13 Puerto Rican Slang Words & Expressions You Must Know (Includes Audio) (2023)

Puerto Rico has its own words and phrases that make its way of speaking unique. If you mix Spanish with English, Caribbean accent and some indigenous and African influences, what do you have? Puerto Rican Spanish.

So, here are some words and phrases that distinguish Puerto Rico from the rest of Latin America.

This post features a Puerto Rican voice actor who appears in Gritty Spanish original & Parte II. You’ll hear him recite the slang words in a real sentence. Enjoy!

Remember to take the Quiz about PR Slang at the end of this article!

1. Al garete

When something has gone wrong, Puerto Ricans say that “se fue al garete“, but they can also use this expression to tell someone to stop annoying them, telling him “vete al garete“.

Apparently and according to the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy of Language, the word “garete” comes from the French construction “être égaré“, whose meaning is “to go astray“.

Its use began being nautical, being used to indicate that a boat went adrift, without direction or government, at the mercy of the winds and marine currents; Evolving to the actual use of such expression. Currently in Puerto Rico, it is mainly used to say that something or someone is adrift or aimless.


“El negocio está quebrado porque lo has manejado al garete, a lo loco.”
“The business is broke because you have managed it wildly, like crazy.”

“Deberías calmarte, estas descontrolado, bien al garete.”
“You should calm down, you’re out of control, really crazy.”

13 Puerto Rican Slang Words & Expressions You Must Know (Includes Audio) (1)2. Bregar

This the verb for “struggle“.

This word is used in several Latin American countries with different meanings, however, in Puerto Rico it is used frequently and means to work in a task, to do something with effort and dedication.


“Ya empezó el día, hay que salir a bregar para ganarse los chavos.”
“The day started already, we have to go out and work hard to earn the money.”

“Estoy en los exámenes finales, tengo que bregar duro para sacar buenas notas.”
“I’m in the final exams, I have to study a lot to get good grades.”

3. Chavos

Literally, it means, “kids, boys, young men“. Although the meaning of “chavos” in most Hispanic countries is “boys” or “young men“, in Puerto Rico it’s used to name money.


“Oye, ¿Qué pasó con los chavos que te presté? ¿Cuándo me los pagas?”
“Hey, what happened with the money I lent you? When will you pay me?”

“Ese carro esta de paquete, debe costar unos cuantos chavos.”
“That car is brand new, it must cost some money.”

13 Puerto Rican Slang Words & Expressions You Must Know (Includes Audio) (2)4. Dame un break

Mix of the Spanish “dame” meaning “give me” and the English “break“. Puerto Ricans use it to ask for a break, an opportunity, a pause, among others.


“Hermano tenemos dos horas caminando, estoy cansado, dame un break; un minuto para recuperarme.”
“Bro, we’ve been walking for two hours, i’m tired, give me a break; a minute to recover.”

“Oye yo sé que te debo el dinero, pero por favor dame un break, este mes te pago.”
“Hey I know that I owe you money, but give me a break, this month I will pay you.”

5. Revolú

This means, “Revolt“. In Puerto Rico, it is used to describe situations such as: Disorder, racket, a mess, a mix-up, pandemonium, a loud commotion, a disaster, etc…

You use this word to describe a problematic, confusing or messy situation.


“Anoche en la fiesta estaba todo bien cuando de repente un borracho armó el revolú.”
“Last night at the party everything was good when suddenly a drunk dude started a mix-up.”

“Había una rebaja en el mall y la gente se volvió loca, hicieron tremendo revolú.”
“There was a discount at the mall and people went crazy, they made a big mess.”

13 Puerto Rican Slang Words & Expressions You Must Know (Includes Audio) (3)

6. Janguear

This word comes from the English “hang out” and for Puerto Ricans means to go for a walk, to have fun in a group or in a couple.


“Esta tarde no tengo nada que hacer, creo que iré un rato a janguear al parque.”
“I have nothing to do this afternoon, I think that I will go hang out to the park for a while.”

“El fin de semana pasado me fui a janguear con el corillo a la discoteca.”
“Last weekend I went to hang out with the crew to the club.”

7. Mamey

The “mamey” is a tree that grows up to 15 meters high, with white, fragrant flowers, and almost round fruit, about 15 centimeters in diameter, with a thin, flexible bark that Remove with ease. It has yellow, aromatic, tasty pulp, and one or two seeds in the shape of a ram’s kidney.

On the other hand, the word “mamey” can refer to a lucrative, easy to do job. Hence, the saying “hartarse de mamey“, which is nothing other than take advantage of benefits. As for “viviendo del mamey“, it is defined as living off the state budget, public employment, living the story, good income or an easy job.

