Common Costa Rican Sayings and expressions

Dichos y Refranes de Costa Rica

Tiquismos, expressions unique to Costa Rica


Pura vida : this is one of the most important phrases, which is used as a positive response in all type of situations and whose literal translation is "pure life."

Mae (or Maje): dude
Chunche : stuff / thing
Tuanis : "too nice." / good one.

Si Dios quiere : If it's God's will
Ticos: people from Costa Rica
Tico: a male from Costa Rica
Tica: a female from Costa Rica
Por Dicha : Luckily

Qué tiene? : What's the matter

Qué torta : What a problem

Me cayo la pelota : I finally get it (understand)     

Achará : What a pity!
Irsele la onda : to forget
Agarrado : miser
Vieras : if you only knew; sure; would you believe
Jale : let's go
Agüevado : bored
Joder : to bother

Caerle la peseta : To get the idea, understand.
Andar de tanda : bar-crawling

Piropos : Compliments (cat calls)
Chisme : Gossip
Chusma : Riff-raff

Lancear : to seduce
Batear : to make wild guesses
Llegar a la hora del burro : to arrive late

Chiva : cool
Brete : work

Concho : rough
Cada muerte de obispo : once in a blue moon
Meter la pata : to put one's foot in it
Carajada : thing or situation
Meter una yuca : to tell a lie
Con toda la pata : in good form

Polo : corny
Minche : fistfight
¡Cierre el pico! : Shut up!
No darle la gana : to not want to
Choque ese hueso : shake my hand
No entender ni papa : to not understand anything
Choza : house
No es vara : it's not a lie
Ojalá : if only / god granted
Diay: hey
Pasar la brocha : to have an ulterior motive
Dolor de jupa : headache
Pinche : stingy
Embarcarse : to take a risk
Por si las moscas : just in case
Empuncharse : to work hard
Estar de chicha : to be angry

Cada muerte de obispo : once in a blue moon
¡Que tirada! : What a mess!
Estar de goma : to be hung over
Sacarse el clavo : to get it off one's chest
Estar hecho leña : to be in a bad state
Estar en la luna : to daydream

Va jalando : get lost

Puros diezes : Great/terrific
Salado : too bad
Fregar : to bother
Ser chineado/a : to be spoiled
Grosero : rude
¡Soque! : Hurry up!
Güila : kid
Carajillo : brat
Tirito : just a moment
Hablar paja : to talk nonsense
¡Tome chichi! : Take that!
Hacerse el chancho : to not pay attention

Chingo : nude
Chulo : a person who lives off others/ deadbeat
Harina : money
Jupa : head
Macho : a guy with blonde hair
Matar la culebra : to waste time
Paño : towel

Clavar el pico : to fall asleep
Agarrar de maje : to deceive someone
Ponerse hasta la mecha : to get drunk
Torta : a big mistake or error
Lo duda : you said it, you’re right
Vino : a snoopy person
Cachos : shoes

Idiay : hello, what's new

Por si las moscas : just in case

Carajada : thing or situation

Estar de chicha : to be angry

Gacho : Very ugly, awful

Me pringó : It surprised me

Estaba detrás del palo : I was confused

Una teja : Hundred colon note

Un rojo : Thousand colon note

Un Tiguron : Two thousand colon note

Un Tigre : Five thousand colon note





Mujer volante, peligro bastante :

watch out for women drivers (literal translation fast driving women, much danger)



This site was last updated 01/01/21

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