Let the Bullets Fly: Speed in Chilenismos

We're all spinning really fast!Considering that lately, life has been flinging me across a massive vortex, in which surreal moments of a slow calm are sandwiched between violent winds of insanity, I’ve decided to write about words for velocity.

For those of you who weren’t put off by that strange introduction, let’s jump right in!


This is the most important Chilean speed word that you will need.  You hear it all the time.  It meansright away and comes from back when you used to be called to lunch with the shot of a gun—a tiro.  But it makes me think of standing at the start of a race.

¿Ya me mandaste el blog de esa gringa bakán?

No, pero lo voy a hacer altiro.


Continuing with the gun theme, this word means “like a bullet.”  While altiro is an adverb, this is an adjective.  The loose translation of the picture below should clarify.

Makes threats like a tough guy; wimps out and speeds off on his motorcycle.


The Spanish word for lentil.  Chileans were like, “Hey!  This word sounds like lento!  Let’s use it to mean slow!”… so it means slow.  And sounds kind of cute.  But I’m always biased toward lentils.

Meterle chala:

This is the equivalent of “put the pedal to the metal.”  Chala is “sandal,” so “give it some sandal” is a little closer.

Hecho una goma:

“Made of rubber”… which means you go really fast, maybe like a race car wheel?  I’m not sure on this one.  The example I have of this one, which I think is highly irresponsible and dangerous, is this guy who arrancó hecho una goma del policía.

Ir rajado:

GO REALLY FAAAAST.  I usually use this to talk about drivers that go way too fast and are making me angry.  Like the motorcyclist “made of rubber” in the video above.

I feel like there are more words in English and in Chilean Spanish to describe speed.  I mean “slowness” competes with speed, velocity, celerity, rapidity, swiftness, speediness, quickness, haste, and so on.

There must be other words out there to describe slowness.  Ideas?


One thought on “Let the Bullets Fly: Speed in Chilenismos

  1. Pingback: !¡ Pico ≠ Beak; it’s less innocent than it seems | Chilean Adventures of the Pelirroja Peligrosa

Join in the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s