[#016] ¡Hijo de re mil P*7@!

To many people studying a foreign language, learning typical insults and swear words is one of the first, fun things to do. We’ve already seen some common insults in Rioplatense Spanish, like boludo and pelotudo, but there’s an interesting video which will help us learn lots of other words, too.

In this video you will see a rioplatófona recording a message for her boyfriend. Here it goes:

Did you understand the message? I’ll add a transcription below, but let’s go over it quickly anyway. One thing is obvious: this girl is really mad (or muy caliente) at her boyfriend… Apparently he left her a note on a napkin saying he wants to take some time for himself and put off the wedding. Lovely, right? This is why she loses her temper and shouts several insults at him by the end of the video. Have a look at the transcription and we’ll focus on the swear words afterwards:

    Hola, mi nombre es Rocío Linares, para los que no me conocen. Hoy a la mañana me levanté y encontré esto:

    Buen día, hermosa:
    Para cuando leas esta carta, ya no voy a estar aquí. Sabemos que los últimos días no fueron lo mejor de nuestra relación. Después de lo que pasó el otro día en la quinta llegué a la conclusión que no quiero ser como todos los demás. Aunque sé que faltan 2 meses para el gran evento, le pido disculpas a tu viejo. Sé que está todo pago, pero bueh… Necesito tomarme unos días/semanas. Si realmente creés en el amor que hay entre nosotros, te pido, por favor, que respetes este tiempo. Esta decisión es por el bien de los dos. No me llames, no voy a atender.
    PD: Me dejé unas cosas. ¿Me las guardás? Va a pasar a buscarlas Fito. Te amo, cucaracha.

    ¡Hijo de puta!
    Esto no es una carta, Matías. Esto es una servilleta de papel.
    ¿De qué quinta me estás hablando? Yo no fui a ninguna quinta, Matías. ¿Qué quinta? No te entiendo.
    Vos, para mí, sos exactamente igual al resto de los hombres que conozco. Unos cagones, hijos de puta, abandónicos. Usan, usan y tiran. Eso es lo peor, Matías Galetto.
    El gran evento, te voy avisando una cosa, Mati, es nuestro casamiento.
    Pero bueh, o sea, yo levanto el teléfono, pero bueh, y le digo a la gente, se canceló el casamiento, pero bueh, ahora me meto todo el casamiento en el culo, pero bueh.
    ¿De qué amor me estás hablando, Matías, si lo único que hay es abandono acá? Vos me estás dejando con una servilleta, Matías.
    Matu, Matías Galetto, con doble T de trava hijo de puta, garca de mierda, chanta, mentiroso, forro. Me estás usando con esto. ¿Cómo me vas a dejar una servilleta? Hijo de puta, ¿qué te pasa? ¿No te sube oxígeno a la poronga? ¿No podés pensar? ¿Qué tenés, mierda, en la cabeza? Hijo de re mil puta. Matías, tenés un día para explicarme qué mierda es esta servilleta que me dejaste. Ya, como quieras. Mandame un mensaje, señales de humo, una paloma mensajera, lo que se te cante el ojete, pero me explicás qué es esto. Y al final mi viejo tenía razón: sos un pelotudo.


The first one is easy: “hijo de puta” means simply “son of a bitch”. This is of course a very common insult. The girl in the video also uses a more emphatic version near the end, though. She says “hijo de re mil puta“. We have already talked about the use of “re” as an intensifier, and now you can see that we can also add “mil” (“thousand”) in some cases too. So this wouldn’t be just any son of a bitch, but the worst son of the worst bitch ever.

Cagones” means “cowards”. The word “cagón“/”cagona” comes from the verb “cagar” (“to shit”), so here we’re literally saying “someone who shits (their pants as a result of being scared)”.

Garca de mierda” brings up a new word, “garca“, which in fact isn’t that new. It comes right from the verb “cagar”, but you just swap the syllables. Changing the order of the syllables is a common thing in lunfardo, the typical slang of español rioplatense. Anyway, “cagar a alguien” (“to shit on someone”) means to screw them over, to do something bad to them. So that’s what someone described as “garca” does. In this case, Matías is clearly being a “garca” towards Rocío.

Trava” is a word usually used in a pejorative way to describe a man who dresses as a woman.

