All posts by Christopher Howard

About Christopher Howard

Learning the idiomatic expressions of another language will be a guide to understanding the humor and character of that culture. In case you don’t know, idiomatic expressions are common words or phrases used in place of direct speech. The individual words within the phrases don't correlate with their meaning. Each language has idiomatic phrases peculiar to it, making translations difficult for non-native speakers. Idioms can change within a single language, across borders or regionally within one country.

To be naked

Cambiar la marcha – Literally means to change gears when driving a car but it also means to change the subject in a conversation.
Chingoleta – naked
Cholladao/a – a seamless person
Coligallero/a or torero/a – person who prospects or searches for gold
Dejar el ombligo – Literally means to leave your belly button. But here this term refers to the place where someone is born.
Estar hasta el copete – to be fed up with something
Estirar la pata – slang for to die.
Fajarse – to make a big effort
Guato, peludo or zaguate – all mean dog in Costa Rica. The correct word for dog is perro.
Pedirle la lupa a alguien – to request that someone get fired from a job.
Piña – Literally means pineapple but here it is a car’s axle, also.
Quedar como un ajo – to be clean
Sopapos – blows or hits
Tragar grueso – to be difficult
Tucas – legs
Ventanear – to window shop
Yuyo – a person who is a pest but can also denotes a germ

More Costa Rican Slang with translations

Pachuco Real Life Translation Literal Translation
Mae Dude or Buddy Dummy
Cargarse de risa Dying of laughter  Crapping with laughter
Echarnos unas Birras Give us some Beers Throw us some Beers
Ahuevado I’m Bored
Es un Queque A Piece of Cake
Compa Friend
Ponerse las pilas Get to work, Get Moving Put in the Batteries
Pele la oreja Listen closely Peel your ear
Agarrar la lata Catch the bus Grab the Can
Echar más harina Give them more money Add more Flour
Buena nota A good guy Nice Note
Mala nota Not a very nice guy Bad Note
Ir a Pata  Go on foot Go by Duck
Chocar con Cerca Dead End Hit the Fence
Es un Hueco Bad reputation Bar It’s a hole
Un dolor de Huevos Pain in the rear Pain in the Balls
Tomarse un Yodo  Drink a Coffee Drink some Iodine
Unas Cabras Girls or Women Female Goats
Echarle un Ojo al mesero Keep an eye on the Waiter Throw an eye on the Waiter
Se le rayó el Disco Repeating Yourself Scratched Record
Huele Pedos Ass Kisser
Estar tostado Already drunk Toasted
Mujerón Stunning Woman Huge Woman
Mover el Piso Rock my World Move the Floor
Echar el Cuento Pick up a Girl in the bar Pour the Story
Ser una Teja He or She is a Gem Be a Tile
Verla peluda Seems difficult Hairy Eyes
No encuentro la Nave I can’t find my Car I can’t find the Ship
No tengo ni un Cinco I’m Broke I don’t even have five
No dejen que lo limpien Don’t let them cheat you Don’t let them clean you
Váyase volando  Hurry, get going Go flying
Soda de la esquina Restaurant on the corner

 

To do Something in a Flash

  • Bejucos are problems in a figurative sense. Bejuco actually means a type of reed or cane.
  • Chispa is intelligence or smarts. Chispa is also a spark.
  • Como pulpería del pueblo is a well stocked corner store or a beautiful woman with many physical attributes.
  • En dos toques is to do something quickly or in a flash
  • Estar legal is anything that is really great. Sort of like the expression pura vida.
  • Hablar a calzón quitado is to talk frankly or honestly.
  • Un llenazo is a successful event that is completely filled to the brink with people.
  • Jamonear is to bully someone.
  • Salidas are witty expressions also called ocurrencias.
  • Se la tira rico is to live well.
  • Tachador is a person who breaks into cars. It comes form the verb tachar.
  • Tico de pura cepa  is used to denote someone who is Costa Rican in every sense of the word.
  • Vivir con soledad or estar solano/a mean to live or be alone.

A stupid mistake

Batazo is an educated guess.
Botar el tapón is to get angry
Buche is slang for stomach. Estómago is the correct word.
Busazo is a bus crash
Caballada is a stupid act or mistake.
Chispa is intelligence.
Chorpa or taco mean jail in Costa Rica
Dar un filazo is to stab someone. The correct verbs are apuñalear, apuñalar or acuchillar.
Estar puras tejas is to feel great. This expression is a variation of estar puros cienes.
Ganarse los frijoles is to earn a living. Ganarse la vida is the correct expression.
Guachos or guayabos are slang for a person’s eyes. Los ojos is the correct word for eyes.
No hay quinto malo means, “If at first you do not succeed, then keep trying.”
Pique is a type of competition or a drag race. Hacerle pique is to compete.
Sacar caja or sacar pecho mean to show off.
Tirar chinitas is to insinuate something.
Ventolero is a strong wind
Volar coco is to think
Zafarle la tabla is to fire someone.

The Costa Rican Boogie Man

Bailar – to deceive, trick or swindle someone
Boletear – to give a traffic ticket to someone. Ponerle un party is more common
Cologallero – a person who searches for gold or a prospector. Orero is also used.
Dar un filazo – is to stab someone. Apuñalar is the correct term.
Estar puras tejas – is to be or feel great
Ganarse los frijoles diarios – to earn a living or “bring home the bacon”
Guachos or guayabos – slang for one’s eyes in Costa Rica. Los ojos is the correct word for eyes.
Guaro vaquero – used to describe a person who cannot handle alcoholic beverages or a so called “bad drunk”
Hacerle pique a – to compete against someone or something
Hombre del saco or Coco – the Costa Rican equivalent of the “boogie man”
La peri – the peripheral highway that almost encircles all of the entire San José area.
Le zafó la tabla – is to fire someone from a job
Sanfra or San Chico – short for the country’s many towns called San Francisco
Sobre– slang for bed but literally means envelope
Topador – a persona who sells stolen merchandise or a “fence”
Tortón – a huge error or screwup
Tu jacha me suena – your face is familiar