10 Colombian Expressions you won’t Find in a Dictionary

In Colombia, we use different expressions for different situations we face every day, either happy or sad, and these expressions you won’t find them in any dictionary. We talked already about the 10 Colombian slang expressions you should know and use, and this time we will learn about the Colombian dictionary, the words we normally use and you won’t find in any other place.

This is the first 10 word expressions:

 1.  Yeyo: “Me va a dar un Yeyo!” This word was born at the Caribbean Coast and all Colombia uses now. It refers to someone that is feeling bad and feels is going to faint. Moms, for example, when they get upset they say they are going to have a Yeyo due to something wrong you just did. Try not to pull out her Yeyo!


2. Patatús: It’s similar to Yeyo, but is refers strictly to a bad health condition. When you are not doing well and normally you are sick, or you are about to be, you will have a Patatús.


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3. Abeja: Or in English “Bee”, is used in a negative way to refer someone who is always taking advantage over someone. We say that someone is Abeja when this person wants to skip the queue, leave without paying or cheat during an exam.


4. Tragado: This is a funny one. Tragar means “Swallow” and we normally say “Más tragado que calzoncillo de torero” (More swallowed than bullfighter’s underwear). Can you imagine what this stands for? Yes! When you are deeply in love! You are as lost as the bullfighter’s underwear, that we can’t even see you around (a friend of you will say you this).


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5. Guayabo: Is the Colombian expression for Hangover. It comes from the word Guayaba, an exotic fruit that has little clean worms inside and seems they went up to your head and you can’t stand anymore!


6. Pinta: Women use this word when talking about a handsome man. Pinta refers to Outfit and someone is well-dressed and good looking, women say “Ese man está muy pinta” (That guy is so handsome).


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7. Guachafita: Is the moment when you have created a mess during a party. This is used by old people referring to the disorder of young people. If you are living inside an apartment complex and you decided to give a party, the most probably thing is that the old people call to the Complex Administrator to leave a complaint about the Guachafita you are doing!


8. Achicopalado: This word refers to a sad mood. When you don’t feel happy at all and seem to be depressed, you are Achicopalado and we can tell! Shiners and pale.


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9.  Paila: This is a flat kitchen utensil for making Arepas (traditional Colombian food, a flatbread made of ground corn dough) but we say this every time when something goes wrong or someone is screwed. We point our neck with one hand and say “Paila!”, as you are dead.

By Wrong Way Corrigan – http://bit.ly/18eEfhd

10. Líchigo: I love this word, sounds very strange and it has different meanings. In Antioquia and Caldas region it is a little purse for keeping money, a pocket knife or a handkerchief. But in Bogotá we say this for a very stingy person, the one that doesn’t leave a penny on the table. We scratch our elbow like we were going to find something (money) on it!


Now, for Christmas time, a moment to share among relatives and friends, please don’t be Líchigo, try to do the biggest Guachafita with your most beloved so you feel happy and don’t get Achicopalado. And of course, manage alcohol; stay conscious, otherwise the Guayabo won’t help you to remember a thing about last night and 9 months later… PAILA! You wouldn’t like to get a little surprise.

Ricardo Suárez.

Beyond Colombia

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  1. the most colombian thing is talking about our slang with foreing friends, then when they use the words you feel like….you made it! hahah you already colombianize them

  2. add an 11th one:

    Recocha: Any activity that promotes mess, fun and noise. Usually done with friends, specially when drunk or at school.
    Eg que recocha tan bacana

  3. Number 6 meaning is a little bit wrong. “Pinta” as noun means outfit, For example “La pinta para navidad” = Christmas’ outfit. As adjective “pinta” means good-looking or a sarcastic nice looking either for guys or girls, depends the situation.

    Great post I laugh a lot with “tragado”, haha!.

  4. the expression “Paila” comes from the expression “Paila mocha” and refers to a bad situation, similar when you need to take the hot Paila and it doesn’t have nothing to handle with ( no tiene mango para coger la paila caliente)!

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