Mexican Spanish vs Puerto Rican Spanish: 101 Spanish Words I Learned Watching El Chavo del 8 (2023)

You wouldn’t think that a Spanish-speaking girl, watching a television program in Spanish would learn more Spanish. At the time I didn’t realize that watching El Chavo del 8 would expand my Spanish vocabulary and make me understand that there were regional or country differences within the same language. In this case I am talking about Mexican Spanish.

El Chavo del 8 was one of the most popular television family programs in Latin America. This Mexican sitcom was created by comedian Chespirito (real name Roberto Gómez Bolaños) on June 20th, 1971 for his own show (watch the very first episode here), and in 1973 became a separate program that continued until 1980. The proclaimed programa número uno de la televisión humorística (the number one comedy program in television) was staged in a Mexico City neighborhood or vecindad where kids get in trouble while adult neighbors deal with their daily issues.

El Chavo, la Chilindrina and Quico were kids that always appeared in each episode; sometimes Ñoño and la Popis joined the crowd. The adults of this comedy were Don Ramón, Doña Florinda, el Profesor Jirafales, el Señor Barriga, and la Bruja del 71, the solterona or old maid who’s “real” name was Doña Cleotilde. All these characters were played by adult people and it was incredible how they created the illusion that some of them were 8-year old kids and others no.

In Puerto Rico, El Chavo del 8 was also well recognized. Those who were kids in the 70’s and 80’s received massive dosages of this show (and others by Chespirito such as El Chapulín Colorado) after school and on Saturday mornings. This program is still so popular that reruns still appear 40 years after it was created. So, last week I was watching a couple of episodes again, but now with the motive of appreciating how much non-Puerto Rican Spanish vocabulary I learned as a kid without knowing it.

The best Mexican Spanish slang example is the name of the program

Mexican Spanish vs Puerto Rican Spanish: 101 Spanish Words I Learned Watching El Chavo del 8 (1)

Just the name of the program and lead character, El Chavo, is the best example I can use to illustrate those language differences. Chavo in Mexico is a young boy, but in Puerto Rico is a penny. The fact that El Chavo was an orphan, malnourished, poor kid that spent most of his time inside a barrel led me and my sister to believe that his name came from a penny, which is almost worthless. At the time we did not understand that a chavo in Mexico was simply a kid.

Another good example that you will see on the list is the word cola. I was able to identify at least three diverse meanings for this word in the show: glue, butt and a line (as in waiting in line). None of those meanings exist in Puerto Rico.

(Video) 27 Puerto Rican Spanish Words & Phrases You Should Know 🇵🇷

Mexican Spanish vs Puerto Rican Spanish: El Chavo speaks Puerto Rican

Here is my list of 101 Mexican Spanish words and phrases I heard for the first time watching El Chavo del 8 paired with the equivalent Puerto Rican Spanish word commonly used in the island, when possible. This is how El Chavo del 8 would sound speaking Puerto Rican Spanish.

