SECOND PART – 10 Colombian Slang Expressions You Should Know and Use

Continuing with our Colombian Slang Dictionary, this is the second post after the success of our 10 Colombian Expressions you won’t Find in a Dictionary where people understood a little bit about our weird expressions and their translation. This new one keeps showing to you, our foreign friend, the way to communicate when arriving to Bogotá and Colombia. Take the time and practice them all!

1. “Se armó la gorda”. Literal translation: The fat one is armed. This is a Spanish expression used by the military uprising at the end of the 19th century. In Colombia we commonly say this expression during a party when there’s a fight! A huge problem you got in after some (also huge) drinks you had. So whenever you go to a party don’t become the Fat One!

2. “Está en la olla”. Literal translation: You are in the pot. You use this expression when someone is screwed, when you have no gateway or out of money. As the chicken is cooked and have no salvation, so you do!

3. “Suerte es que le digo”. Literal translation: Good luck is what I say to you. This is a popular expression to say goodbye wishing luck to someone but you don’t mean it. You use it when you end up in bad terms with somebody and don’t wish him any luck at all.

4. “Pedir cacao”. Literal translation: Ask for cocoa. During the colonization period in Colombia the cocoa was a symbol of power and prestige even used for exchange so slaves had to beg for it so they could make a living. So when we are “asking for cocoa” we mean we are begging. So if you are breaking up remember to donate Cocoa!

5. “Se da garra”. Literal translation: You give claw. It’s a colloquial expression which refers an exaggerated or abusive action over someone without any thoughtfulness. For example, your school teacher gives you more and more homework knowing that you don’t have time to do it all, so you say “El profesor se da garra!” (The teacher gives claw!)

6. “Estoy en los rines”. Literal translation: I am on the wheels. This is a funny expression, this one refers to someone that is out of money. It’s like if you own a car but don’t to change its tires during your whole life, you will end up with the wheels and probably with no car at all!

7. “Hágame un cruce”. Literal translation: Do me a crossing. This one is so slang! You use this expression to ask for a favor. If you are in a hurry and need someone to help you out you ask for a “Cruce”, for example you are “on the wheels” and need money to pay the rent, then you ask your friend for a crossing.

8. “Meter la pata”. Literal translation: Insert the foot. As an animal’s foot is caught by mistake in a trap laid by a hunter, so do you if you screw it up! If you did something wrong or you are constantly making mistakes, you are simply inserting the foot!

9. “Ya le cogí el maní”. Literal translation: I already took the peanut. This expression comes from “la suegra voladora”, a Champeta song by Sayayin. It is normally used when you are dealing with an issue and you finally accomplish it! For example, you still don’t know how to deal with your mother in law (as the song says) so you keep trying it until you take the peanut!

10. “Parar bolas”. Literal translation: Stop balls. Don’t misinterpret this last one! Colombians use this expression asking for attention! If you are distracted and someone is talking to you, you need to stop balls to him!

Does any of these expressions make any sense to you? Try to apply them in your country and let the others know about these weird expressions you already know!

Thanks for sharing!

Ricardo Suárez Daza

Beyond Colombia

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