What parts of the Spanish-speaking world regularly use the word genial? Is it only encountered in Spain, or is it common in other regions as well?

It seems like it's more widespread than I realized, despite I've rarely (or never) heard it used during visits to Central America.

  • 1
    It's quite common here in Mexico. Although I don't know if context/usage varies.
    – Flimzy
    Nov 16, 2011 at 0:47
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    Is widely used in Argentina as well. But mostly it's a very common word in Latin America-
    – Piluso
    Nov 16, 2011 at 0:57
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    Here in Chile it's also used. Nov 16, 2011 at 2:17
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    @jrdioko: "genial" is just a normal word. But I'm assuming you're actually asking about the one sense that means "cool", "awesome", etc. If so you should include that in your question. Nov 16, 2011 at 11:26
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    Don't forget the classic "Awesombroso" a mix with awesome and asombroso.
    – razpeitia
    Nov 17, 2011 at 20:14

3 Answers 3


"Genial" is widely understood in all spanish speaking countries as it is a fairly common word.

But for usage there are many differences in how often it is used. (In common speech, speaking with friends etc...)

Spain, Argentina, Peru and Mexico generally use "genial". (Mexico uses chido as well and Spain molón)

But some other countries don't use it as often such, as

  • Colombia: uses more chévere or chimba or bacano (depending on context)

  • Ecuador: uses more arrecho (Can have a sexual meaning but is mostly to express genial or cool. ie. Qué arrecho!

This answer is rather incomplete as I can't know every country, but I can attest for those countries.


Genial is used by all the countries that use spanish as a primary language, as it is actually a word with a meaning (i.e not a slang word), you can see its definition here by the Real Academia Española which is pretty much the most reliable source whenever you have a doubt about a word, it is common in Mexico and other South American countries where I've been.

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    RAE's 4th definition for genial is "magnífico, estupendo," without any regional or dialectal notes. Sounds like widespread usage, just like Rafael said!
    – Arthaey
    Nov 16, 2011 at 8:21
  • @rafael: You have a typo: "whebever" should be "whenever". Nov 16, 2011 at 11:16
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    It's not a great idea to take everything the RAE says as gospel, especially if you don't have the latest editions. They were not very open to regional Spanish until a few years ago and are still catching up. I have the latest printed RAE plus a small collection of regional Central American dictionaries are there's lots in the latter still missing from the former. Nov 16, 2011 at 11:22
  • what would be the best source then @hippietrail ? Anyway my point was that "genial" is used by anyone who speaks Spanish.
    – isJustMe
    Nov 16, 2011 at 14:22
  • The RAE may be the best single source but they do have a definite weakness when it comes to regionalisms, especially for Latin America. It's a great source but for regional issues it's best to have other sources too. In any case your point is correct about it being a plain old word as well as having a slang sense which might depend on the place so I asked the OP to clarify the question. Nov 16, 2011 at 14:27

It's quite used in Argentina, coloquially, sometimes as an adjective but more as an adverb or isolated interjection (vrey much like 'great' in english).

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