Colombian Slang Terms by Region: From Greetings to Insults to Love!


Colombian Slang Terms by Region: From Greetings to Insults to Love!

“Quiubo mano!”
What happened?
“It is a chimimba.”

What does Colombian slang mean? From where? Can guests use them?

From Colombian greetings to love sayings (and even friendly insults), the country has garnered recognition for its unique slang terms, phrases, and expressions, which may be as colorful and different as the people who call this wonderful country home!

Unfortunately, many of these ubiquitous words are seldom taught in school, leaving backpackers in Medellín or Cali astonished and unprepared. We made this guide for you.

Spanish-learners beware! Due to migration and social media use, each slang term may be heard across Colombia.

These terms are divided by region to help Spanish learners through immersive language study!
Colombian Pacific Slang

These slang words are from Cali, Popayán, Pasto, and Quibdó on the Pacific Ocean.

Chocó’s Quibdó. Quiubo

What happened? as anglophones say “What is up?” or “Hello.” Travelers and students should expect to hear this word nationwide, despite its Pacific coast origins.

What is up?

“What’s up?”

It sounds horrible, yet it means profound sleep from great fatigue. Consider the near-coma weariness after a 10-hour workday. Use foquiar then.

Want to sound native? Leave omit the “d” in adjectives, especially when talking to Caribbean islanders and coasters. Foquiao would replace foquiado.

That man left work and became foggy.

“He collapsed after work.”
Caribbean-Colombian Slang

These Caribbean slang words come from Barranquilla, Cartagena de Indias, Santa Marta, Riohacha, and Valledupar.

Barras, Billullo

Both mean money. Instead of pesos or dollars, “barras” refers to prices. Billullo usually means someone has a lot of money in their bank account and refers to their general affluence.

Coffee costs 1,500 bars.

“1,500 pesos.”

That person can afford that car.

“That car belongs to a rich man.”

If uttered by a costeño, a Colombian from the Caribbean coast, it could mean an arrogant, presumptuous man, especially toward women.

Carlos dances too smoothly for me.

“I don’t like dancing with Carlos because he’s arrogant.”

Part 1: The Bogotá Cachacos

The Andes dominate the country. Bogotá and Medellín, Colombia’s most famous cities, are in the most populous region. Key Bogotá and capital district slang words are listed below.


This could mean someone who is well-dressed or from the capital. Cachacos are born in Bogotá and have Bogotá-born parents, while rolos are born in Bogotá but have parents from elsewhere in Colombia.

Cachacos are elegant.

“Cachacos are elegant.”
Chusca, Chirriado

Chusca and chirriado are used to describe a buddy as attractive or handsome.


They are a cute couple—she is cute and he is cute.

“They are a lovely couple—she is pretty and he is handsome.”
Part 2: Medellín Paisas

The most populous region is the Andes Mountains, which include Bogotá. Antioquia, Armenia, Manizales, and Pereira are also there.

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