Mexican Spanish Word from
El Chavo del Ocho
Puerto Rican Spanish Equivalent
agotarterminarto finish
aguas frescasN/Aa type of drink
agujerohoyo, huecohole
apúrateavanzahurry up
aventartirarto throw
balón, pelotabolaball
bolerolimpiabotasshoeshine boy
bote (de basura)zafacóntrash can
bote (de cola)lata (de pega)(glue) can
brincar la cuerdabrincar cuicajumping rope
cachetadagalleta, bofetá, gasnatáslap
camioneta, camiónguaguabus, truck
chavoniño, muchachitoyoung boy
chusmacafre, tráfalarabble
colaculo for a person,
rabo for an animal
componerarreglarto fix
convidarcompartirto share
cubetacubo, baldebucket
(de mejores lugares
me han) corrido
(de mejores lugares
me han) botado
I have been thrown out
of better places
descompuestoroto, dañadobroken, damage
deteneraguantar, pararto hold something
écharle un ojovelarwatch something
enojarenfogonarto be mad
espérame tantitoespérame un momentitowait a moment
estorbarmolestardisturb, bother
goma de mascarchiclebubble gum
groseríasfalta de respetorudness
jarabemedicinasyrup medicine
lentesespejueloseye glasses
levantarrecogerto clean up something
machucar (los dedos)pinchar or pillar (los dedos)to pinch (your fingers)
marranacerda, lechonafemale pig
mascadapañuelosilk handckerchief
me doyme rindoI give up
mugre, mugrosotierra, suciodirt
nievehelado, mantecadoice cream
patas de chichicuiloteN/Asandpiper legs
petacasnalgas, culobutt
platicarhablarto talk (chit chat)
profesor**maestro, mistelteacher
regaderaducha, bañerashower
reprobarcolgarseto flunk
se me chispoteóse me zafó, se me salióit slipped out, spilled the beans
te doy mi palabrate lo juroI swear
torta (de jamón)sandwich (de jamón)(ham) sandwich
útilesmaterialesschool supplies
valijamaleta, maletínluggage, briefcase
vecindadvecindario, urbanizaciónneigborhood
vuelta de carnerorodadasomersault

*Puerto Rico Spanish uses the generic term matemática.
**In Puerto Rico the term profesor is used at university level.

Same Mexican Spanish word, different Puerto Rican Spanish meaning

There are some words from the list above that are used in Puerto Rico, but the common meaning is totally different. Here is the comparison:

Spanish WordMexican Spanish meaning used in El Chavo as…Commonly used in Puerto Rico as…
boleroshoeshine boyshort vest or slow romantic music
chabacanoapricotsomething low level, in poor taste
chavoyoung boyone penny
colaglue, butt, linetail
departamentoapartmentdeparment (such as Deparment of State)
lenteseye glassescontact lenses or camera lenses
macetapotstingy person
pastelcakelocal food similar to tamales
pegarto hitto glue something
pesoMexican peso (coin)one US dollar (bill)
profesorschool teacherprofessor at university level
tortasandwichconstruction term for roof

16 famous and unforgettable phrases from El Chavo del 8

Mexican Spanish vs Puerto Rican Spanish: 101 Spanish Words I Learned Watching El Chavo del 8 (2)Mexican Spanish vs Puerto Rican Spanish: 101 Spanish Words I Learned Watching El Chavo del 8 (3)Characters from El Chavo del 8 were responsible for making these phrases popular:

1. Se me chispoteó
Used by El Chavo when something slips out of his mouth that shouldn’t have.

2. Chusma, chusma, prr
Phrase used by Quico generally to Don Ramon. It is also accompanied with a push to Don Ramon at the end.

(Video) 11 Common Puerto Rican Spanish Idioms To Sound Like A Native

3. Es que no me tienen paciencia
Used by El Chavo and means “You’re just not patient enough with me”

4. Fue sin querer queriendo
Used by El Chavo and means “I did it on purpose, but I didn’t mean to”

5. No me simpatizas
Used by Quico and means “I don’t like you”

6. ¡Ya cállate, cállate, cállate que me desesperas!
Phrase used by Quico in a desperate way to shut up somebody that is speaking a lot and is interrupting something he is trying to do.

7. Te voy a romper todo lo que se llama cara
Used by Don Ramón as a threat and means “I will break everything called face”

8. ¡Me lleva el chanfle!
Expression used when everything goes wrong. In English equivalent could be “Damn!” and in Spanish ¡Me lleva el diablo!

