Guide of the Madrilian expressions to sound like a local

05.06.22 / 13:55

Madrid expressions: manual to be a gato, or at least seem like one.


We, the madrileños, always think that we have no accent, an eternal dispute with the people of any other autonomous community. We rather not engage with this eternal war, (which we would obviously win ;D) but we are going to tell you what expressions you should use if you want them to think that you’re a gato: a true local madrileño. This distinguished treat is usually given to locals whose both parents and all of their grandparents were born in Madrid.


1. Mazo

On the top of the list, as it should be, we have the word “mazo” in all its variants: "Mola mazo", "me duele mazo", "estoy mazo de cansado" or "hay mazo de planes en Bastardo". In few words, all this means there'´s plenty of anything, especially if it’s something you truly feel. The equivalent in English is probably a fuckload of whatever.
Anything you want to exaggerate goes well with this word, and if you don't know what to say, you can answer like this: "Do you feel like going out?" Mazo (fuck yeah). "You like hamburguers?" Mazo. You get the idea.


2. Me renta

If you look it up at google translator it would mean that you rent something, which in Madrid is impossible, because the housing prices here are indecently expensive (so the best option when staying in Madrid is definitely with us), but we digress… This expression is one of our favorites, it’s a kind of "I feel like it". “Do you want to party today?” Me renta. Do you want to sleep over at Bastardo? Me renta, a lot.
And if you want to be a madrileño with capital letters, a real lifelong gato, you can also mix up expressions to sound like a true local. For example: "Me renta mazo". There you go, as if you were born here.


3. Movida

For the people of Madrid, especially for the youngest, everything is a “movida”. It is said when there has been a problem or when something big went down. Kinda like: “There was a huge movida last night at the club, two boys were fighting, and they were kicked out” and you can answer: “Buff ¡qué movida sí!” Or you can say to our receptionist, “What a movida… Our flight was delayed… is there any issue with our reservation?” It’s a versatile mix of troubles, drama, anything that stands out and deserves to be talked/trashed about.


4. Tronco

You will call your colleagues "tronco" above all things. It is the commandment No. 1 of the Madrid slang, and don’t even bother to look this up at the dictionary, because you’ll think we have a lumberjack complex… When you say hello, always say: "What's up, tronco?" And every time you want to specify something you also add a tronco to add a bit of drama to the issue: “Let's see, tronco, haven’t you heard that Bastardo is the best hostel in Madrid?” It’s basically saying dude or mate. To our closer friends, we’ll always say tío/tía since they are the family we choose.


habitacion-doble hotel Madrid

5. Kelly

"Kelly" is simply home (not that group of hippies that were in the 2,000, the Kelly Family or something. Remember? We don´t.) It's the typical thing we say when we're with friends. When a friend gets up from the bar chair and goes home, he doesn't really go home, he goes to his kelly, got it? At Bastardo you will always feel as if you were in your own kelly.

Expresiones madrileñas Bastardo hostel Madrid centro barato

6. Canteo

One of our favorites. Another word that is useful for everything at almost every moment, although it really is like saying movida.

Being kind of a wild card, it works perfectly if your friend has been telling you about his “movidas” (dramas) for 2 hours and you don't even care, so when he finishes talking you just say “Buff, canteo” and it´s just like you perfectly listened trough. (a parallel to saying “word” or “preach”).

You can also say it when someone is very handsome or hot, kind of: “Eh tía, vaya canteo de pibe vi el otro día en Bastardo” which translate into: “Girl, you couldn’t believe the hottest guy I saw at Bastardo the other day”.

7. Garito

It can be a place, bar, disco... Basically, anywhere you can go for a drink. For example, Malasaña and Chueca are full of garitos for all walks of life, and they are all next to our hostel.


8. A pachas

No doubt we love getting invited by someone, but if you must split the account, here we say that we pay “a pachas” or that “vamos a pachas”. Which is like saying halfway, but cooler. So, when asked by our bartenders at Bastardo how are you going to pay those beers, you just say a pachas and signal your friend. Yes, it’s THAT easy to sound like us.


Bastardo HOstel Grada Lobby Cervecería

9. Pibe/piba

We use it to refer to a boy (pibe) or a girl (piba), and we say it all the time in colloquial jargon. For example: "That pibe is so dull… Not like the ones at Bastardo, who are all super cool (or molan mazo)."

10. Pisparse o catarse

"Pisparse" or "catarse" means realizing something. "Have you realized/pispado that guy has been watching you all night?" Or, for example, if you see someone doing something weird on the street, you ask your friend and say "cátate/check it out." Although "catar" can also mean to get involved with someone... like when a friend hooks up at the disco the night before, we say "ayer cató/yesterday he got some".


11. Un moco

We are talking about the expression "cogerse un moco" or "engancharse un moco", which
might sound extremely awkward if you know some Spanish already (moco means booger), but for us, it means getting drunk. Still, we get that if you don't know about this jargon, you might be like WTF or crack a laugh when you first hear it.



With this dictionary of expressions from Madrid, you are going to sound more like a local than the Puerta del Sol clock. Keep practicing and apply other tips such as saying “Madrí” or “Madriz” and no one will notice that you aren’t a real Madrileño!

But if what you want is a total immersion in the Madrid jargon, we recommend that you stay at Bastardo and practice entering the Madrid culture. ¡Eso sí que mola mazo, tronco!.

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