14 El Salvador Slang Words

crossed the border into El Salvador from Guatemala

Yesterday I crossed the border into El Salvador from Guatemala. The process only took 20 minutes and I was in my 41st country! I will truly miss my guides Laura, Rita and driver Wandemar. Now I’m traveling in a new trio- with guide Benjamin and driver Helson. I knew when I met them that these next 12 days would be a blast. I haven’t been here long, but I am starting to get a feel for El Salvadoran slang words.

It’s no secret that Central America is a tapestry of different cultures and languages, but in the first few hours of being in El Salvador I noticed that there were different words being spoken. I speak spanish (official language of El Salvador ) and am fluent in Spanish vocabulary, but even I couldn’t tell what people were saying, so I decided to compile fourteen El Salvadoran slang terms that you may find helpful when speaking to locals.

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1. Chivo– ok, fantastic, nice, amazing

2. Bolado– anything

3. Chero or Chera– friend (m) or (f)

4. Bicho or Bicha– little kids (the meaning of “bicho” varies in every Spanish-speaking country.)

5. Cipote or Cipota– teenager or young person (m) or (f)

6. Vea– for real

7. Tierno– newly born

8. Dundo– dumb

9. Baboso– dumb (can also be described as a literal translation of the term “drooler”)

10. Chucho– dog

11. De Choto– for free

12. Salu– good bye

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13. Chuco– dirty

14. Puya– wow

For now these are some word commonly used day-to-day that I picked up. I will keep posting as my knowledge of El Salvadorian Spanish word expands. Here is another few words:

15. De Choto– for free

16. Chucho– dog

17. Guebiar– rob

18. Puchica– damn

19. Chele– white person

20. Pisto– money

My guide told me that in the southern parts of the country, the people use J (jota) in every word and I will film this as soon as I get there in 5 days.

Here are the top 5 tours I recommend in El Salvador:

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Special thanks to the El Salvador Tourism Organization.

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  1. This blog is super useful! I travel for business with GSE Solutions and learning local phrases and even slang goes along way. I happen to be travelling to El Salvador in a few weeks and so seeing this blog has really helped! Thanks! Luke

  2. This was funny? and dont forget “ esta paloma esto” kinda saying “its hard to decide”

  3. Am I the only one that uses jayan? Can someone correct me if it’s misspelled please!

  4. I’m from El salvador, and looking through all of this words make me laugh. We do use so many slang words. They are pretty unique to me though.
    I’ll like to add one that I do not see here: ” Vos” – you/ Someone
    We use that to refer to someone hah’

    • Great addition! Yes, they do use it a lot.

  5. maje is also used to describe a person but in some parts it’s considered a bad word

  6. You can also add
    Chimbolo: meaning a small fish not the type you eat.
    Yuca: to determine something is very hard to do ” Esta Yuca”, also the food they sell boiled or fried. Cassava root
    Pepescas: a small fish you eat fried and add to the Yuca with curtido.
    Chamuscado: Something than is burnt
    Chompipe: a turkey
    Chumpa: A winter coat

    • How could anyone forget my absolute favorite Salvadoran word:
      Chulon = butt naked!

      • Pepe. Your phrase was my favorite . ?????!!!

  7. WOW! I really enjoyed and laughed reading this, It is amazing that there is a lot of words that characterizes us (Salvadorans) and it is amazing to remembers those words that make us! Estuvo Chivo este bolado! 🙂 SV

  8. Chevere-also means cool/awesome. Juela- wow/omg

  9. Thanks! I am preparing for an exam where I have to know central american colloquialisms. This is helpful!

  10. One I haven’t seen listed is “choco” which is the version of “ciego” which is blind in English. Also, “tufo” which is like saying a bad smell/odor. “Pasmado” is another way of saying stupid or dumb. Other slang phrases that I’ve seen my family use are:
    -por vida mano(wow, seriously?!, basically a expression of incredulity)
    -la vida no es cola de garrobo(you don’t have infinite lives, a way to say be careful)
    -se juga el cutis(a way to mock somebody or sarcastically exaggerate that you or a person does way more than expected)

    Hope this helps and I’ll add more as I remember!

    • Thank you!! Those are awesome!

  11. chuco is a hot drink too, atole de chuco.

  12. Also:
    Huiste- Broken Glass
    Mono/Mona-Girl Boy despite age
    Esta Chivo- Its cool/awesome
    Lora-Refers to a parrot or someone who talks a lot
    Bayunco/a- Someone who acts Silly; Clown
    Chindondo- Knot (Bruise)
    Colocho/a-Person with curly haor
    Puchica-Omg! (anything similar)


    • Wow, Thanks for adding all of those!

  13. Hey, being outside from El Salvador made me realize how many slang we use.
    Also chero/a could also means guy/gal(girl).
    Such as “Mira a esa chera” would be “Hey look at that girl”. Which you might not even know.
    Anyways, thanks for the fun read. (:

    • Thank you, some words were very informative. I’m first generation Salvi/American, I came across your page by accident. I’m glad, much thanks.

    • Hi Daniel, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed 🙂

  14. hey! very nice! many people when visiting my country (El Salvador) have said that. Here we have a lot of slang words and phrases. I only wanted to add that the word “BEA” it´s really “VEA” because its a shorter form of the word VERDAD which means TRUE.

    • And “salu”- is short for “salud”: this is typically used when waving or saying goodbye. I guess it stems from wishing well/farewell.

    • I was about to point that out!

    • Thanks for stopping by! I will fix this asap and thank you for spell-checking 🙂

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