(Video) 20 Mexican Slang Words You Need To Know | Cultural Insights

9. Al cabo que ni quería
Phrase used by El Chavo when he wants to eat or do something and no one else is willing to give it to him. Means “I really didn’t want it”

10. Matanga dijo la changa
Expression used by La Chilindrina when she takes something from another.

11. ¡Fíjate, fíjate, fíjate, fíjate!
Used by La Chilindrina to give some credibility when she is making up a story

12. Bueno, pero no te enojes
Used by El Chavo when he is looking for forgiveness when someone is mad because of his misbehavior

13. ¡Sale y vale!
Used by Quico when he agrees and is excited to do something with another person (like playing)

14. ¡Ta, ta, ta, ta tá!
Angry expression of Profesor Jirafales. It is his way to calm down when the kids do something wrong; just like counting from 1 to 10.

(Video) 9 Puerto Rican Slang Phrases To Help You Sound Like Local On Your Next Trip

15. Eso, eso, eso, eso
Used by El Chavo when someone clarifies wha he is trying to express. Means “Yes, that’s right”

16. ¡Chanfle!
Surprise expression just like Wow!

Even though there were Mexican expressions and words used on the show, it was very easy to follow. If you have not seen El Chavo del 8, I highly recommend you to watch some episodes on YouTube if can’t find it on your cable listing. There are also very good DVD collections available onlineMexican Spanish vs Puerto Rican Spanish: 101 Spanish Words I Learned Watching El Chavo del 8 (4), I know that you will love it!

Thanks my big sis, Analiza, and her memory that once again helped me remember some of these words. Do you remember more words and phrases from El Chavo del 8?

Check out these other Mexican Spanish Slang Word articles.

(Video) ¿Quieres ser Millonario? | Fun Game in Spanish! [Episodio 274]



Is there a difference between Puerto Rican Spanish and Mexican Spanish? ›

While inhabitants of both countries belong to the ethnic group, Latino, and speak Spanish, they speak it differently. Mexican Spanish is slower, and their consonants sound more like “S” and “L” while Puerto Rican Spanish does not produce the “S” and “R” and leaves out the “D” and changes “R” to “L.”

How similar is Puerto Rican to Spanish? ›

Puerto Rico has developed a unique version of Spanish. The language was greatly influenced by Puerto Rico's history. Puerto Ricans integrated thousands of Taíno words, adopted some pronunciation habits from African dialects, and incorporated English words or phrases (known as "Spanglish") into the language.

How are Mexicans different from Puerto Ricans? ›

Both Mexicans, as well as Puerto Ricans, are called Latinos, and they are Spanish speaking people. However, these are two quite different ethnicities. Puerto Rico was originally inhabited by Taino people while Mexico was inhabited by the Mayan and Aztec people.

Can Mexicans and Puerto Ricans understand each other? ›

Yes, they all will understand each other very well with the exception of the usage and meanings of many words and phrases. People from all over the world who speak Spanish, the same as English speaking people, can communicate without any major problem.

Why do Puerto Ricans say L instead of R? ›

In parts of Puerto Rico, it's common to hear a French-style, back-of-the tongue, unusually long r in place of the normal Spanish trill. Puerto Ricans see this pronunciation as a distinctive marker of island identity, and therefore a source of either shame or pride — or both.

What does Titi mean in Puerto Rico? ›

Titi, or "auntie," is Rosaura Andreu, an actress and stage star. She hit her prime with a 1953 children's TV show in Puerto Rico that endured for 30 years.

What does WAWA mean in Puerto Rican? ›

Why do Puerto Ricans call the bus “wawa”? Guagua (Wawa) is a Canary Island expression for bus. Puerto Rican Spanish (español puertorriqueño) is the Spanish language as characteristically spoken in Puerto Rico and by millions of people of Puerto Rican descent living in the United States and elsewhere.

How do Puerto Rican say cake? ›

Puerto Rico

Any type of cake, unless otherwise having a specific name (example: tres leches), is termed a bizcocho.

What do you call someone who is Mexican and Puerto Rican? ›

OMB defines "Hispanic or Latino" as a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

Do Puerto Ricans count as Mexican? ›

Mexican – Includes all citizens of Mexico regardless of race. Puerto Rican – Includes all persons of Puerto Rican descent. A member of any ethnicity, other than Hispanic.

