pierna is only used for human legs).

However, this is the Peruvian slang replacement for amigo (friend).

Note that it always ends with an a, no matter whether you’re referring to a male or a female.

Es mi pata. (He’s my pal.)

2. Luca

The currency in Peru is the sol (as of this writing, one American dollar is worth about three soles).

The slang word is luca. According to one source, it comes from the Spanish gypsies’ word for money.

No puedo ir de compras; no tengo luca. (I can’t go shopping, I don’t have money.)

Check out this post to find more slang words to describe money in Spanish.

3. Pe

Spanish speakers from some lands litter their sentences with pues (then, well) as a meaningless filler word.

Peruvians use the shortened form pe.

Pe, no sé. (Well, I don’t know.)

4. Jamear/jama

The slang verb jamear is common in a few Latin American countries as an alternative to comer (to eat).

Jama is the noun form, so it just means “food.”

Tengo hambre; necesito jama. (I’m hungry, I need food.)

5. Chamba

You don’t have a trabajo (job) in informal Peruvian jargon, you have a chamba.

Sí, me gusta mi chamba. (Yes, I like my job.)

6. Pitri mitri

This is a cutesy, rhyming way to say “Awesome!”

¡Esta canción es pitri mitri! (This song is awesome!)

7. Tono

Use this word instead of fiesta (party). 

Hay un tono el viernes. (There’s a party on Friday.)

8. Pisco

This isn’t so much slang as it is an important national beverage that you must be aware of if you’re going to Peru— brandy made from grapes.

If you have a high-end pisco, enjoy it straight; otherwise you’ll want to use it to make the next term…

Nunca he probado el pisco. (I have never tried pisco.)

9. Pisco sour

This is the national cocktail of Peru, and you can instantly spark a fight by suggesting to Peruvians that it might in fact be Chilean.

Regardless, both countries do a fabulous job with it, and it’s famous enough internationally that you can find good pisco and instructions anywhere.

Tomaré un pisco sour, por favor. (I’ll take a pisco sour, please.)

10. Roche

This is a slang version for vergüenza (shame/embarrassment). 

Me da roche hablar de eso. (I’m embarrassed to talk about that.)

11. Bacán

This could be translated as “awesome,” “great,” “cool,” etc.

You might say qué bacán” to indicate that you agree with someone, or that they’ve said something that you think is interesting or great.

Ese coche es bacán. (That car is cool.)

12. Tirarse la pera

This means to play hooky (truant for you Brits).

Literally, tirar is “to throw,” tirarse is a colloquial (but not vulgar) word for sleeping with someone and la pera is “the pear.”

Mi hermano se tira la pera a menudo. (My brother skips school often.)

13. Yapa

This means more or extra.

¿Puedes darme yapa? (Can you give me a bit more?)

14. Cholo

In Peru, this can be an extremely disrespectful way of referring to natives from the Andes, so you’ll probably want to pass on using this word.

It’s good to know what it means, regardless, because you might well hear it used neutrally or positively in the right contexts. For example:

Cholo, ¿qué pasa? (Hey dude, what’s up?)

15. Mote

This can denote both an accent and a speech defect. It’s likely that you will have a mote extranjero, or foreign accent.

You might have a mote norteamericano (North American accent) or mote inglés (English-speaker accent).

Your Peruvian friends might have a mote provinciano (provincial accent), mote norteño (northern accent), mote serrano (highland accent) or mote charapa (jungle accent).

The word comes from Quechua, and be careful as it’s often a disrespectful way of saying that someone isn’t speaking right.

Probably another word that you should opt to not use, but is good to know in case you hear it flying around.

Me dijo que tengo mote. (He told me that I have an accent.)

16. Porfa

This is a shortening of por favor (please). You may also hear porfis.

¿Puede ayudarme porfa? (Can you help me please?)

17. Tombo

In proper Spanish, this would be la policía (the police) but in the Andes they’re informally known as el tombo.

No queremos ver el tombo. (We don’t want to see the police.)

18. Coca Cola

You’ve heard of the drink, but probably not its fun use as an adjective.

Estar Coca Cola in Peru means to be going crazy, going out of your mind.

Las madres se están Coca Cola por Bad Bunny. (The moms are going crazy over Bad Bunny.)

19. A su madre

This is an expression of surprise that you may hear shortened to “asu!”

Say your friend jumps out and scares you. You might exclaim “¡a su madre!”

20. Al toque

This means “right away,” to express a sense of urgency.

Necesito un médico al toque. (I need a doctor right away.)

21. Bróder

This is a term of endearment similar to calling someone your brother. 

I’m sure you noticed it actually sounds similar to “brother.” This is because it’s derived from the English word!

¿Buenos días bróder, qué pasa? (Good morning brother, what’s up?)

22. Asado

This literally means “roast” but actually is used to say that someone is angry. 

Mi padre está asado porque llegué tarde a casa. (My dad is angry because I came home late.)

23. Calabaza

While this translates directly to “pumpkin,” this is also a way to call someone dumb or empty-headed.

Sara es una calabaza; se olvidó de su tarea. (Sara is dumb, she forgot about her homework.)

