Learn Venezuelan Spanish slang words & expressions

Real VENEZUELAN SPANISH Slang Words & Expressions (& Venezuelan Accent)

Maura, yo quiero hablar español venezolano como tú. ¿Me enseñas?
(Maura, I want to speak Venezuelan Spanish like you. Can you teach me?)

Claro, Alex. ¡Me encantaría! Vamos a ver por dónde puedo empezar.
(Sure, Alex. I’d love to! Let’s see where I can start.)

If like Alex, you feel curious about Venezuelan Spanish, would like to expand your own Spanish or need to learn how Venezuelans communicate, this lesson is straight from my Venezuelan heart to yours.

¡Vamos pues! (Let’s go then!)

1. The Venezuelan accent

Let’s listen to it a bit and then we’ll talk about it.

If I have to define what I hear, I would say is a mix between Caribbean and snobbism. The Venezuelan Spanish you heard. As every country, we have different cities, different regions, and that makes for very different accents within the country.

Here’s a map. We have the Caribbean sea, the Andes mountain range, the Amazon rainforest, the plains, and some desert as well. And we all speak somewhat or very differently.

Why Caribbean?

Because we might omit the “s” and sometimes the “d” at the end of words. The vibe and the rhythm are soft and round, like most Caribbean accents. We also include some Spanglish here and there.

Again, something very Caribbean.

Why snobbish? This will depend on the Venezuelan person. My family is from the capital. For them that does mean some intent to pronounce more “properly”, emphasis on the bunny ears. Also to not speak super fast. Personally, I’m from an island where people are famous for speaking fast. So I’m a mix between that capital sound and the island sound.

But different ears get different vibes.

2. Venezuelan Spanish tellers

Many of the things we say can be shared by other Latin American countries. But, in this section, we’ll focus on the tellers. Those things I do not think any other Latin American says this way.

For this, I’ll ask my Venezuelan friends for some help.

MAURA – showing a banana
¿Cómo le decimos los venezolanos a esto?
(What do we Venezuelans call this?)


Cambur is a word I hold dear to my heart because it’s so representative of Venezuelans. Almost nobody else says this. Apparently it comes from a native language of the Canary Islands. Which makes sense since Venezuela received some of the biggest migrations from the Canary Islands to America.

¿Cuál es el término más básico para referirse a la gente joven? No “chico o chica”. ¿Qué decimos nosotros?
(What is the most basic term to refer to young people? Not “boy or girl.” What do we say?)

Chamo. Chama.

Like Mexican Spanish, we have many words with “ch”. Most of them come from variations of words of our indigenous languages.

Now, let’s get a bit more street.

¿Cómo le decimos a una persona que es chismosa y cuenta lo que no tiene que contar?
(How do we call a person who is gossipy and tells what they don’t have to tell?)


Don’t ask me why, because most of this things have an untraceable history. But anytime you hear someone referring to a snitch by saying sapo (frog), you know where they’re from. Though, they might also be Colombian if they say this… I’m no sure.

Anyone from Colombia out there that can help me out with this?

Understand it like this, Venezuela and Colombia used to be the same country. So, we share a lot of the same history. There’s even parts of my country where people speak more like Colombians than like Venezuelans.

¿Qué usamos para decir “sí” o “ok” o “estoy de acuerdo”?
(What do we use to say “yes” or “ok” or “I agree”?)

Sí va. Plomo. Fuego.
(Yes go. Led. Fire.)

venezuelan spanish with group of friends

Very Venezuelan thing to say. Now, let’s switch it up. I’ll tell you the word and you tell me what it means.

¿Qué significa “te borraste”?
(What does “you deleted yourself” mean?)

Te fuiste. Perdiste la cordura. Es un sustituto para decir que “hiciste una locura”. Lo usamos si hiciste o dijiste algo descabellado.
(You left. You lost your mind. It’s a substitute for saying “you did something crazy.” We use it if you did or said something crazy.)

For some reason, we have many abstract ways to imply someone lost it somehow. We can say things like: “te fuiste” and it would mean the same thing.

¿Qué significa “bájale dos”?
(What does it mean to “lower it 2?”)

Cálmate. Tranquilízate. Vas rápido, cálmate. Significa “baja la intensidad”.
(Calm down. Relax. You’re going fast, calm down. It means “lower the intensity.”)

We mostly say dos (2), but because we all know this, you can change the number to adjust it. Like: bájale siete, por lo menos. (Lower it by 7, at least.) If someone’s being very, very intense.

3. Learn Venezuelan sayings

We have a ton of sayings, just like any other language. The older it is, the more equivalences you’ll find in other Latin languages and even in English. But I want you to get the sayings that do come up often and that are painfully Venezuelan.

Let’s ask my Venezuelan friends for some help again.

First example is a classic saying. Everybody would say this.

¿Qué quiere decir “de tal palo tal astilla”?
(What does “from each stick, each splinter” mean?)

