To go on a binge

  • Entandarse is to go on a binge. We also say Irse de tanda or Irse de juerga.
  • Estar a la sombra is to be in jail.
  • Fiebrazo is a fanatic of soccer or anything else.
  • Hasta los dientes de algo means to have a lot of something like money.
  • La Peri is short for la periférica which is the peripheral highway around San José.
  • Liquidar or fumigar is to kill someone.
  • Nela is short for Marianela which is the name of a woman.
  • Pochotón is robust or full of health and strength.
  • Tacacos is a person who has a lot of wrinkles

Tiquismo (Costa Rican expression) of the week:

  • Estar en alas de cucaracha (literally to be on the wings of a cockroach) to be on borrowed time. For example, a person who will be fired form a job soon. We also say está viviendo horas extras…living on borrowed time.


Un puro chingue

  • Alborotar el panal is to cause an uproar or get someone angry. It Literally means to get the bees or wasps upset.
  • Basurear is to talk trash to someone or insult them. This expression is often used in sports when one player tries to upset another with colorful language.
  • Chingue is a kind of joking or kidding around.
  • Dipu is short for diputado or member of congress.
  • Enpijamar is to wear pajamas.
  • Lágrimas literally means tears but in Costa Rica can refer to ” rocks or “stones.”
  • Mecos are blows from a fist.
  • Novio or pretendiente is a suitor or a person who is interested in buying something like a car or home.
  • Pararsele la peluca literally means to have your hair stand on end but figuratively means to get upset or mad.
  • Plomear is to shoot someone. This expression comes from the word plomo which means lead like the tip of a bullet.
  • Soltar el perro means to pay someone. This expression is the opposite of amarrarle el perro a alguien or not to pay someone.
  • Zafarrancho is a fight.
  • Zapatos usually means shoes, but in slang this term can refer to a car’s tires.


Tiquismo or expression of the week

  • Más concentrado que un cubo Maggi is to concentrare on something. Maggi is a company that makes those small cubes of concentrated chicken broth. The verbs enfocarse or concentrarse also mean to concentrate on something.
  • No picar leña ni prestar hacha refers to someone who doesn’t do one thing or another
  • Pararsele la peluca literally means to have your hair stand on end but figuratively is to get upset or mad. A José se le paró la peluca. Joe got upset.

A hairy experience

  • Con pelos y señales – with all of the detail. Me escribieron con pelos y señales. They wrote me with all of the details.
  • Dejarle a uno en pelo – to leave someone penniless
  • Escaparse por un pelo – to have a close call
  • Hombre de pelo en pecho – a real man
  • Montar en pelo – to ride a horse bareback
  • No ceder un pelillo – to not give an inch
  • No tener pelos en la lengua – to be outspoken
  • No tener un pelo de tonto – to be no fool
  • Por los pelos – by the skin go one’s teeth. Solís ganó la elección por los pelos/por un pelillo. Solís won by the skin of his teeth. Also por un pelo de rana, y las ranas no tienen pelo. To win by a frog’s hair and frogs don’t have hair.
  • Por un pelo no es…- someone is close to being something. Por un pelo ella no es genio. She is almost a genius.
  • Ser del mismo pelo – to be in the same social class
  • Se me pusieron los pelos de punta – my hair stood on end. Erizársele el pelo or parársele el pelo mean the same thing
  • Soltarse el pelo – to let loose or let it all hang out (figuratively)
  • Tomarle el pelo a uno – to pull one’s leg. Me tomaron el pelo. They pulled my leg (figuratively)
  • Venir al pelo – to be just right , to be exactly what one needs. Also exactamente lo que el médico me recetó. Just what the doctor ordered.


Tiquismos of the week:

  • Parársele la peluca – to get bent out of shape or upset. A José se le paró la peluca al recibir la mala noticia. Upon hearing the bad news Joe got upset.
  • Pelillo de gato – drizzle The correct Spanish word is llovizna.
  • Cuando la rana echa pelo – when a frog sprouts hair or never

More Spanish for those who want to talk like ticos

  • Chuchear – to stab with a knife
  • Echar patas – to get stolen or robbed. El carro echó patas. The car got robbed.
  • Gallo viejo con ala mata – there is nothing like having experience gained over the years
  • Guate – short for Guatemala
  • Irse de pollo – to be made a fool of agarrar de maje is a synonym
  • Jalar las orejas – to scold. The verb regañar is also used frequently.
  • Ponerse águila – to be alert
  • Rayar – to pass another car
  • Ser un llenazo – to be full like an event
  • Son otros cien pesos – that’s another matter or something different. Ser harina de otro costal is a synonym.
  • Trabajar en “constru” – to work in the construction business


Costa Rica has its own unique vocabulary

  • Acostar – This verb does not always mean to put someone to bed in Costa Rica. It can also be to put someone to bed permanently or kill them
  • Besar – Usually means to kiss someone but can it Costa Rica it is sometimes used when two cars crash head-on.
  • Borrón y cuenta nueva – to start from scratch
  • Chaines – appearances
  • Cañazos – punches or blows to the body
  • Estar para el tigre – to have problems or be in trouble
  • Forro – the Costa Rican equivalent of a “cheat sheet”
  • Frizzarse – to to have frizzy hair. The verb esponjarse is also used to describe this condition
  • Irse de pollo – means to make a fool of someone. Agarrar de maje is the same thing
  • Mamulón – can be a big person or vehicle
  • Mucho rín, rín y nada de helados – means to be all talk
  • Ser el más carga – means to be the best
  • Socollón – a big shake like an earthquake