Category Archives: Vocabulary

Language is more than just a means of communication. It influences our culture and even our thought processes. The idea of give readers a large dose of vocabulary is to improve their comprehension, ability to communicate better and learn idiomatic Spanish.

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

To be Climbing the Walls

Angelito literally is an angel but in Costa Rica can mean a child or criminal
Arrugar el pichel is to frown or make a face
Bolados are advice or tips
Botar el tapón or destapar el tamal mean to reveal or uncover information like corruption
Chelo is short for the name Marcelo
Chotear is to make fun of someone
Deschingarse is to remove clothing.
Empujado/a is a person who works hard or has a lot of drive.
Guamazo is a big blow or hit
Lágrimas are large stones or boulders but literally means tears.
Marimba is not a musical instrument in this case but a lot of young brothers and sisters.
Meter un gol is to score in soccer or deceive someone
Perrera is a paddy wagon
Ponerse color de hormiga is when a situation becomes difficult
Subirse por las paredes is to be climbing the walls when one is upset
Tirar la Chinita is to say something indirectly about someone
Vaso de agua is an easy woman
Venado literally means a deer but can refer to the husband of an adulteress
Zarandear is to shake or push someone

To be on its last legs

A cachete is something good or having everything
Chivearse is to get mad
Chorpa – is slang for jail in Costa Rica. El tabo is also slang for jail. La cárcel is the correct term.
Echarse un taco de ojo is to look at eye candy (women)
Espantárselais to scare the hell out of someone
Estar pa’l tigre is to be on its last legs
Ganarse la jama is to earn one’s living. Ganarse la vida is the correct expression.
Guada is short for the town of Guadalupe
Mamulón is something that is large in size
Míster means mister or señor
Mop is buddy or dude
Pacha – a small bottle of booze
Nacho is something that is fun or funny
Peludo is slang for a dog. The term Zaguate is also used for dog in Costa Rica.
Ponerse como agua para chocolate is to be boiling mad or angry
Pura posta is something that is very good
Se fue en todo is to screw up big time or fall for something. Se fue de pollo is also used here.
Toño is the nickname for Antonio
Zafarse means to flee or slip away from someone

Territorio de Zaguates

To be fed up with

  • Aserriceño/a – a person who lives in the town of Aserrí
  • Botaratas – someone who wastes money or spends carelessly
  • Candidatearse – to be a candidate for an office
  • Chanear – to shine, spruce up or clean
  • Chayotera – a person’s signature
  • Chepear –to snoop or be nosey
  • Cruzarle el caballo – to be an obstacle or to stop someone from doing something
  • Goico – short for the area of Goicoechea
  • Guindo – a ravene or gully
  • Hacerle la cruz a – to avoid something
  • Improvisados – amateur bull fighters
  • Más torcido que el rabo de chancho – to be crooked literally and figuratively
  • Motorizado/a – a person who delivers food or goods by motorcycle
  • ¡Qué jeta! – Shut up!
  • Tamalear – to eat tamales
  • Tamarindear – to drink liquor
  • Tenerle a uno hasta el copete – to bed fed up or sick of something
foto: eyleen vargas