Spanglish Mini-Glossary


Not all terms below are in Spanglish. Some belong to regional variants, slang, etc. Since not all Spanglish words are always written, many appear as they are pronounced.

aiscrim – Ice cream. Helado
bipear – To call on a beeper/to beep. Llamar al bíper
bariman – Worker in a body shop
bregar* – Puerto Rican variant of Spanish: to work / Bregar, trabajar, laborar
bróder – Brother, “my man.” Hermano, socio, asere, pana, guey, cuate, carnal, etc.
carpetero – Carpet layer, installer. Alfombrista, que instala/pone alfombras
cortao – Well cut, muscular, with muscle definition. Musculoso, definido
do patios – To cut grass in yards. Euphemistically called “landscaping.” Trabajo de jardinería, de poda, de limpieza de patios/jardines/hierba/zacate
díler – Car dealer. Persona que vende vehículos en un concesionario
dropear – To drop (lines, a letter). Hacer, escribir (unas líneas)
efiche – Efficiency apartment. Tiny studio. Miniapartamento con todo junto: el baño, la cocina, el cuarto de dormir, el closet, todo en un solo salón
estato – Status. Estatus
faxear – To fax. Enviar facsímiles – o enviar por fax
ganga – Gang. Banda, grupo
grande – Big (from exercise). Ponerse/estar fornido, con volumen, por el ejercicio
gruero – From grúa (hoisting crane) in Spanish. It is also used to refer to the person that operates a – tow truck, the type used to pick up broken cars or vehicles that have been involved in an accident
hielo (el) – The US North, especially those states where it gets very cold
janguear – Hang out; be with. Andar con, hacer/pasar tiempo con
jompear, yompear – To jump start a vehicle (with jump cables) usually from another car, with cables de jompear
landear – To land, to obtain. Conseguir, obtener
mecharse – Cubanism that means to study hard (Burn the midnight oil). Estudiar con ahínco, quemarse las pestañas estudiando
mejunje/menjunje/merjunje (**) – Melting pot; mixture, mélange. Ajiaco, mezcolanza, mezcla
meter papeles – To fill out papers, applications, documents (usually used by Central America Spanish speakers)
migra – Immigration (offices, agents, etc.).
moverse – To move from a place to another, to travel. Transportarse, mudarse
pana – Derivation of partner: pal, friend, brother, homey. Also used outside the US
pincha /pinchar – Term used by Cubans for job, work, place of employment. El empleo, el trabajo, el lugar de trabajo (also curralo/curralar)/ to work
pompa – Gas station (from pump). Gasolinera, estación de gasolina
pompero – Gas station attendant. Empleado de la gasolinera
quitear – To quit. To stop doing something. Dejar, cesar de hacer algo
rep – Representative, associate, employee. Empleado, representante
rufero – Roofer. Person that lays or fixes roofs. Techero. Reparador de techos. (Note: In Cuban slang it also means bus driver or guagüero from rufa=guagua, Cuban terms for bus)
Sauesera (Sagüesera) – Miami Southwest, where Little Havana was. In the 90’s it was called Little Viet Nam and Cubans were not a majority there any more
suave (cogerlo ~) – Take (it) easy, relax. Tomar algo con calma. Relajarse.
tormoto – Perhaps from tow motor; forklift. Used by Cubans for montacargas
tranporteichon – From transportation, meaning an old car to go to work, to “move”
troquero/tróquer – Trucker. Camionero. Chofer de camión
uerkaut – Workout and to work out. El ejercicio/entrenamiento físico. Hacer ejercicios físicos
vestirse de oso – To dress like a bear. To wear (heavy) coats. Ponerse abrigo y ropa gruesa
yoni – From Johnie: American, usually Anglo. Americana/o (used by Cubans)
yunkero – Worker at a junk yard. Sometimes applied to those that pick up old cars to dump or sell as scrap. Trabajador de un deshuesadero o rastro
yarda – Yard, garden, lawn. Patio, jardín, césped

(*) Bregar no es, como algunos erróneamente creen, un arcaismo en español. Es un verbo con todas las de la ley, utilizado mucho por los puertorriqueños y que aparece aún registrado en el más reciente diccionario de la Academia Española.

from Spanglish: To Ser or Not to Be? That is la cuestión!
(**) Mejunje, with its three spelling variants, is a word of classic Arabic origin, permeated by Hispanic Arabic. It is interesting to notice that in Latin America its meaning is broader than the one included in the Diccionario de la Real Academia de la Lengua Española (2001, Tomo II: 1480)


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