¿Chicos o muchachos? De machos, troncos y colegas

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¿Chicos o muchachos? De machos, troncos y colegas

For some reason everyone knows that the Spanish for girls and guys are muchachos and muchachas. However, these are used in Latin America and should never to be used in Spain! Instead they say chicos y chicas:


María es una chica muy simpática – Maria is a very nice (likeable) girl  

There’s also a colloquial and somewhat depreciative option chavales y chavalas:

En mi clase tengo veinte chavales – There are twenty guys/dudes in my class
María es una chavala muy maja – Maria is a cool gal

When talking about others, teenagers usually say tío/tía or (less frequently in Spain, more commonly in Argentina) pibe/piba:

Joaquín es un tío legal – Joaquin is a real dude
(Arg.) Marta es una piba guay – Marta is an awesome girl

Also, it’s popular among young people to say colega, coleguilla:


Esta noche salgo con unos colegas – Tonight I am going out with some friends

English «mate», «colleague» or «co-worker» should be translated as colega or a rather neutral compañero:

Tengo unos compañeros de trabajo muy majos – My co-workers are very nice people

Talking to each other, both girls and guys often use macho, which is a type of folksy treatment, similar to patting one’s shoulder. Simply don’t translate it into English:


Oye, macho – Listen, (dude)
No sabes qué me ha pasado, macho – You’ll never guess what has happened to me

Instead of macho you can also hear colega, tío/tía in Spain, or compadre/compay/hermano/chamaco in Latin America…

Among other Hispanic options for "guy", it´s worth mentioning güey, which used to be a swear word, but now it has various meanings, including «dude, mate», as well as mina – girl, commonly used in Argentina and Uruguay.

Autor/a Георгий Нуждин