The verb chingar is known throughout Latin America, but there is no other country that uses and abuses this word like Mexico. Chingar is the most important word in Mexico.
Here is the official dictionary definition by the Royal Spanish Academy versus the Mexican Spanish meaning of chingar.
Chingar according to the Royal Spanish Academy
According to the Royal Academy of Spanish Language the transitive verb chingar comes from the Caló language čingarár that means to fight. The first three meanings given by the Academy are:
1. to importune, disturb
2. to have sex (offensive)
3. to frequently have wine or drinks (colloquial)
The Mexican definition of chingar
The definition given by the Royal Academy of Spanish Language seems pretty lame compared to what Mexicans experienced in the formation of their country.
The most complete Mexican definition of chingar is given by the renowned writer Octavio Paz in the essay Hijos de la Malinche (Sons of the Malinche) where he wrote an in-depth study about La Chingada. These fragments that I have translated give the best explanation.
But the quantity of meanings doesn’t stop the idea of aggression in all its degrees, from a simple inconvenience, sting, hurt, to rape, rip up and kill… The verb denotes violence, removed from yourself and penetrate inside another by force. And also hurt, rip, rape bodies, souls, objects, destroy.
It is a cruel active masculine verb: itches, wound, rip, stains. And provokes a bitter, resentful satisfaction for the one who acts.
The “chingado” is the passive, inert, and open, opposed to the one who does the act of “chinga” that is active, aggressive and closed. The “chingón” is the male, the one who opens. The “chingada” is the female, the pure passive, unarmed…
For the Mexican, life is the possibility of “chingar” of being “chingado.” Meaning, to humiliate, punish, offend or the other way around.
– by Octavio Paz
From El laberinto de la soledad
Hijos de la Malinche is part of the book El laberinto de la soledad (The Labyrinth of Solitude) that is Paz’s most famous work.
Summarizing, the degree of the intensity of the meaning that the word chingar has, comes from the moment when Spanish conquerors raped the native women that became the first chingadas (or raped). That is why the Mexican people are considered to be los hijos de la chingada (the sons of the raped Indians) due to the mix of both cultures. (Please be careful when saying this statement: “Los Mexicanos son los hijos de la chingada” and not to be confuse with “Los Mexicanos son unos hijos de la chingada”, the second one could be considered an insult.)
Check out the next article A List of Spanish Slang Expressions Using CHINGAR: 22 Mexican Spanish Examples to learn the different usages of this popular Mexican Spanish word.
A List of Spanish Slang Expressions Using CHINGAR: 22 Mexican Spanish Examples
Check out these other Mexican Spanish Slang Word articles.
Top Ten Mexican Slang
The order of this list has no meaning other than the words and phrases I think are the most interesting, amusing, common, or unique. Please disagree with me, correct my spelling, or remind me of what I’ve left out.
WARNING: if you’re a FRESA (stuck-up person) you might be offended by some vulgar language, but if you’re a NACO (low-class, person with bad taste), you’ll overuse most of the words on this list.
10. You may have noticed that NO HAY BRONCA is the name of my blog. It means “no problem.”
9. ¡A HUEVO! (vulgar) – Do you know what huevo means? It means egg, but HUEVOS are balls.
There are many ways to use the word. When my Spanish was still at a pretty basic level I had a student who said HUEVOS DIAS to me – not a very nice thing to say.
¡A HUEVO! means “of course!” – a very useful expression. Another variation is TENGO HUEVA, which means you are feeling lazy.
8. CHELA / CAGUAMA – CHELA means beer, and CAGUAMAS are the big returnable 40 ounce bottles, undoubtedly your best value on the street.
7. ¡ORALE! – It can be used for encouragement, like “go for it!” or “right on!” Or it can be used like “let’s do it!” or “let’s go!” Look out for its second cousin HIJOLE, which is like “wow” or “my goodness!”
