[#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! 🙂


[#013] Re panchos

A couple of weeks ago, a new friend of mine visited Luján (a small city in the province of Buenos Aires) and took a picture of a fast-food restaurant with an interesting name. Have a look at the photo and pay attention to the sign of the shop.

Re pancho

Any idea of what the meaning behind “RE PANCHOS” could be? If you’ve been reading the previous entries of this blog, you’ll probably remember we’ve already discussed the use of “re“. Now, “pancho” might be a new word to you. We’ll start by saying that it means “hot-dog”. You might have guessed that from the picture, though. But what do these two words mean combined?

If you don’t know/remember the meaning of “re“, you can check it out here, but in a nutshell, we can translate this tiny word as “very” or “really”. It is normally used before adjectives and it works as an intensifier. However, it can also modify nouns and in such cases we cannot, of course, translate it simply as “very”. After all, what would a “very hot-dog” mean, right?

When this particle “re” modifies a noun, it turns the noun into a superlative form. It conveys the idea of a highest/lowest degree or the best/worst quality of something.

    Una re depresión
    The worst depression ever

    Una re fiesta
    The best party ever

    Re panchos
    The best hot-dogs ever

The interesting thing about this use of “re + noun” is that the process of construction of meaning can get very creative. These panchos could be re panchos for several different reasons. Maybe they are super tasty, or maybe they are super large, or maybe you can add lots of different toppings to them. Similarly, if you tell someone that you just got a new job, but not just any ordinary job, sino un re trabajo, that could be a very well-paid job, or maybe a job that requires very little effort or time, or maybe a job that implies doing something special to which not many people have access (like interviewing celebrities or something of the sort). The actual specific meaning will always depend on the context.

  • “Best hot-dogs ever”, then. Is that all?

I’m afraid not. There is more to discuss here, as the word “pancho” can have other meanings, too. In castellano rioplatense, we can also use this word in informal contexts to describe people or animals. Someone described as “pancho” can be “calm”, “relaxed” or even “lazy”; someone who enjoys lying around and doing nothing.

    Estoy re pancho, mirando una peli en la cama.
    I’m very relaxed, watching a movie in bed.

    ¿Tu gato duerme todo el día? ¡Qué pancho!
    Your cat sleeps all day? He’s such a lazybones!

It can also be used to describe someone who doesn’t easily get annoyed or bothered, someone who never gets worried or doesn’t care much about things. So if you know people who never lose their temper, they could be good examples of “panchos“.

    Juan es un pancho. Aunque lo insultes, no te va a responder.
    Juan never loses his temper. Even if you insult him, he won’t answer back.

Another possible use of the word “pancho” is to refer to people who are not very smart or who are so innocent that they can’t read between the lines.

    Es re pancho, no se da cuenta de que querés dejarlo.
    He’s so dumb, he doesn’t realize you want to break up with him.

And last (I promise!) but not least, “Pancho” is also a very common nickname for the name “Francisco” and, well, for lazy pets, too! I once met a dog named Pancha, who (needless to say) was sleeping all the time!

Anyway, as you can see, there are lots of meanings attached to this word. Can you imagine Pancho re pancho comiendo panchos? But going back to the beginning, what do you think the name of the hot-dog place means then? I guess the most evident meaning in this case would be “best hot-dogs ever”, but at the same time it seems to be a good strategy to add this idea of going to this place to chill out and relax while eating something. Just forget about your problems and enjoy your hot-dogs!

Let’s see if you can now spot all these different meanings we’ve discussed in the following set of pictures. I know you can! 😉

[#008] Requetecontra

Today we’ll focus on a very short word. It has only two letters, but it has a very powerful effect. Without further ado, let me introduce you to our guest today:


Re” is a very commonly used word in Rioplatense Spanish, especially among teenagers and young adults. Some people may say it’s not actually a word on its own, but only a prefix that can be added to other words. We are not going to go into that debate here, and we’ll just treat it as a separate word.

Re” means simply “very” or “really”. It’s basically used in informal contexts as an intensifier. Here are some examples:

    Tu amigo es re gracioso.
    Your friend is very funny.

    Esa peli es re interesante.
    That movie is really interesting.

    El libro que me regalaste está re bueno.
    The book that you gave me is very good.

    Es re común usar “re” acá.
    It’s very common to use “re” here.

At first glance, the structure looks very simple: re + adjective. But that’s not all. The word “re” can also be used to modify adverbs and even some prepositional phrases.

    Vino re re rápido.
    He came really really fast.

    Lo reparó re fácilmente.
    He fixed it very easily.

    Viajo re seguido.
    I travel very often.

    Vino re de lejos.
    He came from really far away.

    Está re de moda.
    It’s really fashionable.

    Estamos re a favor.
    We are totally in favour.

Oh, well. I guess things can always get a bit more complicated, right? Because that’s not all either. It’s also possible to use the word “re” with verbs and nouns.

    Me re gusta esta canción.
    I really like this song.

    Te re esperé, boludo, y nunca apareciste.
    I waited for you a lot, dude, and you never showed up.

    Está re lloviendo.
    It’s raining heavily.

    Ayer dormí una re siesta.
    Yesterday I took a very long nap.

    Tengo unas re ganas de tomar un helado.
    I really want to have an ice-cream.

    Conseguí un re trabajo, por suerte.
    I got a really good job, luckily.

As you can see, in the previous examples the word “re” still works as an intensifier, but in some cases it can also convey some other meaning that we can recover from the context; not just “very”. When we say “una re siesta“, we are probably talking specifically about its length. Or if we say “une re crisis“, we are most likely referring to how bad it was. We can then say the following:

    Una re siesta = una siesta muy larga
    A very long nap

    Una re crisis = una crisis muy profunda
    A very deep crisis

    Un re accidente = un accidente muy trágico
    A very tragic accident

    Un re sueldo = un sueldo muy alto
    A very high salary

Of course we can also say all these sentences in other ways, without using “re“. Naturally, we can also use words such as “muy“, “mucho“, “realmente“, “un montón“, etc., which can all be considered intensifiers. But “re” is definitely heard in informal contexts quite frequently, especially among young people.

Personally, I suggest being careful with the use of “re“. As you can see, it can be used in lots of different situations and structures, but that doesn’t mean that it can be used all the time. In some cases, the structure may look fine, but the meaning conveyed might not make the sentence acceptable, such as “re mañana” (“very tomorrow” [?]), “un satélite re natural” (“a very natural satellite [?]), or “tomó re té” (“he drank very tea” [?]). Explaining the reasons why these specific examples may sound weird (while the previous ones do not) would require getting more technical, which is not the aim of this blog. So we’ll just recommend using “re” in those cases where you’ve heard it or read it before, so you can be sure it’ll sound fine.

And to finish this post, I’ll share with you a comic strip where the author seems to be making fun of the way teenagers speak in the River Plate area (overusing “re“), their apparently contradictory nature and how difficult it seems to be to understand them.

Gaturro Gateen

  • But hey, why is this entry called “Requetecontra“?

Oh, well, that’s just because we Argentines can always… “overexaggerate” things. So we don’t only say “re lindo” for “very nice”, but also “requete lindo” or “recontra lindo“… Or even “requetecontra lindo” (“very very nice”)!

And that’s all, I promise! Hmm… Oh, well, who am I cheating? We could even say something like “requetecontrísimamente lindo” (“really really really nice”).

As you can see, there’s always room for more! 😉