Que si tienes un carajito, es igualito a ti. Eso en inglés significaría: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. Exacto, eso es como que los hijos y las hijas son iguales a sus papás.
(That if you have an kid, it looks just like you. That in English would mean: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. Exactly, that’s like sons and daughters are just like their parents.)

Second example is a bit more neutral. Sill mainstream but not as classy.

¿Qué quiere decir “de que vuelan, vuelan?”
(What does “if they fly, they fly” mean?)

Es como “por si acaso”. Por si acaso es real. “Exacto, no me meto en eso porque a lo mejor sí existe”. Es como cuando pasan cosas raras y no hay explicación.
(It’s like “just in case.” Just in case it’s real. “Exactly, I don’t get into it because maybe it does exist.” It’s like when weird things happen and there’s no explanation.)

Last two examples are both a bit more street.

¿Qué quiere decir “le soplaron el bistec?”
(What does “they blew the steak” mean?)

Que le tumbaron la jeva. O el jevo. Que te quitaron la novia o el novio, ya está.
(That they pulled down the girl. Or the boy. That they took away your girlfriend or boyfriend, that’s it.)

¿Qué quiere decir “le calentaron la oreja”?
(What does “they heated the ear” mean?)

Como que le metieron un chisme. Como que le dijeron cosas que pueden ser o no ciertas. Es como conquistar a alguien o convencer a alguien en el oído.
(Like he was gossiped about. Like they told you things that may or may not be true. It’s like winning someone over or convincing someone in the ear.)

4. Venezuelan sense of humor

There’s no talking about Venezuelan communication without talking about our sense of humor. This will definitely be shared by some other Latin American countries.

I’m going to need you to expand your political correctness detector to make space for the Venezuelan sense of humor. It is everything but politically correct, in the strictest sense of the concept. Politics do play a role in it and, like everything, it can get out of hand.

But in general, our sense of humor creates more closeness than division in that sense. Even if it is the type of humor that does remark on differences, physical, cultural, and more. So,

If someone’s very hairy we might call him:

  • El peludo. (The hairy one.) Though we would say “el peluo”, without the “d”.

If they are foreign, we will call them by their nationality. I had a friend called:

  • El uruguayo. (The Uruguayan.) Some people never knew his actual name.

If they look kind of asian, no matter the actual nationality, we will call them:

  • La China o El Chino. (The Chinese.)
venezuelan spanish humor explained

These nicknames, though, only tend to stick when it’s clear nobody’s feeling particularly offended. In other words, my friends El Uruguayo y La China always introduced themselves as such as well.

I say “particularly offended” because a central part of the Venezuelan sense of humor is what we call “chalequeo”.

Here’s how Alejandra defines “chalequeo”:

El “chalequeo” es la acción de “atacar” a otra persona con tal precisión que el “ataque” es enviado y recibido como un chiste. Los participantes del “chalequeo” deben poseer el suficiente grado de confianza entre sí para acometer el hecho. El éxito depende de una habilidad intrínseca del venezolano para usar terminología negativa con intención positiva. No debe intentarse sin supervisión.
(”Chalequeo” is the action of “attacking” another person with such precision that the “attack” is sent and received as a joke. The participants in the “chalequeo” must possess a sufficient degree of trust in each other to undertake the act. Success depends on an intrinsic ability of the Venezuelan to use negative terminology with positive intent. It should not be attempted without supervision.)

It is painfully important in our culture to be able to “aguantar chalequeo” (handle the “chalequeo”). And, also, send it back. Though some people miss the balance, it mostly teaches us to not be easily offended, not to take ourselves too seriously and to set boundaries with humour.

So, if you’re grandma is messing with you because you’re too skinny, you can reply:

  • ¿Quién te manda a pasarme esos genes? (Who told you to pass me those genes?)

Or, if your brother in law is messing with you because you eat “too healthy”, you can say:

  • Lo siento, es que soy demasiado inteligente para comer como tú. (I’m sorry, I’m just too smart to eat like you.)

My adored niece, who was born in Venezuela but raised in the US struggles with this and it’s hilarious. She loves the “chalequeo” but struggles to take it. She says we’re mean. She’s getting better, though.

The other day my dad, her grandpa, (who’s the king of “chalequeo”) stole her phone because she keeps messing with him. We were driving out of the driveway while my dad laughed out loud while waving us goodbye. Inside the car my sister, grandma, mom, and I laughed hysterically while she looked at him in panic and screamed for her phone.

So, next time a Venezuelan “messes with you”, forget the words or actions and focus on the intention. It’ll be very obvious if it’s for real. And, 99% of the time it’ll be a joke. Plus, it’ll also be a sign that the Venezuelan is trying to get close to you.

Send it back and set your boundaries with humour. It’ll avoid any awkwardness while being effective and well received.

Now, Venezuelans are also famous for being very open and welcoming. We love other Spanish versions and borrow as many expressions as we can. That’s why Juan made a video about Colombian slang that you should go check out right now!

¡Nos vemos!

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