What does the word "maje" (pronounced "mae") mean in Nicaraguan Spanish? Could the word be considered offensive, and, if so, in what contexts is it appropriate to use?

  • 4
    Especially during the beta phase, it's considered good form to always provide constructive criticism when downvoting a post and even more so when voting to close. – hippietrail Nov 16 '11 at 12:37
  • Porsuespuesto que si el es mismo y solo es es usado en Costa Rica , Honduras Nicaragua y parte del Salvador no Guatemala – user12484 Apr 23 '16 at 3:44
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Maje in Nicaragua means something like dude in English. It is used mainly between friends. Women tend to use it less. It is not considered to be offensive but you should not use it in formal meetings or with someone you don't know very well.

Rafael is right, maybe in another countries it might be offensive. But I don't think it would be a big deal to use it in Nicaragua. Never use it to refer to people that deserve respect like your parents, boss or anyone like that.

Hope it helps someone. :)

  • Same in Costa Rica – OnaBai Jan 25 '13 at 22:25
  • Not used in Peru. Unknown. – Maximus Decimus Nov 2 '15 at 17:57

It is an offensive word in some countries like Honduras and you should avoid using it. However in Nicaragua it is slang for a way to refer to a person, if you want to translate it to English it would probably be "dude".

  • 1
    more like the equivalent of "bro" rather than dude, but yes – user778 Jun 8 '12 at 17:35

Costa Rica. En las zapaterias de San José, se asignaba a los "pericos" o aprendices a "majar" el cuero. Por eso se les decía "maje". Esto con el tiempo pasó a designar popularmente a alguien a quien "agarraban de maje" o de "tonto". Luego, el término "maje" pasó a ser un trato coloquial e informal entre "iguales". Por ejemplo para llamar muy informalmente a los amigos. Con el tiempo el término "maje" se contrajo a "mae". Hoy en día los ticos usamos el "mae" para referirnos a un interlocutor o tercera persona en términos y circunstancias sumamente informales, y en situaciones de mucha confianza. Jamás se acepta su uso para tratar a los mayores o personas de respeto. Tampoco para llamar a quien apenas se conoce.

In Costa Rica, mae is a "crutch" word used at the end of a lot of sentences. Similar to the vos used elsewhere in Latin America.

Qué fue lo que dijiste, mae?

Mae, yo sé, mae.

It can mean "you", but it's also used as an interjection, to "complete" a sentence. Definitely slang, but used heavily.

  • Creo que el "mae" de costa rica, no es lo mismo que "maje" en Guatemala, El Salvador u Honduras. – jachguate Jan 26 '13 at 0:13
  • Totalmente de acuerdo. – mjuarez Jan 26 '13 at 0:17

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.