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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 03/20/2023

Top 12 "Tico" Words

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

Words that you won’t find in your dictionaries, but you will hear daily from your tico friends.


Spanish Classes

1.  Pura vida!  (awesome) Example;  El es muy pura vida         (He’s a cool guy)

2.  Mae  (dude, man)     Example:  Que pasa, mae?    (What’s happening, dude?)

3.  Tuanis   (cool, awesome)     Example: --Como esta?   --Tuanis!  (--How are you? – Awesome!)

4.  Diay!   (What the hell!)     Example:  Diay! Que pasa?     (What the hell’s going on?)

5.  Chunche  (thing)   Example:  Pasame este chunche.       (Pass me that thing)

6.  Salado(a) (too bad, tough luck)    Example:  No trajo plata? Salado!    (You didn’t bring money? Too bad for you!)                   

7.  Goma  (hangover)    Example:  Tengo goma.    (I’ve got a hangover)

8.  Polo(a) (tacky, cheesy, without class)    Example:  Mira!  Que mujer mas pola, usando tenis y vestido!  (Look!  What a tacky lady, wearing tennis shoes with a dress!)   

9.  Chicha   (anger)     Example:  Tengo chicha.           (I’m cranky)

10.  Dele  (Go for it!)    Example:  --Tengo espacio?  --Si, dele!      (--Do I have room?  --Yeah, go for it!)

11.  Brete  (work)      Example:  Tengo mucho brete.      (I’ve got a lot of work)

12.  Chepe  (San Jose)   Example:  Voy a chepe manana.   (I’m going to San Jose tomorrow)


Now you are officially ready to start your adventure abroad in Costa Rica!  Register today for your TESOL course!  

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