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Chilean Spanish Unveiled: Slang, Phrases, & More

Chilean Spanish is NOT Spanish! Natives can’t even understand this stuff! How (AND WHY) in the world are you going to learn Chilean Spanish!?

The truth is some people are scared of dialectal differences in the target language, and some people will point fingers and say a dialect sucks for being so unique.

Chilean is a super cool dialect with many distinct features and if you have a reason to learn it - I think you’re the coolest on the block!

Yeah, Chilean Spanish is different. But the differences in Spanish Dialects make the language even more beautiful!

In this article, we’ll go over Chilean Spanish vocabulary, expressions, grammar, and pronunciation.

At the end of the article, I’ll leave a Quizlet that I made for you so that you can practice what you learned. Without further ado, let’s go!

Map and graphic of chile that says "The chilean dialect of spanish"

Summary of The Spanish Spoken in Chile

The Spanish Spoken in Chile is extremely distinct and hard to summarize in few words.

However, the most important thing you should know is that the r/d/b can disappear from the words.

The usage of voseo is most prominent in Chile, and they repeat personal pronouns in some areas: Ex - Yo me voy a irme.

To add on to the distinct pronunciation, Chilean has it's own conjugations for vos, and a ton of words and phrases that are not used outside of Chilean borders.

Some of the most important Chilean words to know are:

  • ¿Cachai? - meaning you got me?

  • Wea - meaning a thing

  • Pololo/a - meaning a boyfriend/girlfriend

  • El taco - meaning the traffic

  • Una manga - meaning a bunch, or a big group

The vocabulary of Chilean Spanish

Map and graphic of chile that says "The chilean vocabulary"

¿Cachai? - You get me? (You understand?)

Chacai comes from the verb chachar which is a Chilean word taken from the English verb to catch. So basically they are saying "You catch me"

¿Me cachai cuando te digo no vayas por esa calle?

(Do you understand me when I tell you not to go down that street?)

Weón - dude/friend or stupid 🗣

Weón from what I understand comes from the word huevón meaning a big egg. If that is indeed the correct etymological origin, we're calling the person exactly that - a big egg.

Te esperé 10 minutos weón ¿Qué te pasó?

(I waited for you for 10 minutes dude, what happened?)

Apretado - stingy or cheap 💵

Apretado in standard Spanish means tight, for example, if your pants are too tight you would say that they are apretado to your legs.

Ese idiota no te va a llevar a Paris, es demasiado apretado

(That idiot is not going to take you to Paris, he’s too stingy)

Emputecer - getting mad 😡

Emputecer is also a word used in Argentina which means something like “To get pissed off” For example in the sentence:

Ya me voy a emputecer si sigues haciendo eso

(I am about to get pissed off if you keep doing that)

Chucha - Sh** 💩

Chucha is used in many countries and can mean anything from simple “a nice woman you meet on the street” to the worst possible thing on this earth.

In many countries such as Panama, and Chile, “chucha” refers to the sexual organs of a female. In Chile, this work might be used like:

¡Andate a la chucha!

(Get the f*** out of here!)

Wea - Vaina/Thing 🪒

In Chile, una wea is a thing, what thing? - Anything 😂 It’s kind of like the word vaina. It might be used like in the sentence:

Ay pásame esa wea

(Hey pass me that thing)

Pololo/a - Boyfriend/Girlfriend 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👨

Pololo is just the Chilean way of saying “novio” and is used just the same like in the sentence.

Esa es el polola de Jose

(That’s Jose’s girlfriend)

Mina - Attractive woman 💃

A Mina is an attractive woman in Chile. So if you’re a woman and you hear “Ay mira esa mina por allí” know you know what they’re calling you.

Mira a esa mina caminando por allí

(Look at that beautiful woman walking over there)

La pega - Work/Job 👨‍🔧

It seems like just about every country has its own word for a job. In Chile that work is “La pega” and can be used the same as the work trabajo:

No podré ir esta noche, aún estoy en la pega

(I won't be able to go tonight, I am still at work)

El taco - traffic 🚕🚕🚕

When you hear some Chileans talking about the taco, just remember - that means traffic for them!