6. ¿QUE ONDA? – Along with ¿QUE PASO?, ¿QUE TAL?, and the vulgar ¿QUE PEDO?, this is yet another way to say “what’s up?” ONDA literally means waves or, in this case, vibes.
5. PEDO (vulgar) – This word is as versatile as the tortilla, but, unlike the tortilla, rarely appropriate. As a noun it usually means problem, or more literally, fart.
NO HAY PEDO is a substitute for NO HAY BRONCA, no problem. CUAL ES TU PINCHE PEDO means “what’s your fucking problem?”
As an adjective it means drunk. ESTOY BIEN PEDO, WEY. “I’m fucking drunk.” A drunken party or a binge is UNA PEDA.
You can make great phrases with it too, such as the aforementioned ¿QUE PEDO?
4. CHIDO means cool. If you don’t hear this word 100 times a day, you aren’t off the tourist track yet. On a similar note, PADRE (father) means good or cool while MADRE (mother) usually means bad. No, it doesn’t make sense.
3. ¡NO MANCHES! – The literal meaning is ridiculous, but this is used like “no way!” or “come on!” Look out for ¡NO MAMES!, the vulgar equivalent.
2. CHINGAR (vulgar) – Much like English’s beloved f-word, CHINGAR has a wide range of uses – from describing something positively – CHINGON – to negatively – DE LA CHINGADA.
Or, if there is a lot of something, traffic for example, you can say HAY UN CHINGO DE TRAFICO. In general, you can use it to express the foulest, rudest, and most aggressive sentiments.
This is a truly Mexican word, and to learn the origins and deep thoughts behind it read The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz. (Click the books for info.) For everyday uses, check out the Chinganario.
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1. WEY / GUEY – I’m not sure how to spell it. WEY isn’t as famous as ORALE or versatile as CHINGAR, and may not be as common as CHIDO. You might spend a month here without hearing it. But, once in the proper circles, you’ll hear WEY between every other word, like how teenage American girls use ”like.”
“¡Simon wey, mira wey, chupamos veinte caguamas wey, no mames wey, estabamos bien pedos wey!”
WEY means “dude,” and if you haven’t heard something like the above already, I truly hope that when you do you will recall this example and laugh.
SIMON in this case is a slang substitute for “sí,” yes.
HONORABLE MENTION(S): You can add “-ón” or “-ona” to any body part to describe someone who has a prominent one. For example:
NARIZ: nose — NARIZÓN – guy with a big nose
CEJAS: eybrows — CEJÓN – guy with bushy eyebrows
FRENTE: foreheard – FRENTONA – girl with a big forehead
CULO: ass — CULONA – girl with a big ass, often complimentary (vulgar)
You also can do this with jobs. “-ero” or “-era” makes a job title.
OBRA: work project — OBRERO – worker
PALOMITA: popcorn — PALOMERO – popcorn seller
CULO: ass — CULERO – literally “ass seller,” but actually more like “asshole.”
For more slang check out Part 2 here.
And don’t miss my newly-published Mexican Slang Master List, with more than 100 words and phrases of Mexican Spanish.
Also A Spanish Cheat Sheet for Travelers in Mexico.
Click the link for Frijolero, a song that has all this slang
If you’re studying Spanish, there’s no better book than Madrigal’s Magic Key (click the book for info):
Please click here for more books I recommend for studying Spanish.
Practice your Spanish while traveling in Chiapas or the Mayan Riviera, two top destinations in Mexico. You will save the low price of my Cancun and Mayan Riviera 5-Day Itinerary or Your Chiapas Adventure: San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenquethe first time you follow my advice on a bus, restaurant, hotel or cenote.
About Ted CampbellU.S.-Canadian writer, translator and university teacher in Mexico. Travel stories and practical tips on my blog No Hay Bronca: nohaybronca.wordpress.com Twitter: @NoHayBroncaBlog // Contact: nohaybroncablog (at) gmail.com
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