Juan of Words

Mexi-Vocabulario: ¡Chale! ¡Huevón! ¡A Toda Madre!

This one is three-fer… as in three for one!  You know us mexicanos love a great deal.  Well, you all have been sharing so many great mexi-vocabulario words lately that it only made sense to do more than just one on this time around.

So, consider this the “blue-light” special of mexi-vocabulario!

Cholo says anything for Salinas
¡Chale! He messed up his car for Salinas!

First up, we’ve got ¡Chale!  The Urban Dictionary defines it as “a term used to show disagreement or disapproval of something or some idea.  Means the same thing as ‘hell no’ or ‘hell na.'”  Supposedly, it was a originated in the southwestern United States, but can now be heard anywhere Chicanos or Chicanas live.  Myself, I don’t really use this one.  Unless I’m trying to be funny…  I associate the word with more a “cholo culture” and just don’t use it.  Though I do love the line, which I think I’ve partially made up: “Chale, that’s Salinas!”


¡Huevón!  This word on the other hand is engraved deep in my mind somewhere, locked up forever in the same place where echale ganas and hay que ser acomedido reside as constant reminders of my youth.  My father would  get so upset when he thought my mother was calling him ¡huevón! in the literal sense.  The word huevo means egg, so you can make the connection there.  When he knew it was all in good fun, it didn’t really bother him at all.  A mi, they would call me huevón whenever I didn’t want to do something, when I’d lay on the sofa all day watching TV, when I’d call in sick just for the hell of it, and when I’d forever procrastinate whatever I had to do at the moment.  Come to think of it… things haven’t really changed that much over the years.  No wonder I’m scarred for life with this word!

¡A Toda Madre!

Finally, ¡A toda madre! – more phrase than word really, is another great one to throw around with the guys.  ¡Sí hombre la fiesta estuvo a toda madre!  It means  great, awesome, very good, as in that something was very enjoyable or successful.  More formally, the Urban Dictionary offers: “Mexican slang that means something is totally awesome.  Often abbreviated, especially in graffiti as ATM.”  Coincidentally, this phrase always makes me think of the somewhat more versatile a la madre.  As Gloria Trevi demonstrates in her mega hit by the same name (below), a la madre can be either really good or really bad:

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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