GUATEMALTEQUISMOS: Guatemalan Expressions in Spanish:

This week, we’d like to expand your horizons and to go “off-textbook” and teach you some useful everyday phrases in Spanish. “Guatemaltequismos” are sayings, words or idioms typical in Guatemala – the phrases and expressions are used in “the street” for referring to certain things but in a funny or very casual way in this country.  Keep in mind that these are common in Guatemala specifically, some words/phrases may be understood in other Latin American countries.  Having at least some of these in your back pocket will surely go a long way towards the goal of fluency – and the locals will be impressed!

Here is a list of some Guatemaltequismos:

Amishara verb for being shy, or embarrassed.

  • La niña es muy amishada. – She is very shy.


Dejar en el arranquebeing let down

  • Mis amigos me dejaron en el arranque con la fiesta. – My friends let me down concerning the party.

¡A la gran puchica! (¡a la gran!)expresses shock.

  • ¡A la gran puchica!, como hiciste eso, es increíble. – Oh my God, how did you do that, it’s amazing!

A tuto is the same as saying: to bring something back-loaded.

  • La mama lleva a tuto a su bebe. – The mother carries her baby on her back.

Boca/Boquitassnacks / appetizer

  • En la fiesta hubo muchas bocas para comer. – At the party there were many snacks to eat.

Boloman who has drunk too much liquor, drunk. (borracho)

  • Este hombre está muy bolo. – This man is very drunk.

Bote (estar en el bote) to be in prison or in jail

  • La policía se lo llevo al bote. – The police took him to jail.

Cancheword used to describe a person with blonde hair.

  • La mayoría de los turistas son chanches. – Most tourists are blonde.

Cachimbazois a sharp blow/hit.

  • Por faltarle el respeto a una mujer le dieron un cachimbazo. – From disrepecting a woman, he received a big hit (from her).

Canículaperiod in which it is much hotter than it should be

  • Estamos en la canícula. – We are in an abnormally hot period (when it should be cold).

Canillónword used to describe a person with long legs.

  • Felipe es un chico canillón. – Felipe is a long-legged guy

Cuaches twins

  • Mi padre y mi tío son cuaches. – My father and my uncle are twins.

Chapín(a)is what to call a Guatemalan person.

  • Los chapines somos muy alegres. – Guatemalans are very happy.

Chirís (mocoso, güiro)a child.

  • Este chirís es muy malcriado. – This boy is very spoiled.


  • El chucho se salió de la casa. – The dog left the house.


  • Ella tiene una cicle muy bonita. – She has a very nice bike

Colocho word used to describe a person who has curly hair

  • Mi hermana es colocha natural. – My sister has naturally curly hair.

¡Cómo no chón! (¡que de a sombrero!)an expression that is used to give an affirmative answer, form of sarcasm.

  • Invítame a una cerveza. Aahh si, ¡cómo no chón!. – Buy me a beer. Oh yes, of course! (yeah right!)

De plano / de plano que síis a way of saying, yes, of course, definitely.

  • Yo pienso que él se fue con ella. Sí, de plano. – I think he went with her. Yes, definitely.

Guapo / mangohandsome.

  • Él es muy mango. – He is very handsome.

Güipil traditional blouse worn by indigenous women in Guatemala.

  • Este es un bello güipil de San Antonio Aguas Calientes. – This is a beautiful blouse from San Antonio Aguas Calientes.

Hacer la campaña de to do a favor.

  • Hágame la campaña de traer pan de la panadería. – Do me a favor and bring bread from the bakery.

Hacer el mateto pretend to do something.

  • Él está haciendo el mate de que está trabajando pero está durmiendo. – He is pretending he is working but is sleeping.

Harina de otro costalexpression saying that it is the wrong topic of discussion.

  • Este problema es harina de otro costal porque no estamos hablando de eso. – The problem is about something else, we are not talking about that.

Jalando la carreta expression used for saying that someone is working hard.

  • ¿Cómo estás? Mmm bien gracias, ¡jalando la carreta! – How are you? Mmm well thanks, working hard!

Machoword used to describe an unintelligent person, a fool.

  • Él no sabe nada, es un macho. – He knows nothing, he’s a fool.

Mangoword used to describe an attractive or beautiful person (male).

  • ¡Que hombre más mango! – What a handsome man!

Meter la patato make a mistake, act inappropriately.

  • metiste la pata al hablar con ella. – You were wrong to talk to her.

Meterse en camisa de once varasgetting into trouble.

  • Relacionarse con una mujer casada es meterse en camisa de once varas– Having a relationship with a married woman will get you into trouble.

¡Muchá!expression used to say: “Hi guys!” (plural)

  • ¡Muchá! Pongan atención. – Hi guys! Pay attention.

Patojo/patoja boy / girl / kids

  • ¡Mamá! Los patojos están peleando en la sala. – Mom! The kids are fighting in the living room.

Pisto money.

  • No tengo pisto para comprar esa blusa. – I don’t have money to buy that blouse

Ponerse a chupar or just chupar. a verb used to describe a person who is drinking a lot liquor.

  • Mis amigos se pusieron a chupar mucho ayer en el bar. – Yesterday my friends drank a lot in the bar.

Ser mansa paloma (¡que no mata ni una mosca!)describes a person who appears or pretends to be something they are not

  • Ella aparenta ser una mansa paloma, pero no lo es. – She is pretending to be something that she is not.

Ser pura lata o mala ondadescribes a person who is not nice.

  • Ella es pura lata con sus hermanos. – She is not nice to her brothers.

Do you know some other useful Spanish phrases?  Feel free to share!

photo credit: via photopin

3 comments on “GUATEMALTEQUISMOS: Guatemalan Expressions in Spanish:

  1. Pingback: Let’s Go to the Gym! – Common Spanish phrases while working out. | LetsGoSpanish

  2. Pingback: More about Spanish Prepositions | LetsGoSpanish

  3. Pingback: How to say I’m sorry in Spanish: Lo siento, Perdón y Disculpe | LetsGoSpanish

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