Then, Rocío says “chanta, mentiroso, forro“. These three words are somewhat related. In fact, a “chanta” in the River Plate area is someone who lies all the time, i.e. un mentiroso. And someone referred to as “forro” is simply an “asshole” or a “jerk”. The word “forro” actually means “protective cover” in a general sense and, more specifically, “condom”.

No te sube oxígeno a la poronga” would be something like “your poronga is not getting any oxygen” (“poronga” being slang for “penis”). This would be another version of the less vulgar expression “no te sube oxígeno a la cabeza“, meaning you can’t think/you can’t use your brain.

Lo que se te cante el ojete” means “whatever you feel like doing”, but in a more vulgar way. The word “ojete” means “ass”, so this is basically “what your ass decides (sings) to do”.

And finally, “sos un pelotudo“. But you already know that one.

The only thing left to say is that (fortunately?) this video isn’t real. It’s just the first video of a YouTube series, so they are just acting. You can go and check out how the story continues. Just be careful. You are likely to get bombarded with plenty of Rioplatense slang! 🙂


[#007] ¡Qué boluda!

In the previous entry, we discussed the word “boludo“, its meaning and possible connotations.

Today, I want to share with you a couple of videos where this word is used. These videos belong in fact to a campaign made by the Argentine Red Cross in 2008. The slogan for this campagin was the following:

Campaña Cruz Roja

Can you understand the meaning of this phrase? The words “BOLUDO” and “BOLUDEZ” are used in two different senses here. If we translate this into English, it will probably be difficult to keep the pun between the words. But for this blog entry we just need to understand the meaning of the text, so this could be a literal translation of the slogan:

    In the country where we all call one another SILLY/STUPID, helping had to be EASY.

As you can see, the idea behind this slogan is to encourage people to do something that is considered very easy: make a small donation. If this is a “boludez“, it’s something everyone can do. And if we all call one another “boludo“, you can’t help but feel identified with this campaign.

Here is the first video I want to share. You will see an elderly woman (China Zorrilla, a famous Uruguayan actress) talking about the Red Cross campaign and also about the word “boludo“.

Here is a transcription of the video, plus an approximate translation of what the woman says:

Enviá un mensaje con la palabra AYUDA al 2789.
Send a message with the word HELP to the number 2789.

Donás $1 y salvás una vida.
You donate 1 peso and you save a life.

Eso me encantó. Hasta que lo di vuelta.
I loved that. Until I turned it over.

Y mirá con lo que me encuentro.
And look what I find.

“En el país donde todos nos decimos BOLUDO…”
“In the country where we all call one another BOLUDO…”

¿Pero qué es eso?
But what is that?

No todos nos decimos “boludo”.
Not all of us call one another “boludo”.

Yo no le digo “boludo” a la gente. La gente no me dice “boluda” a mí.
I don’t call other people “boludo”. Nobody calls me “boluda”.

¡Mirá lo que fueron a colocar!
Look at what they wrote!

No, yo el aviso no lo puedo hacer porque yo no digo “boluda”.
No, I can’t do this ad because I don’t say “boluda”.

Ay, me quiero morir. ¡Me quiero morir! Me puse la pollera al revés.
Oh, I want to die. I want to die! I’m wearing my skirt inside out.

¡Qué boluda!
How silly of me!

As you can see, this woman seems to consider this word offensive or vulgar. That’s why she makes it very clear that she doesn’t use this word, and she says that she refuses to do the ad for the campaign. But in the end, to her surprise, she finds herself actually using the word when she realizes she did something silly. She then calls herself “boluda“.

In the second video, in contrast, you will see a man (Mario Pergollini, a well-known TV presenter from Argentina) who has no problem in using this word. Here it is:

I’ll transcribe only the first part:

Hola, boludo. ¡Sí, a vos!
Hi, boludo. Yes, you!

Si los argentinos nos decimos siempre “boludo”.
(‘Cause) we Argentines always call one another “boludo”.

No lo digo yo, eh. Lo decimos todos.
I’m not the (only) one saying it, eh. We all do.

¿Quién es? Araceli
Who is it? Araceli

¡Subí, boludo!
Come on up, dumbass!

