The Definitive Guide to Miami Slang

So liiike, the thing is, we speak suuuper differently in Myamiii, you know. With so many cultural influences -- predominantly Cuban -- it’s no surprise we Miamians have a language and lexicon all to ourselves, like pronouncing “full” as “fool” and “pink” as “peeenk.” From Spanglish words to all-around "que es eso?," here is your definitive guide to Miami slang, -isms, and pronunciations.

A mission

Pronunciation: You’ve known how to say this since Apollo 13
Definition: An exaggerated form of expressing exasperation especially referring to matters of time
How it’s used in a sentence: “Finding your way around Alton Rd is such a mission with all the construction.”

Ay fon

Pronunciation: aye-FOWN
Definition: The most ridiculous way to spell iPhone. It’s more common than you think. Go ahead and Google it, we dare you.
How it’s used in a sentence: “The ay fon 6s comes out on Friday.”


Pronunciation: Like brah, but better and spelled with an “o”
Definition: Dude, friend, and of course, brother. It is a unisex word, and totally acceptable for a girl in the friend zone to be called bro. Broder is a variation of bro.
How it’s used in a sentence: “Bro, those are sweet rims.”

Flickr/Bermi Ferrer


Pronunciation: ch-ANK-s
Definition: Flip-flops. Variations include chanclas, chancs, chanks, and chanx.
How it’s used in a sentence: “Girl, you cannot wear chanks to the club.”


Pronunciation: chon-GUH
Definition: South Florida version of a chola. Usually denotes Latin women that are dressed exquisitely gangster with hoop earrings, heavy-handed lipliner and gel usage, wife beaters, and tight jeans. They listen to reggaeton and most definitely speak in Miami slang.
How it’s used in a sentence: “He’s always had a thing for those lovable chongas.”


Pronunciation: KROW-keh-TI-kah
Definition: Diminutive of croqueta, which is Spanish for croquette. Or, if you’re this guy, it means penis.
How it’s used in a sentence: “The croqueticas from Islas Canarias are the best.”


Pronunciation: dahs-EET
Definition: Spanglish version of “that’s it.” This brings us to an interesting topic, many words that begin with “th” are replaced with a "da" sound. To wit: “that” becomes “dat,” “this” morphs into “dis,” etc.
How it’s used in a sentence: At the ventanita: “Half an order of pastelitos, dasit.”

Flickr/Eva Rinaldi


Pronunciation: dah-LAY
Definition: For some people, it is a universal term for just about anything. It has a variety of meanings, from agreement, to let’s do it, to a way to express excitement. It can even stand alone as its own sentence.
How it’s used in a sentence: Just follow Pitbull’s lead, he uses it in all of the above and more. “305, you know how we do, dale!”


Pronunciation: DEE-meh
Definition: Instead of saying hello, people will answer the phone with this word.
How it’s used in a sentence: Ring ring ring... “Dime.”


Pronunciation: You’ve know this word ever since you went to the park to see Aladdin but ended up getting a picture with Jaffar and your step-dad. Dammit, Phil.
Definition: A reference for all of Orlando
How it’s used in a sentence: “I’m going to Disney to visit my brother.”

Eating shit

Pronunciation: What everyone tells you is going to happen if you keep trying to ride that Razor scooter over another ramp
Definition: Oddly enough, it translates to “doing nothing.” If you actually think about it, this is the worst of them. It comes from the older set who say “come mierda.”
How it’s used in a sentence: “Oye papo, whatchu been up to today?" "Nothing, eating shit.”

Flickr/Ed Webster


Pronunciation: WAH-wah
Definition: Cuban slang for bus
How it’s used in a sentence: “I have to grab the guagua on 107 to go to Dolphin Mall.”


Pronunciation: get-TEA
Definition: Shortened version of the get-together. Commonly used by tweens and teenagers.
How it’s used in a sentence: “Yessica’s getty last weekend was so awesome.”

I can’t

Pronunciation: What a slew of girls named Jessica say when Starbucks messes up their order
Definition: Definitive way of saying no or putting up with something
How it’s used in a sentence: “Babe, that salchiperro is sooo cuute. I can’t.”


Pronunciation: I can’t
Definition: Miami’s version of regardless
How it’s used in a sentence: “I want to live in Brickell irregardless of what it costs.” “I’m gonna buy this beachfront property irregardless of climate change.”


Pronunciation: LEEE-ter-UH-leee
Definition: Miami’s version of literally, which means “in actuality.” Used as an adjective to add emphasis, but counters the actual meaning of the word.
How it’s used in a sentence: “It’s leeeterally 1,000 degrees outside.”

La sagüesera

Pronunciation: SAH-gwe-se-RAH
Definition: Southwest areas of Miami including Flagami and Westchester
How it’s used in a sentence: “I have to visit my mom in la sagüesera this weekend.”

Flickr/Steven Depolo


Pronunciation: LEE-gah
Definition: Hair tie. Most commonly used by women 35 and younger.
How it’s used in a sentence: “Do you have a liga? My hair is leeeterally so frizzy.”

Mama & papo

Pronunciation: MAH-mah/pah-POE
Definition: Pet names. Variations include mami, papi, and mamita.
How it’s used in a sentence: “Mamita, I need a break. Let’s go get a cafecito.” “Papo, your guns are getting swoll.”

Pata sucia

Pronunciation: pah-TAH sue-SEE-ah
Definition: Translates to “dirty foot” and refers to someone who removes their shoes in public
How it’s used in a sentence: “My feet hurt so much, I’m gonna barefoot it back to the car. Ay, Luli, you’re such a pata sucia.”

Pero liiike

Pronunciation: PARE-oh liiiiiike
Definition: “But, like.” What you say when you immediately want to refute what you just said.
How it’s used in a sentence: “I would’ve been on time, pero liiike there was no parking.”

Que bolá

Pronunciation: kAY boe-lah
Definition: "What’s up?" or "What’s the deal?"
How it’s used in a sentence: Walking into the office in the morning: “Que bolá?”


Pronunciation: REF-ee
Definition: Derogatory word for someone that is off the boat from Cuba or in more general terms, a refugee
How it’s used in a sentence: “Usnavi is as refi and straight off the boat as you can get.”


Pronunciation: A shorthand way of saying education reform is needed
Definition: Miami’s version of supposedly
How it’s used in a sentence: “Caro is supposably going on a date with Carlos this weekend.”


Pronunciation: Suuuperman
Definition: Similar to “very” or “a lot.” The most popular, yet least creative adjective you could possibly ever add to something.
How it’s used in a sentence: “Traffic was liiike suuuper bad dis morning.”

The Beach

Pronunciation: That great movie with Leo?
Definition: Sorry, tourists, this one’s probably confusing for you. “The Beach” refers to a city, not an actual stretch of sand. This also extends to other parts of Miami, like saying “The Gables” instead of Coral Gables or “The Key” instead of Key Biscayne. And nobody EVER says SoBe. On that note, good luck making West End happen, Kendall.
How it’s used in a sentence: "I’m headed out to The Beach for Art Basel.”

Ya tu sabes

Pronunciation: yah too SAH-bez
Definition: Verbal crutch for “you already know”
How it’s used in a sentence: “The Heat better win the East.” “Ya tu sabes.”

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Miami native and freelance writer Mandy Baca is totally guilty of using all of the above. Irregardless, you should still follow her on Twitter: @mandybaca.