Dominican Slang | A Gringo Guide to Caribbean Spanish (2023)

What, what?

Looking to learn a littledominican slangbefore leaving for paradise? Then you are in the perfect place.

Just be careful...

Dominican Spanish is unlike anything you've heard before. Cariocas speak fast, abbreviate words and use slang continually to communicate. Honestly, it's hard for a gringo to understand from the start. It takes a little time to get used to the DR jargon.

You already know.

Dominican slang really can only be compared tocoastal Spanish in Colombiaor even Cuban slang.

But there is no reason to be afraid. Dominicans are friendly people and will speak a little slower when they see how confused you are.

Oh, and that's exactly why I created this guide. An in-depth guide to Dominican Spanish and slang that helps every gringo speak like a native speaker.

So enough rambling, let's get straight to the point.

table of contents

Dominican Slang | A Gringo Guide to Caribbean Spanish (1)

What makes Dominican slang different?

First, my Dominican friends are fluent! Rhythm. Whatever you want to call it. There's almost a cadence to the way they speak.

But… what really makes Dominican slang different?

Let's say they have their own version of Spanish. You won't find these words in a dictionary.

I swear.

But the difference betweenDominican RepublicThe jargon and from other countries is simple:Dominicans use slang in everyday life more than almost any other country.

The Dominican Republic is a calm and relaxed place. The culture is informal. People are relaxed, even in somewhat formal settings. As such, slang is used all the time in everyday life.

That means you need to speak some DR slang if you want to fit in.

Hell, even with a basic understanding of standard Spanish, you'll still be left scratching your head trying to understand Dominicans.

Dominican Spanish is “extra” Caribbean so they shorten a lot of words. They combine words sometimes. They speak in tons of slang. And, of course, Dominicans talk fast.

So you'll need to understand a little Dominican slang before arriving on this beautiful island.

Fortunately, that's what we'll detail below...

(Video) White Boy Speaks Jamaican Language, Shocks Jamaicans

Dominican Slang | A Gringo Guide to Caribbean Spanish (2)

Understanding the Dominican accent

Before we delve into Dominican Republic slang, we need to understand a little bit about the Dominican accent.


Because understanding the Dominican accent is very difficult!

This is Caribbean Spanish and not exactly gringo friendly unless you understand a few things first.

The Dominican accent is different. It will take some getting used to, but once you understand a few things, life will become easier.

First, Dominicans shorten words. Quite!

This is especially common when speaking of popular words like,"This", "You are"and many more. For example, these words often become"compared to"na RD

So instead of saying, "How are you?"they could just say, “How are you?"na RD

Dominicans rarely pronounce the letters"D"when talking to friends and family. When talking about a finger or toe, they don't say:"finger"comes out more like,"deo"- that sounds like"he-oh"

Another example here would be:"glued"o atascado en english. In Dominican Spanish this would be pronounced:"Lead to"

Dominicans tend to do this with common phrases that end in"S"also.

Again, the Dominican accent and island slang will take some getting used to. But with a little practice and patience, you'll begin to understand how these Caribbean experts communicate.

The 15 Best Dominican Slang Words and Phrases

You could have an entire dictionary full of Dominican slang, but that's not the point here. Our goal is to teach you the most used and useful slang in the Dominican Republic.

Conditions that will make your life easier while you are in paradise!

After spending more than six months in the DR, I've spent enough time here to know what words and terms my fellow gringos need to know. What you need to know before hitting the streets ofSanto Domingo. Or the beaches of Punta Cana, or the exuberant city of Santiago.

Here are 15 Dominican slang and phrases to get you started:

  • What, what?

Probably the most used slang term in the Dominican Republic by far. You'll hear this a lot, as it's the most common greeting in the country.

No, it doesn't mean "what for what". It means "what's up?" as a greeting Personally, I would use this phrase when talking to younger people. Certainly not when talking to the elderly.

How to use “What what what” in a sentence:

What, what?/ What is happening?
  • chapiadora

This might be my favorite word in Dominican slang. The Chapiadora is basically the Dominican version of a gold digger. She is a woman who really loves money.

You'll hear "chapiadora" throughout the Dominican Republic. Many women consider this an insult, although some know it to be true.

