spanish slang for friend

45 Spanish Slang Words for Friend: When Amigo Just Isn’t Enough

Did you know that there are over 100+ ways to say friend in Spanish? 

That’s a whole lot of compadres (good friends)!

Let’s take a quick look at my favorite 45 Spanish slang words to get you started on referring to your amigos (friends), from A to Z.


1. Alero

Where it’s used: Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala

Although alero literally means roof eaves, it’s most commonly used in these three countries to refer to a buddy or good friend, depending on the context.

Rodolfo es un buen alero.
(Rodolfo is a good friend.)

2. Amigazo

Where it’s used: Latin America

Similar to amigo (friend), the word amigazo is also an informal reference to a buddy, pal or close friend.

However, you wouldn’t want to use this word in Chile, where it normally means bad company.

Antonio, sos un amigazo.
(Antonio, you’re a great friend.)

3. Acere / Asere

Where it’s used: Cuba

Originating from the African-Efik language, this is the most popular word used in Cuba to refer to a friend or buddy. It’s also used by men to refer to other men.

Asere, ¿qué bolá?
(What’s up, buddy?)

4. Boludo

Where it’s used: Argentina

Even though the word boludo (idiot) or (jerk) and it’s shorter forms, bolú/bolu, can have different meanings, it’s quite often used when you want to get your friend’s attention.

It should also be noted that this word can have negative connotations and should only be used in context with your closest friends.

¡Qué quilombo, boludo!
(What a mess, dude!)

5. Bro / Bróder

Where it’s used: Latin America

American English has had a significant influence on the way people speak Spanish slang in Latin America.

Great examples are the words bro/bróder (bro), which we’ve accepted as our own.

¿Qué pasó, bróder?
(What’s up, bro?)

6. Cabrón / Cabro

Where it’s used: Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador

The word cabrón (bastard) is wildly popular among Spanish learners because it’s harshly used to describe an as*hole or bastard.

Though, in several Spanish-speaking countries, it’s absolutely normal to refer to this word when referencing your buddy.

The short form cabro (goat) is mainly used in Chile and Costa Rica.

¿Qué pasa, cabrón? ¿Cómo te trata la vida?
(What’s up, buddy? How’s life treating you?)

7. Cachanchán / Canchanchán

Where it’s used: The Dominican Republic

The word cachanchán roughly translates to toady or subordinate in Spanish, and that’s exactly how they use it in Cuba.

However, if you go to the Dominican Republic, a cachanchán (or, rather, canchanchán, as they pronounce it) refers to a good friend.

Ahí viene mi canchanchán, Peralta.
(Here comes my good friend, Peralta.)

8. Camarada

Where it’s used: Latin America and Spain

The word camarada (comrade) can be used practically in every Spanish-speaking country to refer to your friends and pals informally.

¿Qué hubo, camarada?
(What’s up, pal?)

9. Carnal

Where it’s used: Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua

Carnal comes from the word carne (meat, flesh), and it’s used to refer to very close friends.

The word carnal can also be used with family members (the expression “flesh of my flesh” comes to mind), so a carnal is someone you’d consider family.

Sos mi carnal, Mario.
(You’re family, Mario.)

10. Causa

Where it’s used: Peru

There are two main theories as to where the word causa, with the casual meaning of friend or buddy, comes from.

On the one hand, causa formally translates to lawsuit, which would explain why in some parts of Peru this word also refers to thieves.

On the other hand, some people think it comes from the English word cousin.

Whatever the case, causa is very commonly used to refer to your buddy or friend, so make sure you use it if you ever meet a Peruvian!

¡Habla, causa!
(Hi there, buddy!)

11. Chamo / Chamito

Where it’s used: Venezuela

Venezuelans use chamo when talking about children and teenagers, but they also use this word to refer to their buddies.

¿Qué hubo, chamo?
(What’s up, buddy?)

12. Che

Where it’s used: Argentina

There are very few words more Argentinian than the word che.

You can use it to refer to your closest friends, your buddies and your colleagues.

This multipurpose word is so Argentinian that it means Argentinian person in countries such as Mexico and Chile.

Hey, che. ¿Qué hacés acá?
(Hey, buddy. What are you doing here?)

13. Chero

Where it’s used: El Salvador and Honduras

Chero comes from the French word cher (dear, beloved), and it’s used to refer to your close friends.

Siempre la paso bien con mis cheros.
(I always have fun with my friends.)

14. Chochera / Choche

Where it’s used: Peru

The words Chochera (chauffeur or witchcraft), and its short form choche (car or driver), as you can see, can have two very different meanings.

How that word came to mean friend in Peruvian Spanish is something I can’t understand, but it does.

Pedrito es mi choche desde que teníamos seis años.
(Pedrito has been my friend since we were six.) 

