46 Peruvian Slang Words Used by the Locals [With Audio and Quiz]

Knowing Peruvian slang will help you communicate better and understand more about the rich culture in Peru.

It’s the gap between speaking Spanish and speaking Spanish like the locals. 

In this post, you’ll learn 46 of the most important Peruvian slang terms you should know to sound like a native.

Then you can take a short quiz to test what you’ve learned!


1. Pata

Pata in standard Spanish means the leg or paw of an animal. However, this is the Peruvian slang replacement for amigo (friend). Note that it always ends with an a, 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, and 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 for 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’ve 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 be Chilean.

Regardless, both countries do a fabulous job with it, and it’s famous enough internationally that you can find good pisco 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. It’s also used in other South American countries like Ecuador.

You’ll often hear “¡Qué bacán!” (“How cool!”) in everyday, casual conversations.

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

12. Chévere

This is another way to say “cool” in Spanish slang, often used in Latin American countries like Peru and Ecuador. 

¡Que chévere! (How cool!)

13. 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.)

14. Yapa

This means “more” or “extra.”

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

15. 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.

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

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

16. Mote

This word can denote both an accent and a speech defect. You’ll likely have a mote extranjero,  or foreign 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 avoid using, 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.)

17. Porfa

This is a shortening of por favor (please). You may also hear porfis. This slang word isn’t unique to Peru, but you may hear it there in casual conversation between friends. 

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

18. Tombo

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

No queremos econtrarnos con el tombo. (We don’t want to run into the police.)

19. Coca cola

You’ve heard of the drink, but probably not its fun usage as a way to describe someone. Estar coca cola in Peru means to be going crazy or out of your mind, while un coca cola is used to refer to a crazy person. 

Debes estar coca cola si quieres que te voy a comprar un carro. (You must be crazy if you think I’m going to buy you a car.)

20. 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! ¡Me asustaste! (Ah! You scared me!)

21. Al toque

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

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

22. Bróder

This is a term of endearment that’s derived from the English word “brother.”

¿Qué pasa bróder? (What’s up, brother?)

23. Asado

This literally means “roast” but 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.)

24. Calabaza

While this word translates directly to “pumpkin,” it’s 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.)

25. Bamba

This slang term refers to something false or fake. You’ll hear it most often in markets where 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.)

26. Figureti

You can use this word to talk about someone who’s a show-off.

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

27. Hacer chancha

When you need to split the bill amongst friends, you’ll 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.)

28. Chibolo

This word is used to refer to kids or young people. You may also hear it used for someone who’s acting like child. 

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

29. Choche

Spanish has many words for “friend,” and this is another one that’s used in Peru. 

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

30. Pituco

Use this one to talk about someone who looks or acts like they’re rich. 

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

31. Pura finta

While bamba is used to call things fake, pura finta is used to call a person fake. 

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

32. Chato

This word is used to refer to a short person, most often as a nickname. 

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

33. Latear

This is slang for “to walk.”

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

34. 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.)

35. 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.)

36. Por las puras

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

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

37. 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.)

38. Fercho

This is a slang term for a driver or chauffeur. 

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

39. Chela

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

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

40. 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’re trying to lie to me about your night, but I don’t believe you.)

41. Cojudo / Cojuda

Along with words for “friend,” Spanish 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.)

42. Costilla

This is a fun little way to call someone your girlfriend. It literally means “rib,” a reference to Eve coming from Adam’s rib. 

Mi costilla se va de vacaciones conmigo y mi familia. (My girlfriend is going on vacation with me and my family.)

43. Flaco / Flaca

This word literally means “skinny” or “thin.” But keeping in theme with names for significant others, it can be used for a boyfriend or girlfriend. Just remember to change the ending to reflect the gender. 

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

44. Huevear

You can use huevear to describe when you’re doing absolutely nothing.

Estamos hueveando, deberíamos salir. (We’re 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. 

Amo a 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 doesn’t 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.)

Quiz on Peruvian Slang

Now that we’ve gone over some Peruvian slang terms, it’s time to test what you’ve learned! Take the short quiz below (without looking at the answers above!) and just refresh the page if you want to start over or retake it.

Which phrase could you use to say that something is difficult?
Correct! Wrong!

What's a slang way to say "a party" in Peru?
Correct! Wrong!

Which word is used to refer to kids?
Correct! Wrong!

What's the Peruvian slang word for altitude sickness?
Correct! Wrong!

What's the slang meaning of the word roche?
Correct! Wrong!

What's the slang meaning of the word chamba?
Correct! Wrong!

What's the slang meaning of the word figureti?
Correct! Wrong!

What's the slang meaning of the word huasca?
Correct! Wrong!

What's the slang meaning of the phrase hacer chancha?
Correct! Wrong!

What's the slang meaning of the word jamear?
Correct! Wrong!

Peruvian Slang
Keep practicing!
Review the slang terms in this post a few more times and then refresh the page to retake the quiz. You can do it!
You're getting there!
Nice job! You've picked up a handful of Peruvian slang terms. Review this post a few more times and then refresh the page to retake the quiz and try for a higher score.
Way to go!
You're well on your way to mastering Peruvian slang. Review this post one more time and then refresh the page to retake the quiz and try for a perfect score!
You've mastered these Peruvian slang words and phrases. Now it's time to start using them in your casual Spanish conversations!

How to Practice Peruvian Slang

The best way to solidify new vocabulary is to practice using it in conversation. So find your Peruvian friends and start chatting! 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. Informal videos like vlogs will surely have lots of slang.

Or you can find YouTube videos specifically meant to teach you Peruvian slang, like this one from the Spanish With Nate channel

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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Now you have 46 Peruvian slang terms in your word bank that you can whip out in conversation—or at least use to understand Peruvians better! 

And One More Thing…

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FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:


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Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.


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