Ah, sunny Spain ☀️ Whether you're visiting to enjoy food, fiestas, or fútbol, one thing is for sure: You'll be practicing your Spanish! Spain has a dialect all its own, and that includes unique slang you'll hear around the country.

Here are 8 words you're sure to hear in Spain!


Let's start off with a staple of Spanish slang: the verb molar. You'll hear it if you go anywhere near Madrid. Use it to describe anything that you like or that you think is cool:

Este bar mola. This bar is cool.
¡Cómo molan tus pantalones! Your pants are awesome!

💡 For extra madrileño (Madrid-like) vibes, pair mola with mazo (as in mola mazo) to show even more enthusiasm.

You can also use molar with the same structure as gustar:

¿Te moló la película? Did you like the movie?

⚠ Warning: When used about a person, it means there’s a romantic interest!

Creo que a Fernando le mola Isabel. I think Fernando has a crush on Isabel.


If you hear anyone calling you tío (uncle) or tía (aunt), no need to panic—it's not that you have Spanish relatives that you weren't aware of—it's just a friendly expression similar to “dude” or “guy.”

Tía, qué hambre. Girl, I'm starving.
¿Qué tal, tío? How's it going, dude?
¿Quién es ese tío? Who is that guy?


This Spain-specific word not only sounds pretty cool, but it also basically means that!

Es una tía muy guay. She's a very cool girl.
¡Qué guay! How cool!

💡 Bonus fact: Its origin isn't at all clear and there’s more than one theory, but it could potentially share its roots with the word gay, which in English used to mean “joyful.”


After spending any time in Spain, you may notice that guay people don't talk about their trabajo (job, work). Instead, they’ll say things like:

Me voy al curro. I'm off to work.
¿Qué tal tu nuevo curro? How's your new job?

The verb form currar is also common:

No puedo, tengo que currar. I can't—I have to work.


Apparently, this verb comes from the English “flip out” or “flipping,” but don’t flip out when you discover the range of meanings it has adopted in Spain!

You can use it to express that you’re amazed or shocked about something:

Mis padres fliparon cuando se lo conté. My parents were shocked when I told them.
Estoy flipando con la voz del cantante. I'm blown away by the singer's voice.

It can also use the gustar structure, but with a stronger meaning:

Me flipa la tortilla española. I love Spanish omelet.

There’s a few other set expressions you'll hear as well:

¿Estás flipando? Are you nuts?
Oye, no te flipes. Hey, don't go overboard.

⚠ Warning: Depending on context, flipar can also have a meaning related to drug use, as in “to be tripping.”


Originally, chulo was linked to a traditional style from certain neighborhoods in Madrid. Nowadays, it’s a little like guay, and you can use it to describe things that look cool or stylish.

La decoración está chula. The decor looks cool.
¡Qué patinete más chulo! What a neat scooter!

💡 Pro tip: It's used more often with estar than with ser.

⚠ Warning: Chulo/a is quite different when used to describe people. Juan es muy chulo wouldn't mean that Juan is very cool, but rather that he's cocky and arrogant.


A scratched record can get stuck and play the same bit of song over and over in an endless loop, right? Well, rayarse literally means “to get scratched,” but if a person is rayándose, it means they’re worrying, overthinking, doom-spiraling…

Tranquilo, no te rayes. Relax, don't overthink things.
Lleva todo el día rayándose. He's been worrying all day.


Spain has a long-standing tradition of welcoming travelers. Many parts of the country are so used to visitors that they have a special word for them: guiri. If you’re a tourist in Spain, particularly if you’re an English speaker, then you qualify as a guiri.

Es guiri, pero habla español genial. She's guiri, but her Spanish is great.
Mira, ¡qué guapo es ese guiri! Look, that guiri is so good-looking!

⚠ Warning: Depending on the speaker’s intention, guiri can also be a little derogatory, though it’s mostly used in a lighthearted way for tourists. Wear your guiri status with pride!

Los dialectos molan, ¿no?

Pepper your Spanish with these colloquialisms and you'll go from guiri to guay in no time!

Bonus facts:

  • Each of these words is officially accepted by the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy).
  • Many of these words became widespread in Spain after La Movida, a countercultural movement from the early 1980s with its epicenter in Madrid.
  • A lot of these words were borrowed from caló, a Romani-Spanish language—modern Spanish culture owes a lot to these communities!