7 words only Cubans understand

Cubans brought a special flavour to this world! Their sense of humour, their courage to take challenges, the rhythm they imprint on their everyday life are memorable. Ask your new friends, who are not Cuban, from the countries you moved to and they will only agree with us and even add more beautiful words. This special flavour can also be found in the language, we won’t say Spanish, because the Spanish Cubans speak is imbued with slang only they understand.

We picked 9 of the funniest and most exotic Cuban slang words:


1. ¿Que bola? This is by far one of the most popular Cuban phrases. Its most literal translation is “What’s up?” It’s very informal and typically used among friends.
So, call your loved ones back home and ask them: “¿Oye que bola?” = “Hey, what’s up?”


2. Por la izquierda. It does not mean “to the left,” but rather “under the table” in a figurative sense. (Generally, it means something shady is probably going down, but hey, no one’s pointing fingers…)


3. ¡Tu maletín!
That’s your problem (literally, your briefcase)! Cubans hardly say that, because they are always happy to help, but still, when you drive them crazy asking for directions and explanations, the conversation might end up with ¡Tu maletín!


4. Dale. Everybody heard it, because Pitbull uses this phrase literally all the time. It’s mainly used as a farewell greeting, but it can also mean “come on,” or “hurry up.”
Ex. “Dale, send me a Nauta top up.”


5. ¡Chao pesca’o!…¡Y a la vuelta picadillo!
This cutesy two-person exchange of expressions is just like, “see you later alligator!” and “after a while crocodile!” It literally means, “goodbye, fish!” and “next time, minced meat!” It comes from the way that the first 15 days’ ration card of the month gives fish, and the next time it gives meat.


6. Acere
A friend, a dude. This is an informal way of addressing anyone, just like colega or amigo. So, “¿¿Acere, qué bolá??” finally makes perfect sense, right?


7. En talla
Literally this means “at the size,” and the closest English equivalent is “it’s a good fit.” It could mean that things literally or figuratively fit, or that people are understanding each other well or are in the know.