15. Cobio

Where it’s used: Cuba

There’s not much information available about this word, but all sources agree that it means partner/associate and it’s used on the island to refer to your friends.

¿Qué bolá, cobio?
(How are you doing, friend?)

16. Colega

Where it’s used: Spain

By definition, a colega is a classmate or colleague, but it’s informally used to refer to your buddy.

Vamos a tomarnos una copas con mi colega, Paco.
(Let’s go have some drinks with my buddy, Paco.)

17. Compadre

Where it’s used: Latin America (very common in Mexico)

Compadre describes the relationship between someone’s father and godfather (a literal translation from Latin could be co-father.)

However, native Mexican speakers use this word to refer to their best mates or good friends.

¿Qué onda, compadre? ¿Por qué tan triste?
(What’s up, mate? Why so sad?)

18. Compañero / Compa / Compi

Where it’s used: Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Argentina, Costa Rica and Honduras

Every native Spanish speaker will understand the word compañero or any of its short forms.

It officially translates to (partner or companion), but it can also be used to refer to your pals/buddies, as well.

If you’re in Spain though, avoid using the longer and shorter forms, since they can be taken out of context in some regions.

Mi cõmpanero Luis está por llegar.
(My buddy Luis is about to arrive.)

19. Compinche

Where it’s used: Latin America and Spain

The word compinche translates, and is used informally, to refer to your pals or buddies.

¿Qué pasó, compinche?
(What’s up, buddy?)

20. Cuaderno

Where it’s used: Mexico

If someone from Mexico tells you they’re meeting their cuadernos (notebooks) in the evening, don’t think they’ve gone crazy. Cuaderno is actually a very popular way to refer to a friend in the country.

Juan y Marco son mis cuadernos.
(Juan and Marco are my friends.)

21. Cuadro

Where it’s used: Colombia

Many people in the world have cuadros (tables), but only Colombians will call their bros, buddies and friends the same word.

¿Quiubo, cuadro?
(What’s up, bro?)

22. Cuate

Where it’s used: Mexico, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia and Venezuela

Cuate quite literally translates to buddy or dude.

However, it can also be used to refer to people you don’t know or are just acquaintances.

Vendrá con un cuate mañana.
(He’ll come with a buddy tomorrow.)

23. Cúmbila

Where it’s used: Cuba

Cúmbila is another Cuban word of African origin.

It comes from the term camba (friend), and it’s used to refer to your buddies.

Gracias, cúmbila.
(Thanks, buddy.)

24. Fren

Where it’s used: Panama

The word fren is almost exclusively used in Panama, and it means—you’ve guessed it—friend.

Es mi fren desde 2015.
(She’s been my friend since 2015.)

25. Gomía

Where it’s used: Argentina

Gomía is an anagram that results from transposing the word amigo.

Not surprisingly, it’s another word you can use casually to refer to your friends.

¡Ese es mi gomía!
(That’s my man!)

26. Güey

Where it’s used: Mexico

Thanks to Mexican TV shows and telenovelas, every Spanish speaker knows the word güey, and now you do, too!

It originally comes from the word buey (ox), so it’s no surprise it can also be used with the meaning of silly or clumsy.

Additionally, it can be used to refer to anyone you don’t know very well (similar to the English word dude) and even to a friend, depending on the context.

¡Órale, güey!
(Come on, dude!)

27. Huevón

Where it’s used: Chile and Peru (less frequently in Venezuela)

The word huevón and all its different forms—weón/weon/won/güevón/güebón—literally translates to big egg.

Informally, it can be used to describe someone who is lazy, a moron or stupid, but it can also be used jokingly to refer to your buddies. It also has a meaning very close to the English dude or guy.

Hola, huevón. ¿Cómo estái?
(Hey, buddy. How are you?)

28. Íntimo

Where it’s used: Latin América and Spain

The word íntimo is an adjective that means intimate/close.

Íntimo normally appears in the collocation amigo íntimo (close friend).

This collocation is often reduced to just the adjective, which is used to refer to your closest friends.

Antonio es mi íntimo, mi hermano.
(Antonio is my close friend, my brother.)

29. Llave

Where it’s used: Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela

Llave quite literally translates to key in Spanish. Yes, the thing you use to open doors.

It’s said that if someone calls you their llave, they’ve opened themselves to you and accepted you as their friend.

Todo bien, mi llave.
(No problem, my friend.)

30. Mae

Where it’s used: Costa Rica

The word mae is to Costa Rica as güey is to Mexico.

In other words, you can use mae to refer to friends, buddies and people you don’t even know. Context is key!

¿Cómo estás, mae?
(How you doin’, bud?)

31. Mano / Manito

Where it’s used: Latin America

The words mano (hand) and manito (little hand) are the shortened forms of the word hermano (brother).

They’re used to casually and informally describe a friend or bro.

