Birth of the Slangtionary…

How many times have you been absolutely lost, in far too deep in a conversation between people who speak almost entirely in slang?  You would think slang is reserved for high school aged youth where every other word is 100p swag, bro, squad, and lit. Well, while traveling Central America this fall and winter, I made a nomadic family comprised entirely of Aussies (they’re everywhere, you can’t escape them). We all spoke English, and we were all far past our high school days. But it was inevitable that as conversation went on, they may as well have been speaking mandarin. So began the Slangtionary I originally hand wrote at the beginning of my travel journal to use for future reference. It contains everything from local sayings in English and otherwise, to simple words, to brands of booze that I all came to know over my travels. Listos (ready)?

How the slangtionary works…

Each entry begins with the word, pronunciation in italics, then in brackets is the region that I first heard it or the nationality of the person who first introduced me to the term. Anything coined always sunny are terms I made myself. Let this be your personal dictionary for when my lingo gets too complicated, and you need a cheat sheet.

Slangtionary: slang-sha-nary (straight outta sunny) Reference of slang. Used to record words, phrases, and other vital tidbits that are seemingly gibberish at first thought, but are in fact slang from different cultures.

Bogan: boh-gan (an Aussie said) Term for a person who is a redneck, hick etc.

Brownout: (always sunny) Term that has nothing to do with electricity. This is when you have strong periods of forgetfullness while drinking, but it’s not prolonged enough for it to qualify for a  textbook blackout. It’s simply flickering of the memory, if you will. Nothing to be concerned about… yet.

Bruv: bruhv (an English said) Term for “brother”, friend etc.

Buenas: bwen-ahs (learned in Costa Rica) Phrase originating from the Spanish phrase buenas dias meaning good morning. Buenas can be used as “good morning/afternoon/evening” respectively.

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Cacique Guaro: cah-seek-eh-gwar-oh (Costa Rica origin) The Spanish word Cacique translates to Chief, hence the regal looking dude on the bottle. This is the sugar cane liquor of Costa Rica. It tastes like as if rum, vodka, and gasoline were to have a love child. You’ve been warned, but do not be discouraged. It is by far the most beloved liquor in Costa Rica, and you’ll come to love it too. With some practice.

D’amnesia: dam-nees-yah (straight outta sunny) A condition in which one only remembers certain things that transpired while intoxicated only once they are intoxicated again. It is amnesia for the drunks.

Expat: ex-paht (learned in Costa Rica) Term for one who lives in a community semi permanently that they did not originate from.  Eg. I was an expat while living in Costa Rica.

Flor de Caña: flor-de-cahn-yah (Nicaragua origin) Name translating to sugar cane flower, it is the sweet, sweet rum and lifeblood of Nicaraguan booze.

Flor De Cana product line. Photo taken from their website.

Flor De Cana product line. Photo taken from their website.

F.N.E.Z: (Canada origin) Abbreviation

Free And Easy Traveler

Free And Easy Traveler

for the kick ass, dope, friggen awesome, amazing Canadian company Free And Easy Traveler that I spent some time traveling with in Central America. Click on the pic to checkem out. →

Hielo: yellow (learned in Costa Rica) The Spanish word for ice. While working at the odd bar or two to make some tips for my travels, that



was one of the hardest words for me to learn. I couldn’t understand what about yellow was so great-did they want Imperial?? That’s yellow… But with time, I realized that yellow was just the way they pronounced hielo. Embarrassingly enough, I had been pronouncing it hielado (hee-lee-yah-doh) which means ice cream. So all along, I was frustrated when I kept asking my customers if they wanted ice cream  with their beers and they always said no. Their loss.

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Imperial beer

Imperial: (Costa Rica origin) Most definitely the beer of choice in Costa Rica, with only Pilsen as its rival. Even being wheat intolerant, I definitely snuck a few of these bad boys when the Guaro got me good. You cant go wrong with these.

Keen: (an Aussie said) Used interchangeably with the word romantically interested. eg. “Are you keen on that bogan over there?”

Maccas’: mack-ahs (an Aussie said) Slang for McDonald’s!

Moosed: (learned in Costa Rica) This term is something the  friends of mine in Puerto Viejo used to describe when you walk in on each other… occupied with other friends.

Mozzies: moh-zees (an Aussie said) Slang for mosquitoes.

Pipas: pee-pahs (Costa Rica origin) Slang for a young coconut, and also the name of one of the best dogs I met abroad.

Pissed: (an Aussie said) Slang for being drunk.

Por Fa: por-fah (learned in Costa Rica) Spanish phrase meaning thank you, shortened from  por favor. Its faster to say, and sounds cooler. If you’re all about blending in like a local, then make sure you say this instead of traditional por favor.

Pura Vida: poor-ah-vee-dah (Costa Rica origin) It must be the official phrase of Costa Rica and means pure life. I heard this phrase used every day almost as a goodbye blessing between locals. (If you traveled to Costa Rica and didn’t hear this phrase every day, then… did you even go?)

PV, Puerto V., Puerto: pwertoh-vee-ay-ho (Costa Rica origin) These are all nicknames and abbreviations that the town Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica is known by. It is also commonly referred to as the vortex. Because once you go, its like there’s this force beyond your control that sucks you in forever. All of a sudden a stop along destination like pv turns into your new home, you dont remember the last time you wore shoes, you haven’t eaten anything but ceviche and patties for breakfast for days, or drank anything but guaro for weeks. Vortex. Vortex.

Sluzzenberg: sluz-en-berg (an Aussie said) Slang for your friendly neighborhood lady of the night.

Thongs: (an Aussie said) Not in fact underwear, but slang for flip flops and sandals. No, it wasn’t awkward to misunderstand, and I didn’t think that fully grown men were asking me if I’d seen their undies.

Tico/Tica: tee-koh, tee-kah (Costa Rica origin) Name for a local from Costa Rica. Tico is masculine, and tica is feminine. Also, to be tico’ed is to have someone double you on their bike as you sit sideways on the bars, between their seat on the bike, and the handle bars. eg. “I was so done last night, I had to get tico’ed home.”

Todo Bien: toh-doh-bee-yen (Costa Rica origin) This is a phrase that translates to its all good. It was my most frequently used saying while abroad because the fact is… the way us Canadians use sorry so interchangeably does not work in the Spanish language. I use sorry as my “excuse me, pardon me, its ok, no you talk first”. When I began using the direct translation of lo siento in the same way, I ended up hearing a lot of ?por que¿‘s. This phrase took me a long way in Central America from brushing off messed up drink orders, to kindly allowing strangers to push past me in stores.

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Tona beer

Toña: tone-yah (Nicaragua origin) This is the most popular beer in Nicaragua, so if you ever have one too many flor de caña’s then this is your safest alternative.victoria

Victoria: bic-tor-ee-yah
(Nicaragua origin) This is the second most popular beer in Nicaragua behind Toña. When ordering, make sure to turn that v sound into a b, do as the locals do.  Get yourself some hielo to go with it, beers only stay frio for so long in 35°+.

W.O.P: (???) (Disrespetful respectful) term for an illegal immigrant. Broken down, means without papers (ie. immigration papers)

YAS: (???) If you have

Photo taken from

Broad City yaaaas

ever seen the show Broad City, this is something the main characters yell out all the time. It is a joyful exclamation, appropriate when ever the hell you see fit, kween.