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Spanish word for cool
February 2, 2012
07:17
logie100
New Zealand

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I know that in almost every spanish speaking country, there are certain words meaning "cool" or "awesome", like : chido, bacán, padre, etc..

When speaking with a spanish speakers, which word is the best word to use to mean "cool", that all speakers will understand?

I've chatted with some spanish speakers who never even heard "chido" in their life. 

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February 2, 2012
07:49
JWood424
CT, USA

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I don't know if it translates exactly to cool, but I hear "chévere" used in the way we might say "cool."

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February 2, 2012
09:07
Kevinpost
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logie100 said:

I've chatted with some spanish speakers who never even heard "chido" in their life. 

Diddo! Where on earth is 'chido' used?

 

The more formal way of saying, "cool" that I've found is "genial" which tends to be used throughout Latin America.

 

What you'll hear most throughout the caribbean, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Perú is "chévere". However, in certain parts of Colombia and Ecuador "bacano" or "nota" is more common. Sometimes, although more vulgar, "chimba" or "cuca" is used in parts of Colombia; however, I only hear "cuca" used by my niece's generation (she's 13).

 

During my three months in Argentina, all I heard was "copado"  

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February 2, 2012
09:11
Kevinpost
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Oh, and my Venezuelan friends (including some Colombian friends who are from the border region) say "verga" around friends which to me sounds very vulgar (it's like saying 'dick' or 'cock'). Again, this is very vulgar so I wouldn't recommend saying it in front of random people. 

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February 3, 2012
02:48
logie100
New Zealand

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Chido is from mexico :)

Chévere is used alot in Venezuela.

Yeah, I guess genial is understood by most people, it doesnt seem to have the same feel to it as chido, bacán or all those other words.

Guess we need a natives opinion ;) 

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February 3, 2012
04:39
MOSFET
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'Chido' or 'chilo'(the variation of chido used in northern mexico) among others are very common in Mexico, but i would say 'genial' is a very standard spanish word, you can never go wrong with that one.

February 3, 2012
17:17
Casiopea
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Well, the most stardand word would be genial, for sure. In fact, I had never heard some of the words you've mentioned (so thanks for teaching me them!).

 

Moreover, words like "padre" or"chido" don't make the same impression on me as they do other words I use myself (like genial), even if I understand the meaning. So "genial" is the best option to play it safe.

 

To add other options to the list, in Spain we would say "guay", "guapo" (with the verb estar) or the verb "molar".

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February 3, 2012
20:56
fabriciocarraro
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My friend from Dominican Republic said they use "chulo" or something like that a lot.

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March 12, 2012
11:53
Angela Preston
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I think you can use chulo / chula

March 14, 2012
14:06
Raphacam
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Well, this depends on the country. As any widely-spoken language, Spanish varies a lot in slang. I'll give you some translations for "cool" in many variations:

  • Bacán/bacano - western part of South America
  • Bárbaro - Argentina, can also mean "barbaric"
  • Chévere - Caribbean, southern part of Central America, northern part of South America
  • Chiba - Costa Rica 
  • Chivo - El Salvador, can also mean "pimp"
  • Chido - Mexico
  • Chilo - rural Mexico, very common in "Spanglish"
  • Chulo - can also mean "vulgar"
  • De puta madre - Spain
  • Fino - Venezuela 
  • Genial - can also mean "genial"
  • Guay - Spain
  • Lindo - Argentina, can also mean "very beautiful"
  • Padre - very Mexican in this meaning, can mean "father", as you probably know

I'd like to find some African slang as well, but those are impossible to find. :P

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March 14, 2012
15:02
Casiopea
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Raphacam said

  • De puta madre - Spain

Haha good one! In order not to sound rude, we can say debuti (debuten, dabuti, dabuten...) instead.

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March 14, 2012
16:02
inbayern

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hostia? as in 'ser la hostia'. Natives correct me on this, I think it can mean something is either really amazing and good or really really bad/rubbish.

Might be translatable as 'cool'? Otherwise guay, you already have, de puta madre...

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March 14, 2012
16:02
Raphacam
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Casiopea said

Raphacam said

  • De puta madre - Spain

Haha good one! In order not to sound rude, we can say debuti (debuten, dabuti, dabuten...) instead.

Yeah, it's a little bit... colloquial, but I couldn't forget "de puta madre" hahaha

 

I didn't know that one you just wrote, thanks.

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March 29, 2012
20:37
Gazania
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In Argentina we say ¡Qué bueno! ¡Qué lindo! ¡Qué bárbaro! Young people say ¡Qué copado! (this expression is quite new, teenagers use it a lot) The other expressions that many of you mention are not used in this country.

June 22, 2012
11:39
Lingo

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Have you seen "El mapa más ‘cool’ del mundo hispanohablante" yet?`cool

http://zachary-jones.com/zambombazo/infografia-el-mapa-mas-cool-del-mundo-hispanohablante/

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June 22, 2012
15:45
Casiopea
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Haha, ok that's a very cool map actually! :P

 

Seeing that the Spanish (Spain) expressions are just used here I felt the itch to know where they come from and that's what I found:

 

- Guay comes from the arabic word "kuwayyis" which meant "good"

Chulo comes from the Mozarab word "sulo" wich meant "know-all". Chulo also means cocky and pimp, but I don't know how we started to use this word as a synonym for "cool".

- Mola (molar) comes from the Caló (Spanish Romani) verb "molar" which means "to like". I didn't know, but it looks like a lot of the slang that we use in Spain comes from this language.

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