Boludo: every Argentinian's favorite slang word


Boludo: Argentinians' favorite word.

If you're coming to Argentina, you may get lost without it.

Are you planning a trip to Argentina? 

If so, there’s something you should know. 

You’ll need to learn Spanish, but you’ll also need to learn the word boludo.

Because, while the Spanish you will learn here is the same Spanish you will learn in Spain, or Mexico, or Colombia, every country puts its own special spins both the pronunciation and slang.

Which is why, every week Spanish in Rosario brings you Lunes de Lunfardo, a short, silly, explanation of a commonly used and heard Argentinian slang, where it comes from and how to use it. 

This week’s word is boludo, every Argie’s favorite word.

Boludaaaa, sos yanqui? But you speak Spanish so well!” 

Yes, I am a yank and yes, I’ve learned to reproduce both the slang and sound of an Argentinian, but it wasn’t always like that.

While I was born in the United States, my parents were Cuban, so I grew up speaking Spanish. But all that meant relatively little upon arriving to Rosario, in large part due to the word boludo or boluda.

The first time I heard it I was at an asado. 

One of the guys at the table was complaining about the fact that his electricity had been turned off because he’d forgotten to pay his bills. ¡Que boludo que sos!” a friend replied. 

Was he calling him a dumbass? 

Did that mean that people were constantly calling me a dumbass ? 

Is it a compliment or an insult?

Turns out it’s both. 




The history and use.

The word boludo in Argentina is one of the most common words you will learn and hear. 

In its origins,  the cannon fodder (soldiers who would go to battle on the front line) were called boludos. 

The literal meaning is someone with big balls.

But the figurative meaning is someone who’s stupidly brave. 

So it makes sense that today boludo is used as an insult to refer to an idiot or dumbass. If you say it to someone you don’t know very well, it’s considered downright offensive. 

On the other hand, if you were to use it with a friend, it would be considered a playful insult. So when someone uses it with you in this way, it means you’ve made the team. 

But it gets more convoluted as we continue because it can also used as a meaningless interjection, something like that of the word dude “Che boludo, tenés la hora?” (Dude, do you have the time?).

And just like you probably wouldn’t say “dude” to your boss, you might not want to use it in formal situations, or with people you don’t know very well.


boludez  (adjective) 1. something small or unimportant. 2. a piece of cake, easy

boludear (verb) 1. to mess around. 2. to screw around with someone.

bolu (noun) 1.short for boludo

Shall we use them ALL in a sentence? 

“Bolu, learning Spanish is a boludez when you have awesome teachers like the ones at Spanish in Rosario. They don’t boludear man, they take teaching to a whole new level!”

Now, my friend, you are ready to brave the streets of the cities of Argentina. 

And if you are still looking for a Spanish school, come learn with us at Spanish in Rosario!