Sunday, July 21, 2024

¡No manches! Learn new Mexican slang words with our video guide!

In Mexico, it’s quite common to replace a vulgar expression with a more acceptable, similar-sounding word. This is akin to how Americans might say “shoot!” instead of “sh*t” or “what the heck” instead of “what the f*ck.” The expression “no manches” illustrates this well. It can mean “no way,” “oh my god,” “really?” “Darn,” “Are you kidding” or “come on.” It can also be used as an expression to show that you are following the conversation, much like the more vulgar “no mames.”

By substituting “manches” for “mames,” (which translates to “suck”) the intention is to soften the expression and make it more socially acceptable. The phrase originates from the verb “manchar,” which means “to stain”. However, in this case, it is not used literally. 

A surprised and excited child
“No manches” can also be a great way to emphasize excitement. (Thomas Park/Unsplash)

It can be used in various contexts to express surprise, disbelief, frustration, or to emphasize a statement. Its versatility makes it a staple in Mexican slang. Here are some common ways this expression is used: 

Expressing surprise or disbelief:

A: ¡No manches! ¿De verdad te ganaste la lotería? (No way! Did you really win the lottery?)

B: ¡No manches! Obvio no. (Come on! Of course not.) 

Emphasizing a statement:

A: Acabo de regresar de Bora Bora. (I just came back from Bora Bora.) 

B: ¡No manches, ese lugar está increíble! (Oh my god, that place is amazing!)

Expressing frustration or annoyance:

A: ¡El tráfico está terrible! (Traffic is terrible) 

B: No manches vamos a llegar super tarde! (Darn, we are going to be really late) 

 

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Reacting to an absurd or unbelievable Situation:

A: No manches, ¿cómo es posible que hayas perdido las llaves otra vez? (No way, how is it possible that you lost the keys again?) 

To follow the conversation:

A: Fue un viaje difícil la verdad, no pudimos llegar porque ya no había vuelos disponibles…  (It was tough, to be honest; we couldn’t get there because there weren’t any available flights.) 

B: No manches…  (Oh gosh)

A: Ya sé… (I know…) 

There you have some examples of how to use this expression. Bear in mind that the context, the tone and the intention will determine its meaning and that you can use it in informal situations and with people of all ages as long as you are in a friendly, casual environment. 

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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