There is also the saying “con la boca es un mamey“, which refers to the thing that, apparently is easy, but it is not. That is, one thing that is easier said than done.

8. Corillo

In Puerto Rico “corillo” means group of people or friends.


“Anoche estaba aburrido y me fui de fiesta con el corillo.”
“I was bored last night and went to party with the crew.”

“Te crees muy valiente porque andas con un corillo, pero en algún momento estarás solo.”
“You think you’re a badass because you hang out with a crew, but at some point you will be alone.”

13 Puerto Rican Slang Words & Expressions You Must Know (Includes Audio) (4)

9. Guillao ‘/ Guilla’

“Guillao” means someone who is arrogant, a person that pretends to be something or someone that they are not, a stuck-up person, someone who is constantly boasting.


“Ese tipo esta guillao’ de sabelotodo pero vas a ver cómo le quito el guille que tiene.”
“That guy thinks he is a smarty, but you’ll see how I take away that attitude he has.”

“La vecina anda guilla’ de inocente, pero ya sé que fue ella quien se robó mi periódico.”
“The girl next door shows herself as innocent, but I know she was who stole my newspaper.”

10. Babilla

Courage, Bravery, who is not afraid and faces anyone, has a “baba” that makes it agile; “babilloso” is the one who has “babilla“.


“¿Tienes babilla para lanzarte en paracaídas?”
“Do you have guts to do skydive?”

“Anoche intentaron asaltar a Raymond y el muy “babilloso” se enfrentó a los ladrones y los sometió a todos.”
“Last night they tried to rob Raymond, the very “badass” guy faced the robbers and beat them all.”

11. Gata

Literal meaning is “She cat“.

in the colloquial language of Puerto Rico “gata” is used as a synonym for sexy and attractive woman.


“Anoche salí con unas gatas que parecían modelos.”
“Last night I went out with some babes who looked like models”

“Este fin de semana me voy a acicalar y prepararme pa’ las gatas.”
“I will groom and get ready for the babes this weekend.”

13 Puerto Rican Slang Words & Expressions You Must Know (Includes Audio) (5)12. Boricua

A Boricua isthat Puerto Rican who was born on the island of Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans whose family only resides on the island from one or two generations ago are not considered boricuas (although Puerto Ricans). Most Puerto Ricans currently residing in New Yorkin the United States, belong to boricua families.


“Jennifer López nació en Nueva York, así que no es boricua.”
“Jennifer Lopez was born in New York, so she is not boricua.”

“Ricky Martin, ese si es un boricua de cora’ (cora’ is an Abbreviation for ‘corazón’).”
“Ricky Martin, that is a true Boricua.”

13. Papi

Literal translation is, “daddy“.

Widely used in Puerto Rico, not necessarily to refer to their parents but as a way of saying mate, friend, partner, etc. From women to men or between men if they are friends (and many other situations). Their uses are multiple depending on the context.


Between men friends:

Oye papi hace tiempo que no te veía, ¿cómo estás?”
“Hey mate long time I haven’t seen you, how are you doing?”

From woman to man:

Papi me encantaría salir contigo esta noche, ¿A dónde me vas a llevar?”
“Baby I would love to go out tonight, where you gon take me?”

Puerto Ricans have lots of expressions that only they can understand and we do not guarantee that you will be an expert, but at least after reading this article, there will be fewer words that you will not understand.

Take the Spanish Slang Quiz!

The Dark Side Of Puerto Rican Slang: Cursing!

Did you enjoy the article about Puerto Rican Slang? If you do, then you should spice it up a bit and learn some PR Curse words in this post!


What is a famous Puerto Rican saying? ›

Mas viejo que el frio

This phrase literally translates to “older than the cold” in English. Puerto Ricans use this phrase when they want to say that something or someone is really, really old.

How do you say hello in Puerto Rican slang? ›

¡Hola, hola! Hey!

What is the Puerto Rican slang for girl? ›

guial: Comes from the English “girl” and is used in Panama and Puerto Rico.

What is a Rico street slang? ›

RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations and since 1970 the RICO Act has been working to combat organized crime in the United States.

What is the B word for Puerto Rican? ›

Bo·​ri·​cua bȯ-ˈrē-kwə variants or less commonly boricua. plural Boricuas also boricuas. : a native of Puerto Rico or a person of Puerto Rican descent.

What is Puerto Rican slang for drunk? ›

When you party hard, and drink too much, it's likely that you'll end up Jumeta, which is another word for drunk. It is used to explain that something, almost always referring to food, is rotten or damaged.

