19 Ways To Say Dude In Spanish Slang

In English, the word dude is an informal term to refer to a person in a casual manner, but is there a way to say dude in Spanish slang?

Of course, there is! 

And even more interesting, there’s more than just one way to say this. 

In fact, the way to say dude in Spanish may change drastically depending on the region in which you’re hearing the language. 

However, no matter where you are, if you know the expressions people use to chat casually, then you’ll be able to understand conversations with ease.

Even better, if you use slang correctly, you’re going to have the chance to make more Latino friends and get closer to the culture. 

So, get a pencil and a sheet of paper so you can take notes because, in this blog post, you’re going to learn 19 expressions to say dude in Spanish slang. 

1. Viejo

This word is the English equivalent of the adjective “old”, you know, like when you say, “My grandpa is as old as a dinosaur 😆”

Mi abuelo es tan viejo como un dinosaurio.

However, Spanish native speakers may use this word as “dude” in Spanish slang. 

It’s very common to hear it in American TV shows dubbed in Latino Spanish, like when Bugs Bunny showed up and said: 

“What’s up doc?” 

Instead of that, Latinos would hear: 

“¿Qué hay de nuevo viejo?”

Or like the classic Drake & Josh’s episode, in which Josh had been invited to be the” theater thug” for the FBI’s most wanted show, remember that? 

Well, there’s this memorable part of that episode when Drake replies with terrible acting to Josh’s line: “Where’s the money?”

And then Drake’s says:

“Whoa, take it easy, man.”

Back when I saw this, I heard it in Spanish for the first time, and in Latino Spanish, the translation was:

“¡Oye! tranquilo viejo”  

It actually became a popular meme among Spanish native speakers.

2. Loco 

This is the Spanish version for the word “crazy”. 

However, beyond the normal use of the word “loco”: 

“¿Estás loco? No puedes saltar de un decimo piso y quedar vivo.”

(Are you crazy? You can’t jump from a 10th floor and be alive”.

We may also use it as dude in Spanish slang. 

And if you do this, it would communicate some kind of affection for your friend’s personality traits. 

Like if you were saying: 

“You’re so crazy that I like you buddy”.

Here are some examples: 

  • ¿Qué hay loco? 
  • What’s up dude?
  • Decíme la verdad loco, ¿a vos te gusta Laura?
  • Dud, tell me the truth, do you like Laura?
  • Loco, prestame un lápiz.
  • Dude, let me borrow a pencil.

Now, this won’t work for women because you’d have to use the female “loca”, and “loca” is mostly used in slang as an insult.

3. Llave

This means “key” in English, you know, like your car keys.

Native speakers use this expression commonly with strangers in an effort to generate “trust” in commercial traits or just to talk to someone they just met out in the street.

I know this doesn’t make sense in English, but what makes sense about language, really? 

Just understand that “llave” may be used as dude in Spanish slang.

Check out some examples:

  • Llave, ¿dónde está el baño?
  • Dude, where’s the bathroom.
  • Talking to a waiter in a restaurant: ¿Cuánto es llave?
  • How much is it dude?

Now, I have to be honest, I don’t know if people use this expression somewhere other than Colombia, and speaking of Colombia…  

3. Parce

Saying Parce as dude in Spanish slang is the most Colombian thing ever, especially in Medelln.

It works for every person you’re talking to, of all ages and genders.

However, something interesting is that most Colombian baby boomers consider “parce” a little too informal, and old people really never use this “dude” word.

But if you take a look at Colombians from the x generation, millennials, and the younger ones, “parce” is going to be part of the norm in daily speech.

Here’re some examples: 

  • ¿Qué más pues parce?
  • (What’s up dude?)
  • Parce, ¿tenés un minutico para que me ayudés con un trabajo?
  • Dude, do you have a moment to help me out with some work?
  • ¡Parce! ¿viste lo que hizo Cristiano Ronaldo en el último partido? 
  • ¡Dude! Did you see what Cristiano Ronaldo did in the last game? 

Have in mind that parce will work for both men and women, but if you want to be more specific you may use: 

4. Parcero / Parcera

This is just a variation of “parce” to make it a little more specific about who you’re talking to.

It’s basically like when we use “amigo” or “amiga”, it lets everybody know who you’re talking to, if it’s a man or a woman. 

Here are some examples:

  • El fin de semana estuve con unos parceros de viaje, la pasamos muy bien.
  • Last weekend I was with some dudes (friends) traveling, and we had a great time.
  • ¡Relájese parcero!
  • Relax dude!
  • Parcera, no crea que no escuché lo que dijo
  • Dude, don’t think that I didn’t listen to what you said. 

Related: 25 Frases De Viajes Que Tus Amigos Colombianos Siempre Utilizan (Los Harás Reír Si Tú Las Utilizas También)


5. Niño

This Colombian expression to say dude in Spanish slang truly takes the slang part to the next level.

It means “kid” in Spanish, but for native speakers this isn’t a natural way to call friends. 

