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How to speak Guatemalan Spanish like a local!

10 Guatemalan Slang Words and Phrases To Speak Like A Local

In Latin America as every country has its version of Spanish, and there are significant variations of the language in every country. Guatemala is no exception! Guatemalan Spanish has many slang words that may not appear in your textbook, yet are commonly used in day-to day-conversation. To really speak Guatemalan, you’re going to need to improve your vocabulary.

You might already be confident in your Spanish skills and know some super cool phrases! But by adding these words to your knowledge you will sound like a local! 

Are you ready?


Let’s speak Guatemalan!


1. ¡A Huevos!

Huevos in Spanish means eggs but when you put an “A” in front, it means “for sure” and it is a popular expression among Guatemala people. 

So don’t be surprised if you say something completely sensible and someone replies “A huevos”!  This means they agree with you. 


2. ¡Aguas!

Aguas is another popular word that might confuse you, as agua means water. So when you hear someone saying “Aguas!”, you might think “plural of water”?! But, no! When someone yells “Aguas” it means be careful, like “heads up!” 

If you hear it, it’s time to pay attention, as something or someone is headed your way!


3. Bochinche

It is a common expression used in Guatemala that means chaos or disorder caused by several people. 


4. Boquitas

Boquitas literally means ‘smallmouth’. In Guatemala, it is the slang word for snack food or appetizers before a meal. 

“Comamos unas boquitas mientras vemos el partido de fut.” This means, “Let’s snack on something while we watch the soccer game.”


5. Burra

Burra is a female donkey but, in Guatemala, it is often used to refer to any kind of bus. It doesn’t matter if it is a chicken bus or a fancy Pullman, if someone says “Allí viene la burra”, it means “The bus is coming”. 


6. Clavo

Clavo in Spanish means nail, as in nails and hammer.  In Guatemala, it is commonly used to say there is a problem or if someone embarrasses themself. You might hear this expression in lots of different contexts: politics, personal, job-related…  believe me, the expression covers everything!

Worry if you hear, “Esta metido en gran clavo” this means “He is in trouble.”


7. Chilero

This expression is commonly used to say something is awesome or pretty good.  For example, “Tu blusa esta bien chilera”, which means “Your blouse is really pretty”. 


8. Chispudo

If someone in Guatemala tells you, you are chispudo/a, it means you are smart. Chispudo comes from the word chispa which means spark. When you hear it you know that you have the spark!


9. Chucho

Chucho is a Guatemalan slang word that means dog but it can also refer to a greedy person. This is a tricky word as it can be derogatory, but sometimes it can be a term of endearment! So, you need to be careful with the context. 


10. Pisto

Pisto is a slang word meaning money. It is commonly used and you can be sure you are going to hear it a lot in Guatemala!


The Bottom Line

Remember, translation errors can lead to catastrophe! (Although most of the time they are just funny!) But what works in one language might fall flat in another, so to avoid any “clavos” always use a native translator!

Knowing how to speak Guatemalan Spanish is not the same thing as knowing how to translate it. Translation requires nuance, subtlety and an in-depth knowledge of the language you are translating into.

A good translator uses the right tone, as well as the right words. Make sure you are communicating your intent clearly by always using qualified native speakers for your translation. Contact us for a quote!

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