24. Bamba

This slang term refers to something that is false or fake. 

You’ll hear this most often in markets as they frequently sell cheap knock-offs of luxury items.

Ese bolsa no es de diseñador, es bamba. (That purse isn’t designer, it’s fake.)

25. Figureti

To talk about someone who is a show-off, you would use this word. 

Ella sólo es agradable cuando la cámara está cerca, es una figureti. (She is only nice when the camera is around, she’s a show-off.)

26. Hacer chancha

When you need to split the bill amongst friends, you will refer to it as hacer chancha. 

Si no quieres hacer chancha, puedo pagar. (If you don’t want to split the bill, I can pay.)

27. Chibolo

You might hear young people be referred to by this name. 

No me gustan los chibolos. (I don’t like kids.)

28. Choche

Spanish has many words for “friend,” and this is yet another!

Voy a ir al cine con mi choche. (I’m going to go to the movies with my friend.)

29. Pituco

Use this one when you want to talk about someone who looks or acts like they are rich. 

Todos los pitucos viven en ese barrio. (All the rich people live in that neighborhood.)

30. Pura finta

While we learned how to call things fake with bamba, use this one if you want to call a person fake. 

Elena habla mal de sus amigas, es pura finta. (Elena talks bad about her friends, she’s fake.)

31. Chato

If you want to call someone short, use this word. 

You’ll hear this most often as a nickname. 

Este es Jose, pero lo llamamos chato. (This is Jose, but we call him shortie.)

32. Latear

This is slang for “to walk.”

Están lateando a tu casa. (They are walking to your house.)

33. Huasca

This is what you use if you need to say you’ve had a little bit too much to drink and are feeling the effects.

In other words, you’re wasted. 

Estoy huasca, necesito beber agua. (I’m drunk, I need to drink water.)

34. Estar tranca

If you need to say something is difficult, use this slang term. 

Está tranca abrir esta puerta. (It’s difficult to open this door.)

35. Por las puras

Use this term if you feel like you just did something that was a complete waste of time. 

Hemos caminado todo este camino por las puras. (We have walked all this way for nothing.)

36. Soroche

A pretty common experience for travelers that come to Peru, you may need this word to tell your doctor or trek guide that you have altitude sickness.

Es común sufrir de soroche en Machu Picchu. (It’s common to suffer from altitude sickness at Machu Picchu.)

37. Fercho

This is a slang term for a driver or chauffeur. 

Mi padre contrató un fercho. (My dad hired a driver.)

38. Chela

If you want to go grab some beers with friends, this is the word you’ll use.

Tomaré una chela porfa. (I’ll take a beer please.)

39. Florear

Florear is a common word for lying, but not just any lie. 

This is more like when someone is lying to you, but really trying to make things sound good. Almost like flattery or sugar-coating. 

Estás tratando de florearme sobre tu noche, pero no te creo. (You are trying to lie to me about your night, but I don’t believe you.)

40. Cojudo/a

While Spanish is in no short supply of words for “friend,” it is also in no short supply of words for “idiot.”

Robó en el supermercado y le pillaron, qué cojudo. (He stole from the supermarket and got caught, what an idiot.)

41. Costilla

This is a fun little way to call someone your girlfriend. 

In fact, it literally means “rib,” a reference to Eve coming from Adam’s rib. 

Mi costilla va a venir de vacaciones con mi familia. (My girlfriend is going on vacation with my family.)

42. Flaco/a

Keeping in theme with the names for significant others, this one can be used for a boyfriend or girlfriend as long as you remember to change the ending to reflect the gender. 

¿Donde conociste tu flaco? (Where did you meet your boyfriend?)

43. Chévere

This is another way to say “cool” in Peruvian Spanish. 

¡Que chévere! (How cool!)

44. Huevear

If you are doing absolutely nothing, you can use huevear to describe your situation. 

Estamos hueveando, deberíamos salir. (We are doing nothing, we should go out.)

45. Huevón

This is similar to the last word, but it means something totally different. 

Huevón refers to a dumb person. 

Quiero mi amigo, pero es huevón. (I love my friend, but he’s dumb.)

46. Piña

I’m sure you’re thinking of the delicious yellow fruit, but this slang term does not always mean “pineapple” in Peru. 

In this country, a piña is someone with bad luck. 

Es un piña, siempre pierde las llaves. (He has bad luck, he always loses his keys.)

Practicing Peruvian Slang

Now that you know all this Peruvian slang, how are you going to practice it?

Well, the best way is always to practice speaking. Find your Peruvian friends and start a conversation.

Listen to how they throw slang into their speech and then try it yourself!

If you don’t have immediate access to a Peruvian conversation partner, you can also try and immerse yourself at home. 

Try watching videos on YouTube made by Peruvian creators. YouTube is a platform that will surely have lots of slang as it’s so casual. 

By watching Peruvian YouTubers, you can see how they incorporate slang in a fun and entertaining way. 

You can also use FluentU to watch even more clips that Peruvians would watch to see how they speak Spanish and use slang.

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.

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Well, now you have 46 more slang terms in your word bank than you did before. 

Practice with some Peruvians, and soon you’ll sound like a local!

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