Word of the Week: Cool

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Here comes Remezcla Espanish lesson número dos. Last week, we taught you how to say drunk and hungover all throughout Latin America. This week, we want you to know how to say “cool” in Puerto Rico as opposed to in Perú, and to know that Caribbean countries use “chevere” but if you were to say this in México people would look at you like “¿Qué le pasa, guey?” Pay attention, Remezcleros, there might be a surprise quiz.

The Universal Word for “Cool”

Imagine our shock when we discovered that one of the most widely used slang words for “cool” in Spanish is “súper.” It’s not that we’re unoriginal, no; it’s that adding the accent changes everything.

The Overlaps

In Venezuela and “Puelto Jico” you might hear the word, “fino,” as in: “esa nueva canción de Maluca está bien fina.” Similarly, en Perú, meeting Yoda would be “bacán,” mientras que in Dominican Republic it would be plain “bacano.” And though Venezuelans say “chevere” more than anyone on this planet, Dominicans apparently also know what they mean by this.

The Animal-Related

Are Latinos the most animal-friendly people on this planet? Are animals just plain cool in our southern hemisphere? This is the only explanation we can think of to explain why so many of the ways to say cool in latin America are animal-derived. For instance, take the Puerto Rican “cabrón;” what possessed someone  to look at this funny-faced being, and think, “oh, goats are so cool?” I mean, we like goat cheese, but… really?

There’s also “tiguere,” which we like to think was inspired by Winnie the Pooh’s bouncy friend. We don’t care if it wasn’t.

We’re also perplexed by the Mexican use of “está perro,” “perrón,” and “perrísimo,” though of course the dog is man’s best friend so we can start to guess why someone would think best of their own furry companion (the dog, no lo malpienses). Also, for Puert something can be “bien tiguere.”

The Mexican

México has so many words for cool it’s earned it’s own category. We won’t even try to guess how some of these originated:

  • Curada (o)
  • Suave
  • Genial
  • Chido
  • Chingón
  • Que Padre
  • De Pelos (“Ese concierto estuve de pelos,” or “that concert was made of hairs?”)
  • De poca madre (“That concert was of little mothers?”)
  • Mamalón ( we suspect “mamalón” might have something to do with the verb “mamar,” but don’t quote us on that)
  • Se Sale

The Sexual

In Perú, something cool está “paja,” but in Venezuela “hacerse la paja” is to.. (cough)… ummm… please oneself. Therefore, Peruvians are not advised to say “la pasé pajísimo” anywhere near señor Chávez.

In Caracas, though, the latest La Vida Boheme concert would be “arrecho,” whereas in Colombia, somebody “arrecho” is actually horny. In that same country -Venezuelans are such pervs! – salir a rumbear would be “de pinga,” where “pinga” could also be used to refer to that most essential of male organs.

In Colombia – and definitely not in Mexico – “de putas” and “de verga” mean cool. Which…thanks, Colombia.


In most places, drinking games no sólo están “buenos,” they’re “buenísimo.” However, Argentinians feel the need to distinguish themselves on this front and refer to “limón limón” as “rebueno” instead. In fact, rioplatenses like to add “re-” to anything to increase the degree to which it is something else. “Rebueno” is like saying something is doubleplusgood. Fun fact: this is where “refried” comes from in reference to beans that are not, in fact, fried twice. (Or fried at all.)

The Leftovers

So these didn’t fit into any of our categories, but they still merit a mention. (And are mostly Puerto Rican.)

  • Nice -PR
  • Chulo-PR
  • Cangri – PR (We really have NO idea how this came about.)

  • Brutal-PR
  • Nítido-PR
  • Mortal-DR
  • Mostro-Perú
  • Rifado (estar de rifa) -Mexico
  • Jevi-DR

So what are we leaving out? Leave your most arrecha words in the comments section. Being incomplete would definitely be un-cool.