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Argentine Spanish: Slang, Phrases, & More

Warning! Never tell an Argentine you are going to “coger” (grab) something unless by grab - you mean to say “F***” (BEEEP).

cartoon woman yelling "Don't say that!" to cartoon man

So if you do need to grab something, make sure you “agarrarlo” (grab it) and don’t EVER “cogerlo” (F*** it). Btw did you know that OVER 60% of Argentinians have Italian ancestry?

Let’s dive into the dialect where friends can refer to each other as “dummy” and a bus is “Un Bondi” - Welcome to Argentina

graphich with argentine culture and flag that says "The Argentine Dialect Of Spanish"

Summary of The Spanish Spoken in Argentina

The Spanish spoken in Argentina is undeniably beautiful and worth learning.

Apart from the fact that you’ll be able to easily communicate and understand Argentinians, learning their “Vos” conjugations will also help you speak with communities of many other Spanish-speaking countries such as El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.

The most commonly used Argentine words on this list are:

  • Che - meaning “Bro”

  • Boludo - meaning “Dummy”

  • Pibe - meaning “Boy”

  • Bondi - meaning “Bus”

  • Birras - meaning “Beers”

The two most important things you need to know about Argentine Spanish are that they utilize “Vos” in place of “Tú”, and that they pronounce their “LL/Y” like “SH” in the word “Shoes”.

The vocabulary of Argentine Spanish

graphich with argentine culture and flag that says "The Argentine vocabulary"

Che - Bro 🤙

This is a super common phrase most notably used in Argentina and Uruguay. “Che” meaning “Bro” or “Dude” is used like in the following example:

"Ey Che ¿Vamos a tomar o qué?"

(Hey bro, are we going to drink or what?)

Boludo - Dummy 😵‍

This world although can be translated as “dummy” can be used between friends without being rude or aggressive. Like in the sentence:

"Hazme caso, boludo"

(Listen to me, dummy)

Pibe - Boy/Kid 🧑‍

Pibe is heavily used in the everyday speech of Argentinians and it just means “Boy” like the word “chavos” in the El Salvadorian Dialect. For example:

"Vamos pibe - tenemos mucho que hacer"

(Let’s go kid - we have a lot to do)

Viste? - You know? You heard? ❓ ❓ ❓

“Viste?” is used like “oiste?” is used in many other Latino American countries and although literally, it means “You saw” - it’s more like saying “You heard me?”. For example:

"No podré ir esta noche ¿Viste? Tengo demasiado que hacer"

(I won't be able to go tonight, you heard? I got too much to do)

Dale - Come on!

Dale in many countries means something like “Go ahead”. In Argentina, it means something more like “Come on!” like in the sentence:

"¡Dale no seas tan aburrido!"

(Come on, don't be so boring!)

Bancar - To back/support somebody 👥

Bancar is a word that outside of the Argentine dialect, I have never heard. It basically means to support somebody. For example:

"Está bien, dime lo que quieres y te banco."

(It’s alright, tell me what you want and I’ll back you/support you)

Re (bueno) - Really (good) 👌

Re is used in other Latin American countries as well, basically, you just add it to the beginning of an adjective and that adjective becomes emphasized.

“Re” is just short for “Realmente”. Here is an example of its use:

"¡Ay dios mío esa comida estuvo rebueno!"

(My god that food was so good!)

Coger - To have sexual relations 👀

The verb “coger” in many places is just a normal term that means “to grab” - for example here in Panama you can “Coger” a taxi. But in Argentina, this means “to f***” and for that reason, I don’t think this calls for an example. 😂

Groso - Big, Important, Intelligent

To be “Groso” in Argentina is to be intelligent, big, or important. For example:

"¡Nunca he visto una televisión tan grosa!"

(I have never seen such a big TV!)

Chorro - Scammer, Robber 👨‍🎤

Many countries use the word “Ladron” but in Argentina, they have their own word for that. “Chorro” meaning robber, is definitely a word you want to know in case somebody tells you:

"Ey gringo, no pases por esa calle hay muchos chorros, es re peligroso"

(Hey gringo, don’t go to that street there are many robbers, it’s really dangerous)

Phrases That Are Unique To Argentine Spanish

graphich with argentine culture and flag that says "unique argentine phrases"

¡Qué quilombo! - What a mess! 👎

A more standard way of saying this phrase would be “Qué lío” but in Argentina, they take it to a different level. To say “What a mess!” in Argentina - you say “What a whorehouse!”

Tomar unas birras - To drink beers 🍻

Maybe you already recognized that funny spelled word as “Beers” and indeed it is. In Argentina, throw away the other words you know for “Beers” and let “Birras” take their place!

"¿Che, vos querés tomar unas birras esta noche?"

(Bro, do you want to drink some beers tonight?)