In fact, you may hear this expression among people who tend to load their communication heavily with lots street jargon, and this happens mostly in the poorest areas of colombian cities.

Here’re two examples:

  • Niño, ¡vea lo que encontré!
  • Dude, check out what I found.
  • No, niño, no crea nada lo que le dijeron
  • No, dude, don’t believe anything of what was said.

6. Nea

This is a variation of number 4 because it’s only used in poor areas. 

The interesting thing about this expression is that I’ve only heard it in Medellin and its surroundings. 

Some examples: 

  • No sé, nea. No tengo idea cuando viene mi hermano.
  • I don’t know dude. I have no idea when my brother is coming. 
  • ¡Uy nea! yo no sabía que hoy había examen de matemáticas.
  • Whoa dude! I didn’t know there was a math test today.

7. Ñero

This expression means dude as well, but it’s mostly used in Bogotá city and it’s surroundings. 

Someone told me that it was a short version for “compañero” (mate), but I’m not really sure if that’s true. 

However, what I know for sure is that it works pretty much like “Nea” or “Niño” from today’s list of words. 

Oh, and I’m sure that if your mother tongue is English, then you might be wonder how to pronounce the “Ñ”. 

Basically, make the same sound you make when you pronounce the “nh” in the word “piranha”:

NH-EH-RO.

Check out some examples using this “dude” in Spanish slang:

  • Ñero, venga y acompañeme allí.
  • Dude, come and go there with me.
  • Uy ñero, me quedé sin plata para el bus.
  • Whoa dude, I ran out of money for the bus.

8. Pelao’

You’ll hear this expression in Colombia referring to young people in particular.

Something funny is that this expression comes from the word “pelado” meaning “pealed”, but native speakers use it to refer to a bald head or a bald body.

You know, young people tend to have little to no body hair.

Yeah, I know, that’s weird, but it is what it is! 

Now, aside from using “Pelao” for calling young people, you may also hear this expression as dude in Spanish slang.

An example of this would be:

Cuando estaba en la escuela, había un pelao muy inteligente que lo enviaron directamente a la universidad.

When I was in school, I met a very smart young dude who was sent directly to college.

  • ¿Qué hubo pelao’? ¿qué necesita?
  • What’s up boy? What do you need?

9. Mano

Nope, it’s not the Spanish equivalent for “hand”. 

If you hear someone calling another person “mano” or “mana”, then what they’re saying is the shortened version for

  • Hermano (Brother)
  • Hermana (Sister)

This is super common to hear when people have the intention to say dude in Spanish.

These are some examples:

Mano, ¿y qué? ¿cómo va todo?

Dude, and how’s everything? 

  • Mano, yo no puedo creer que el arriendo este tan caro.
  • Dude, I can’t believe renting is so expensive.
  • No mana, definitivamente mejor que usted se alejó de toda esa gente mala.
  • No dude, It’s definitely better that you got away from all that bad people.

As a Colombian, I can’t let this opportunity go without mentioning that this is a super popular way to say “dude” in Cúcuta city. 

10. Compa

“Compa” is the first half of the word “Compañero” which means “mate” or “companion”.

You can use this expression with literally everybody in a random conversation.

I remember one of high school teachers in Medellin who used to call everybody “compa”, and because of that he gained the nickname “el compa”. 

So, yes you may use this expression to call other people, but don’t over use it and gain that nickname like my teacher 😅

Check out this example: 

  • Compa, ¿hiciste la tarea hoy?
  • Dude, did you do homework today?
  • Compa ¿cómo llego al centro?
  • Dude, where’s downtown?

But so much for Colombian expressions, let’s see how people from other countries say Dude in Spanish slang!

11. Güey

“Güey” is a popular slang term originating from Mexico, which is widely used to mean “dude” or “bro.”

Originally derived from the word “Güey,” meaning “ox” in Spanish, it has taken on a new connotation in Mexican slang.

Despite its literal meaning, it is commonly used among friends to address one another in an informal and friendly way.

You’ll often hear it in casual conversations, and it has become an integral part of Mexican street culture.

Examples:

  • ¿Qué onda, güey?
  • What’s up, dude?
  • Oye, güey, ¿vamos al cine hoy?
  • Hey, bro, want to go to the movies today?

Related: 10 Films In Spanish To Get In Touch With The Culture


12. Carnal

“Carnal” is another Mexican slang expression used to refer to a close friend, similar to “dude” or “brother” in English. 

It comes from the Spanish word “carnal,” which means “of the flesh” or “related by blood.” 

In Mexican street slang, it has evolved to signify a strong bond and camaraderie between friends.

Examples:

  • ¿Qué pasa, carnal?
  • What’s up, dude?
  • ¡Eres mi carnal favorito!
  • You’re my favorite buddy!

14. Cuate

In Mexico and some other Latin American countries, “cuate” is a term used to refer to a friend or buddy.

It is similar to saying “pal” or “mate” in English. 

The word “cuate” itself originates from the Nahuatl language spoken by the Aztecs, where it meant “twin.”

