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Tico Talk: 10 Costa Rican Spanish expressions for expats and tourists

September 1, 2020

You can’t call yourself fluent in Costa Rican Spanish unless you understand its slang.

Over the past months, we have introduced you, dear reader, to tiquismos and costarriqueñismos as part of our “Tico Talk” series. Check out the previous installments here.

Ten Costa Rican expressions for expats and tourists

Enroscarse: To go to bed or be in bed. It literally means to curl up. Acostarse is the correct Spanish verb for going to bed (though “acostar” can itself be used as slang, meaning to murder someone).

Fachento/a: A person who is a sloppy dresser.

Fiesta que veo, fiesta que sapeo: This is a new expression amplified in part by the Public Security Minister. He used the phrase to encourage the public to report parties being held during the coronavirus crisis.

Greñudo/a (adjective): A person with long hair. Greña (noun) is hair, especially if it is long.

Guardado/a: Locked down like in jail or at home because of the pandemic.

Más metido/a que la pobleza: A snoopy or nosey person.

Más triste que un Viernes Santo: Sadder than Good Friday. In Costa Rica, Good Friday is usually a boring day because everything is closed.

Vocho: A VW (Volkswagen) bug or beetle.

Yunta: A couple. Pareja is another way to say it.

Zompopa: A large, red leaf-eating ant.

Christopher Howard has been conducting monthly relocation/retirement tours and writing retirement guidebooks for more than 30 years. See www.liveincostarica.com.

He has a #1 relocation/retirement blog at: http://www.liveincostarica.com/blog,  is also the author of the  forthcoming 19th edition of “New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica — the official guide to relocation”  and the  one-of-a-kind bestselling e-book, “Guide to Costa Rican Spanish,” that can be purchased through Amazon.

 

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