Juan of Words

Mexi-Vocabulario: ¡Guey/Wuey!

More Mexi-Vocabulario

By far.  By very far!  This single word is the one that non-Spanish speakers always ask me about the most.  It never fails.  As soon as language comes up as a topic of conversation.  Specifically popular words used by Mexicans in Spanish here in Texas, the following question usually follows: What does that word mean that all Mexican guys use… it’s like “way” or “woo-ay”?  Is it a bad word?

¡Orale guey!

Obvio, it’s much easier to remember and learn bad words in another language than it is to learn all of the rules and grammatical regulations that would actually make one fluent in said language.  ¡Los entiendo completamente!   

So how do I answer this very question?  It’s very simple really.  Depending on the tone and context of it’s usage, guey or wuey – either spelling works – can be either good or bad in its intended message.

For example say someone says “¡¿Oyeme guey cuál es tu pedo?!”  

They’re basically confronting you with a “hey man what’s your problem?!”

On the other hand, if you’re greeted with an ¡¿Ey wuey, cómo te va?! 

You’re basically being greeted with a “hey (dawg/man/dude/fool/etc.) how are you?”

So there you have it.  My very short and simple definition of guey!

Want something more formal?  Here’s what Wikipedia offers:

Güey (usually misspelled as guey; pronounced like the English word ‘way’) is a word in Mexican Spanish which is commonly used to refer to any person without using his name and applies equally to males and females (though it is more often applied to males).  It is used in Mexican Spanish in roughly the same way “dude” is used in modern American English.  It is derived from the term buey, which refers to a castrated bull (an ox), used for meat, sacrifice, and/or labor (e.g. pulling plows and carts).  Over time, the initial /b/ underwent a consonant mutation to a /g/, resulting in the modern güey.  In Mexico this same word is used like an insult (can be a negative term like “fool” ), although, due to its extremely high frequency of use in a multitude of contexts, it has lost much of its offensive character, becoming a colloquialism.

I’m always on the hunt for new mexi-vocabulario.

What other words would you like me to include in the mexi-vocabulario?  If you have one that you would recommend please share it with me here.  

Writer’s Disclaimer: When I say mexi-vocabulario I don’t necessarily mean these words are exclusively Mexican, or only used by Mexicans.  This is simply an expression of how they were introduced to me in our Mexican Spanish.

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