Better think twice: some of these Spanish words mean something completely innocent in one country — and something vulgar in another.


Guagua: In Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, "guagua" refers to a bus. However, Chileans use "guagua" as a word for "baby".

Torta: In Mexico, if you ask for a "torta," you'll get a delicious sandwich. In many other countries, you'll receive some cake. Either way, your hunger will be satiated. 

Tortillera: Technically, this means a woman who makes a living making tortillas. In other circumstances, it can be used as a vulgar term for lesbian.

Bicho: In much of Latin America, "bicho" simply refers to a small insect. However, be wary of using this word in Puerto Rico, where it actually means "penis."

Concha: Concha has a few wildly different meanings. Technically, it means shell. In Mexico, it could refer to a particularly popular pan dulce, and in Argentina, Puerto Rico, Chile and other countries, it's used as a vulgar term for a lady's genitals.

Chaqueta: When in Mexico, it's best to refer to your jacket as your "chamarra." In some contexts, chaqueta actually refers to masturbation

Chavo: In México, Honduras and Nicaragua it will mean a boy, but in in Puerto Rico, Cuba and in Valencia, Spain it means money.

Pana: This word, in most countries, is a material which is used for making shirts or skirts (velveteen shirts/skirts). However, in Colombia, it is the way to call somebody. For example, “¡Oye mi pana!”, which would mean “Hey bro!” in English.

Porro: In Colombia, it is an enjoyable musical rhythm. However, in most other countries, it is a cigarette of marijuana.

Chucha: In Chile, when somebody wants to express that something is far away, they say “está a la chucha” (it is so far). Moreover, in Spain, it is the name of a location (specifically in Granada, Spain).

Chivo: In any Spanish speaking country, “chivo” is the name of an animal. However, in Argentina and Uruguay, it is the armpit odor. For example: “tienes olor a chivo” which would mean “you have armpit odor”.

Chucho: In Argentina, it is used to express that the weather is cold; in Mexico, it is used to refer to people with the gift of being very skillful. And finally, in Chile, “chucho” means “jail”.

Capullo: “Capullo” means “bud” (as in “flower bud”) to any Spanish-speaking person. Nonetheless, in Spain, it is an insult and it is not recommended to say unless you are pretending to insult somebody.

Jugo: It means “juice” in some Latin American countries, such as Argentina or Uruguay. However in Spain, “juice” is the liquid which goes out of meat, and “zumo” is the way they say “juice” (as “fruit juice”).