Even though you’ll hear these words all throughout Latin America, the forms mano and manito are especially common in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic and Panama.

¿Qué hubo, manito?
(What’s up, bro?)

32. Ñaño

Where it’s used: Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and some parts of Argentina

By definition, this word means year.

However, it’s also used to define a close friend in some countries, similar to the context and usage of the word bróder (bro).

¿Qué tal, ñaño?
(What’s up, bro?)

33. Pana

Where it’s used: Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua

There are several theories about the origin of the word pana (corduroy), but the one I like the most is that it comes from the indigenous word panaca (family).

For this reason, the word pana is normally only used with your deepest and closest soul friends.

Juanito, sos mi pana del alma.
(Juanito, you’re my soul mate.) 

34. Panadería

Where it’s used: Venezuela

In Venezuela, a panadería (bakery) isn’t only a place where you can buy bread and pastries. It’s also a place where you can meet your friends for a coffee or a piece of cake.

Because of this, it started to become a slang term for friends/friendship in the ’50s, and it’s kept its meaning until today.

¡Gracias a toda mi panadería!
(Thanks to all my friends!)

35. Parcero / Parce

Where it’s used: Colombia and Ecuador

The words parcero (landlord) and parce come from the Portuguese word parceiro (partner).

It’s normally used to refer to your friends and acquaintances, but it can also be used to talk about people from the same region/country (compatriot/fellow countryman).

¿Quiubo, parce?
(What’s up, friend?) 

36. Pata

Where it’s used: Bolivia, Cuba, Peru and Chile

The definition of a pata oddly translates to leg and paw, but in these four countries, it refers to a close friend or a buddy, depending on the context.

Carola es mi pata del alma.
(Carola is my best friend/my soul mate).

37. Pez

Where it’s used: Colombia

You probably know pez means fish in Spanish.

However, in Colombia, people use this word to refer to their friends and buddies informally (especially if they don’t know their name).

¿Todo bien, mi pez?
(Is everything alright, buddy?)

38. Pibe

Where it’s used: Uruguay (less frequently in Argentina and Paraguay)

Even though this word can be used in some countries to refer to kids, people in Uruguay also use it to refer to their friends.

Vamos a festejar con mi pibes.
(Let’s celebrate with my friends.)

39. Primo

Where it’s used: Mexico, Venezuela (West), the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica 

Primo means cousin in Spanish. By calling someone your primo, you’re letting them know they’re your dearest friend, and part of your family.

¿Cómo ‘tá la cosa, primo?
(How’s everything going, dear friend?)

40. Socio

Where it’s used: Peru and Colombia (less frequently in Cuba, Ecuador and Argentina)

The word socio refers to a partner or business associate, but it’s also used to refer to your close friends in countries like Peru and Colombia.

Hola, socio. ¿Cómo estás?
(Hey, friend. How are you?)

41. Tío

Where it’s used: Spain

Tío translates to (uncle) in Spanish, but if you go to Spain, you’ll mainly hear this word when people are referring to their mates.

It can also be used to refer to a guy in general, just like Mexico’s güey.

Mi tío no sabe de lo que habla.
(My mate doesn’t know what he’s talking about.)

42. Tronco / Tron

Where it’s used: Spain

tronco is a tree trunk and tron is a log. But in Spain, it refers to a very good friend.

It’s often incorrectly associated with lower-class people, but all youngsters use it.

It can also be used to refer to your boyfriend/girlfriend, but some people may tell you it sounds a bit distasteful, so avoid using it in this context if you can.

Mi tronca está de camino.
(My good friend is on her way.)

43. Valedor / Vale

Where it’s used: Colombia and Venezuela 

Simply put, a valedor is a person that is worthy.

It’s possible that because of this reason, a friend is referred to as a valedor(es) or vale(s) in these two countries.

Mi valedor, ¿cómo estás?
(My friend, how are you?)

44. Viejo

Where it’s used: Costa Rica, Argentina 

The word viejo (old), can also be an informal way to refer to someone’s dad.

It can also mean bro or friend in Costa Rica and some parts of Argentina. But practically every native Spanish speaker will understand you’re referring to a friend if you use it anywhere else.

Viejo, no hables paja.
(Bro, don’t talk nonsense.)

45. Yunta

Where it’s used: Argentina, Cuba, Uruguay, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Peru, Chile and Bolivia

The word yunta is translated into English as yoke and/or team, but in South America it’s used to refer to a trusted friend.

Ana es mi yunta.
(Ana is my trusted friend.)


So, there you have it, my top list of 45 slang words to call your friends in Spanish. You can find more slang vocabulary and hear these in use on the FluentU program.

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They’re not used in every Spanish-speaking country, but now you know how to refer to all your amigos (friends) based on the country you have your heart after.

Stay curious, cheros (friends), and as always, happy Spanish learning!

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