Venezuelan Spanish

(taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Venezuelan Spanish is a dialect of the Spanish language spoken in Venezuela. It is related to the Cuban, Puerto Rican and Dominican dialects of Spanish.

Spanish was introduced in Venezuela by the conquistadors. Most of them were from Andalusia, and they brought their peculiar accent and usage of words. Others were from the Canary Islands, and because they were extremely isolated from mainland Spain, they had a distinctive accent, too. Portuguese and Italian immigrants came later.

The Spaniards additionally brought African slaves. This is the origin of expressions such as chévere (“excellent”), which comes from Yoruba ché egberi. Other non-Romance words came from Native languages, such as guayoyo (a type of coffee) and caraota (common bean).

Dialectal features

Venezuelan Spanish often shortens words, for example, changing para “for” into pa. In addition, /d/ between vowels is often dropped (elision), as happens in Andalusian Spanish: helado “ice cream” becomes /eˈlao/.

Another common feature is the aspiration of syllable-final -s, whereby adiós “goodbye” becomes [aˈðjɔh]).

As in most American dialects, also, Venezuelan Spanish has yeísmo (a merger of /ʎ/ and /ʝ/), and seseo (traditional /θ/ merges with /s/). That is, calló “s/he became silent” and cayó “s/he fell” are homophones, and casa “house” is homophonous with caza “hunt”.

A characteristic common to the Venezuelan, Cuban, Costa Rican and Colombian dialects (also found in Aragonese Spanish) is the use of the diminutive -ico and -ica instead of the standard -ito and -ita. But this use is restricted to words with -t in the last syllable; for example, rata “rat” becomes ratica “little rat”.

The second-person singular informal pronoun is usually tú, as in most of Latin America and also in Spain. This practice is referred to as tuteo. However, in the north-west states, such as Falcón, Zulia and some parts of Trujillo, it is common to find voseo, that is, the use of vos instead of tú. This phenomenon is present in many other Latin American dialects (notably Rioplatense), but Zulian voseo is diptongado, that is, the conjugation preserves the diphthongs of the historical vos conjugation that have been monophthongized in Rioplatense (which means the Zulian forms are the same as those used in Castilian for the second person plural vosotros): instead of tú eres, tú estás, Zulian says vos sois, vos estáis (compare with Castilian plural forms vosotros sois, vosotros estáis; and with Rioplatense forms vos sos, vos estás).

Another exception to the tuteo of Venezuelan Spanish is the use of the second-person singular formal pronoun usted interchangeably with tú, a practice that is unique to the states of Merida and Tachiri .[1]

The word vaina is used with a variety of meanings (such as “shame”, “pity” and many others) and often as an interjection or a nonsensical filler.

Venezuelan Spanish has a lot of Anglicisms.

Regional variations

There are several sub-dialects within Venezuelan Spanish.

The Caracas dialect, spoken in the capital.

The Zulian dialect in the north-west of the country, also called maracucho or marabino, which uses voseo, like in the in part of the Lara area.

The Lara dialect, where voseo is also used, but where the verbal declension of Old Spanish is kept (vos coméis).

The Andean dialect, in particular the state of Táchira near the Colombian border. It is characterized by a non-aspirated pronunciation of s and use of Usted instead of tú, even within informal contexts. Another variant, in the states of Mérida and Trujillo still uses Usted instead of tu, but lacks the non-aspirated pronunciation os the s.

The Margaritan dialect, spoken in Isla Margarita and in the north-east of continental Venezuela. The Margaritan dialect presents sometimes an interdental when pronouncing pre-vowel ‘s’ and use of a strong ‘r’ instead of ‘l’ in most of the words.

Some examples of native Venezuelanisms (slang)