How do you say flirt in Puerto Rico? ›

The Spanish Verb for “to Flirt”: Coquetear

There are several verbs to say “to flirt” in Spanish, but the most common one is coquetear.

What does mi chichi mean in Puerto Rico? ›

chichi. 1 (vulva) fanny (vulgar); beaver (vulgar); (EEUU) 2 (México) (teta) tit (vulgar)

What does bicho malo mean in Puerto Rico? ›

Literally, “bad bug”.

What does che lo che mean? ›

"Que lo que" is a very popular Dominican slang word to use around friends to ask essentially, "what's going on?" It's a simple Dominican slang phrase that you can easily use anywhere in the DR.

How do you say bro in Puerto Rico? ›

Broki. Broki is Puerto Rican slang for “buddy.” Again, this word may look familiar. That's because it's derived from the popular English-language slang “bro.” The “ki” suffix makes it diminutive, making the term more affectionate.

What are Puerto Rican slang words for friend? ›

The word “corillo” is the Puerto Rican slang for friends or a group of friends. You might hear someone say, “Vamos! Salgamos con el corillo!”

How do you say hot girl in Puerto Rico? ›

in the colloquial language of Puerto Rico “gata” is used as a synonym for sexy and attractive woman.

What do you call a Puerto Rican boyfriend? ›

Jevo / Jeva. These two words refer to a boyfriend or girlfriend in Puerto Rico.

What do Papi Chulo mean? ›

Where does papi chulo come from? Getty. A direct translation of papi chulo from Spanish is “pimp daddy,” with papi being a diminutive form of “father” (and used like “baby”) and chulo meaning “pimp” but also “attractive,” “cocky,” or “cool” in colloquial settings.

Why do Puerto Ricans say Papi? ›

Papi is a colloquial term for “daddy” in Spanish, but in many Spanish-speaking cultures, particularly in the Caribbean, it is often used as a general term of affection for any man, whether it's a relative, friend, or lover.

What does RICO mean in jail? ›

9 pages. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) of 1970 seeks to strengthen the legal tools in evidence gathering by establishing new penal prohibitions and providing enhanced sanctions and new remedies for dealing with the unlawful activities of those engaged in organized crime.

What is Coco in Puerto Rico? ›

Coco is a town in Puerto Rico with a population of 4,942. Coco is in Salinas Municipio. Living in Coco offers residents a rural feel and most residents own their homes.

What is Puerto Rican for lazy? ›

Flojo/a. Flojo/a is quite informal, but in many Spanish-speaking countries, it's probably the word you'll hear the most for “lazy” in Spanish. The word floja is widely used in both Latin America and Spain, and all Spanish speakers will understand it.

What are Puerto Rican gangsters called? ›

The Ñetas' rivals vary throughout territories. These rival gangs include the United Blood Nation, Crips, 20 Luv, Dominican Power, Dominicans Don't Play, MS-13, Los Solidos, Grupo 27 and Latin Kings.

What to say to a Spanish girl to turn her on? ›

10 Spanish pick up phrases
  • Eres lindo/linda. You are cute.
  • Tienes una sonrisa hermosa. You have a beautiful smile.
  • Tienes unos ojos preciosos. You have beautiful eyes.
  • ¿Te invito una copa? Would you like a drink?
  • ¿Quieres cenar juntos esta noche? ...
  • ¿Vamos afuera? ...
  • Eres muy atractivo/atractiva. ...
  • He estado pensando en ti.

How do Puerto Ricans say you're beautiful? ›

1. Bonito/a. In English, this word translates to “beautiful,” “pretty,” or “lovely.” Bonito/a is widely used in Spanish-speaking countries, and it's generally a loving word. ¡Qué bonito eres!

How do you say pretty girl in Puerto Rican? ›

Say “hermosa mujer.” This means “beautiful woman” in Spanish. To say “beautiful girl,” you would say "niña hermosa."

What does Yayo mean in Puerto Rico? ›

Yayo, as in Chichi, get the yayo!, is Spanish slang for cocaine. It's also spelled llello or yeyo.

What does Ki Mi mean? ›

Meaning:upright, righteous.

What is the meaning of Chingale? ›

noun. boar [noun] a male pig (especially the wild variety)

What does Pipo mean in Puerto Rico? ›

Slang. ¡pipo! [ interj] DO:N. goddamnit!

What is Bicho Papao? ›

noun. bogeyman [noun] an imaginary evil creature that is used to frighten children, especially in stories.

What does Lelo mean in Puerto Rico? ›

idiot, the ~ Noun. numbskull, the ~ Noun. blockhead, the ~ Noun. oaf, the ~ Noun.