Interestingly, though, it evolved on Mexico’s streets so people use it as “dude” in Spanish slang.

Examples:

  • Hola, cuate, ¿cómo estás?
  • Hi, buddy, how are you?
  • Vamos al partido de fútbol, ¿qué dices, cuate?
  • Let’s go to the soccer match, what do you say, mate?

Now, let’s follow along with som expressions from Spain:

15. Tío/Tía

In Spanish, “tío” means “uncle,” and “tía” means “aunt.” 

However, in certain Spanish-speaking regions, especially in Spain, these terms are also used as casual expressions to address friends or acquaintances, similar to saying “dude” or “bro” in English. 

It adds a friendly and informal tone to the conversation.

Examples:

  • Oye, tío, ¿vienes a la fiesta esta noche?
  • Hey, dude, are you coming to the party tonight?
  • ¡Hola, tía, hace mucho que no te veía!
  • Hi, girl, it’s been a long time since I last saw you!

Related: 3 Shocking Reasons Why Spanish Native Speakers Talk So Fast For You (Even If You’ve Taken Lessons For Years In The Past)


16. Colega

“Colega” is a Spanish slang term used to refer to a colleague, friend, or buddy. 

It is widely used in Spain and some Latin American countries as a way to address someone in a friendly and informal manner, similar to “mate” or “buddy” in English. 

It creates a sense of camaraderie and familiarity between individuals.

Examples:

  • ¿Qué tal, colega? ¿Vamos a tomar algo?
  • How’s it going, mate? Shall we grab a drink?
  • Colega, necesito tu ayuda con esta tarea.
  • Buddy, I need your help with this assignment.

17. Chabón

In Argentina, “chabón” is a commonly used slang term to address a person, equivalent to “dude” or “guy” in English. 

It originated from Lunfardo, a popular slang dialect in Buenos Aires, and has since spread throughout the country. 

It is an informal and friendly expression used among friends and acquaintances.

Examples:

Conozco un chabón que dice que la tierra es plana.

I know some dude who says that the earth is flat.

  • ¿Vamos por un café, chabón?
  • Wanna go get some coffee, dude?

18. Mae

“Mae” is the Costa Rican slang term to say dude in Spanish slang. 

It is derived from the word “maje,” which originally meant “simpleton” or “naive person.”

However, over time, it has evolved to become a friendly and casual way of addressing someone, regardless of gender.

Examples:

  • No te pongas así, mae; todo tiene una explicación.
  • Don’t get in this mood, dude; everything has an explanation.
  • No mae, no puedo beber; estoy conduciendo.
  • No dude, I can’t drink; I’m driving.

19. Papi

“Papi” is a slang term used in Puerto Rico to refer to someone, typically a male, in an affectionate or friendly manner.

They use it a lot in Reggaetón music, and it’s been spreading across other regions of Latin America thanks to this music genere.

It can be translated as “dude,” “buddy,” or even “papa” in English. 

While it can be used among friends, it can also be used flirtatiously or as a term of endearment.

Examples:

No me vengas con esos cuentos papi, yo sé que ti te gusta Sara.

Don’t tell me that old story dude, I know you like Sara.

Ven acá, papi, dame un abrazo.

Come here, buddy, give me a hug.

In Conclusion

the rich tapestry of Spanish slang offers a multitude of expressions to say “dude” in different Spanish-speaking regions. 

From the lively streets of Mexico to the vibrant neighborhoods of Argentina, each term carries its own flavor and cultural significance. 

If you incorporate these slang expressions into your conversations, you not only enhance your language skills but also forge stronger connections with native speakers and immerse yourself in the diverse Hispanic culture.

Here’s a wrap up of all the expressions you learned today:

  1. Viejo
  2. Loco
  3. Llave
  4. Parce
  5. Parcero / Parcera
  6. Niño
  7. Nea
  8. Ñero
  9. Pelao
  10. Mano
  11. Compa
  12. Büey
  13. Carnal
  14. Cuate
  15. Tío/Tia
  16. Colega
  17. Chabón
  18. Mae
  19. Papi

So, whether you find yourself exclaiming “¡Qué hay de nuevo viejo!” like Bugs Bunny in Latino Spanish or casually addressing your friend as “büey” in Mexico, these 19 expressions have equipped you with the tools to navigate informal conversations like a native speaker. 

Remember, language is more than just words; it’s a gateway to understanding and embracing different cultures.

Now, armed with these authentic and colloquial expressions, go forth and unleash your linguistic prowess. 

Break down barriers, make new Latino friends, and truly immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Spanish slang. 

¡Buena suerte, compa!

Remember, slang is ever-evolving, so continue exploring, engaging with native speakers, and staying curious to expand your repertoire of Spanish expressions. 

¡Hasta la próxima, amigos!

Diego Cuadros is a blogger and a Spanish online teacher. He uses stories to help Spanish lovers understand fast-speaking native speakers, so they don't freeze and panic in conversations.

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