Tomar el bondi - take the bus 🚌

Yup, they even have their own word for a “Bus” so if you’re in Argentina and you want to utilize the good public transport system, make sure to ask for the “Bundi”!

Haceme la segunda - Dance with me! 💃

Here’s a situation to imagine, you're in a discotheque, and your friend comes up to you to ask you to dance. Instead of asking you directly “You wanna dance?” He/She’ll say:

"Haceme la segunda"

Make me the second (Dance with me)

Me re cagaron - They screwed me over 🤦‍♂️

This phrase is a bit vulgar so use it with some caution. But it literally means “They really sh***d me” - for example, if somebody stole your passport on the street you would say:

"¡Ellos me re cagaron!"

(They really f***ed me over)

¡Qué rata que sos! - You’re really stingy! 🤏

In many countries such as Colombia and Panama for example, the most common way to say “Stingy” or “Cheap” is “Tacaño.

Argentine Spanish: Grammar & Pronunciation

The Spanish of Argentina (And Uruguay) are known as Rioplatense Castilian due to it having originated in the Rio de La Plata Basin. Apart from its fun vocabulary and unique phrases, it’s also known for its strict use of “Voseo” and it’s unique pronunciation.

Let’s dive further into what this means for somebody who wants to learn to speak it.

The Spanish Of Argentina: Pronunciation

The pronunciation of Argentinians is so distinguishable it’s hilarious. And deep down, this will always be the most beautiful dialect in my opinion.

Let’s go over the 3 main things you need to know to understand and speak like an Argentinian.

The “LL/Y” In Argentine Spanish

The “LL” and “Y” in Argentina have extremely particular pronunciations. Instead of sounding like the “Y” in the word “year” or the “J” in the word “Jack” it sounds like the “Sh” in the word “Shoe”. So for example:

"Yo me llamo Ben"

(Standard Pronunciation: yo - me - yamo - ben)

(Argentinian Pronunciation: sho - me - shamo - ben)

The Aspirated “S” In The Rioplatense Dialect (Of Argentina)

This is very common! And it’s probable that every Spanish-speaking country in the world at least has some communities that do this.

The aspirated “S” is just replacing the normal “S” with a “Breathy H” - For example:

Ella me estaba hablando de béisbol (Standard Spanish Pronunciation)

Esha me ehtaba hablando de béihbol (Common Argentine Pronunciation)

Sing Along To The Argentina Song! - The Italian-like Accent

Picture the way Italians sing when they talk, they flow, and their hands move. Well, welcome to Argentina.

Of course, not all people speak like this, but especially in the southern side of Argentina, I have heard people who speak (naturally) with the most stereotypical Italian accent.

However, that's just their native Spanish accent. And this isn’t by chance, as a matter of fact, it is believed that over 60% of Argentinians have Italian ancestors!

The Use Of Voseo In The Spanish Of Argentina

In Argentine Spanish “Vos” is almost exclusively used and so it is important to learn about it.

The use of Vos, also known as “Voseo” - means that instead of using “Tú” and the conjugations that correspond with "Tú" they use the conjugations for “Vos”.

table comparing vosotros and vos in spanish

If you know about Castilian Spanish (spoken in Spain) then you know about “Vosotros” which means “You” (Plural). The conjugations for “Vos” and “Vosotros” are almost the exact same.

The difference is by subtracting the last vowel from the “Vosotros” conjugation, you then have the corresponding “Vos” conjugation. For example:

¿Y vosotros, qué pensáis? (Castilian “Vosotros” Conjugation)

¿Y vos, qué pensás? (Rioplatense “Vos” Conjugation)

¿Y vosotros, qué queréis? (Castilian “Vosotros” Conjugation)

¿Y vos, qué querés? (Rioplatense “Vos” Conjugation)

Vosotros sois (Castilian “Vosotros” Conjugation)

Vos sos (Rioplatense “Vos” Conjugation)

However, if you only know the conjugations check this trick out!

If its an IR verb, remove IR and replace it with ÍS (Ex: Escribir = Escribís)

If its an ER verb, remove ER and replace it with ÉS (Ex: Aprender = Aprendés)

If its an AR verb, remove AR and replace it with ÁS (EX: Hablar = Hablás)

Conclusion: Argentine Spanish Aka - Rioplatense

The Spanish of Argentina is an extremely beautiful Spanish dialect. If you like the way the “LL/Y” sound like sshh. Or maybe it's the funny phrases or sing-songy rhythm that does it for you. In any case, you should definitely learn this dialect!

If you memorize most of the words and phrases on this list, surely you’ll have enough knowledge to impress even an Argentine. Below this paragraph is a Quizlet for those who want to try and learn the words and phrases mentioned in this article.

If you are interested in learning about other dialects - check out the category “Spanish Dialect Breakdowns” where we go over all of these fun and exciting features found in different regions of Latin America.

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Good article, very informative!

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Thanks so much, friend! I appreciate you so much <3

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