Keep Your Cool: Learn 30 Killer Words That Mean “Cool” in Spanish Slang
There are plenty of ways to say “cool,” but some are decidedly less cool than others.
For example, is it really cool to say “neat-o,” “nifty” or “groovy” in English?
Your Spanish skills are already pretty cool if you’ve mastered the slang of Mexico and tried out slang from Spain, especially so if you’ve worked on your South American slang from Argentina, Chile and Ecuador.
But now, it’s time for something way cooler. Some would even say the coolest.
It’s high time you learn the 30 coolest Spanish words for “cool.”
Why Learn “Cool” in Spanish Slang?
If you need a reason to learn new slang other than the sheer pursuit of “cool,” there are plenty of reasons from which to choose.
First and foremost, learning “cool” slang is fun. Let’s face facts: any slang is inherently fun. It’s more colorful than conventional language. But “cool” slang is even more fun in that you can use it all the time. Which brings us to our next point…
Slang for “cool” is also a great conversational tool. You’ll be using these terms whenever you see something you like, whenever you agree with something or even when you want to describe someone. These words are tremendously versatile.
Last but not least, learning this slang will make you sound like a native speaker. Anyone can learn textbook Spanish (and indeed, many people do in schools every day). Slang, on the other hand, is a bit more unique. Most schools don’t teach much slang, so being able to use these terms appropriately will make you sound and feel more like a native speaker. What’s cooler than that?
The 30 Coolest Words That Mean “Cool” in Spanish Slang
In Chile, Colombia, Peru and Cuba, bacán is used to describe something as cool.
In Colombia in particular, it may sometimes appear as bacano.
Este hotel es bacán/bacano.
(This hotel is cool.)
Be careful with this one, though. In other parts of the Spanish-speaking world, this word can mean anything from “lover” to “boss” to “steep” to “posh” because we live in a strange and confusing world.
This word literally means “barbarian” or “barbaric,” so you’d think it would be a negative. Indeed, it’s often used to describe something terrible. However, in Argentina, it’s frequently used to mean “cool.”
¿Te has comprado un convertible? ¡Qué bárbaro!
(You bought a convertible? How cool!)
3. Buena onda
Onda literally means wave or ripple, so buena onda is “good wave.” Buena onda is used in Argentina, Chile and Mexico to mean “cool” or “good vibe.”
Ella es buena onda porque siempre va a todas las fiestas.
(She is cool because she always goes to all the parties.)
Used in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Peru, buenazo is the equivalent of “cool” or “really good.” It’s generally used to describe inanimate objects rather than people.
Ese coche es buenazo.
(That car is cool.)
It can be also used to speak about people, but in that case it can mean anything from “really good looking” to “kindhearted person who is a bit too soft,” so before using it, check its meaning in the country where you are.
While cachete literally means “cheek,” it‘s used in Chile and Costa Rica to mean “cool.” It’s often used with a todo.
¿Vas a Chile? ¡A cachete!
(You’re going to Chile? How cool!)
This word is used in Chile to mean “cool” or “nice.”
Este lugar es muy cachilupi.
(This place is really cool.)
Calidá is Guatemalan slang for “cool” or “excellent.”
Esta playa es calidá.
(This beach is cool.
For Spanish students, this is probably one of the more familiar words for “cool.” It’s used throughout Latin America.
Qué chévere, no tenemos tarea.
(How cool/awesome, we don’t have homework.)
Chido is a Mexican slang term for “cool.”
Las vacaciones fueron muy chidas.
(Vacation was really cool.)
Choy is used as “cool” in Peru.
¿Has visto Machu Picchu? ¡Es choy!
(Have you seen Machu Picchu? It’s cool!)
While it literally means “tufted,” copado is used to mean “cool” in Argentina and Uruguay.
La clase es muy copada.
(The class is very cool.)
Descueve is used to mean “cool” or “fantastic” in Chile.
El Valle de la Luna es el descueve.
(The Valley of the Moon is very cool.)
13. Es una pasada
In Spain, es una pasada is used colloquially as “cool” or “nice.” Hint: it stays feminine even if you’re using it to describe masculine nouns.
Este artículo es una pasada.
(This article is cool).
This term is used widely throughout Spanish-speaking countries (though somewhat less often in Colombia and Ecuador). It literally means “great,” but it’s often used to mean “cool.”
Ella es genial.
(She is cool.)
Guay is another common slang term that many Spanish students learn in school. It’s popular among children and teenagers in Spain.
This Puerto Rican term can be spelled either way. It can be used to describe people or objects.
Tu teléfono nuevo está gufeao/gufiao.
(Your new phone is cool.)
While the noun molar means “molar,” as in the tooth, the verb molar means “to be cool” in Spain.
La camiseta mola.
(The t-shirt is cool.)
This word is mostly used in Spain. It means “cool” or “neat.”
Esta película es molona.
(This movie is cool.)
While nítido literally means “vivid” or “clear,” it’s used to mean “cool” in Puerto Rico.
¿Arepas para el desayuno? ¡Qué nítido!
(Arepas for breakfast? Cool!)
As you’ve probably already realized, this word literally means “father.” In Mexico, however, it’s also used to mean “cool.”
Mi padre es padre.
(My father is cool.)
Pichudo is commonly used by Costa Rican teenagers to mean “cool.”
Tus gafas son pichudas.
(Your glasses are cool.)
22. Piola/quedarse piola
Piola literally means rope or string. In Argentina and Chile, though, piola means “cool” as in “calm.” Quedarse piola is “to stay cool.”
Ese invento está piola.
(That invention is cool)
Él solo quiere provocarte. Quédate piola.
(He just wants to provoke you. Stay cool.)
23. Poca madre
While it literally means “little mother” or “motherless,” in Mexico, poca madre can mean “cool.” Sadly, it can also be an insult, so be careful—don’t direct it at a person.
¡Qué poca madre!
Mostly used by poor residents of downtown Santiago, Chile, pulento means “cool.”
Tus pantalones nuevos están pulentos.
(Your new pants are cool.)
25. Pura vida
While it literally translates to “pure life,” this popular Costa Rican phrase more often means something similar to “cool.”
No hay problema. Todo pura vida.
(There is no problem. Everything is cool.)
26. Qué chilero
This Guatemalan slang for “how cool” is so popular that a children’s show is named after it.
¿No hay huracán? ¡Qué chilero!
(There isn’t a hurricane? How cool!)
Suave literally means “smooth,” but it can be used in some Spanish-speaking countries to mean something similar to “cool.”
George Clooney es muy suave.
(George Clooney is very cool.)
In Chile, topísimo means “cool” or “hip.”
El concierto fue topísimo.
(The concert was cool.)
Tuanis is a a term used in Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. It’s very similar to pura vida.
Tu reloj es bien tuanis.
(Your watch is cool.)
In Argentina, zarpado is often used to mean “cool.” That being said, zarpado can also refer to someone who has stepped out of line, so use it with caution.
¿Fuiste a la fiesta? ¡Zarpado!
(You went to the party? Cool!)
So put on your shades, lean apathetically against a wall, whip out your new slang and you’ll be “cool” in no time!