How can you tell if someone is Puerto Rican? ›

To find out about your Puerto Rican ancestry, the most scientific way is to take an ancestry DNA testing kit which will give you a definitive answer.

How do Puerto Rican say thank you? ›

Gracias (GRAH see us): Thank you

Another essential Spanish word any time you're staying at a beach resort in Puerto Rico.

How do Puerto Ricans say hi? ›

¡Hola, hola! Hey!

How do Puerto Ricans say love? ›

Te quiero/Te amo.

How do Puerto Ricans say bus? ›

In Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and some other Caribbean countries, guagua is how they call the bus. Some people say that this word comes from the English word: wagon, but there are others that state that it was because Wa Wa and Co.

How do Puerto Ricans say glasses? ›

Meanings of "pair of eyeglasses (cuba/puerto rico)" in Spanish English Dictionary : 1 result(s)
1Generalespejuelos [m]
1 more row

What are Puerto Ricans mixed with? ›

As a result, Puerto Rican bloodlines and culture evolved through a mixing of the Spanish, African, and indigenous Taíno and Carib Indian races that shared the island. Today, many Puerto Rican towns retain their Taíno names, such as Utuado, Mayagüez and Caguas.

Why do Puerto Ricans not say s? ›

The “S” sound: Puerto Ricans will either completely ignore the S sound or turn it into H sound (something that can be found in other caribbean accents such as Venezuelan Spanish). This change also applies for the Z sound. This phenomenon will occur when the S is in the middle of a word or at the end.

Why do Puerto Ricans say China? ›

Sweet oranges were brought to the New World by Portugal and in Spanish they were called naranja de China and naranja mandarina or tangerine. So china is the term adopted by Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, some parts of Venezuela and Yucatán.

Why do Puerto Ricans say Zafacon? ›

DOMINICAN WORD OF THE DAY: Zafacón This word is used only in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and means "trash can". Though some sources believe it's an anglicism from the word "safety can" I think it's more likely came from the word "zafar" which means to get rid of and comes from the Andalusian Arab word azāḥa.

What does wepa wepa mean? ›

What does wepa mean? Wepa is a versatile Latin-American Spanish slang exclamation used to express excitement, congratulations, and joy, similar to the English Oh yeah!, Wow!, or That's awesome!. Related words: awesomesauce.

What does Chula mean in Puerto Rico? ›

Chula is Spanish slang for “cute” or “a beautiful woman,” often seen in mami chula (“hottie”).

What do Puerto Ricans call their boyfriends? ›

Jevo / Jeva. These two words refer to a boyfriend or girlfriend in Puerto Rico.

What do Puerto Ricans call a hangover? ›

1. Resaca. Resaca is the most common Spanish way to say “hang over” or “hung over.” It's popularly used in Spain, Argentina, Cuba, Peru and almost all of the Spanish-speaking countries.

What does Baba mean in Puerto Rican? ›

mucus, the ~ Noun.

What do they call girls in Puerto Rico? ›

17. guial: Comes from the English “girl” and is used in Panama and Puerto Rico.

What does Bobo mean in Puerto Rico? ›

fool. El bobo se dejó engañar. The fool let himself be taken in. Es un bobo y no tiene criterio propio.

How do Puerto Ricans say banana? ›

Although we use the word banana in Puerto Rico, we regularly refer to this delicious fruit, green or ripe, as GUINEO.

What do Puerto Ricans say before eating? ›

When I was in Puerto Rico people would say "buen brovecho" before every meal. It roughly translates to "enjoy your meal", and it became one of my favorite parts of the trip. I can't really explain why I loved hearing it so much.

