The Journalist Files: Hablas Valluco?

Here’s a story I co-wrote with a former co-worker some years ago. We were discussing it one day over tacos and a haze of cold Tecates at lunchtime (note really, but it makes the scene all thatt much cooler). This actually became some sort of e-mail chain and it made my way a few times. Only one person realized that I actually had a hand in writing this, and we even had telephone calls from all over the country asking for interviews.

The term “Valluco” refers to those that reside or are from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas — the four southernmost counties — and these words are used daily.

Yeah, like we were experts … :

(Note: Don’t remember the date of publishing, but it was before 2007)


Here is a list of colloquialisms that are often used by Rio Grande Valley residents. Such words can often be heard around colonias, barrios, el correo (post office), H.E.B or convenience stores (Note: words are followed by English translation and then in proper Spanish):

Sangrona — conceited; engreído

La wifa — wife; esposa

Pisto — shot of alcohol; trago

Sangre de chango — iodine; yodo

Menso — idiot; idiota

Es bien menso. (He’s an idiot.)

Mochate — share; compartir

You bought pizza? Mochate con un slice!

Cuete — drunk; borracho

Kiko se puso bien cuete.

Destrampado — drunk; borracho

(Note: See cuete)

Iscreen — ice cream; helado

Chiflado(a) — spoiled; niño (a) malcriado(a)

Chamorro — calves (legs); pantorrilla

Chanclas — flip-flops; sandalias

Papel — newspaper; periodico

Rata — thief; ladron

No te aguites — Don’t be embarrassed; avergonzar

Vistas — movie theater; cine

Tickete — ticket; boleto

Guajolote — turkey; pavo

Turnio — cross-eyed; bizco

Someone with a lazy eye would bereferred to as “Turnio”

Simón — yes; si

Did you bring lunch today? The response is, “Simón.”

Chansa — chance; opportunidad

Dale chansa. (Give him a chance.)

Sonso — silly; bobo

Someone runs into a sliding glass door and the response would be: “Sonso!”

Vironga — beer; cerveza

Traime una vironga. Bring me a beer.

Frajo — cigarette; cigarillo

Mochate con un frajo. May I please have a cigarette?

Guines — frank, hot dog; salchicha,

perro caliente

Cayke — cake; pastel

Troca — truck; camioneta

Mapear — to mop; trapiar

Encuerado — naked; desnudo

Codo — short for the Spanish word, “Codicioso,” means stingy, greedy

Watcha — look; mira

Hay te watcho — see you later; hasta luego

Calar —To try something; Lo voy a probar

Chamba — job; trabajo

Horquia — clothespin; pinza para tender ropa

Blanquillos — eggs; huevos

Biles — bills; cuentas

Ya me voy a pagar los biles.

Parquear — to park; estacionar

No hay room para parquear? (Is there any room to park?)

Safada(o) — off his or her rocker; loco(a)

The Martinez boy was trying to stick histongue in the electrical outlet again. Thathuerco esta safado.

Soflamero(a) — one who is melodramatic; melodramático

Catos — punches; puñetazo

Te voy a meter un cato. I’m going to punch you.

Bien de aquellas — cool; excelente

Your new car has spinners … It’s bien de aquellas

Chillon(a) — crybaby; lloron (a)

Chillando — to cry; llorar

Feriar mi cheque — cash my check; cobrar

El bote — jail; carcel

La pinta — jail; carcel

Escuelin — school; escuela

Lonche — lunch; almuerzo

Ranfla — car; auto

Canton — house; casa

Chante — my house, my turf

Chones — underwear; calzones

Cachucha — baseball cap; gorra

Sacatines — socks; calcetines

Flacucho (a) — super skinny,

comes from the word, flaco.

Gordiflon (a) — super fat; comes from the word, gordo.

Nalgada — to spank; dar una zurra

Comelon (a) — one who eats a lot; glotón

Trailiada — thrilled; emocionada

Cuates — twins; gemelas, gemelos


Common phrases

The following are words or phrases that are very common in the area. In some cases, use of the words or phrases has been provided to clarify their meaning:


Papelera — drama queen

Pistiar — to drink alcohol (Also,

pisto means a shot of liquor)

My wife said I can’t go pistiar with you guys anymore.

Ese — dude, man.

Eh, ese, where did you get your Stacey’s from? Payless?

Vato — similar to Dude, man.

Cholo — low class

Chola — female version of cholo

Pachuco — Another term for low rider or cholo. Also called, ’chuco, for short.

Pedo — drunk; borracho … but there are a number of ways to use this word. Happy the comedian used the word to identify several situations during his acts, such as:

Estas bien pedo. (You’re really drunk).

No hay pedo. (There’s no problem).

