The Newest Costa Rican Expressions

A to H


a grito pelado – shouting
a la par – next to. Al lado de or contiguo are synonyms.
a pata – to travel by foot or walk
acelerado – a drunk, even a belligerent drunk.
achantado – from the verb achantarse it means to be sad, lazy or disilusioned
achará/acharita- a pitty
acois – means “like this or like that.”
afanado – a word meaning pretty or cute. Lindo, bonito or bello are synonyms
agachado – a lazy person who ducks responsability.
acuantacito– means a little while ago
agarrado (adj.) – a cheapskate
agarrar cancha – to abuse or take advantage of someone
aguadulce – a Costa Rican drink made of hot water and brown sugar
aguacatazo – a strike or blow to the body
agüevarse – bored or sad
aguila – literally means an eagle but in Costa Rica iis slang for an Imperial beer. Ponerse aguila means to be alert.
aguachinarse – is a verb used mostly in the Guanacaste region that means to spoil a harvest due to an excess of rain or to get a foot fungus.
aguado – boring or a kill joy
alambrina – steel wool. Lana de acero is the correct word.
Alajuelense – a person from the city of Alajuela. Manudo is a synonym.
ahorcarse – to hang yourself or to get married.
amanecer – this verb literally means to wake up in the morning. However, in Costa Rica it is used to ask the question, How did you sleep? or ¿Cómo amanecío?
agringarse – a verb that means to adopt the customs or behavior of a gringo or North American.
ajiaco, asiaco or ayaco – are synonyms that refer to a dish made with pork or plantains.
almanaque – is a type of calendar
amarrar el perro – to not pay a debt
apearse – to get down off something
aplanchar la oreja – to sleep
apretar – is a verb that means to kiss in Costa Rica. Besar is the correct Spanish verb to kiss.
aprete –is a kiss
apuntarse – to accompany someone or participate in an activity.
argolla – a clic or group of people
armarse la gorda – to cause an aproar or fight
arrojar – to vomit. Ranchar and “Llamar a Hugo” are also used here.
arroz con leche – is one of Costa Rica’s most popular desserts made of rice, milk, condensed milk and cinammon. It resembles rice pudding.
atollar –to hit or strike someone


baboso – an idiot
Bagaces – a lazy person or laziness
baldazo – a downpour or rainstorm
balde – literally a bucket or bucket of bottles of beer served in a bar
bases – feet
bandido – literally menas ‘bandit” but is usually someone who is clever or sly
bañazo – embarassment or shame
bate – a man or a penis
bateador – person who guesess without being certain
batear – means to bat as in baseball. In Costa Rica it means to guess or bull-shit.
bicho – literally an insect but in Costa Rica it can refer to an smart person
birra – the Costa Rican slang word for beer
birrear – to drink beer
blanco – a cigarette
bocas – Costa Rican horderves
bochinche – a fight
bodega – literally a warehouse but in Costa Rica a type of large closet to store things
bomba – literally means a ‘bomb’ but also can mean gas station, a pump or a type of Costa Rican rhyme
bombeta – a conceited person
boñiga – Costa Rica word for manure
bostezo – a boring person
bote, tarro or tavo – slang words for jail
bretear – to work
brete – work or job
pasar la brocha – to stroke someone or figuratively kiss their ass to make a good impression
brumoso – a fan of Cartago’s soccer team
buseta – a type of van or bus
la burra – lunch one takes to work


