My Top 5 Favorite Phrases/Words in Lunfardo

29 Jun

Last week I wrote a post on my 5 least favorite phrases in Spanish, and since I like to give a fair look at both sides, I’m now going to list 5 of my favorite words or phrases in lunfardo, which is the slang used in Buenos Aires. Be aware—the majority of these are dirty words, so excuse me if this offends you. Maybe you shouldn’t read on. Like with the last post, these are in no particular order.

1. “Un boludo importante”. Translation: literally, an important asshole; a real asshole; a fucking idiot.

  • I only recently started to hear this more and more but from the first time I noticed it I loved it. It’s like saying that the guy in question in the king of the idiots.

2. “La puta que te/lo parió”. Translation: literally, the bitch that gave birth to you; fuck your mother.

  • I’ve discovered that certain phrases and words just sound better in other languages, or really hit what you’re trying to say in ways that English doesn’t, and this is a perfect example. For some reason this is very offensive, which is odd because it’s really just a sentence fragment. We never hear what the big deal is about the bitch that gave birth to you. Maybe she makes good cookies. Who knows? On the other hand, in Spain a similar greeting is given to women when walking by a construction site. “¡Viva la madre que te parió!” though not exactly a compliment, it’s like saying, “Long live the mother who gave birth to you!”

*A similar insult could be “La concha de tu madre” or “La concha tuya.” Translation: your mom’s pussy, or your pussy, respectively. These are fightin’ words, so be careful how you use them.

3. “Estar al pedo/en pedo.” Translation: literally, to be at farts/to be in farts; to be wasting your time, doing nothing/to be drunk.

  • These are used every other minute. If you’re sitting around not doing work, waiting in line, or ultimately doing a task which will go unnoticed, you are al pedo. If you’ve had a few too many drinks then you are now en pedo. And there are many other variations of pedo as well.

4. “Quilombo.” Translation: a mess; a fucking mess.

  • Where would I be without my little quilombo? Most often used as “¡Qué quilombo!” or “Es un quilombo”. Used to describe any and everything in Buenos Aires. No matter what time of day or season of the year, you can count on there being a quilombo in some part of Buenos Aires. It’s just a fucking mess. Nothing works right, the Subte’s on strike, they’ve set up a road block, you still haven’t gotten paid. Un quilombo.

5. “En la loma del orto.” Translation: literally, in the back of the ass; far away.

  • Pretty gross, right? Used to describe when something is very far away and probably a pain in the ass to get to. Where’s the party tonight? In the back of the ass, it’s so far away. You need to take two buses and then walk 10 blocks.

These are just five examples of some of the things I’ve grown to enjoy saying here. Of course, there are so many others like boludo, pelotudo, etc. Don’t judge me if you think I only use bad words, but hey, monkey see monkey do.

8 Responses to “My Top 5 Favorite Phrases/Words in Lunfardo”

  1. Meredith July 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    I especially like the first 2 (the 2nd one is used in Portuguese). I lived in Montevideo for sometime, during the 2002 World Cup to be exact, and I remember my housemates yelling at the TV about “la concha de tu madre!” during games. Good times….

    • Jon July 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

      Oh yeah. You’ll hear that all the time. I think because it’s in another language, the insults never really insult me too much. I just laugh it off. A few times someone has called me a boludo with malicious intent and where an Argentine would be offended, I just laughed. It shows that a word is only powerful if you let it mean what the speaker is trying to portray.

      • Meredith July 7, 2011 at 12:39 am #

        I agree with you 100% that insults/cursing in a foreign language, regardless of your fluency, don’t mean as much as when they’re in your first language.
        I always wondered why, years ago, my friend’s parents never got mad when she cursed around them in English – it wasn’t the same thing as if it was in THEIR language.
        I’ve enjoyed the few blog posts I’ve read here.

  2. Jon July 7, 2011 at 1:02 am #

    Thanks Meredith! I’m happy to share some stories with the community and hope you’ll continue to read and comment. Cheers!

  3. Fernando October 30, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Very accurate and true.
    I’m from Argentina and this article reflects the daily phrases used everywhere and under every circumstance in that fucking country.

  4. Silvia January 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    I love this! Brings me back to when my parents were still around. Thanks for posting! Really made me smile : )


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  2. “I love it when you talk foreign!” | internationalbushgirl - July 18, 2012

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