Do you know how to say "cool" in Spanish as in, "That video is so cool!"? What is the best equivalent of this slangy English word that can have such meanings as "good," "nice," "great," "OK," or "in fashion"? Let's find out.
Any translator knows well that translating the word "cool" into Spanish poses a big challenge. In fact, there are many Spanish words for "cool" depending upon the speaker's country or origin. In the following sections, we'll provide you with some of those terms.
In Mexico, many people use padre and chido. While the use of padre is more generalized, chido is typically more popular among younger generations:
Y, y en cuanto la vi... No, ésta tiene que ser mía.
And, and as soon as I saw it... No, this one has to be mine.
Caption 34, Sergio en Monterrey - El ámbar mexicanoPlay Caption
Muy padre, porque la escalera viene así,
Very cool, because the staircase comes down like this,
después tiene un descanso.
afterwards it has a landing.Play Caption
...que está chido que estemos en Estados Unidos.
...it's cool that we're in the United States.
Caption 47, Belanova - EntrevistaPlay Caption
Of course, since Mexico has such diverse people living across a vast territory, you'll find other, similar expressions as well. Conmadre (literally, "with mother") and suave (smooth) are good examples. You can hear suave in one of our videos from Monterrey, Mexico. However, it is worth noting that this expression is not very common in that particular city, and the student who utilizes it is from another state.
Aunque a veces sí está pesado,
Although sometimes it is hard,
está muy suave porque se te van volando.
it's very cool because they go flying by for you.
Captions 28-29, Yo estudio en el Tec - de MonterreyPlay Caption
Many people in countries like Colombia, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador use the word chévere:
¡Súper chévere que la... el hijo de uno diga
Very cool for one's child to say,
"No, mi mamá es una chef"!
"No, my mom is a chef!"
Caption 13, Misión Chef - 2 - PruebasPlay Caption
In Colombia, a newer alternative to chévere is bacano (and bacán in Cuba, Peru, and Chile):
Mi papá era un médico muy bacano, muy interesante.
My father was a very cool doctor, very interesting.
Caption 13, La Sub30 - FamiliasPlay Caption
In Argentina, people tend to use words like copado, masa, and groso:
Podemos sacar algo copado esta noche.
We can get something cool tonight.
Caption 87, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema - Part 3Play Caption
¡Soy una masa!
I'm so cool!
Caption 69, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema - Part 1Play Caption
In Spain, you'll often hear guay:
Y realmente la improvisación fue... fue la clave. Era muy guay.
And really the improvisation was... was the key. It was very cool.
Captions 31-32, Blanca y Mariona - Proyectos para el veranoPlay Caption
Sam, tengo esta ropa para ti. Vas a estar guay.
Sam, I have these clothes for you. You're going to look cool.Play Caption
In the following clip, Carlos (from Colombia) and Xavi (from Spain) talk about how they say the word "cool" in their countries. You will see that the word chulo is used in Spain as an alternative term for the more common guay:
¿Qué significa guay?
What does "guay" mean?
Guay es bueno, chulo, divertido.
"Guay" is good, cool, fun.
OK. En Colombia nosotros diríamos chévere o bacano.
OK. In Colombia, we'd say "chévere" or "bacano."
Captions 39-41, Carlos y Xavi - Part 2 Ustedes y VosotrosPlay Caption
While the multitude of terms we've provided as equivalents for "cool" by no means constitute an exhaustive list, they should definitely get you started on your journey to express or understand this idea in many Spanish-speaking countries.
We want to remind you that, regardless of the culture, country, or language, slang words are inextricably linked to the cultural or individual identity of the people who use them, and one can never be too respectful of this. In that spirit, it's always wise to learn more "neutral" alternatives to slang. Genial, estupendo, and, to a certain extent, bárbaro are a good fit to express the idea of "cool" or its equivalents (and be cool in Spanish as well!).
¿Te parece que tus patrones se enojarán? -¡No, está bárbaro!
Do you think that your bosses would get mad? -No, it's cool!
Caption 16, Muñeca Brava - 30 RevelacionesPlay Caption
¡Este grupo está genial!
This group is great!
Caption 27, Raquel - Expresiones para un festival de música.Play Caption
¡Muy bien, estupendo!
Very good, great!Play Caption
The superlative of bueno (good), buenísimo, is also a good alternative:
Bueno, buenísimo, como anillo al dedo.
Well, very good, it fits like a glove [literally: like a ring to a finger].
Caption 69, Muñeca Brava - 9 EngañosPlay Caption
In other contexts, the non-slang expression, está bien, might be used in a case in which an English speaker might say "that's fine" or "that's cool," while está de moda might be used to indicate that a certain trend, for example, is currently "cool" or in fashion.
By the way, unless you're a purist, you could even go with "cool" in English as many Spanish speakers do frequently these days:
El estilo es súper vanguardista. Un estilo muy cool.
The style is super avant-garde. A very cool style.
Captions 12-13, Arume - BarcelonaPlay Caption
Las chicas visten cool para impresionar
The girls dress cool to impress
Caption 25, Dhira - La NochePlay Caption
That's all for for today. We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. And of course, stay cool!