How to use “Chapiadora” in a sentence:

I'm looking for a chipper just like you./ I'm looking for a prospector just like you.
  • Culpa

This term is commonly used throughout Central America and parts of South America. You'll hear this almost all the time because people use it to refer to a "thing".

(Video) Things Dominicans Say | Common Spanish Phrases From the Dominican Republic

CulpaIt is usually a neutral word, although it can be derogatory. It's never positive, but it's not inherently negative either.

How to use "Pod" in a sentence:

Please pass me that capsule./ Please pass me that thing.
  • Chin

You will use this when you want a little something. It is often used when talking about food or in the kitchen.

For example, many Dominican recipes call for"a chin"of certain ingredients.

How to use "Chin" in a sentence:

Give me a piece of food./ Give some food.
  • bus

This term is fundamental. You'll hear a lot from the locals. If you are thinking of taking the bus, you better learn this word. Because in the Dominican Republic people usually call the busbus.

The guaguas are generally old and dilapidated buses that travel within the city. They're not comfortable or clean, but riding one is definitely a unique experience.dominican experienceevery gringo should have it.

How to use “Guagua” in a sentence:

Shall we wait for the bus or take a taxi?/ Shall we wait for the bus or should we take a taxi?
  • Jevo/Jeva

This is 100% Caribbean Spanish slang. Common in DR and Puerto Rico, locals use“Jevo/Jeva”when referring to someone you are casually dating.

When a Dominican is dating someone but they are not officially boyfriend and girlfriend, this is the term used.cornerIt's like an affectionate way of saying "ffriends with benefits"in Dominican Spanish.

How to use “Jevo/Jeva” in a sentence:

My Java is very beautiful!/ My girl is very beautiful!

Dominican Slang | A Gringo Guide to Caribbean Spanish (3)

  • candy store

If you are from the United States, then think of apiled uplike a dominican style7 our.

There is a grocery store in every neighborhood in the Dominican Republic. Locals often buy some of their food there, like eggs or water. Many Dominicans also drinkpresidentbeers outpiled upand socializing with neighbors on weekends.

hell somegrocery storeseven bachata music is playing and the neighborhood dances the night away.

How to use “Colmado” in a sentence:

The deodorant is over, I'm going to the supermarket to buy it./ I ran out of deodorant, I'm going to the nearest store to buy it.
  • Pimp / Pimp

First, let's say this word is used in other countries, especially in Spain. You can use it to refer to a person or thing that is cute or attractive.

But in the DR, you will hearpimpquite. People use it to refer to attractive women all the time."Mami Chula"is something you'll hear often in the Dominican Republic, although many Dominican women don't like it.

pimpychulacan also be used as terms of endearment, especially between couples.

How to use “Pimp” in a sentence:

This woman is really nice./ That girl is pretty.
  • Tiguere

TiguereIt's very, very Dominican slang.

Generally, a"tiguere"he's a street-savvy man, a con man, and potentially violent. It's like the Dominican word for gangster.

Some women in the DR consider that men who play games are a way oftiguerealso.

How to use “Tiguere” in a sentence:

(Video) Why It's So Hard To Sound Like A Native In Spanish (3 tips)

Watch out for that man, he's a tiguere./ Beware of this man, he is a scammer.
  • concha

This is truly Dominican slang. I have never heard of this in any other country.

conchait's just another word for car or motorcycle. It's a word that Dominicans use when referring to any type of vehicle or transportation.

How to use “Concho” in a sentence:

I don't want to walk, let's go by concho./ I don't want to walk, let's get a taxi.
  • tripeo/tripeando

This one is not as common as some of the others. Buttrippingbasically means “waste time” in Dominican Spanish.

It is usually used when you are making fun of someone and letting them know you are joking.

Looking at the exact English equivalent, I think it translates to something like "I'm pulling your leg".

How to use "Trip" in a sentence:

Relax, I'm traveling with you./ Calm down, I'm just kidding.

Dominican Slang | A Gringo Guide to Caribbean Spanish (4)

  • to vanish

This is a Dominican word for "absurd" or when something is completely wrong.

