Monday, May 20, 2024

Aguas! You are about to learn some Mexican slang

If you’ve ever strolled through the streets of Mexico, especially in smaller cities, you’ve likely observed the absence of pedestrian signs, resulting in people crossing the streets wherever they please, sometimes at the risk of their own safety. Whenever we witness this danger, we instinctively shout “aguas!” and immediately prevent someone from being hit by a car.

Ok, I am being a bit dramatic, but it is not that far from the truth. Apart from getting into the details of this useful word, I’m going to explain another useful Mexican slang word used to prevent you from coming to any harm. 

  1. “Aguas!”

The expression originates from colonial-era Mexico City. During that time, people would throw waste and dirty water from their windows onto the streets below. To warn pedestrians of the impending danger, those above would shout “¡Aguas!” (waters), indicating that people should watch out for the dirty water. Over time, this warning evolved into a general cautionary phrase used in various contexts to alert others to potential hazards.

 Example Usage:

  • “¡Aguas! Hay vidrio roto en el suelo.” Watch out! There’s broken glass on the ground.
  • “Aguas con ese tipo, parece peligroso.” Be careful with that guy; he seems dangerous.


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  1. Abusado 

Abusado translates to ‘Watch out!’ or ‘Be careful!’ in English. It’s used as a warning to someone to be cautious and avoid potential danger, and it is used in the imperative form of the verb. For example, if someone is walking on a slippery surface, you might say ‘Watch out! Don’t slip, be careful!’ which in Spanish could be “¡Abusado! ¡No te vayas a resbalar, ten cuidado!” 

More examples: 

  • “Abusado! La estufa está caliente.” Watch out! The stove is hot.
  • “Abusada eh!” Be careful, okay?   

Both of these Mexican slang expressions convey a message of caution and you can use them interchangeably. 

Paulina Gerez is a translator-interpreter, content creator, and founder of Crack The Code, a series of online courses focused on languages. Through her social media, she helps people see learning a language from another perspective through her fun experiences. Instagram: paulinagerezm / Tiktok: paugerez3 / YT: paulina gerez 


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