Achanta’o/Achantá = A person of slow thought or slow reasoning. Someone that is lacking skills with the other gender.
Amapuche = A passionate demonstration of affection. A warm hug.
Agarrado(a) = Reluctant to lend. See pichirre
Arrecharse = To get angry. Usually profane amongst Venezuelans.
Arrecho = Something really, really nice (objects or situations).Also profane.
Arrecochinar = To gather people disorderly in a small space.
Arrocear = To turn up at a party without being invited.
Bachaco = Leafcutter ant. (Alt.) A mulatto with red hair.
Bajarse de la mula = To pay for something. To be demanded for money. To be robbed. Literally: to get down of the mule.
Bala fría = Fast food. A quick snack. Literally: a cold bullet.
Balurdo = An awkward or ridiculous person. See also Chimbo
Bochinche = A gathering or noisy reunion.
Bolo(s) = A bolívar. One unit of Venezuelan currency, a Venezuelan bolívar.
Bonche = A party.
Bucear = To skin dive. (Alt.) To ogle discreetly.
Bueno(a) = Good. (Alt.) Attractive, hot.
Bululú = A fuss. See bochinche
Burda = Superlative. Very much.
Cambur = Banana. (Alt.) A well remunerated public position.
Cachapa = A sweet corn pancake.
Cachapera = A lesbian
Caerse a palos = To get drunk.
Caraotas = Black beans.
Catire(a) = Blond person. (Alt.) A beer. Also, the sun.
Chamo(a) = Boy/girl. With suffix -ito : a kid; also means son or daughter. Venezuelans are well known among Spanish speakers for their love and constant use of this word, which is used repeatedly in the same fashion as the American slang dude.
Chisme = Gossip.
Chévere! = An exclamation of approval. Cool!. (supposed derivation from Yoruba ché egberi). Chimbo(a) = Of low quality.
Chivo = Goat. (Alt.) Someone at a high position in an organization.
Choro = Thief, said in an insultive form.
Corotos = Stuff, belongings.Also garbage or junk.
Criollo = Local, native of Venezuela.
Epa/Épale = Hi or Hello (informal).
Filo = Hunger.
Franela = T-shirt.
Gringo = A person from the United States.
Gringolandia = The United States (“gringo-land”).
Guáramo = Iron will. Courage.
Guasa = To make fun of something/someone.
Guayabo = To be romantically disillusioned. To have the Blues.
Guayoyo = Black coffee prepared in such fashion that is not very strong. Excellent after meals.
Jalar Bola = (verb) To abuse flattering, most of the times, in order to ge something back.
Malandro = Thief, burglar, robber.
Matar un tigre = To moonlight. Literally: to kill a tiger.
Musiú = Foreigner. A white native from non-hispanic countries (it’s believed to come from a bastardization of the french word Monsieur).
Nota = Note (Alt.) Something nice, pleasant. (Alt.) To get high. Verb form: ennotar(se)
Pajuo = Similar to Balurdo, but connotes a meaning closer to Pendejo.
Palo = Stick (Alt.) Alcoholic beverage (¡Tómate un palito, pue!: “have a [little] drink!”)
Pana = A dear, close friend. A pal (believe to be an Anglicism from “partner”).Could also be translated as dude.
Papear = To eat.
Pasapalos = Snacks. Hors d’oeuvres.
Peaje = Toll. (Alt.) See bajarse de la mula.
Perico = Parakeet. (Alt.) Venezuelan-style scrambled eggs. (Alt.) Cocaine
Peroles = See corotos.
Pichirre = Tightfisted, stingy, miserly.
Pipi Frio = Someone that has been single for a long time’.
Queso = Cheese (Alt.) Sexual desire.
Quesúo = To be horny.
Ratón = Mouse (Alt.) Hung over (Tengo ratón.: “I’m hung over”)
Rico(a) = Rich. (Alt.) See bueno(a).
Rumba = A party.
Santamaría = Rollup metal fence that covers the front part of a store when closed.
Sifrino, Burgués = Yuppie. A wealthy uppish person.
Tequeño = A deep-fried flour roll filled with cheese. Very popular hors d’oeuvres.
Tigre = second job or night job. See matar tigre
Vaina = Any inanimate object or unspecified situation.
Verga = Male sexual organ. (Alt.) See vaina. Used in exclamations to convey shock, disgust, etc. In the Western part of the country, especially in Zulia State, it is a word used to refer almost to anything.
Yesquero = A lighter.
Zanahoria = Carrot (Alt.) Someone who zealously takes care of his/her own health. A vegetarian.
Zancudo = Mosquito.
Zumba’o = Crazy, nutty, careless person.

See also
Spanish dialects and varieties


[1] Alexandra Alvarez & Ximena Barros, “Sistemas en conflicto: las formas de tratamiento en la ciudad de Mérida, Venezuela”, Lengua y Habla (2000), Mérida, Universidad de Los Andes.


Español venezolano, Español maracucho and Voseo in the Spanish Wikipedia.
Alexandra Alvarez & Ximena Barros (2000). “Sistemas en conflicto: las formas de tratamiento en la ciudad de Mérida, Venezuela.“. Lengua y Habla.

External links
Diccionario de Venezolanadas (Forums and dictionary, great resource on the topic!)
Jergas de Habla Hispana (Includes Venezuelan Slang)
Venezuelan Language school

The above material has been reproduced directly from the wikipedia website under the GNU free documentation license duplication policy which states reuser’s rights and obligations. The article in it’s original format is available at: (English)

10 thoughts on “Venezuelan Spanish

  1. “Pana” came from the world “Panaderia” which means bakery, but in Venezuela is a place where you can have a breakfast, lunch or dinner and drink a coffee anytime so popular expression says that there is nothing better than a “Panaderia”.
    So on between friends start using ” hey panaderia” and it derives to “pana”

      • The relationship between “panadería” and “pana” was after this term was created. Its actual origin is from the English “partner”, commonly used by English speakers during the times of the oil exploration. It was imported into Venezuelan as the word “pana” (although some other Caribbean countries use this term).

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