What is my race if I am white? ›

White – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

What do Native Puerto Ricans call themselves? ›

The Taíno name for Puerto Rico was Boriken. This is why Puerto Rico is now also called Borinquen by Puerto Rican people, and why many Puerto Ricans call themselves Boricua. Many Puerto Rican towns still have the original Taíno name (Caguas, Cayey, Humacao, Guayama and others).

What is my race if I am Dominican? ›

Genetics and ethnicities

According to a 2015 genealogical DNA study of the Dominican population, their genetic makeup was estimated to be predominantly European and Sub-Saharan African, with a lesser degree of Native American ancestry.

What state has the most Puerto Ricans? ›

In the 21st century, the principal destination for Puerto Ricans is the state of Florida, which today houses the largest concentration of Puerto Ricans, having surpassed New York state.

Do Puerto Ricans have Spanish ancestry? ›

Puerto Rico was a Spanish Overseas Province for nearly 400 years. The bulk of Puerto Ricans' European ancestry is from Spain. In 1899, one year after the United States invaded and took control of the island, 61.8% of people were identified as White.

Are people born in Puerto Rico Hispanic? ›

Hispanic or Latino origin includes people of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central and South American, Dominican, and other or unknown Latin American or Spanish origin. People of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

Why are Puerto Ricans so proud? ›

Puerto Ricans are proud of their cultural heritage and history, stemming from a mix of Taíno, Spanish, and African traditions. Whether it's through music, art, food, traditions, festivals, or one of many other bountiful options, culture is present—and waiting to be discovered—in every corner of this Caribbean paradise.

Are all Puerto Rican Tainos? ›

DNA evidence shows that most Puerto Ricans are a blending of Taino (Indian), Spanish and African according to studies by Dr. Juan Martinez-Cruzado. History is written by the conquerors. The Native peoples of North America know this all too well, as they are still trying to bring the truth to light.

How do Puerto Ricans say bye? ›

If you want to know the most standard way of saying goodbye in Spanish, adiós is your go-to term. Let's hear how to pronounce it: Adiós. -Adiós.

How do Puerto Ricans say God bless you? ›

Puerto Ricans Around the World

Why is it that our Puerto Rican parents always tell us "Dios te bendiga" -May God bless you, and we respond "Bendición" - Blessing?

What do Puerto Ricans say when someone sneezes? ›

In Spanish there are different responses for your first three sneezes, and they vary by region. The most well-known version tends to be used more in Latin America: salud (“health”) after the first sneeze, dinero (“money”) after the second, and amor (“love”) after the third.

How do Puerto Ricans say bro? ›

However, in Puerto Rican slang, the exclamation ¡Mano! is an abbreviation of hermano (brother). Indeed, in slang it's used to mean brother; however, as an exclamation, ¡Mano! roughly means “hey, bro!”

What do Puerto Ricans call their good friends? ›

Broki. Many Puerto Rican slang words come from English. Broki is one of them; it comes from “brother,” and used in its broader sense: it can mean both a sibling or a close friend.

How do Puerto Ricans say daddy? ›

Papi (pah-pee) is the Spanish word for “daddy.” Many Spanish-speaking children use “papi” as an affectionate term for their dads, while Spanish-speaking adults even use “papi” as a cute nickname for their partner.

What do Puerto Ricans call their mother? ›

We call all of the women in our lives Mami not only our mother but our sister, girlfriend, cousin, nieces, etc. I find it hilarious when visiting my Mom in Puerto Rico, and have my nieces over, and I call them Mami, and my Mom is in the kitchen responding ¿Qué?; and I say, it's not you!

What do Hispanics call their girlfriend? ›

Chica – Girlfriend / Girl

Depending on the context, this expression can be translated either as 'my girl' or 'my girlfriend'. 'Chica' can be used either as a way to call your girlfriend or as a way to refer to her when talking to others.

Is Puerto Rican Spanish close to Spain Spanish? ›

The Spainards that originally arrived in Puerto Rico were from the Southern Castilian region of Spain. For that reason, the Spanish spoken in Puerto Rico most closely resembles the Spanish spoken in that region.

