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“MIRÁ, VE” get ready for Cali!

Actualizado: 7 ene 2020

(“Mirá ve” these two verbs literally mean “look” or “watch” something, but in Caleño language it can mean else: “Mirá ve give me the salt”, “Mirá ve what have you done?”).

Some Colombian Colloquialisms to Speak Like a "True Caleño":


Aborrajado: Is a dish of deep fried plantains stuffed with cheese.

¡Ábrase!: To open up. To leave, scatter, get out. Can be used in a mean context, as a demand or an exclamatory remark. (Ex: “¡Abrase from here").

Aletoso: A person that gets mad at everything. A rude person. (Ex:“That man is Aletoso, he’s insulting me”). In other cases “Aletoso” mean something really great (Ex: “These shoes are Aletososos”).


¡Bien o qué!: Greeting in Cali. Literal meaning: Well or what? (Ex: “Hey Jhon, Bien o qué?").

Borondo: Go out somewhere. (Ex: “Let´s go to Borondo!”).


Caer: Literal meaning: To fall - Slang meaning: To flirt (Ex: “I'm going to "Caerle" to that girl”).

Calidoso: Is an expression that means someone is generous, friendly, good person and nice. (Ex: “Your friend juan is a Calidoso let's invite him to the party”).

Cascar: To hit, to smack, to give a whooping. (Ex: "I’m going to Cascar, if you don't hear me!").

Changó: To go dancing. Changó is only said in Cali. The name comes from a famous salsa club in Cali called Changó. Every Colombian caleño’s hobby is dancing salsa, so when they refer to Changó, they all know that it doesn’t necessarily mean to go to the club itself, but to go dancing in general.

Champús: Typical cali’s drink made with maize, fruits such as lulo (also known as naranjilla), pineapple, quince or guanábana, sweetened with panela and seasoned with cinnamon, cloves and orange tree leaves.

¡Chimba!: This is one of those made up words that has many meanings and a variety of uses.

¡Qué chimba! — That’s cool or awesome.

Algo más chimbo — Something so “cheap,” dull, useless.

¡La chimba, hermano! — No way, bro!.

Chiviado: Bootleg, knockoff, fake (Ex: "¡This DVD is Chiviado, man!").

Cholado: Or Raspao is an icy beverage. It is made from crushed ice or shaved ice, chopped fruit, condensed milk, fruit syrup, and served with a cookie, sometimes topped with whipped cream and shredded cheese. The common fruits that are used in the preparation include banana, apple, kiwi, strawberry, papaya, pineapple, mango, and soursop.

Chucha: Bad B.O. In Colombia it’s just bad body odor. (Ex: "You have Chucha").

Chuspa: A plastic bag.


Dar Gallina: Literal meaning: To give hen – chicken. When you scold someone; you (often angrily) point out and criticize some fault or error. (Ex: "If you forget again to clean up your room, your mom might give you gallina for it").

Dar Papaya: Papaya is a South American fruit, but in Colombia it’s anything that holds value to you. Jewelry, an iPhone, an expensive watch, your wallet, can all be papaya.

If you want to keep these from getting stolen or pick-pocketed on the street (normal in most major cities) act smart, hide them. (Ex: "Don't give papaya")

This idiom is a little hard to translate, but it closely means, “don’t give them a reason to rob you. ”It also means, “don’t let yourself get taken advantage of,” or “put yourself in a dangerous situation.” Simply, “don’t ask for it.”

Dar Pedal: Provoke someone.

Descachalandrado: badly dressed person (Ex: "You are Descachalandrado")

Desparchado: Is another popular saying that means: bored, not doing anything (Ex: "I’m home desparchado, doing nothing, waiting for the crew").


Entucar: To kiss. Caleño use only, and it means to smooch (Ex: "That boy wants Entucar with you").

Embarrar: To mess up, ruin. When something goes wrong or messes up; this should be conjugated when used, according to the situation. (Ex: "I la embarré!" - "She embarró her chance with that dude").

Emberracarse: Get angry (Ex: "She's emberracada because I arrived too late").


Foquear: To sleep, Deep sleep, passed out, knocked out. There is no literal meaning for this one. (Ex: "I want to Foquear" — "Marta is foquiada, she’s still sleeping!").

Foforro/Farra: Party hard.


Gallada: Group of people.

Gallinear: To woo. It’s usually said about a male that woos a female. Due to the rooster reference, it’s more strongly masculine.

Garoso: Person who eats a lot.

Gradas: Stairs.

Gonorrea: Is a disease, but in Colombia “Gonorrea” is rudeness, vulgarity. (Ex: “This man is a Gonorrea”) or express surprise (Ex:"¡Qué Gonorrea!”).

Guayabo: Hangover (Ex: "This Guayabo it's killing me" — "I’m enguayabado").

Guaro: Aguardiente or “Guaro” is Colombia’s national alcoholic drink, and different regions within the country have distilled their own versions: Aguardiente Antioqueño, Aguardiente Del Valle and so on.


Hablálo: Expression to ask “How are you” (Ex: “Hablálo Juan…”)

Hogao: Is typically used in Colombian cuisine. Traditionally made with only long green onions and tomatoes, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper that are sauteed over low heat during the cooking process.


Jincho/Jincha: To be drunk. (Ex: She's Jincha).


Lucas: Colombian Pesos. Lucas is obviously a name, but in Colombia, one luca is one thousand Colombian Peso. 20 lucas is 20 thousand Colombian Pesos.

Lulada: Is a traditional beverage from Cali. It's prepared from lulo, a fruit common to the region, lime juice, water, and sugar for sweetness. It often has the texture and consistency of a smoothie and is sometimes served with a shot of vodka. A lulada differs from the standard lulo juice in that the lulo fruit is not blended during the drink's preparation.


Manosear: Touch too much someone (Ex: “Don't Manosees that girl”).

Mecato: Candies.

Morrongo: Hypocritical person.


Oís: Meaning: Hear. Typical Cali’s word to emphasize a sentence: (Ex: “See you at 13:00, Oís!").


¡Paila!: Too bad!, Bad Luck (Ex: “Paila I forgot my wallet at house!”).

Parcero/Parcera: Bro, dude, man. Parcero/a is what you can call a friend or acquaintance in Colombia. Colombians like to say it to anyone they meet.

Parchando: Chillin’, hanging out. Parchando is the action of hanging out with your friends (Ex: "We are Parchando at the pool").

Parche: The crew, the homies. El parche is your group of friends.

Pelao: a young person.

¡Pilas!: Keep your eyes peeled!; means to be sharp and alert. (Ex: “Pilas with your cellphone”).

Pinchao: A fancy person.

Polas/Birras: Beers.

Prendido/Prendida: To be buzzed (Ex: "That Guaro me prendió").


Quiubo: Informal expression for say "Hello" (Ex: “Quiubo, How are you doing?”).


Sapo: Toad- Frog. In Colombia, Sapo means two things: a game, and a gossip person.

Sardina: A young girl.


Tombos: The police- The cops (Ex: “The Tombos are coming”).


Viga: Muscle man.

Do you know other words?


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