caballos or rucos – pants
cabanga – sadness
cabecera – literally means the headboard of a bed but can be a pillow
cabra – girlfriend
cabrón – vulgar way of saying a man
cacho – an animal’s horn, shoes or chaeating on one’s girlfriend
cacique – a nacional licquor made from sugarcane
cagadera – vulgar word for diarrea
caite – an old short or ugly person
cajeta – a dessert or something that is easy to do “piece of cake”
cajón – coffin
calabaza, calabaza cada uno para so casa – to go home
cambiarle el agua al pajarito – to urinate
camote –sweet potato or crazy person
cancha – experience
canalla – a group of friends from the neighborhood
le canta la gallina – the woman wears the pants or is the boss
cantaleta – nagging
cantón – a political unit like a country
cañas – slang for colones Costa Rica’s monetary unit
andar de capa caída or con el moco caído – to be sad
carajada or chunche – a thing or object
carajillo – a child
el carajo – used to refer to a person without mentioning his or her name
carambola – starfruit
carbonero – a person who incites others to fight
caribarro – a shameless person
caripicha – a very vulgar word which means “dick head”
carne molida – a destructive person
en el carro de Fernando – on foot
Cartucho – a nickname for the city of Cartago
cas – a fruit used to make a beverage
casado – a typical dish with rice, beans, meat and other ingedients
cáscara – shameless
cerote – vulgar word that means excrement or a bad person
ceviche – a popular seafood dish made with raw fish marinated in lemon juice
cleta or bici – a bicycle
coco – bald
el “coco” – the devil
cochino – a filthy or self-centered person
coger – usually means to catch or grab but can also mean to have sex
colado or paracaidista – a party crasher
cole – high school
colgar los tennis – to die
colocho – curly hair
colón – the monetary unit of Costa Rica
como las vacas – to not understand anything
compa – a good male friend
compañebrio – drinking
con toda la pata – happy or in good health
concho – a gross person with bad manners
correrse las tejas – to go crazy
ni costra – nothing
cuadrar – used like the verb gustar (to like). le “cuadra”: le gusta.
culazo –a beautiful woman.
culear – to have sex (vulgar)
culebra – literally means ‘snake’ but is used jokingly to refer to one’s girlfriend or wife
culebrón – is a Spanish soap opera
culo de tres nalgas – a conceited woman


chaineado – well-dressed or polished
chambón – clumsy
chan – a seed that is used to make frescos (a natural beverages)
chancecito – give me a chance or a minute
chanchos – means pigs but is used to refer to a woman’s butt
chante – a house
chao – good-by
chapa – a dumb and usless person
chapear – to cut grass or weeds
chapulín – means grasshopper or tractor but can also be a juvenile delinquent
ah charita! – What a pitty!
chavalo – a young man
chayote – a type of vegetable or someone’s head
chema – a shirt
Chepe – slang for the city of San José, Costa Rica
chepe or chepa – means a busybody or nosey person
chiverre – a big pot belly
chicha – a liquor made from corn or anger
chicharrón – pig skin fried in fat
chichí – a child
tome chichí – expresión that roughly means, “You see!”
chile dulce – bell pepper
al chile -really
chimichurri – a fresh salsa made with tomato, cilantro and onion. In Mexico it is called “pico de gallo”
chinamo – a fruit or vegetable stand on a street
chineado/a – a person who likes a lot of attention or to be pampered
chinear – to spoil or pamper
chinga – a cigarette butt
chingar – to bother someone
chingo – nude
chingue – something that is fun.
chiquero – a filthy place
chiquillo/a – a child or endearing term when referring to a boyfriend or girlfriend
chiquito – a child
chiringue – something that is fun
chirola – jail
chiva, chivísima – something that is great or fantastic
chiverre – a fruit that is used to staff empanadas
ponerse chiva – to get angry
chiva – a slang word that means ‘cool’. ¡Qué chiva! How cool!
chivo – a man who lives off women
chompipe –a turkey but can also mean a large cement mixer
choricero – a person who engages in illegal businesses
chorpa – jail
choza – slang for house
chunche – any thing or object
chuzo – a car


¡déle! – Hurry up! or to hit someone
dar en el clavo – to hit the nail on the head
dar lata – to bother someone
darse una matada – to work hard or sacrifice oneself
despichar/despicharse – to mess up, spoil something or to have an accident
despiche – a mess
detrás del palo – someone who is “out of it” or “off track.”
¿diay? – What? or Hey?
dicha – fortunately ¡qué dicha! means How lucky!
diez con hueco – deceit
dolor de huevos – a person who is a painin the butt (vulgar)
dos aplausos con natilla – two tortillas with sour cream


echar el cuento – to try and seduce a woman
echar un ojo – to watch or take care of something
embarrialarse – to get covered with mud
enaguas – Costa Rican word for skirt
enchilarse – to feel the effects from eating a spicy food
enjachar – to stare at someone or slander
espeso – troublesome
estampa – a carbon copy of someone
estaca – a cheapskate
estañón sin fondo – a big apetite or bottomless pit
estirar la pata – to die
estrilar – to bother someone
estripar – to pressure someone
estuche – a football stadium


