N.B. For NSFW Section, See: How To Talk Like A Mexican (coming next week!)
From its southern tail to its northernmost tip, Colombia combines an extraordinary number of environments, landscapes and people; perhaps it´s no more than you´d expect for a country that spans Gibraltar to the Scottish border in its length. However, one thing is consistent wherever you go in Colombia, and that is its extraordinary warmth. From the ballistic fury of Galeras to the windswept dusty plains of Cabo de la Vela; combined with the hospitality of its people, Colombia is unforgettable. I believe that this warmth is mirrored in their unique expressions, some of which I have gathered here. Enjoy!
A la orden – lit. at your order. An expression indicating that the speaker is at your service; often heard employed by waiters at restaurants, or by retail workers.
Blanco, en gallino lo pone y frito se come – lit. “It´s white, a chicken makes it, and you eat it when it´s fried.” This is a riddle with an extremely obvious answer: an egg! This phrase is used in response to someone saying a truism or something self-evident, a sort of “No shit, Sherlock!”
Broder - from brother, used for friends or as an alternative to "dude" or "man".
Cachaco/costeño – adjectives that define Colombians from different parts of the country. Cachacos are from Bogotá, Medellín, Manizales - the interior of the country. Costeños are from the coast: Santa Marta, Cartagena, Baranquilla.
Echar globos – lit. "to throw balloons”. Meaning to daydream.
Estafar – lit. "to stuff". The verb used to indicate being ripped off. "¿Me estafas?" - "Are you ripping me off?"
Gomelo/a – of a person, meaning supercilious, snobbish, up oneself. See also freso/a in Mexican dictionary.
Gozar – to get a kick out of something.
Hacer la vaca – lit. "to make the cow". To collect money from friends in order to make a collective pot that will buy something, usually alcohol, for a social.
Hora zanahoria – lit. "carrot hour". Somewhat hard to understand; it was explained to me that Bogota teens usually party at the weekends in clubs outside the city, in the hills. La hora zanahoria is the hour at which a party finishes, and everyone returns home.
La luz de la calle y la oscuridad de la casa – lit. "the light of the street and the darkness of the house". An expression used for a person, company or situation whose good reputation may hide nefarious secrets. Similar to our expression of "what goes on behind closed doors...".
Listo – ready, but also used in the style of "got it", or "yep" in response to a question.
Mas vale bueno conocido que malo por conocer – lit. "More worthwhile to be well-known than bad to know". I am uncertain of this expression; perhaps it is equivalent to our "better the devil you know", or perhaps it means "more important to be well-known than well-liked?".
¿Me regalas …? – lit. "Will you gift me ...?". Used to ask somebody for an item. For example, "¿Me regalas el agua?" - "Can you pass the water?"
Paila – vulgar expression that translates roughly as, “I´m fucked!”, or “You´re fucked!”. Used in response to an unfortunate situation, such as when a disaster or fuck-up has happened. Accompanied by a slit-neck gesture.
Paisa – someone from Medellín. From here comes bandeja paisa, literally "the paisa´s tray", a gut-busting meal of 14 ingredients including various cuts of meat, eggs, avocado and beans. Bandeja paisa is the national dish of Colombia.