1. A llorar pal valle | Go and cry in the valley
Almost all of us have said this to a friend. The phrase is generally directed at a person who did not follow advice or made bad decisions. “I told you not to get back with your ex, now go and cry in the valley.”
2. Está peluo | It’s hairy
It is not about large amounts of hair on the way. We use the slang almost daily for things that are difficult to achieve: “The exam was hairy” or “Getting on her good side is too hairy.” Our fixation with the word “hair” is also clear in the following phrase…
3. Un pelo | A hair
We use the word to create different expressions: “Come on, stay a hair longer at the party,” or “Wait a hair! I just need to brush my teeth.” Basically, we mean something short, quick, or small. Sometimes we vary the expression with “pelín,” the diminutive. “Dame un pelín de tu jugo para pasar el bocado” means something like, “Give me a sip of your juice so I can swallow the snack.”
4. Parar bolas | (Something like) Parking balls
Even though this expression is used in other Latin American countries, it’s a very Venezuelan thing to say. It refers to paying attention, or actually…to not doing so. We use it to complain that someone is not looking at us or hearing what we say: “¡No me estás parando bolas!” literally means “You’re not parking balls for me.” Or you might hear someone say, “Stop watching TV and párame bolas!”
If we are into someone but the feeling is not reciprocated, we express their lack of interest by saying: El chamo no me para bolas, “That dude doesn’t park balls for me,” which sounds terrible in English.
5. Corta nota | Vibe cutter
This is a flexible slang phrase — A corta nota can be someone who interrupts you when you are in the middle of something interesting, or a negative person who always points out the dark side of things. It can even be that person who spoils the last episode of Game of Thrones for you. “Tremenda cortada de nota (terrific vibe cutting), daddy, don’t do that again!”
6. Ser ladilla | Being crab lice
Crab lice infest pubic hair and other body parts. These small, light-brown parasites torture the human carrier, which is the origin of the analogy. We use the term for uncomfortable situations, or to describe someone who is unbearably boring: “My sister is a crab lice; don’t invite her to the party.”
7. The jeva
Although most Venezuelan girls hate this expression, it is an informal synonym of “woman” used by young people. A guy might say, “My jeva is a dentist,” or “That jeva is ugly.” It is an urban term that refers to a “chama,” girl, girlfriend, or other female they know. And yes, it sounds horrible. Even if it’s not necessarily a sexist word, it sounds like, “She’s my woman” in the most-possessive way.
8. Te va a morder un peluche | A teddy bear will bite you
The viveza is both a flaw and a virtue of Venezuelan society. We make the most out of every situation. But when someone wants to be a smart-ass and take advantage of others, we warn them with one of the following: “Hey, careful, a teddy bear will bite you,” “An ice-cream car will crush you,” or “If you could fly, you would get entangled in electric cables.”
9. “¿Pendiente de una playa este fin?” | Beach awareness this weekend?
According to the dictionary, being “pendiente” is being aware or worried about something that is happening or that’s about to happen. But since Venezuelans are frescos (chilled out) and spontaneous, we simply use this phrase to show interest in an activity or to invite someone informally. For example, when asking friends to join us for drinks, we are not very diplomatic, we just say, “Aware of beers tonight?”
10. Me tienes hasta la coronilla | You got me (filled) up to the top of my head
This phrase is kind of old-school, mostly used by mothers, grandmothers, and older aunts. It is meant for situations that exceed one’s patience levels, especially because the other person is being a ladilla (crab lice) by constantly pushing the limits. Not sure what one is being filled up with, though…
11. Cara e’ Tabla | Board face
Common in youth vocabulary, the term evolved from “cara dura,” which means the same as chutzpah, the shameless audacity of those who are outgoing and “cheeky.” Examples of those…abound.
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