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The Spanish Of Ecuador 101: Slang, Phrases, & More

If you’re going to Ecuador (or to speak with an Ecuadorian) you’ll need to know some new vocabulary! The Ecuadorian Spanish is beautiful and unique, although compared to others such as the Dominican Dialect, for example, it’s quite standard.

In this article, we’ll go over the most common slang, expressions, and pronunciation differences in the Ecuadorian Dialect of Spanish. Without any further ado, let’s get started!

Summary of the Spanish Spoken In Ecuador

Amongst many others, here are the 3 most notable slang words used in Ecuador:

  • Oe - Yo/Hey!

  • Fresco/a - Easy

  • Tripiado - Cool

Ecuador has many unique expressions used in the day to day, here are the 3 of the most common:

  • Pegarse una ruca - To go to sleep

  • Ya no jalo - I’m done

  • Que tiro - What happened?

Read the full article for all of the information you need to know to get accustomed to the Ecuadorian Dialect. Enjoy!

The Slang/Vocabulary of Ecuadorians

cartoon people talking infront of an ecuadorian flag that says with bold letters "The Vocabulary of Ecuador"

Camello - Job 👷‍♂️

Whereas you’ll be understood if you use the word trabajo to say work, maybe you could Ecuador-up your vocab and say Camello (Meaning camel) instead! For example:

¿María podrías conseguirme un camello?

María, could you find me a job?

Oe - Yo/Hey! 🗣

The word "Oe" in Ecuador is kind of used like the English word Yo is used by some people. It’s used to get the attention of someone without saying their name. For example:

¡Oe mira lo que encontré!

(Yo look at what I found!)

Chuchaqui - Hangover 🤮

Although the more standard word in Spanish is resaca, in Ecuador when you have a hangover, you have a chuchaqui. For example:

Ay anoche me dejó con un tremendo chuchaqui

(Last night left me with a crazy hangover)

Fresco/a - Easy 👌

During the writing of this Dialect Breakdown Series I have been creating, I have found that this word (especially) changes a lot depending on the country.

It can mean anything from Somebody who is super disrespectful - to somebody who is super relaxed, to… Easy? Yup, in Ecuador this word means easy. For example:

Esas tareas estuvieron bien frescas

(That homework was really easy)

Lámpara - Strange, Wrong 👽

This is a bit of a confusing phrase at first. Ecuadorians will say What a lamp for various situations. For example, it’s used to comment on something that doesn’t belong, that is weird, or if something is wrong. For example:

Ey Emilia hay un bicho en tu sopa - AAAAY qué lámpara

(Hey Emilia there is a bug in your soup - EWWW how gross)

Lámparoso/a - Attention seeker 💁

This one makes a lot more sense. If an Ecuadorian is calling somebody Lamp-like/Lampy then you are saying that they are the type of person that’s always looking for attention. Example:

Mira a ese chico actuando como un loco, qué lámparoso

(Look at that kid acting a fool, what an attention seeker)

Simon - Yes 👍

If you hear somebody respond to your question with the name Simon, don’t be confused, it just means yes in Ecuador! For example:

¿Puedes hacerme un play? - Simon, dime qué necesitas

(Can you do me a favor? - Yeah, tell me what you need)

Avispate - Pay attention 🙇

This phrase is also used in Chile, and it just means - pay attention! For example:

Ey José avispate, estoy hablando

(Hey José pay attention, I am talking)

Chiro/a - Broke 🤦‍♂️

If you are Chiro or Chira in Ecuador, that means you're broke. For example:

No puedo salir con ustedes ya que estoy chiro

(I can’t go out with you guys because I am broke)

Tripiado - Cool 😎

This word comes from the English word Trip according to the Ecuadorian who told me about it. In any case, it means cool and is used just like the word Chévere. For example:

Ese edificio es tripiado

(That building is super cool!)

The Unique Expressions Used In Ecuador

cartoon people talking infront of an ecuadorian flag that says with bold letters "Unique Phrases of Ecuador"

Pegarse una ruca - To go to sleep 😴

A ruca is a nap in Ecuador, so if you want to get some shuteye, just say:

Voy a pegarme una ruca

(I am going to get some sleep/take a nap)

Házme un play - Do me a favor 🙏

If you hear an Ecuadorian asking you to "do them a play," just know they mean a favor. For example:

Raúl, házme un play y pásame la sal

(Raúl, do me a favor and pass me the salt)

Ya no jalo - I’m done 😒

Even though this literally means I don’t pull anymore, in Ecuador it means I am done. For example, if I was talking with my mother about quitting my job I might say:

Me tratan mal, mi jefe es tan grosero, ya no jalo mamá, voy a dejarlo

(They treat me badly, my boss is so rude, I’m done mom, I am going to quit)

Que tiro - What happened? 🤔

This Ecuadorian expression is usually used to ask about somebody’s current emotional or physical state. For example, if your with a group of friends and one of them walks off sadly you could say:

¿Qué tiro con él? ese man se ve muy deprimido

(What's up with him? That dude looks so depressed)

¿Me cachas? Understood? 🧏‍♂️

This is used in Chile too, of course, they have their own way of pronouncing it but Chilean pronunciation, well... that’s another story entirely.

Me cachas comes from the English phrase Did you catch that? - Meaning, Did you understand? Here is an example of its use:

Voy a decirte todo lo que necesitas saber al respecto ¿Me cachas?

(I am going to tell you everything you need to know about it, you got me?)

Llevar piñas a milagro - Do something not necessary 🍍

This Ecuadorian phrase comes from the fact that in Milagro, Ecuador - they grow a lot of pineapples.

So the phrase To take pineapples to Milagro means to do something that’s not necessary. For example, you can use it like this:

Vamos a comer en 20 minutos, comer ahora mismo sería llevar piñas a Milagro

(We are going to eat in 20 minutes, to eat right now would make no sense)

Chulla vida - YOLO ☝️

Chulla comes from the indigenous language Quechua and it means Only. So when Ecuadorians say this phrase they are basically saying Only life or an even better translation - YOLO. Ex:

Voy a dejar este camello para viajar chulla vida

(I am going to leave this job to travel YOLO)

The Pronunciation Of Ecuadorian Spanish

cartoon people talking infront of an ecuadorian flag that says with bold letters "Pronunciation of Ecuadorians"

Ecuadorian Pronunciation is relatively standard when not considering the speed of some speakers or the rhythm at which some speak.

The most notable thing I have heard from Ecuadorians over and over again is the cutting of the D.

While this definitely doesn’t happen as often as, say, in Puerto Rico - it definitely can be heard by some.

For example: The words - Complicado = Complica’o | Interesado = Interesa’o | Plantado = Planta’o

Other than that, in the town of Cuenca they pronounce the R at the beginning of words really weirdly! For example: Rico = Shrico | Reconocer = Shreconocer | Recordar = Shrecordar

Conclusion: The Spanish Of Ecuador - Slang, & Expressions

The Spanish spoken in Ecuador is super unique and fun. The first time I listened to an Ecuadorian speak I was shocked and thought “What does he mean by what shot, and do me a play?”

I hope this article helps you in your future interactions with the wonderful people of Ecuador!

If you want some help learning Spanish, use these free Spanish stories on Acquire The Language to help you progress and reach your goals!

Have a great day/evening/night.

¡Hasta luego!

~ Benjamin


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