Me pilló un taco en mi camino hacia la casa

(I got caught up in the traffic on my way home)

Manga - a big group of something 👨‍👨‍👧‍👧👨‍👨‍👧‍👧

A manga is a ton of something. For example in the sentence:

Hay una manga de gente acá

(There is a ton of people here)

Phrases That Are Unique To The Spanish of Chile

Map and graphic of chile that says "chilean expressiones"

Sí po - Yeah, well… 🤔

Po is short for pues and is used like in the following sentence:

Sí po no lo he visto

(Yeah well I haven't seen it)

Al tiro - Already, Right now 👏

Al tiro, meaning to the shot, is used to mean something is going to happen immediately. In Chile, this is used like in the following sentence:

Voy al tiro para la tienda

(I am going to the store right now)

Andar pato / Estar Pato - To be broke 🤕

Both of these phrases mean “to be broke” for example:

Yo no puedo salir esta noche yo ando pato

(I can’t go out tonight I am broke)

Pisar el palito - To fall in a trap 👿

Pisar el palito literally means something like “to step on the stick” and is used like in the following sentence:

Ese hombre no puede pisar el palito, no confía en nadie

(That man can’t be tricked, he doesn’t trust anybody)

Spanish of Chile: Grammar & Pronunciation

As mentioned previously, Chilean grammar is extremely distinct. But don’t worry, a majority of the change occurs when using the vos form.

Although, Chileans don't pronounce the last s in vos, like, ever…

Map and graphic of chile that says "The chilean grammar and pronunciation""

Voseo in Chilean Spanish

If you don't know what voseo is check out this article I wrote explaining it. But to summarize, it’s the replacement of in many Spanish-speaking countries.

However, if you want to learn Chilean Spanish, you will need to learn their own conjugations because their voseo use is very different.

For example in the present tense:

If a word ends in es like escribes it becomes escribí.

A word that ends in the letters as like tú vas becomes vos vai.

or the word podrías becomes vos podríai.

Not all Chileans use vos, some speak in the form of but they still use the Chilean vos conjugations.

Another quirk in Chilean Grammar is how the imperative mood looks. The imperative mood is used most commonly to command something. For example:

In standard Spanish, we say “Sal” meaning “Leave” (command)

whereas in Chile they say “Sale”

In standard Spanish, we say “haz” meaning “do” (command)

whereas in Chile they say “hace”.

Repeating of personal pronouns: Me voy a irme

In some communities, it’s common to hear the doubling of reflexive object/subject pronouns. So like in the sentence:

Yo iba a buscarlo pero no estaba allí (Standard Spanish)

Lo iba a buscarlo pero no estaba allí (Chilean Spanish)


The pronunciation of Chilean Spanish is just as unique as its vocabulary. To give you an idea of how different it is - many Spanish speakers from other countries have jokes about Chileans not knowing how to speak Spanish because it’s really that different at times.

Let’s take a look at the most notable differences in pronunciation in Chilean Spanish!

The Cutting of D’s and B’s

Whenever you see a word with a or o before and after a b and d - remember that these letters are silent. For example:

Complicado = Complica’o

Enojado = Enoja’o

Encontrado = Encontra’o

Estaba = Esta’a

Pasaba = Pasa’a

Llamaba = Llama’a

Cutting of R’s

When a r comes before a n/m/i it is not pronounced in Chilean Spanish - For example:

Hermano = He’mano

Horno = ho’no

The Argentine “SH”?

In some areas, the sound “sh” can be heard in Chilean Spanish. Unlike in Argentina, this sound comes from the letters ch - For example:

Muchacho = Mushasho

Bicho = Bisho

Chile = Shile

Conclusion: Chilean Spanish

There's probably no Spanish dialect that is as unique as the Spanish of Chile. Many native Spanish speakers don’t understand it, and some even joke about it not being Spanish. In any case, if you have a reason to learn Chilean Spanish you should start today by memorizing these phrases.

Although some people hate or love the Chilean dialect of Spanish, just remember that the differences in dialects are one of many things that makes Spanish beautiful, exciting, and worth learning!

Below there is a Quizlet I made for you so that you can practice these words and phrases. Leave me a comment and tell me if you plan on learning Chilean Spanish!

I would love to know how many of you there are who are embarking on the journey.

If you want to look over some other Spanish dialects, check out this category I created for you with articles like this one about many different Spanish Dialects.

Have a great day, and we’ll talk more soon ~ Ben


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