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I'm looking for a Latin American (including US speakers from latin american backgrounds) Spanish translation of the phrase "awesome" or "sweet".

For context, sweet is generally used upon encountering good news where I'm from. A man opens up the mail, and it's a paycheck - sweet! A girl finds out she got an A on a test - sweet! It's what you use to welcome good news.

Awesome has a slightly more general connotation. If I saw an eagle fly over my head, I could say "awesome!" but it would be kind of weird to say "sweet". In this case it's not good news it's just something cool or interesting. Moreover, "awesome" can generally be used for good news too, but it's slightly odder to do so.

I hope this clarification helps.

As for regional criteria, perhaps the translations that extend most broadly across Latin America (and for the purposes of this question US residents with Latin American heritage and cultural backgrounds are included too).

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In Mexico, there are many slang words that are so commonly used, that fit on both contexts you explain - awesome or sweet.

The most fitting word in my perspective is ahuevo.

I just thought about myself in the example situations you described when using those words and I totally felt to say "ahuevo" in both of them...(and I strongly believe that would be the same way for most mexicans to react).

It's a very funny word - it's like to say "a-egg" - "a-huevo"

Though it's slang, it's SO COMMONLY used in all mexican society levels...

Example:

"I got a salary rise...awesome!" "Me dieron un aumento...ahuevo!"

"Hey look at that hot chick!! Awesome!" "Hey chécate a esa chica!! Ahuevo!"

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Another very fitting slang word would be:

  1. Chingón

That's like to say "Fuckin' awesome". You use it like "Qué chingón!" or just "Chingón", or when referring to a noun you gotta pay attention to the gender, as it can be "chingona" or "chingón".

For example:

"Your new Guitar is awesome!". "Tu nueva guitarra está chingona!".

"Hey bro, I got a salary rise! Awesome!" "Güey, me subieron el sueldo!! Chingón!"

Chingón is definitely a good option for all those situations where "sweet" can be applied.

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Another one would be:

  1. Padre

Yes, like "Father". LOL. You use it like "Qué padre!" or "Bien Padre" or "Padrísimo(a)" - like if you said "What a Father!"

For example:

"Hey look at that Tiger...! Awesome!" "Mira el Tigre! Qué padre!"

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Another one would be:

  1. Chido

You use it like "Qué chido!" or "Chidísimo(a)".

For example:

"Hey I got A on my test...! Sweet...!" "Hey saqué A en mi examen...! Chido!!"

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Of course people use a lot of other different expressions, such as: "Excellent", "Great", "Perfect", "Fantastic", "Cool", "Good"...but I'm 35 so far and have never ever stopped listening to those!!

And the current kids, teens and younger adults seem to use them even more than ever.

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Awesome is easy to translate. Being more formal and standardized, you can use something like this:

Fabuloso

Increíble

Espectacular

Fantástico

Sweet instead is a problem because the word itself is a colloquial idiom. I can suggest you

¡Qué bien!

but not really much difference with awesome.

In my opinion it will depend on the regional variety of Spanish you use. I can tell you what is used in Chile:

¡Bacán!

¡La raja!

but probably prefer some North American way.

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  • Interesante ese "¡la raja!". Habría pensado que tiene (obvias) connotaciones sexuales. Tampoco había oído antes "bacán". Buscándolo un poco más encontré esto: etimologias.dechile.net/?baca.n – Diego Jan 30 '15 at 18:13
  • @Diego: "La raja" es de origen sexual, por supuesto, pero ese valor se perdió hace varias décadas, como en "pucha" o "huevón". Eso sí, es una exclamación muy informal que se ve mal cuando está escrita, pero que se puede decir entre parientes, amigos y en medios masivos sin ningún inconveniente. – Rodrigo Jan 30 '15 at 18:23
  • Gracias por la explicación. Me parece doblemente interesante entonces, porque hasta ahora en este contexto siempre había visto que lo masculino se asociaba a algo bueno (esto es cojonudo. Esto es la polla--> muy bueno) y lo femenino a malo (esto es un coñazo--> esto es aburrido). Qué interesante que allí "la raja" describa algo bueno. (nota aparte, creo que en Chile "la polla" es el nombre de la lotería nacional, no? En España es una forma muy vulgar para nombrar al pene). – Diego Jan 30 '15 at 18:50
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    Fue una lotería importante. En la TV la publicidad de los 90's decía cosas como "¡esta semana la polla será tuya!" y similares, pero aquí nadie supo de lo gracioso del asunto. – Rodrigo Jan 30 '15 at 19:53
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I don't kwon if is widely used in Latin America, but you could try with "mola" from the verb molar. This is a colloquialism that could be used in both contexts provided since it not only carries the connotation of

Gustar, resultar agradable

but also for something to be cool or fascinating. Lets say that in both situations (either receiving my paycheck or seeing an eagle) I would hit the "like" button (to use an analogy). Every time I do so I could say "mola".

I could use other "synonyms" like "guay" (although this one might not be widely used either. Probably is uncommon in other provinces of Spain than Madrid)

Qué guay! He sacado un diez en el examen. Cómo mola!

Qué guay, el cheque de la paga. Ya sé en qué me lo voy a gastar.

Qué guay, un águila. Cómo mola.

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  • Nice, what region would you say molar is native to? – user3163829 Jan 31 '15 at 16:48
  • @user3163829, for sure Madrid (Spain). Probably would be understood in other regions of Spain, but for the Latin Americas better to get validation from other users. – Diego Jan 31 '15 at 17:08
  • I'm pretty sure molar is not used in Mexico. I had these visitors from Spain one time, and it was fun to hear them say that a lot XD. I also learned the word "temita" for "hot girl" :). – Valdez V. Oct 12 '16 at 20:54

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