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What Not to Say in Mexico

December 28, 2010

Over the past few weeks a certain Spanish professor who will not be named has taught me a lot of Spanish grammar and slang. He’s also been most helpful in suggesting words and phrases to be avoided in Mexico. It’s nice to know what you’re really saying, but also kind of horrifying to realize what you’ve already said out of ignorance.

No. / Spanish Phrase / Literal English Translation / What You’re Saying in Mexico

1 / coger mi chaqueta / pick up my jacket / coger = to make whoopie, chaqueta = to jerk off

2 / me gusta niños / I like children / I really like children (creepy)

3 / me gusta a mi professor / I like my professor / I have the hots for my professor

4 / voy a planchar / I’m going to do some ironing / I’m going to make love

5 / hijo, pronouncing the “h” which is normally silent / son / son of a bitch

6 / hotel, pronouncing the “h” which is normally silent / hotel / hotel by the hour

7 / estar rascandose / to be scratching oneself / scratching one’s balls (not doing anything)

9 Comments leave one →
  1. A.J. permalink
    December 30, 2010 9:34 pm

    hahaha. Been there, done that.

    • December 31, 2010 4:37 pm

      Hi AJ – Was there anything you learned that you shouldn’t say after you’d already been saying it? A friend of mine kept confusing “tengo mierda” with “tengo miedo”.

      • A.J. permalink
        January 2, 2011 12:06 am

        Yeah, there was, I just can’t remember the specifics now. But I do remember having the same issue down there.
        Is Mexico as good as I propped it up to be?
        The food?

  2. January 3, 2011 8:40 pm

    Hi AJ – I’m having an excellent time in Mexico, but I think that has a lot to do with the people in my Spanish class and teachers that I’ve been hanging out with for the last 3+ weeks. I leave Oaxaca on Friday to start traveling around the country, so far I’ve just been in this one city and I definitely will return some day. Yep, the food in Oaxaca is fab.

  3. January 4, 2011 8:20 pm

    Alas my dear Sariah,
    All languages offer words,phrases and sentences with a “plethora” of meanings”.
    “Plethora”, an excessive amount or number,an abundance.
    Example/ a short fat man with a plethora of cravat around his neck. Are they discussing
    the gowels or the scarf???
    An excess of red blood vessels or bodily humours. What in the world is a bodily humour.
    So am I telling the fat man that he has too many pouches on his bodily humour or that he should
    wear a smaller scarf?
    Yikes toooo funny and I am glad it is you learning Spanish and not me. After all I already mix
    English, French and Italian all together and am sure I make huge faux pas !!!!!
    N’est pas?
    Lauren xo

    • January 5, 2011 8:49 am

      So true! For me it’s even funnier, and more dangerous, that between Peruvian Spanish and Mexican Spanish there are so many differences. And so many words and phases with double ententres. In Peru they say to children, kind of like “later alligator” – “hola cameron con cola”. It rhymes, and means “hello shrimp with a tail”. But, in Mexico, the word cameron (shrimp) means penis (slang of course). My Spanish teacher said I must NEVER say “hola cameron con cola” to a child in Mexico. Ian and I have been laughing over the diferences, and he says the Mexicans are “bad” for having so many words with a sexual connotation. But hey, it’s fun to learn.

  4. dianacaballero permalink
    December 4, 2013 1:49 pm

    No sabía el doble sentido que tiene la palabra “chaqueta” en Mexico. ¡Increíble!

  5. Any permalink
    April 19, 2016 9:26 am

    I thought the saying was ” hola hola Cameron sin cola”

    • April 19, 2016 2:34 pm

      My Peruvian husband says “hola cameron con cola”, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are variations in other countries.

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