fachento – a sloppy dresser
faja – a belt
feria – what vendors or merchants give to their clients for free
fiado – to buy on crédito
fiador – a person who is responsable for a loan
fiebre – someone who has great passion for something like sports
fijate – imagine or listen to what I am going to say
filo – hunger
finca – a farm
florense – a person from the province of Heredia
fogón – a wood-buring stove
fondillo – someone’s butt
formaleta – wood frames for pouring cement
forro – a cheat sheet used to cheat on a test
fregar – to bother or annoy
fresa – a rich kid
fresco – a homemade type of fruit juice
fritear – to fry
frito – “screwed” or to have no chance
furris – something that isn’t very good


gacho – difficult
galleta – an intelligent person or “smart as a cookie.”
gallina – a chicken or scaredicat
gallo, gallito – any food inside of a tortilla like a taco
gallo pinto – a breakfast dish made of rice, beans, cilantro and Lizano sauce
gancho – in business terms a ‘hook” or “gimmick”
garrote – a big stick
gato – a person with green or blue eyes
gato por liebre – to gyp someome
goma – a hangover
gorrear – to hit someone on the head
guachimán – watchman or guard
los guachos or las guayabas – slang for one’s eyes
guacho – a wrist watch
guamazo – a strong blow or hit
guata – water
guatearse – to bathe
guato – a dog or a guy who pick up women
guachar – to watch or take care of
guaro – a nacional liquor made from sugar cane. All liquor can be referred to as “guaro.”
Guava – luck
güeiso/weiso/hueiso – all mean something that is ugly or bad
güevo or huevo – slang for money
guindar – to hang something
guineo – a male homosexual
tener güecho – a stupid or gullible person
güila – a child


hablar paja – to talk bullshit
hablar hasta por los codos – to talk continuously
hacerse bolas – to get confused
hacerse el maje – to play dumb
harina- literally means flour but is “money” in Costa Rica
hasta la coronilla/el copete – to be fed up with or tired of something
hasta el culo/hasta las tetas/hasta la picha – to be very drunk
hediondo – stinky
hembra – a woman or girfriend
la high – a member of the high class
hijo de papi/papá – rich kids
horchata – a drink made from ground rice, cinammon and sugar
hospi – hospital
hueiso – difficult
huele pedos – a kiss ass or brown noser
hueso – a person who looks at things without buying anything
huevo – money

I to Z


importar un comino/pepino – to not care about something
Imperial – Costa Rica’s most popular beer sometimes called “el águila”
ingenio – a place where sugar cane is turned into granulated sugar
ingrato – an ungrateful person
irse en blanco – empty-handed


jacha, pichel or tarro – a person’s face
jalar – to go or to go steady with someone
jalarse la torta – to make a big mistake or get pregnant
jaleas – to leave
jama or moncha – food
jaula – classroom or police car
jeta – mouth
jetas – to talk a lot or have a big mouth
jetón – a liar or to have a big mouth
jocote – a small green fruit with a pit inside. In slang the Costa Ricans call them “tecojos” which means “I screw you.”
joder – to bother someone
jodido: – a difficult situation or person who bothers a lot
Josefino – a person who lives in San José
juanvainas – a stupid person
jue – shot form of jue’pucha (son of a “b”)
¡jue’pucha! – Son of a “b”!
jugar de vivo – a wise ass or smart aleck
jugársela – to work things out or manage something on one’s own
juntarse – to live together without being married
juntado – means living together and practically married
juma – a drunkeness
jumas – to be drunk
jupa – head
jupón – a stubborn person


kinder – kindergarten


lance – a sexual conquest
largo – far away
lastre – gravel
lata – a bus
lavado – to have no money
lavarse la hendija – to bathe
lechero – a lucky person
legal – means something is good or cool
leñazo – a stong blow or hit
leva – jacket
Liberiano – a person from the city of Liberia
liga/liguista – a fan of Alajuela’s soccer team
ligar – to pick up a girl
limpio – without money or broke
lipidia – broke
litrógeno – a liter of Cacique (local liquor)
lora – a woman who talks a lot
los vidrios – good-by
de luna – to be in a bad mood