Ay, la blusa… ¡Qué, boluda!
Oh, my blouse… How stupid of me!

I hope these videos give you a better idea of the different ways in which this word can be used in different contexts. There are some other videos of this campaign, too. So feel free to look for them on Youtube if you want to.

But don’t worry too much. This word will keep appearing in future entries anyway, so you will be seeing more boludos and more boludeces here soon! There’s no way you won’t end up using it just like a true rioplatófono. 😉

[#006] ¡No digas boludeces, boludo!

Last year, Juan Gelman (Argentine poet, winner of the Cervantes Prize in 2007) was asked to choose one word that would identify and represent all of Argentina. Only one word. He chose “boludo“.

Boludo” is a relatively recent word that started to spread really quickly in the River Plate area. In fact, it is one of the first words you’ll learn here, and since you can hear it everywhere, it is definitely very useful to know its meaning.

It is so much used nowadays, that it has actually become a hallmark of the Rioplatense Spanish variety. It is not used by other Spanish speakers, unless of course they are referring to (or making fun of) us, rioplatófonos.

Here is a picture that I took in the city of Montréal, at the amusement park La Ronde.


The moment I saw this word written on this post, I knew I wasn’t probably the first rioplatófono to visit the park.

  • So what does “boludo” mean?

The word “boludo” comes form the noun “bola” (“ball”) and it simply means “someone with big balls”. But that’s the literal meaning. In reality, when rioplatófonos use this word, we are not (normally?) talking about the size of our testicles. “Boludo” means simply “idiot” or “fool”. Therefore, you don’t need to be a man to be a boludo. Boludas, or silly women, also exist.

It started out as an insult, yes. And a very bad one indeed. If you had received a good education at home, you were not supposed to use such a terrible swear word… Except everybody started using it. It spread really quickly. And the more it was used, the less strong it started to sound. So much so that, for some situations, it eventually lost all its negative connotation. So instead of using this word to refer to a stupid person, all of a sudden it became possible to use this word to refer to just… a person. Yes, the word “boludo” can now also be translated as “buddy” or “mate”.

It can still be used as an insult, though. So you have to pay attention to its context in order to understand its meaning. Do the people using this word know each other? Are they close? What has happened? Are they angry at each other? Knowing this kind of information will clarify the meaning. Here are some examples of the possible ways in which this word can be understood:

¿Qué hacés, boludo? (What’s up, buddy?)
¡No seas boludo, che! (Don’t be silly, man!)
¡Qué boludo que sos! (You’re such an idiot!)
¡Qué boludo que sos, boludo! (You’re so silly, dude!)

Mind you, sometimes it’s all about intonation. The same phrase can imply either a neutral or a negative attitude, depending on the way it is said.

  • Are there other words related to “boludo“?

Of course! We have, for example, the verb “boludear“, which has two meanings. When it’s used on its own (just “boludear“), it means to waste time, to do nothing really important, to mess around. However, when it’s used in the structure “boludear a alguien (someone)”, it means to tell lies to someone in order to deceive them or hide something from them.

—¿Qué andás haciendo, Juan? (What are you doing, Juan?)
—Nada, acá ando, boludeando (Nothing, just here, messing around)
—Dale, no me boludees (Come on, don’t lie to me)

Another related word is the noun “boludez“. It can be translated as “nonsense” or “rubbish”, or it can also refer to something that is very easy to do or solve (or well, something so simple that even a boludo could do it!)

—Todavía tengo que escribir el ensayo (I still have to write the essay)
—Es una boludez, ¡yo ya lo hice! (It’s very easy, I’ve already done it!)
—¡No digas boludeces! Hay que escribir un montón (That’s nonsense! There’s a lot to write about)
—Calmate, boludo, y tomate un mate. ¡Yo te ayudo! (Calm down, dude, and have a mate. I’ll help you out!)

Calm down, boludo

After reading the previous examples, I guess you can now easily understand the title of this entry: “¡No digas boludeces, boludo!“. “Decir boludeces” means to talk nonsense, to say stupid things.

Alright, I guess that’s enough for today. We’ve seen the words “boludo“, “boludear” and “boludez“. Next time I’ll probably share a video with you, so you can listen to these expressions and try to spot the different meanings.

Start practising them! 😉