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18 Expressions You’ll Only Hear in New Mexico

New Mexico
by Zoe Baillargeon Mar 12, 2018

Yes, we may be right above Mexico and are frequently confused for being part of Mexico, but New Mexico is its own separate entity… including our language. New Mexicans use a colorful lexicon of Spanglish terms and expressions (some of which we don’t even fully understand), but one thing’s for sure: if you know these 18 expressions when you come to visit, it’s gonna be “all sick, huh?”

1. “I know, huh?”

We say this at the end of sentences all the time. It means exactly what it sounds like, but must be delivered in a monotone voice.

2. “Orale wey…”

This expression (which we usually say at the beginning of a sentence) could mean literally anything. Seriously. Even we couldn’t explain it if you asked.

3. “Eeeeee…”

Feel free to use this interjection liberally to express fear, excitement, disappointment, agreement, whatever. “Eeee, I just got off work.” “Eeee, this green chile is so good!”

4. “…or what?”

Tack this onto the end of any question for that little extra bit of frustrated emphasis. “Are we going to Blake’s or what?” “Will you marry me or what?” “Can we leave now or what?”

5. “It’s all sick, huh?”

Oh yeah, we’re all about this dated ’80s slang.

6. “Red, green, or Christmas?”

If you’re asked this in a restaurant, no, Santa is not about to jump out. We mean do you want red chile, green chile, or both (Christmas) on your meal (and if you want neither, get out).

7. “Do you want a Coke?”

By this, we mean literally any kind of soft drink.

8. “Welcome to the Land of Entrapment.”

Tourists call it the land of Enchantment, we call it the land of Entrapment because we can never leave (not that we really want to. I mean, where else are we gonna get Hatch chile?)

9. “Welcome to the Land of Enhancement.”

Once you see all the never-ending road work, you’ll understand.

10. “What are the New Mexican vowels? E, I, O, U, A.”

Probably one of our all-time favorite jokes. We have definitive vowel preferences.

11. “A la maquina!”

A handy term to use in place of an expletive when trying to express astonishment.

12. “Land of mañana”

If we can do it tomorrow (even if we can’t), we will.

13. “…eh”

Ah, the quintessential end of sentence modifier. Think like Canadians, but sans Canadian accent. “We’re heading to the movies, eh.”

14. “Duke City”

We mean Albuquerque.

15. “ABQ”

Because Albuquerque is a pain in the ass to spell.

16. “Fanta Se” or “The Fe”

We mean our hippy town extraordinaire, Santa Fe.

17. “Tamalewood”

Our personal version of Hollywood.

18. “’Topes”

The slang term for our only minor league baseball team. “Orale, you want to go to a ‘Topes game?”

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