How do you say wtf in Spanish slang? ›

  1. vulgar. ¿Qué carajos..? [LAm.] [vulg.] [ex.] WTF.
  2. 2. " what the fuck", vulgar. ¡Qué demonios..! [slg.] [ex.] WTF.
  3. 3. " what the fuck", slang. volume_up ¿Qué coño…? [vulg.] [ex.] WTF.

What does Dimelo Mami mean? ›

dímelo, mami. 1. ( colloquial) (informal) (used to address one's mother; imperative; second person singular) tell me, Mommy (colloquial) (United States)

How do you say daddy in Puerto Rico? ›

There are regional differences in the use of the Spanish word for dad. Some countries use other words than "padre" to refer to their fathers. In some Latin American countries, such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, the word papá (IPA: /paˈpa/) is more commonly used than "padre".

What is dirty girl in Spanish slang? ›

Meanings of "dirty woman" in Spanish English Dictionary : 5 result(s)
1Generalchancha [f] LA
2Colloquialmarrana [f]
3Colloquiallechona [f]
5 more rows

How do you call a pretty girl? ›

Words Related To good-looking woman
  1. bathing beauty.
  2. beauty queen.
  3. cover girl.
  4. cutie.
  5. cutie-pie.
  6. doll.
  7. dollface.
  8. fox.

How do you say cool in Puerto Rico? ›

Chévere (Puerto Rico) In Puerto Rico you'll hear chévere. You'll hear this word from the Caribbean all the way through Central America, and in Venezuela. If you remember one word for cool in Spanish, maybe it should be chévere.

How do Puerto Ricans say love? ›

The two most popular are, “Te Amo” and “Te Quiero.”

What is the Puerto Rican slogan? ›

Answer and Explanation: Puerto Rico's motto, Joannes est nomen eius, is Latin for 'John is his name. ' This motto is a reference to St. John the Baptist in the Bible.

What is the motto of Puerto Rico? ›

Joannes est nomen ejus

What do Puerto Ricans say to greet each other? ›

This is more common and polite than “Hola”. After 12:00pm, you can say Buenas Tardes (BWEY nahs TAR days), and in the evening, say Buenas Noches (BWEY nahs NO chays).

How do you say cheers in Puerto Rico? ›

The most common way to say “Cheers in Spanish, which is one of many Romance languages, is salud.

What does Bobo mean in Puerto Rico? ›

Quick Reference. Juan Bobo is a comical Puerto Rican folk hero. In Spanish, bobo means “foolish” or “simple”; tales of Juan Bobo typically depict a well-meaning but empty- headed country boy who ...

How do you greet a Puerto Rican? ›

Etiquette & Manners in Puerto Rico
  1. A handshake, with direct eye contact and a welcoming smile is standard.
  2. Maintaining eye contact is crucial as it indicates interest.
  3. When shaking hands, use the appropriate greeting for the time of day - "buenos dias", "buenas noches", or "buenas tardes".

What is Puerto Rico's nickname? ›

Puerto Rico's nickname, Island of Enchantment, is a fitting sobriquet. Sandy beaches, palm trees, and tropical breezes make it a favorite getaway for the sun and surf crowd.

What is Puerto Rico's animal? ›

The coqui frog is the unofficial national animal of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico does not have an official national animal, but the common coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui) is an important cultural symbol and an unofficial national animal. There are 17 species of coqui, and 14 are endemic to Puerto Rico.

How do Puerto Ricans say beautiful? ›

1. Bonito/a. In English, this word translates to “beautiful,” “pretty,” or “lovely.” Bonito/a is widely used in Spanish-speaking countries, and it's generally a loving word. ¡Qué bonito eres!

What is bye in Puerto Rico? ›

Bye, ¡nos vemos! Adiós, ya me voy. Chao, nos vemos el martes. Te veo, ¡cuídate!

How do Puerto Ricans say goodnight? ›

“Goodnight” in Spanish is simple: buenas noches. Buenas is the feminine form of the adjective bueno, which means “good”.

What does pa arriba pa abajo mean? ›

Similar to the French toast, this Spanish “Cheers” wishes “good health to everyone!”. A longer toast is commonly used in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries: “Pa' arriba, pa' abajo, pa' centro, pa' dentro”. “Put your glass up, put your glass down, glasses to the center, now drink!” By the way, take care.

How do Puerto Ricans say thank you? ›

How to say thank you in Spanish
Thank you very muchMuchísimas graciasMoo-chee-see-mas grassy-as
Thanks againGracias de nuevoGrassy-as day noo-ay-vo
No thank youNo, graciasNo grassy-ass
32 more rows
Mar 24, 2022


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