Panama’s Urban Dictionary

April 5, 2009 by:
Panama’s Urban Dictionary

This is a list of slang terms you will hear in Panama.  Eye On Panama does not recommend the usage of these words because some of them are very derogatory.  However, we realize the following list below is widely spoken and we would like to educate our readers before they attempt to repeat them:

***** This list was created by wikipedia*****


YeYe = a wealthy person who likes to show off a lot. Preppy boy/girl.

Racataca = A very unsophisticated person – the stereotype usually involves listening to bad reggae dancehall music (or reggaeton), wearing gold teeth, wearing clothes that look like stuff gringo rappers threw in the garbage and were picked up by piedreros, naming their children with strange, multisyllabic composite names like SURISABEL or

YAMIURKA (examples of which you’ll find painted on the windows of most DIABLO ROJOs)

El Chino = a corner store (bodega), lit. “the Chinaman”. Originates from the fact many Chinese migrated to Panama to help build the Panama Railroad, and many

corner stores are owned and run by Chinese immigrants. Other countries have similar social patterns, for instance, the “Arab” corner store of France.

Maleante= “Gang member, criminal, etc.” Racataca’s male mate (see “racataca”). Usually belongs to a gang in the ghettos.

Zambito/a: In the region of Azuero ( The Provinces of Los Santos and Herrera) is a slang meaning dude, Child O Teenagers (Boys) Zambita fem. slang meaning due Child O Teenagers (Girls)

Rejeros=Refers to a group of men who only hang out with males. They usually go out in packs to try to pick up women, but often fail at doing so. During weekends they will typically hang out at a guy’s house and drink between themselves. Also, they can be spotted at strip clubs too. A man who belongs to this group is know as a “rejero”. The word became popular after a TV Show (La Cascara) ran a skit based on four fictional rejeros.

Agua Cero= Heavy, constant rain that often causes rivers of water to run down the street.  Usually last for 20-40 minutes, at most an hour.

Maricon = butterfly, gay.

Chombo = derogatory term use to refer to black people.

Cholopop = Person from the countryside, trying to impress by wearing rocker outfits.

Chambón= A clumbsy person

Chifiar= To ignore a person. Ex: Chifea ese awebao (see “awebao”) que es un loser- Don’t invite that guy because he is a loser.

Borriguero= A low ranking employee. Lizard Ameiva ameiva. In the contructions works is the person that do all the hard work.

Chapot= From the English “Shaped up”. Used to refer to someone that is very well dressed. As in “Estas bien chapot”.

Chuchita= Someone who is always being taken advantage of by another.

Pipi sweet= Womanizer or a “Don Juan” (Sweet dick).

Brother surfer= Stereotypically, how surfers call each other.

La kenton= When someone promises you something and does not deliver. “Carlos me hizo la kenton, me dijo que iba traer dos botellas y solo trajo una”. Syn. la pacheca.

Tortillera: Disrespective form to say lesbian.

Congo= Someone who is always taken advantage of, an idiot.

Piedrero = A homeless person that has a deep adiction to “crack cocaine”. Crack in Panamanian Spanish is often called “piedra”(“stone”/”ice”). Can also be used to tell a person that the way they are poorly dressed and not good looking.

Pela= slang meaning “any” woman or chick. (Eg. Vi a esa pela en la discoteca anoche.= I saw that woman in the disco last night.)

Pelao= slang meaning dude. (Eg. Yo conosco ese pelao. = I know that dude.

Cueco/a= Syn:of gay and lesbian. Despective form to say gay ( cueco-man) o lesbian(cueca-


FIRI-FIRI= very skinny man or woman (Ana es una firi-firi). On its superlative form BIEN FIRI-FIRI (extremely skinny!).

Cangreja= “Female crab”. An unattractive woman.

Manzanillos = A rich/famous person’s entourage and leech off of them. Buddies that follow and take advantage of someone for interest (ex. roberto duran).

CHACARON(A) or CHACARUDO(A)= superlative for CHACARA means a very lazy man (or woman) or someone who relies in everybody else to solve his (her) problems.

Evan Terry Forbes

Evan Forbes 122 post in this blog.

Evan Terry Forbes is an Author, Entrepreneur and Hall of Fame Traveler. He writes entertaining books about how travel has changed his life. In so many beautiful ways. Currently, Evan is traveling with his retired mother for 1 year through Europe and Asia. This book will be called, Travels With My Mother - How Travel Transformed A Mother-Son Relationship. Read his books here.

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11 Comments on "Panama’s Urban Dictionary"

  1. Cecy GP on Fri, 17th Apr 2009 4:03 am 

    If we start with each country…there would be need of a new Spanish dictionary.

  2. Venicio Wilson on Tue, 14th Jul 2009 10:39 pm 

    You missed with Gringo, Camaroneando, parqueando, pifiando. Is a great insightfull dictionary

  3. Proud Panamenian on Sun, 24th Jan 2010 3:02 am 

    Nice guide… You should update it though, some of those terms haven’t been used for years.

    I know it is very hard to list them all… But you could try :) you only missed a few hundred.

  4. la culisa on Fri, 26th Mar 2010 11:54 pm 

    well you guys did a good job! Alot of words aren’t used any more since pop culture changes so rapidly and more words are created but for the most part the main ones are mentioned here!

  5. Marissa on Tue, 8th Jun 2010 11:13 pm 

    That chapot i didn’t know it
    and im Panamanian =D

  6. Panama In 2 Weeks on Thu, 16th Dec 2010 3:51 pm 

    [...] Path Between the Seas.   Buy a Lonely Planet Panama and Lonely Planet Spanish Phrase book.   Study Panama slang terms. Get wise to price discrimination.  Finally, buy a $10 local cell phone. Share this: [...]

  7. flower on Thu, 6th Jan 2011 12:42 pm 

    I love them all BUT “Chombo = derogatory term use to refer to black people” i dont agree with that one because in many cases chombo is as friendly as fulo. We dont have this BIG ISSUES with negro, chombo, chino, fulo.

  8. El Chino – A Panama Rock Star on Wed, 9th Feb 2011 2:50 pm 

    [...] her tongue in mid- sentence.  True story.   Shortly afterwords, Keenan was asked by a couple of yea yea girls  ”Donde tu eres?” (Where are you from?).  Keenan, with a serious stone cold face, [...]

  9. Hailey on Sat, 7th May 2011 8:37 pm 

    what about pinga la verga????? whhat does it mean EXACTLY?

  10. My Failed Attempts To Friend Panama’s Yeyés on Fri, 17th Jun 2011 4:39 pm 

    [...] is a subculture in Panama, one of its most exclusive.  The definition of Yeyés would be preppy, wealthy people who like to show off a lot.   Thus far, my attempts to understand [...]

  11. ximena on Tue, 9th Jul 2013 7:27 pm 

    jajajaja, is very cool, but is missing also mangaja

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