Puerto Rican slang lesson no 2, ID theft, and LIFE

I meant to publish this Puerto Rican slang lesson yesterday for Cultural Tidbits Monday, but of course, LIFE got in the way. I found out I’m a victim of ID theft yesterday. I called the IRS to ask what’s wrong with my taxes, and seems like someone else used my DOB, social security # to file as me. Now I’m swimming in an endless ocean of paperwork, calls, etc. which I honestly  have no time to deal with (but will have to anyway).

identity theft

ID theft is more serious than most people think (Photo: JJ & Special K, Flickr)

I hold a 40-hr-a-week management job, in addition to working as a freelance travel writer PLUS maintaining/writing on 3 different blogs. And have a boyfriend. This ordeal has thrown my entire productivity cycle out of whack, but I’m honestly more concerned about the repercussions of this ID theft in the future and how it was University of Tampa’s fault and a massive security breach they are not taking ANY responsibility for. Needless to say I am pissed off.

Thank goodness for my readership, though, I wrote this post before I found out about this mess. The accompanying video I was going to record, however, will have to wait (unfortunately). Hope you still enjoy this Puerto Rican slang post anyway…I did put effort on it…

Click here for Puerto Rican slang video no. uno (directly from the beach!)

Puerto Rican slang, phrasebook

Puerto Rican slang phrasebook by Jared Romey (Photo:Speaking Latino)

Puerto Rican slang: A brief background

As you know by now, Puerto Rican culture is a mix of Arawak Taínos, Spanish conquistadors, and African slaves that rushed in since the island’s discovery in 1493. Naturally, Puerto Rican slang is full of Taíno, Spanish, and African influences, in addition to Arabic as well, due to the Moors invasion of the Iberian peninsula.

Another thing that you should know about Puerto Rican slang is that our Spanish is not as unique as most people think. By that I mean that Puerto Rican Spanish is in fact quite similar to Andalusian Spanish (Wikipedia). For instance, many letters are omitted and/or weakened: The letter S is barely ever pronounced, while letter R is typically substituted or pronounced as the letter L — and I used to think this was simply a Boricua occurrence!

Puerto Rican Spanish vocabulary time!

Ready to learn some new words!? Here’s my second lesson on Puerto Rican slang:


“A cacophony of ahumado,” which actually means smoked (and can be used to described smoked meats, yes), ajumao is the word of choice to describe someone who’s drunk. Meaning, engulfed by the “fumes of alcohol” (Wiki).


Shortened version of the word afrentado, meaning someone who is a glutton, or greedy, in any kind of way. Over-consumption of anything will grant you this adjective in Puerto Rico.


This Puerto Rican slang word actually comes from the Arabic-Andalusian word alqawwád, which was used to describe the person who spread the gossip in town (Wiki). Nowadays in Puerto Rico, however, alcahuete is typically used to describe a person who spoils another one. So, if my boyfriend spoils me rotten, he is my alcahuete!

Algarete / Revolú

If something is algarete or a situation described as a revolú, it means it is out of control, chaotic, disorganized…¡LOCO!


Also the Puerto Rican slang word for sour, amargao is a contraction of the Spanish word amargado, so it has the same meaning. When a Puerto Rican uses it to describe you as a person, he/she means you are a party pooper, a Debbie Downer, etc. (depending on context, you’ll know which applies)

Arrancao / Arranca’

Puerto Rican abbreviation of the Spanish word “arrancado,” which means torn or ripped out. We Puerto Ricans say “¡estoy arrancao!” when we are broke – aka our pockets have been ripped out!

¡A mí plín!

You don’t give a fudge? ¡A mí plín! is the phrase you want to use! 😉 No idea where it came from — you know, one of those phrases.

Anda pa’l sirete / Anda pa’l cara’

Holy crap! Indeed, anda pa’l sirete is one of those phrases you want to use in lieu of cursing. When something is amazing–for good or for bad–you would yell ¡anda pa’l sirete! If you wish to be closer to the original curse phrase (but still not be a potty mouth), you should say ¡anda pa’l cara’! (Want to curse anyway? Then yell ¡anda pa’l carajo! ;))

Got more Puerto Rican slang phrases and words? Share them below!

Puerto Rican slang: An introduction and video

This week’s Cultural Tidbits Monday will be a short, but nonetheless sweet introduction to Puerto Rican slang! 😉 In a few words: Boricua slang is a ridiculous mix of Spanish and other ill-pronounced Anglicisms, in addition to plain Puerto Rican inventions. I don’t even dare to call Puerto Rican slang Spanglish because I feel that the latter is a tad more refined 😛 Not bashing my homeland, just sayin’…our language is a little dysfunctional 😀 Hope you like the post (and video)!

Now you know what I sound like! 😛 That’s a video shot by Mr Marcello (@WanderingTradr) before heading out on his epic world travels. We’ve been friends since college (back in 2005!) and never lost touch. Glad to see he is doing so well in his nomadic lifestyle 🙂

So! Back to the video! I’ll start by transliterating the Puerto Rican slang you just heard and wasn’t spelled out by Marcello in the video:

Super a fuego

If someone asks “how are you?” and you’re feeling great, you would say “¡Estoy super a fuego!” whose direct translation is actually “I am super on fire!” XD haha!

‘Ta to’ bien

Want an alternative answer if you’re feeling great? “Everything’s good!” It is a Puerto Rican slang abbreviation of the correct Spanish phrase “Está todo bien.”

Bien cangri

When something is awesome, you would say this. It is more of the “guetto” kind of Puerto Rican slang, or the one used by the youth to sound (and feel) “cool.” I didn’t use this phrase much (I prefer “super a fuego” :P)


No, it isn’t bowel XD this is one of those ill-pronounced anglicisms in Puerto Rican slang. We are actually trying to say “blower” or hair dryer!

Que es la que hay corillo!? Todo bien!?

If you are the one who wants to ask a group of friends “how you doing?” you can say this. The direct translation of the phrase is “What is there group of friends!? All good!?” Yeah, doesn’t translate quite right, as the phrase omits a noun or two 😛


Group of friends. I used this way too much in college! So much that when my Latin group of friends made t-shirts for our group, mine said “Corillo” in the back.

Pai / Mai

The very guetto way of saying dad (pai) and mom (mai) in Puerto Rican slang. Ironically, my own parents would almost punish me whenever I would say these words, plus I grew to dislike them anyway.

Selfin’ / Sulfin’

Surfing! 😀

Puerto Rican slang, surfing or selfin

” Selfin’ ” (surfing in Puerto Rican slang!) a wave in Isabela (Photo: RUBEN DIAZ, Flickr)

Now, a few additional words to close Cultural Tidbits Monday with broche de oro! 😉


Another way of calling a friend. The plural form is panas. This word is not exclusive to Puerto Rican slang, as I have heard fellow Venezuelans say it constantly. Additionally, pana is the Puerto Rican abbreviation of panapén or breadfruit, which was brought from the South Pacific to the Caribbean during colonial times. It is now a Puerto Rican food staple!


Nope, not brothel! 😛 Again, another ill-pronounced anglicism, meaning “brother.” Same meaning as the English word, some Boricuas call their “bros” brodels.


Puerto Rican slang for Puerto Rican person, either male or female (yay for unisex nouns!). It actually derives from the Taíno word “Borikén,” which is how our island was named by our native indians, the Arawak Taínos, and means “Land of the Valiant Lord” (Wikipedia).

No, this wasn’t April’s Fool! More Puerto Rican slang to come next Monday

Learn more: Puerto Rican slang lesson, número dos