Are Puerto Ricans Latino or Caribbean? ›

"To be considered Latina/Latino/Latinx, you or your ancestors must have come from a Latin American country: Mexico, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, French-speaking Caribbean nations, Central or South America (though English-speaking regions)." Someone with roots in those countries—or as in Puerto Rico's case, ...

What DNA makes a Puerto Rican? ›

The average Puerto Rican is made up of 12% Native American, 65% West Eurasian (Mediterranean, Northern European and/or Middle Eastern) and 20% Sub-Saharan African DNA, so don't be surprised if your family tells you that their ancestors came from somewhere utterly different to your expectations.

Can Hispanics be Puerto Rican? ›

OMB defines "Hispanic or Latino" as a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

What percent of Puerto Rico is white? ›

Persons 65 years and over, percent 22.7%
Female persons, percent 52.7%
Race and Hispanic Origin
White alone, percent 60.0%
54 more rows

What 3 races make up Puerto Ricans? ›

Studies have shown that the racial ancestry mixture of the average Puerto Rican (regardless of racial self-identity) is about 64% European, 21% African, and 15% Native Taino, with European ancestry strongest on the west side of the island and West African ancestry strongest on the east side, and the levels of Taino ...

What ethnicity do Puerto Ricans fall under? ›

Hispanic or Latino

States. Many Latinos have come from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and/or South America.

How do Puerto Ricans pronounce LL? ›

Definitely, the puertorrican pronunciation of the "ll" is more like as in "j" (Joe, Jill, Jack..."poh-joh") and even stronger. You will find all regions of PR pronounce it like that. There is no correct or incorrect Spanish pronunciation of "ll", it is totally a matter of accent and regions.

Is Puerto Rican Spanish hard? ›

Native Spanish speakers around the world would agree that the Spanish from Puerto Rico is one of the most difficult dialects to understand.

How do Puerto Ricans say Puerto Rico? ›

Puerto Rico would be pronounced Puelto Rico. In certain regions, the R is never rolled. Instead the guttural R is used, which sounds identical to the R in French.

What are Puerto Rican people called? ›

They don't usually call themselves Americans or "Americanos", but "Puertorriqueños" or "Boricuas." To most Puerto Ricans, "my country" means "Puerto Rico", not the United States. Boricua, derived from the Taíno word Boriken is used to affirm Puerto Ricans devotion to the island's Taíno heritage.

Are Puerto Ricans Americans or Latinos? ›

As Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, all Puerto Ricans living on both the island and stateside have US citizenship. At 9.6% of the Hispanic population in the United States, Puerto Ricans are the second-largest Hispanic group nationwide, after Mexican Americans and are 1.78% of the entire population of the United States.


1. Don't Mistake these Mexican Gestures!
(Learn Spanish with
2. Mexican Slang That Will Blow Your Mind
(Learn Spanish with Spanish55)
3. El Abecedario | Learn the Alphabet in Spanish | Jack Hartmann
(Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel)
4. 6 Spanish Words for TRASH CAN: How to say TRASH CAN in Spanish
(Speaking Latino)
5. How To Talk Dominican Spanish (Dominican Accent & Words Practice)
(Speak Spanish Faster)
6. Puerto Rican Slang That Blew Our Minds [31 Must Know Phrases]
(Spanish and Go)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tyson Zemlak

Last Updated: 02/21/2023

Views: 5906

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tyson Zemlak

Birthday: 1992-03-17

Address: Apt. 662 96191 Quigley Dam, Kubview, MA 42013

Phone: +441678032891

Job: Community-Services Orchestrator

Hobby: Coffee roasting, Calligraphy, Metalworking, Fashion, Vehicle restoration, Shopping, Photography

Introduction: My name is Tyson Zemlak, I am a excited, light, sparkling, super, open, fair, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.