Caló - English Dictionary
(words and expressions)
the free encyclopedia,
Become a member of TranslationDirectory.com at just
$8 per month (paid per year)
Use the search bar to look for terms in all glossaries, dictionaries, articles and other resources simultaneously
The following is a list of Chicano slang words and expressions,
known as CalГі, also spelled "Calo" and "Kalo"
by modern Chicano youth. It does not list words and expressions
of the language of the Spanish Roma people, which is also
called Caló, except where these have been incorporated into
Chicano Caló. Nor does it list Mexican slang words and expressions
unless they have originated in Pachuco Caló or have been
incorporated into it with altered meaning. A few words can
be traced to the Nahuatl language of the Mexicas (Aztecs).
These expressions vary by neighborhood. For example, the
expression: 'chafa' (low quality) can be heard as 'chafaldrana',
'chafoso', or 'chafarrafa'.
The use of some "classic" pachuco slang words
from the 1930s and 40s has survived while others have not.
A [ top ]
a ponemos chancla
(from chancla, Nahuatl for sandal) "Let's dance". The grammar is deliberately incorrect.
(lit. "eagle") "Be alert"
a form of help "Aliviáname - help me"
"to be alert, be careful". ¡Agua! ("Water!) is the cry of sellers of dodgy items when police are spotted.
A.T.M. a toda madre (great, fantastic, out of sight); expression antedates the abbreviation for "automated teller machine"
B [ top ]
A drunk or someone on a bender.
derogatory term for "white boy" or "white guy," similar to "cracker" in American slang. Derived from the white dinner roll of the same name.
A dollar. "Prestame un bola." "Lend me a dollar."
(also "bomb") a lowrider car or truck from the 1930s - mid-1950s
(literally: "can") jail or prison; also, a lid of marijuana.
dance, party. "Vamos al borlo." "Let's go to the dance/party."
trouble or a problem with someone else
a contraction of the old spelling of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Originally spelled "Alburquerque"
C [ top ]
to "bullshit"; to "chew the fat with"
Come Here,Go To
(also "Kali") California
California. In standard Spanish, it means "caliphs".
Calecia a fond name referring to the border city [[Calexico, California in the US, The highest percent of Mexican residents of a city in the US
a language used by Chicanos or Mexican-Americans, derived from the name of the Spanish Gypsy (gitano) dialect, Caló
(lit. marbles) love; balls, genitals(male); also "andar a canicas"(walking around naked).
home; house; apartment
brother; close friend; homeboy, from primo carnal, "first-grade cousin".
all at once, burdon, blows
Carucha Car,Your Ride
a form of disagreement
chavala (from Gypsy/Gitano Calo) little girl; also used as an insult for a man that lacks courage.
chavalo (from Gypsy/Gitano Calo) little boy
con safos (frequently abbreviated as "c/s") "Nobody can mess with this" (possibly from Arabic-derived Spanish zafo = unobstructed, clear, safe, intact)
D [ top ]
dale gas step on it, go for it
de aquellas (lit. "from those over there") "the best"
beat it, get lost
to hit, irregular conjugation (descuento, descuentas, descuenta, descuentan, descontamos)
Dispensa excuse me
orig. 1930s Harlem African American for stylish clothing; syn. for "zoot suit" (see below)
E [ top ]
East Los Angeles, California
echa la cookie fast, as in running fast
El Pasiente El Paso
El Chuco El Paso
Rio Grand Valley, Tejas
short for Norteno
short for Nortena
to lock up. Standard Spanish.
to dress up, more specifically, to wear a tuxedo or suit
scared. Standard Spanish.
help, give a hand
(lit. "that one", "that guy") cholo; dude; guy; man
lie as in no esponges ese
angry, as in no te esponges == "don't get angry"
F [ top ]
(lit. "fair", as in "county fair") but directly references the homonym "fare") money
knife. Spanish filo means "edge".
cool (as in "hip"); good. In standard Spanish, "firm".