llamar a Hugo or ranchar – to vomit
llevarla suave – to take it easy


macho, machito – a person with blonde hair and white skin
mae/maje – pal, dude, freind or buddie. This expresión is used between young friends
majar – to crush or bruise
majada – an injury from a hard blow
majadero – person who bothers others a lot or who is a pain in the butt
malacrianza – rudeness or bad manners
maicero – a hick, person from the country or “country bumpkin.”
mal parido/malparido –means “poorly born” and is very insulting
mala pata – bad luck
maldoso – an evil person
mama – mother
mamar – to screw up on a test or anything else
mamaditas – stupid acts
mamitis – a child who is overly attached to his mother
mamón – someone who “hogs” the ball in a game of soccer
mamón chino – a type of fruit
manda huevo – means disbelief
mandarina – a jalopy or car in bad shape
manos de caca or carne molida – a person who “screws up” everything he or she touches
maña – someone’s bad habits
mañoso – sly or skillful
marcar – to engage in a type of courtship
maría – a taxi’s meter
marimacha – a lesbian
más tranquilo que un viernes santo – to be calm
matricidio – marriage
mata – any type of plant
mechudo – a person with long hair
media teja – fifty colones
medio 35 – a half-crazy person
mejenga – a type of informal soccer game or pickup game
mejenguear – to play in a pickup game of soccer
menear – to dance or shake the body
menudo – pocket change (coins)
meter la pata – to put your foot in your mouth
miado – bad luck (vulgar)
miar – to urinate.
mico – a woman’s vagina
millonada – millions of colones (Costa Rican currency)
misaca – a shirt
mocoso – child
mojar la sardina – to have sex (vulgar)
molote – a crowd of people
moncha – hunger
monchar – to eat
Moncho – slang word for the city of San Ramón
montado – someone who takes advantage of people
morado – a fan of the Saprissa soccer team
mosca – money
mosca/mosquita muerta – a hypocrite
mota – marijuana
moteado – to be stoned on pot
mover el piso – to get someone’s attention
mulona – a big woman
muca – a bicycle


natilla – sour cream
nave – a car
nerdo – nerd
ni papa – nothing
nica – a Nicaraguan
nota – a style or what a person is like
noviero – someone who has a lot of boyfriends or girlfriends


ñangazo – a strong blow or hit


ojo al Cristo – a warning
ojo de agua – a natural spring
olores – spices
olla de carne – a soup made of meat and vegetables


pa’l tigre – to feel bad
paco – slang for police
pachanga – a party
pacho – something funny
pachuco – a person with bad manners and without any social education
paja – B.S. or trivialities
palanca – pull (influence)
palmar – to die or kill someone
palo – a tree in Costa Rica
estar detrás del palo – to not understange anything or be “out of it.”
panga – a small boat
panocha – slang for a woman’s vagina
paño – a towel
paracaidista – a party crasher
pararse de uñas – scared or mad
parte – a traffic ticket
pasar la brocha – to stroke or kiss up to someone
patacón – fried slices of plantains
patear con las dos – to be bisexual
patear con la zurda – to be a homosexual
patear el balde – to “kick the bucket” or die
pejibaye – an orange fruit from a palm plant
pelada – a huge error
pelado/pelao – to be broke
pelarse – to cut off one’s hair
pelarse el culo – to make a big eror
¡pele el ojo! – Be careful!
pellejo – an ugly woman
pelo de gato – drizzle or light rain
pelón – a party
dar pelota – to pay attention to someone or play along with them
pendejo – a coward
pepa – the female sex organ
pepeado/a – to be in love
perico – cocaine
perol – a jalopy or old car
es la tapa del perol – the best of the best
perra – a sexually loose woman
perrear – to womanize
perro – a womanizer
picado – drunk or jealous
picaflor – a man that has a lot of women lovers
picha – the male sex organ (vulgar)
pichel – a pitcher for beer or a person’s face
pichota – an important person
pijiarse – to get high on marijuana
Pilsen – Costa Rica’s second most popular beer
pinche – a cheapskate
pinta – a strange person or criminal
pintarse de colores – to move fast
piolín – broke
pipa – an intelligent person or coconut
pirata – an illegal taxi
pisar – to have sex
plata – money
plátano – a plantain or a male homosexual
platero – a money-hungry person
platudo or papudo – a rich person
playo – homosexual (offensive)
polaco – a door-to-door salesman
polo – a “country bumpkin.”
ponerse las pilas – make an effort or to get with it
polada – a stupid act
polvo de gallo – a fast sex act
porfa – please
porteño – someone from the city of Puntarenas
poza – a swimming hole in a stretch of a river
la pulpe or pulpería – a small corner grocery store.
puño – a lot of something
¡pura vida! – an expresión of happiness or satisfaction


