The 7 Most Beautiful Words in Mexican Spanish
Words that you will not find in the dictionary
Welcome to Mexico, my friend.
Even if you are coming to spend your holidays in an all-inclusive resort in Cancún, Los Cabos or Puerto Vallarta beaches, please learn Spanish. You will not regret it, I promise.
After taking your Spanish lessons, you can come here to discover that what you learned has nothing to do with the Spanish that people talk in the streets.
Lucky you, because here I am every Taco Tuesday to introduce you to real Mexican culture.
The list of words here is self-curated from my personal experience. As being a native Spanish speaker, sometimes I am not able to express myself in an accurate what with the words I am familiarized with. Occasionally, there is a translation in English but not quite the same interpretation.
If English is not your first language, have you noticed that sometimes words in English lack soul compared to your native language?
Well, to start this list, we have a very vivid word.
Huateque or guateque can be translated as a party because it is indeed a party. BUT, a huateque has an inner soul.
Normally you will have a huateque with your family and close friends. You will dance all day, all night long. Different styles of live music will play, starting with marimba to chill out the lunchtime, then some salsa, cumbia and merengue to move the booty. Please don’t leave before the mariachi arrives. Mariachi comes at the end because lyrics are perfect for when you are borrachito*, and you can sing them from the guts.
In a huateque everybody is happy celebrating something, or to someone and you're genuinely glad about it. Also, note that Mexicans, always have an excuse for making a big party.
Is your kid graduating from kindergarten? Let’s make a huateque.
Has your grandma passed away? let’s make a huateque to honour her memory and celebrate her lived life.
Are you buying a new house? let’s make a huateque.
Are you going to travel abroad? let’s make a huateque.
A huateque is a fiestón. Not a regular fiesta but a big party. For this, I don’t mean there are thousands of people which half of the attendees are friends of friends. In a huateque normally, everybody knows each other.
When I say that a huateque is a big party is because it can start with a breakfast and end with midnight munchies. Usually, chilaquiles, pozole or any other Mexican foodie relieve you from a possible hangover.
Here I wrote an article of what you can expect if you get invited to a Mexican party, aka huateque, because I found that some of our attitudes may be too much; almost overwhelming; to some cultures with different cores and values.
Ah, something important to mention, in a Huateque you will always find food, so there is no need to have lunch before coming. On the contrary, you should fast because is a warranty that food is going to be delicious.
After two long years in Canada, I seriously miss having a huateque with my family and friends. Although I have made the commitment with myself to honour my Mexican heritage in Canada by not missing out on important dates for my culture.
This word is a poem for the heart. Apapachar means to hug, but not your regular hug respecting social distance. Mexicans, we don’t know about social distance when it comes to showing care and love to others.
Apapachar comes from Nahuatl, an indigenous language that means “caress with the soul”. An apapacho is only extended to someone you really care about and you want to protect.
To give an apapacho you may tenderly and softly bring your beloved one’s body to your lap. You may feel their heartbeat in your chest, feel their breath in and breath out. You are close enough to either listen or feel the bump-bump of their heart.
By giving an apapacho is understood, you will kindly pass your warm hand through the other’s back and give a gentle caress. Also, this is the best thing you can do when you don’t know what to say to comfort your loved ones.
You know you are giving a very good apapacho when you can smell the other’s fragrance.
The best apapacho you can receive comes from your grandpas, from your mom, from your dad and from your siblings, also from your partner. I don’t have kids myself, but giving an apapacho to a baby is something beyond my words. Because sincere love is the main ingredient in an apapacho.
This one is taught to explain its meaning. It basically expresses an awkward feeling, for example, it gives me ñañaras to listen, or even think about the uncomfortable sound of nails ripping a chalkboard. Can you feel it too?
Ñañaras is often described as anxiety or the fear that causes you an unknown situation or thing. I know this sounds very ambiguous, but this is the purpose of the word. This is the joker word you may use when you can’t really describe the feeling you have. For this reason, ñañaras is one of my favourite words.
In Spanish, you would say that you have ñañaras, or that something provokes you ñañaras. For example, I can say I felt ñañaras the first time I travelled on my own.
This is a way to say NOW but in a diminutive way. Contrary to what you may think, this word doesn’t strictly mean NOW, RIGHT NOW.
Ahorita, actually means an undefined time frame for completing a task. This is a frequent cultural shock you should pay attention to when you meet a Mexican dude. Foreigners often think that ahorita means the actual meaning, but in the Mexican language, it doesn't.
The meaning of this word deeply varies from different factors: the person who is coming from, the tone they pronounced it, and the context of the scenario.
For example, if your mom firmly tells you to MAKE YOUR BED AHORITA!!!! You better make your bed right away.
But if your partner tells you ahorita they will put their laundry in the laundry basket, you can expect dirty socks remaining on the floor for one day, one week, or forever.
UFFF, this is a delicious word.
Chopear is the act to grab your sweet pastry and slightly soak your treat in a hot beverage. It could be coffee or hot chocolate, sometimes I prefer fresh milk.
In Mexico, we have pan dulce, translated as sweet bread. We have delicious pieces of bread to enjoy for breakfast or for late munchies. So when your bread gets a little wet and you enter it into your mouth, you will have a humid and warm bite. Oops, I think I salivated.
You have to make your calculus to avoid your piece of bread getting extremely wet. You want to avoid bread crumble as a submarine in your hot chocolate. The secret factors to consider are the temperature of your beverage and the texture of your bread. Soft textures may not resist too much humidity, while loaves and shortbread textures may absorb your hot chocolate without breaking soon.
I wish English had an existing word to mean TENER GANAS.
When writing in English sometimes I have to restructure my sentences because this word doesn’t have an exact translation that goes along with the same intention.
Ganas means eagerness, positiveness and willingness to make it happen. But ganas is something you have, you can feel. Ganas can also refer to a trigger that sets you to do something immediately. Ganas is also an immense desire to do something. Ganas can also refer to motivation, that energy you feel when you really want to accomplish something.
Am I missing an English word that expresses all these different intentions?
This is all contrary to the previous word. Flojera is translated on Google Translator as “weakness”. But flojera goes beyond feeling weak. Because you can have GANAS, the willingness to go out, but you feel flojera to put your booty off the sofa.
Flojera can also be to feel lazy. Flojera is what you feel after having a food coma. Or flojera is also the sensation when you have been all day at home in your pyjamas, and a friend asks you to dress up to rock the night!
You can say: I have flojera, I prefer to stay at home.
Now your turn
Spanish from Mexico has an enormous influence on the native language Nahuatl. And some words have been added within the time from a mispronunciation of English words too.
For example, I recently discovered that the etymology of the word RESISTOL which means GLUE comes from RESIST ALL in English. Wow, it blew my mind. Same with BISTEK, we borrowed it from BEEF STEAK. It blew my mind.
Mexico is a wide and diverse country, hence we have lots of slanfs and a different word to name the exact same thing. These words are often used in the center region of the country. But they may not apply in the upnorth and south areas of the country.
Take your Spanish lessons and impress your teacher with this slang and funfacts about Spanish. :)