G [ top ]
(also "gavacho") very insulting term for a white person. In Spain, "Frenchman".
mean or in bad taste
marijuana (whence the US slang word "reefer"; derived from "grifo")
(lit. "faucet") marijuana addict; someone who is always "prendido", or "lit"
(also "wacha") "Look"; "Watch"
(also "huero" or "weddo") white person; light skinned, blue eyed/blond person
(also "wisa" and "weesa") woman; girlfriend
Homboy,Closefriend or just dude.
H [ top ]
(also "homie") 1) a very close associate usually identified as someone from one's own barrio or neighborhood; 2) a person with whom one identifies closely with implying a strong loyalty toward; possibly derivative of Spanish hombre
(also "holmes") variation on the word "homeboy", used to identify a friend also "vato"
hyna a girl, or girlfriend
J [ top ]
jaina (also spelled "hyna", "heina", and "hayna") woman; honey; girlfriend
jale a job
jefe/jefito (lit. "boss") father
L [ top ]
low life individual
(lit. "wool") money
la neta "the truth" or an unquestionable axiom (as in "es laneta" means "that's the truth"), also tends to be followed with "que" as its universal conjunction to other words such as "laneta que el otro dia..." meaning "the truth is that the other day…". From la neta verdad, "the pure truth".
lanzar chingadazos throw blows
laquiar to lock
marijuana cigarette. In Spanish, "wood block".
(lit. "tires") a term for homemade sandals or beat-up shoes, also used to refer to extra fat acquired around the waste (similar to "rolls" or "love handles")
behave, be cool, chill out
(pronounced "loke") short for "loco"; a street crazy; hardcore street tough, also maddogs or heavily tinted sunglasses
Long Beach, CA
Los Angeles, CA
M [ top ]
excellent, high-achieving, outstanding
(also manfi) derogatory for lesbian, dyke
face. In Spanish, "mask".
mayate/mayata derogatory for a dark-skinned male/female, usually African American; der. from mayatl (Nahuatl) an irridescent black scarab
someone who tries to "act black" such as saying the word nigga,
from a Mexican origin
mojado wetback. Any immigrant crossing the Rio Grande river (mostly Mexican). Literally, "wet".
the devil; demon. Literally "monkey".
slang for marijuana
N [ top ]
no. Literally "oranges". In Spain the phrase "naranjas de la China" means "no way".
no. Literally "noses". In Spain the phrase would be "y unas narices".
negro/a (lit. "black") a somewhat affectionate term for a darker skinned individual of whatever race, e.g. chicano, African American or others (e.g. "vamos mi negro"), can be softened in the diminutive (negrito/a) as negro can also be derogatory
niqle Five cents. From the English word nickle.
don't mess around
no hay pedo no problem; no sweat
northerner; street chapter of the Nuestra Familia prison gang, associated with the color red and the number 14.
no te quetes don't get depressed
O [ top ]
"Right on"; "Alright!"
asshole [example: ya no seas ojete]
Oklahoma City or 405 used mainly by SSVL 25
P [ top ]
Pachuco a native or resident of El Paso, Texas, later extended to mean all Mexicans and Mexican Americans adopting aspects of Pachuco culture such as dressing in zoot suits and speaking Caló.
paisa (from 'Paisano') (also "border brother") a somewhat affectionate term for recent immigrants from Mexico
(orig. nickname for the first name "Francisco") crying or complaining, used with the verb "hacer" i.e. "tu haces mucho pancho!" meaning "you do a lot of complaining"
fat man. Standard Spanish, compare English paunch.