quemado – a business that is no longer popular


rabo – tail or someone’s butt
rajón – a bragger
ramonense – a person from the city of San Ramón
rata – a thief
ratón – literally means “rat” but can refer to the bicep muscle
raya – a line of cocaine
rayar – to pass another car on the highway
reguero – a big wet mess or puddle
repellar – when a man presses his body tightly against a woman like when dancing
repello – a coating of a plaster-like substance
un rico – a good looking man
una rica – a sexy and beautiful woman
roco – an old person
rojo, rojito – a red bill worth 1000 colones
rubia – slang for beer
ruco – a pair of pants or a horse
echar el ruco – to try and seduce a woman
rulear – to sleep


la sacó del estadio – to answer a question incorrectly
salado – unlucky
salonero/a – a waiter or waitress at a restaurant in Costa Rica
salveque – a backpack
samuelear – to be a “peeping Tom.”
sancochar – to boil or steam something with salt
sermonear – to lecture , sermon or scold someone
sobre – a bed
soda – a small popular restaurant
socado – tight
soplado – fast
sapo – a tattle tale or a woman’s vagina
sátiro –a dirty-old-man
La Sele – Costa Rica’s nacional all-star soccer team
¡soque! – Hurry up!
¡suave! – Hang on! Wait! or ¡Calm down!


tabo/tavo – jail.
taco – a taco you eat, a pool cue, an obstruction, tire tread or soccer cleats
tajo – a quarry in Costa Rica
tamaño poco – a lot of something
tanda – a drinking bindge or the schedule at a movie theater
tapis – drunk
tarro – face
tata – father
tatas – parents
teja – one hundred colones (Costa Rican money)
tennis – a woman’s breasts (vulgar)
tico/a – slang word for a Costa Rica
ticolandia – a nickname for Costa Rican
tigra – bored or lazy
timba – pot belly
Tiquicia – another name for Costa Rica like ticolandia
¡qué tirada¡ – What a pitty!
tiro – a short period of time
tombo – a traffic cop
tope – a horse parade
toque – an instant or short time
torre – a person’s head
torta – a big problem
tortillera – a lesbian (derogatory)
tostado – someone who is crazy or very high on marijuana
tráfico – a traffic cop
traido – one’s lover
tramo – a stall or stand in a market or on the street
traste – a plate or dish
tres leches – a type of cake made with three kinds of milk
troles – feet
trolear – to walk
tuanis – good, fantastic or marvelous
tuca – a person’s leg
tucán – a 5000 colón bill (Costa Rican currency)


la U – la universidad
Upaleño – a person from the canton of Upala on the border with Nicaragua
¡upe! – equivalent to saying, “Is there anyone home?” when you arrive at someone’s house


vacilar – to joke around with
vacilón – fun or funny
vaina – a thing
vainica – green beans
vara – a thing or object
varas – excuses
varilla – rebar used in construction
vaso de agua – a promiscuous woman
venado – a man who has been cheated on
verguear or pichasear – to hit someone (very vulgar)
vergueada – a beating
verla fea – to have problems or be in a jam
viejo verde – a dirty old man
vino – a person who is a gossip
vuelto – your change from making a purchase


weiso – difficult
wuata (güater – water
wuatear or güatear – to bathe


¿Y diay? – What happened?
yegua – a female horse or dumb person
yodo – literally means iodine but in Costa Rica it can mean “coffee”
yuca – a type of tuber


zacate – grass
zacatera – a beautiful woman
zaguate – a street dog, mutt or a promiscuous man
zancudo – a mosquito
zarpe – the “night cap” or last drink of the night
zinc – corrugated sheets of metal used for roofing homes
zorra – a smart or a promiscuous woman
zorro – a promiscuous male or womanizer