To have fangs

  • Apretados – frozen juice or jello which is sold in a plastic sleeve which you have to squeeze or suck to extract the liquid. This term comes from the Spanish verb apretar which means to squeeze.
  • Chanearse – to dress well
  • Chaine – slang for threads or clothes
  • Estar tamarindeado – to be drunk
  • Tener colmillo – to be astute, clever or convincing. It literally mens to have big fangs.
  • Los apagafuegos – is slang for firemen in Costa Rica. The correct Spanish word is bomberos
  • Mameyazo – means the same as Quedarse como un Cristo or all banged up
  • Mita y mita – to go halfsies or pay half of something. We also say vamos a medias .
  • Meche – short for Mercedes which is the name of a woman. It is also slang for the automobile Mercedes Benz.
  • Quedarse hecho un Cristo – used describe a person who is bruised or beaten up. This expression literally means to end up like Jesus Christ.
  • Tragar grueso – to grin and bear it
  • Turri – short for the town of Turrialba
  • Turrialbazo – used to describe for the Turrialba volcano’s behavior when it spits out ash or rock.
  • El yugo or brete – both words are slang for work. Trabajo is the correct word.


To be angry

  • Bañazo – is to make a fool of oneself. Hacer el ridículo or ponerse en ridículo mean the same thing.
  • Chivearse – to be angry. Enojarse, estar bravo/a , estar chivo/a or tener mucha cólera all mean the same thing.
  • ¿Cómo está el arroz – How are you? Slang for ¿Cómo está usted?
  • Irse de pollo – to be made a fool of
  • Pacho – a blast or a lot of fun
  • Pegar con cerca – is to come to a dead end both literally and figuratively
  • Pollitos – children. Niños is the correct word.
  • Puris – slang for the mountain town of Puriscal
  • Semáforo – this words literally is a traffic light. Since nobody respects traffic lights here, semáforo is used for person who nobody respects.
  • Sombra – literally means shade but in Costa Rica it can mean jail
  • Sopapo – is a big blow or a hit. Leñazo and pichazo (vulgar) are also used here.
  • Una vez al año es sano – once a year is ok. In reality this expression is an excuse to do something like eat sugar, drink alcohol or engage in other risky, unhealthy or sinful behavior.
  • Verla peluda – to have something bad happen. Verla fea or verla ofe are also used in Costa Rican slang.

Nachas are not the same as nachos

  • A mí con flores, siendo de Heredia – Go tell it to the Marines or B.S.
  • Acostar – to put someone to bed. In street talk to kill someone.
  • Avionazo – a plane crash
  • Chonco – a stub or stump
  • Echar al pico a alguien – to tell on or squeal on someone
  • Echarse a alguien – to kill someone. Matar a alguien is used more often.
  • Enjaular – to put an animal in a cage or a person in jail.
  • Estar mordido con – to be in competition with someone
  • Guachos – slang for eye glasses or eyes
  • Nachas – a person’s butt. Word play on nalgas (butt)
  • Sanfra – short for San Francisco. For example, I live in San Francisco de Heredia or
  • Sanfra de Heredia.
  • Tener cola – is to have a history, usually a bad one.


To be a complete success

  • Batear or pegarse una bateada – to guess incorrectly
  • Comidilla – fodder for the press, especially the gossip column.
  • Compinche or compa – a male friend or buddy
  • Despapayar – to get hurt
  • Gringolandía – the United States
  • Guamazo – a big crash or impact
  • La ve furris or la ve ofe – a bummer or something that is going badly
  • Meter el hombro – to help. Dar una mano or ayudar also mean the same thing.
  • Pegar porte y la vara – a new expression that means to be “chesty.”
  • Tortero – a troublemaker
  • Una pati – a skateboard. The correct word is patineta
  •  Ser un llenazo – an event that is a complete success, Ser todo un éxito is also used

Su ídolo

On last one’s Legs

  • Cachiflín- a type of firework that is lit and then slithers all over the ground like a snake. Correr como cachiflín means to run like crazy.
  • Cachudo – slang for bull. The correct word is toro
  • Carga or galleta – is an awesome person
  • Chinchiví – type of alcoholic beverage from the province of Alajuela
  • Engavetar – is to put someone in jail (slang)
  • Estar en las últimas – to be on one’s last legs or about to die. Can mean that an object like a car is on its last legs, too. Estar con una pata en la tumba (one foot in the grave) is the same. Patear el balde, colgar las tenis, estirar la pata, pasar al otro lado, pasar al otro mundo and palmarse all mean to die in Costa Rica slang.
  • Estar en veremos – to wait and see
  • Gota de agua – someone’s twin
  • Guato, zaguate and guau-guau – all are slang for dog. Perro is the correct word.
  • Irse de pollo – to be made a fool of. Agarrar de mae or pasar por inocente are synonyms
  • Maleta – refers to a man’s genitals in figurative terms. Maleta actually means suitcase.
  • Ponerse más bravo que un toro de Zapote – is to get very mad. Estar como agua para chocolate or estar que me lleva el diablo are the same
  • Se fue en todo or la voló – means to screw up something

Correr como cachiflín