¿Quieres pedo? (Do you want some of this?)

Puro pedo. (That’s a lie).

¿Que pedo es esto? (What’s this?)

Hasle pedo. (Make a move on him/her)

Que tanto pedo. (There’s a lot of commotion)

Tirar un pedo. (This means to pass gass)

Dolores — A person that is full of sorrow, distress. A woeful person is often referred to as Dolores.

Cuartito — A small room. In the Valley, it means the utility room or a tool shed. Nearly every family has a cuartito.

La regas — to botch something

You ate your carnalito’s birthday cake before the party, ese? La regas.

Te sales — similar to “La regas”

You stole $10 from your mom’s pursewhile she was asleep? Te sales, vato.

A todo dar — awesome It was real hot yesterday, but I jumped in my little brothers plastic pool and it felt a todo dar, ese.

Ruca — girl; chica

Vato — guy; chico

El bos — the bus; autobus

How did you get here? Me vine en el bos.

Me das ride — give me a ride

Tirar a la leon — tossed aside, to ignore something

Chimuelo(a) — missing teeth

Chamaco(a) — young boy, girl; chico, chica

Carnalito(a), carnal(a) — little brother/sister, brother/sister

Chale — whatever, or forget that You want me to mow the lawn for $10? Chale, ese, I’ll do it for $20.

Chismolero (a) — one who gossips; chismoso

Comadriando — women hanging out, gossiping

Primo — it means cousin, but can be used regarding close friends as well

Hey primo, you got five bucks you can lend me?

Mano — short for hermano, but also used among friends

Cornfleys — cornflakes; cereal

Postostes — Post Toasties; cereal

Me caes peseta/Me caes gordo—You annoy me

Mi jefita — my mother; jefa means female boss

Chongo — in Mexico and South

Texas, it mean ponytail

Sas — a thump; related to English words such as “Pow! Bam!”

He was walking in the kitchen and then, Sas! He ran into the screen door.

Palo — A sudden collision, in relation to the word Sas (In English, related to the words “Bam! And Pow!”)

Juanito was walking down the street and then, palo! El viejo Fernandez ran over him with his truck.

Jale — several definitions, including Tengo que ir a jalar (I have to go to work), Que es ese jale (What’s that thing?), Vengo del jale (I’m coming from work) and puro jale (A lot of jive).

Chota — the police

Hasle — the verb, to do. As in hassle call; hasle change the channel; hassle un tattoo of the Virgin Mary.

Te aventaste — you did a great job; bravo

Beepear — to beep, in the days of pagers

Cherife — the sheriff

Se le callo la garra — going too far.

I gave him $20 to spend at the carnival and told him only to spend five, pero se le callo la garra, and he spent

it all.

Saca la daga — job well done

Pepe painted my ride, ese, y se saca la daga.

Cantar — to call someone out; To incite an altercation

Meme was mad at Chito, y se las canto.

Te bañas — literally, it means bathe. But this reference is used more as term when one parts ways with someone.

Orale, Chon. I’ll see you tomorrow, eh.Te bañas.

Borlote — commotion (Kids making quite a racket in the adjoining room and parent goes to investigate)

Por que hay tanto borlote?

Pasiguate — settle down

La migra — Border Patrol

Pichioniar — To make out

Pope — wedgie

Fantocha — showoff, ostentatious

Kool ley — Kool-Aid

El HEB — H.E.B. grocery store

Donas — donuts

Piscar — to work in the fields

Bicks — Vicks

Welo, wela — short for abuelo, abuela, means grandpa and grandma

Bien arregladito — nice and tidy

Hay que chula — how pretty

Churritos — curls

Cachetón — one with chubby cheeks

Patas — means paw or animals foot but incorrectly referred to as human feet. Correct term ispie or pies.

Jambona — a thief; ladron. Also referred to as rata, which means rat.

El cucuy — most Mexican-American children have been scared by the legend of el cucuy, which pretty much means ghost or some entity you’d rather not want to see when the lights are off. Very effective with those 8 years old and under.

Chavalon — boy; niño

Wino — the English word, meaning alcoholic, is often mixed with Spanish.

Rines — rims on a car

Neta — really, for real

Muncho — means mucho, a lot, but some add an “n” in the middle.

Pipa — means pipe, like the one that is smoked but it is used to describe plumbing pipes

N’ombre — reluctant to abide

Flaco: ‘Hey Carlos, can you pass me the remote?’ Carlos: ‘N’ombre! You always put it on Lifetime.”

Palomilla — the whole family, the whole gang

Ralea — the whole family

Esquina — to give support, especially in a quarrel

Hey, vato, Chino and his brothers are coming over here to start some pedo with me. Me das esquina?


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