Following up on the many cool reactions we got on the last article, we’ve decided it was time to have another article on Dominicanisms.

For those who didn’t see the first article, Dominicanisms are those words in Spanish that are only used here on the island and can confuse a native Spanish speaker as much as anyone else who isn’t actually from here.

So below is another selection of the widely colorful vocabulary used in the Dominican Republic, which leaves most people going “eh?”, along with an extensive explanation so you will know what is being said around you.


There are many words for money in the Dominican RepublicAs in most other countries, money is a much-talked about subject and Dominicans have a lot of words to describe cash. Below are just a few of the most used ones.

Cuarto – can also mean “room”, which is how this word is used in Spain, but in the Dominican Republic it is mostly used in connection with money. So don’t go to a hotel asking for a cuarto because they will just look at you strangely.

Chele – in some other Spanish speaking countries this means a beer; in the Dominican Republic it only means money.

Efectivo – literally means cash

Want a jugo or a complete pineapple?Food
Food is very important to all Dominicans and is meant to be shared with family and friends

Jugo – means “fruit juice” and is used in this format in most Latin American countries. The Spanish version: “zumo” will only get you raised eyebrows and a non-understanding smile here.

Mangu – mangu is a typically Dominican savory dish mostly eaten for breakfast. It’s made from mashed-up plantains and is said to have gotten its name from American soldiers, who invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965 during “Operation Power Back”. The soldiers, who were given this breakfast, are said to have called out: “man, this is good!” and the exclamation became the name.

Tasty Tostones - photo credit Foodnetwork.comChivo – again a Latin American denomination for goat. In Spain they call the animal a “cabra”, which is usually not understood here.
Tostones -  another typically Dominican accompaniment to savory dishes. Tostones are fried pieces of green plantain, and when done well are one of the best things ever. Find out how to make them at home.

Pica pollo – This is the Dominican version of Kentucky Fried Chicken, but much better. Usually served with tostones, see above. Another recipe in case you really want some and aren’t in the Dominican Republic (just yet).

Con-con – In the Dominican Republic they like to burn the rice and the burned bottom layer is referred to as con-con. It’s considered to be a delicacy.

Hola papi - hey good-lookin'Beautiful people
Dominican girls are as beautiful as they are diverse, and Dominican men have found many words to address these ladies affectionately. Also women are very affectionate in their way of addressing men, even if they have never met them before. So don’t be surprised if they address you in this way too.

Addressing girls
Mamacita – sexy girl

Mami – also means sexy girl. However, many Dominicans also refer to their mothers as mami.

Linda – means: “good-looking”

Bella – means: “beauty”.

Rubia – literally: “blond”, but can be used to address a good-looking girl with any hair color.

Negrita – literally: “black girl”, used affectionately for darker women.

Addressing guys
Papi – sexy guy. Again, many Dominicans also refer to their fathers as papi.

Addressing either
Mi amor – literally: “my love”. Used very commonly.

If you missed the first article you can find it here: Talking Dominican

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