fat woman; pregnant woman
pásame las tres Literally, "pass me the three". "Let me have a drag" (of a cigarette)
slang for cocaine
(literally "fart") intoxicated; 'estar pedo'
problem; 'no hay pedo'
slang for cocaine
pestaña (pestañear) (lit. eyelash) to sleep
slang for Phoenix, Arizona
did you "get" some (from Sp. picar, to poke)
jail; prison (more specifically)
pintando paredes to masturbate
beer; can of beer (more specifically); also general term for alcoholic beverage. In Spanish, "soup"
placa² (literally "badge") police
placa³ a person's graffiti tag
ponerse al alba
"to put oneself to the dawn", to get with it
to get high on marijuana
ponte las pilas get your stuff together
a big punch.
prendido "lit on", high on drugs; high on marijuana (most common)
Q [ top ]
¿qué onda? "what's up?"
quemar llanta to burn rubber (as in driving)
San Quentin prison
¿Quiubo? (Quíhubo, Qiobo. quióboles. Q-vo) (from "Qué hubo" meaning "What was there?"} "What's going on?"; "What's up?"
Q-vo: wats up
R [ top ]
car; lowrider car (more specifically)
(literally: "old woman") girlfriend; woman
S [ top ]
Oops! Some type of error.
Girlfriend on the side; secret (or not) lover
Sancho Boyfriend on the side; secret (or not) lover
San Jo (pronounced "San Ho") San Jose, California
San Anto San Antonio, Texas
San Fran San Francisco
San Pancho Frisco
San Quilmas San Anto, Tejas
sentirse aviador "to feel as an airman", to feel high or drunk
Serio/a "seriously", for real (also spelled Cerio/a)
simón "Yeah", often combined with ese: simonese
slang for cocaine
southerner, street chapter of La eMe (or Mexican Mafia), associated with the color blue and the number 13.
(from shoe manufacturer "Stacey Adams") a brand of dress shoes favored by pachucos and swingers; a generic term for polished dress shoes
T [ top ]
ta con madre shortened form of "está con madre" (lit. "is with mom") the best, or something really good, outstanding.
(literally: "suit") zoot suit; fancy clothing
"to heel", to walk, also to con
dancing your ass off
tirar la masa (lit. "to throw corn dough") to defecate
tirarlo a león
(lit. "to ignore") to blow off, to forget about it
tirar tripa (lit. "to throw guts") to vomit
"jerry-rigged" or of inferior workmanship, (from the initials for Tijuana, a California border town where Americans go for cut-rate dentistry, auto body repair, and upholstry)
(lit. "twisted") jail time; locked up in prison (most specifically)
(lit. "cake") derogatory slang for a fat female
"to carry a tail", to be on parole
food, especially in large amounts. From tragar, "to swallow".
to cheat; to mess (someone) up
cigarette lighter, match
(lit. "trout") "Watch out"; smart; wise
to get along; to communicate
U [ top ]
un Abril (also "un abro") a year's jail sentence
V [ top ]
Rio Grande Valley, South Texas
vasquear to vomit
grip (possibly derived from vise grip)
neighborhood or 'hood (misspelling of barrio)
dude; guy; man
(lit. "mast", "pole"), "dick" "penis" "cock"
(lit. "old lady") girlfriend, wife
(lit. "to fly") to hurry
W [ top ]
wilo, güilo male prostitute
term for someone consuming large amounts of alcohol
yesca (also "yeska") marijuana. In Spanish, "a fungus to light fire".
"And what?"; "So (what)?" (used to question, add emphasis, or challenge someone)
"ay wey" " oh, shit"
Z [ top ]
I'm out, I bail out. (used when asking for volunteers); derived from/related to
con safos (see above)
zoot suit an outfit of male clothing consisting of large pants which become narrower towards the bottom, a stylish, a nice looking jacket which matches with the pants, and a long chain running from the pocket
This dictionary is available under the terms
of the GNU Free Documentation
free glossaries at TranslationDirectory.com
free dictionaries at TranslationDirectory.com
to free TranslationDirectory.com newsletter
more translation jobs from translation agencies?
agencies are welcome to register here - Free!
translators are welcome to register here - Free!
your glossary or dictionary for publishing at