When someone is talking about something and you know 100% that they are wrong, you can use this word. It's not inherently negative or aggressive, but you can use"to vanish"almost insulting someone too.

How to use "Shoot" in a sentence:

What you are saying is nonsense!/ What you're saying is nonsense!
  • the reception

This refers to the feeling when you've eaten TOO MUCH and can't eat any more.

the receptionis very useful slang when eating something someone has prepared for you or after finishing a meal at a fancy restaurant.

How to use "Full" in a sentence:

I have a tremendous take!/ I'm so full!
  • sharp

This is a very common expression among Dominicans. Refers to something cool or great.

You can use it in any context, but Dominicans often use it"sharp"when commenting on a story someone is telling.

How to use "Clear" in a sentence:

That car is cool./ This car is very good.
  • Yala

It is quite common to say“Yalá”when something is right or correct. However, this is often used in informal gatherings with friends.

How to use "Yala" in a sentence:

At 20:00 he went to pick him up. Answer: Yala/ I will cross at 8 pm.Responder:bom

Dominican Slang | A Gringo Guide to Caribbean Spanish (5)

That's life.

How to learn Spanish like a'Dominican'

There are three main things I recommend when learning to speak like aDominican.Most textbooks are not one of. I can tell you that.

By the way, this is the first tip...

(Video) Spanish Accents from Different Countries [Guess the Dialect]

  • no more textbooks

At some point, everyone gets tired of the same thing. And the truth is, there are better ways to learn languages ​​than by looking at a book.

If you want to up your game, you better find some real action i.e. practice with the locals while in DR.

Leave the resort and start talking to Dominicans. They are a patient bunch and will put up with your Spanish gringo until the cows come home. As long as you are practical and respectful!

But if you're not in the Dominican Republic, this might not be an option. Happily…

  • BaseLang

Imagine taking Spanish lessons from a local native speaker anytime, any day of the week. Yes, I'm talking about unlimited Spanish classes.

Welcome toBaseLang.

A service that offers unlimited one-on-one online Spanish classes with professional teachers for a low monthly price.

You pay $129 USD for a month ofBaseLangand you'll have as many 30-minute lessons as you like with as many teachers as you like.

The very cool feature ofBaseLangis that he takes away all the fluff and starts teaching you how to have real spanish conversations from day one. You can literally go from useless to conversational in just a few months.

Very recommendable!

--> Here is a complete review of my BaseLang Spanish learning experience.
  • stay consistent

No matter what you do, there's only one way to truly learn Spanish...

You have to speak Spanish every day.

You have to be consistent with this. Or talking to the locals. Taking an online class. Using an app on your phone.

Whatever it is, you must study and/or speak Spanish for 30 minutes every day. There are no excuses. That's how you'll start to understand Dominican slang sooner or later.

Dominican Slang | A Gringo Guide to Caribbean Spanish (6)

Dominican slang gringo guide | the verdict

Did you like this pod?

That solves it. Everything gringos need to knowdominican slangand Spanish. The accent and slang can be difficult to master, but after that, speaking Spanish will never be difficult again.

I missed something? Any common Dominican slang I should add?

Tap the comments below and I'll add anything I missed. A miserable gringo can't do much living in theDominican Republic.You already know.

May everything go well

5/5 (1 Review)


1. Spanish accents around the world — everything you need to know
(Olly Richards)
2. 50+ Scams to Avoid in Dominican Republic Vacation and DR Living tips
(Educated Traveler)
3. Gringo Amuses Latino Neighborhood with His Spanish
(Xiaomanyc 小马在纽约)
4. Learn Dominican Republic Spanish Before You Go! (2023)
(Middle Coast Publishing)
6. why i switched spanish dialects (and why you should too).
(Elysse Speaks)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jerrold Considine

Last Updated: 03/18/2023

Views: 5945

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jerrold Considine

Birthday: 1993-11-03

Address: Suite 447 3463 Marybelle Circles, New Marlin, AL 20765

Phone: +5816749283868

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Air sports, Sand art, Electronics, LARPing, Baseball, Book restoration, Puzzles

Introduction: My name is Jerrold Considine, I am a combative, cheerful, encouraging, happy, enthusiastic, funny, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.