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In English I'll say things like "that's cool" or "it would be cool to...".

I've heard the phrase "qué padre" but is that only for Mexico? Is there something that is more general?

  • For curiosity, is "cool" a general English word or is an local idiom as "qué padre". How say "cool" the British people (and others)? – Rodrigo Dec 30 '15 at 12:01
  • @Rodrigo I believe that "cool" is a general English word. I know that its used in America and Australia. I'm fairly certain it's used in England as well. – iamcam Jan 1 '16 at 8:51
  • Maybe you can use Guay – rpax Jan 2 '16 at 23:27
  • A few more: bravo, cule, buena onda. – aparente001 Dec 10 '17 at 5:12
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If you want a more universal expression here are a few suggestions:

¡Excelente!

¡Súper bien!

¡Increíble!

¡Genial!

¡Fantástico!

These are the more general expressions to say it. Expressions like Está bueno, Estaría bueno que..., Chévere, Chido, Guay, Se las goza etc... are limited to a geographical area or country so not really adapted for you.

The problem with cool is that every spanish speaking country has its own expression to say it, the generic words I told you can mean other things aswell even if the sense is inferred from context like Increíble or Excelente.

Have in mind where the people come from before using a slang term, in some countries one term can mean something completely different, this is just a general suggestion.

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  • 2
    Good answer, totally agree. (In Chile now we say bacán). – Rodrigo Dec 30 '15 at 13:37
  • @Rodrigo Por no decir pulento, haha. – Alejandro Dec 30 '15 at 13:41
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I don't know if "Qué padre" is only used in Mexico, but I can tell you it's not used in Spain at least. The problem about translating slang words or expressions is that those are among the kind of expressions that vary the most from one country to another (along with food, I'd say). Some countries use the English term "cool", as in "¡Qué cool!", but other don't. In Spain people say "guay", "pasada" or "chulo"; in Mexico they say "chido"; in Venezuela "chévere"; in Argentina "bárbaro" o "copado", etc etc. So you will hardly find any slang term to say "cool" that conforms to all dialects of Spanish in the world.

A word that isn't too slang is bien. You can use the word "bien" to make sure any Spanish speaker understands what you are trying to say, as in:

That's cool = ¡Qué bien! (or ¡Qué bueno! in some LaA countries)

It would be cool to... = Estaría bien que... (or Estaría bueno que... in some LaA countries)

Note that in Spain, "Estaría bien que..." isn't just "It would be a good thing that...", because such thing would be expressed like "Sería bueno que...". So there's a substantial difference between "estar bien" and "ser bueno", being the former something like "to be cool", and the latter something like "to be good". But once again, I don't know whether the same thing goes for all Spanish speaking countries or not.

As a side note, in Spain "estaría bueno que...", as opposed to "estaría bien que...", is only used sarcastically, as in "¡Estaría bueno que después de tanto estudiar, suspendiese por olvidarme la calculadora en casa!". Also, "¡Qué bueno!", as opposed to "¡Qué bien!" is only used as an answer to a joke. So you can see that even the most neuter term one can think of varies from one country to another, and sometimes even within the same country.

Another expression is lo más de lo más, which is way more emphathic than just "cool", something like "really, really, really cool":

That's [really] cool = ¡Es lo más de lo más!

It would be [really] cool to... = Sería lo más de lo más que...

If this is used in all Spanish speaking countries or not, people will tell.

I can also think of ser la bomba, which I believe is the Spanish equivalent for "to be the bomb".

However, you can always go with more "standard" words like estupendo, genial, fantástico, etc.

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  • I'm not sure that Estaría bueno ... would be grammatically correct!! Except maybe in some VERY limited contexts. Estar bueno is not for saying that something is cool. This is a good answer overall except for the incorrect parts about estar bueno. – Joze Dec 30 '15 at 11:00
  • I don't see what's wrong about "estaría bueno que...". Why do you feel this is not grammatical? In some Latin American countries it's an expression you hear pretty often. Don't forget Spanish language changes a big deal from one place to another. What doesn't make any sense or is plain wrong in some countries may be commonplace in another, not to mention expressions that exist in several countries but mean either slightly or completely different things. Maybe this is not common in your country or it just means something different there. Where are you from? – Yay Dec 30 '15 at 12:27
  • The fact that it is used in wide parts of one country doesn't mean it is correct. It would be correct if it is recognized as correct by the Association of Spanish Language Academies. The fact that in Ecuador people say El Juan or La María doesn't mean it is correct. Estaría bueno que... is not correct even if it is used in some countries. I know that it is not used in Spain, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. ie. the majority of the Spanish speaking population and even if it wasn't that doesn't change the fact that it is incorrect in this context. – Joze Dec 30 '15 at 12:48
  • The fact that it is used doesn't mean it is correct, as well as the fact it isn't used doesn't mean it's incorrect. You have an attributive verb (estar) and an adjective (bueno). Sounds pretty correct to me. I don't know about the other countries, but I can tell you it is used in Argentina, although it would be more common to say "Está buenísimo". "Estaría bueno/buenísimo que..." is used a lot in Argentina (according to some native friends of mine and my own experience), so it really surprises me that you say it's not used. Do you have any ref to say the ASLA doesn't consider it correct? – Yay Dec 30 '15 at 13:05
  • As I said it depends on context. In this context it is incorrect to me. Here is the relevant link to what ASLA says We agree about it not necessarily being incorrect if not used, but in this context it is in my opinion. Remember: "para subrayar la oposición a algo o su inconveniencia." – Joze Dec 30 '15 at 13:11
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As you pointed out, there are a lot of regional terms such as qué padre in Mexico and macanudo in Central America. There's more great examples on this thread. Also, here's a great Spanish Stack Exchange thread discussing que suave

If you want something universal you could use impresionante in a formal situation or ¡anda! as more of an informal stand-alone interjection.

I will say that I'm not a native Spanish speaker of any sort and this is just what I've been researching.

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The thing about jergas, or colloquial expressions, is that Spanish speakers world-wide recognise them - even if they are not their local lingo.

For example, as an English speaker you know that "That's pretty choice, bro!" is an expression of approval. You might even recognise it as colloquial New Zealand English (especially if it were spoken with the appropriate accent).

So it is with chévere, bacán, qué padre, and qué bárbaro. You can use any of them. Even if it is not from their locale, Spanish-speakers will still grok you. And they find it amusing to hear someone speak a local variant of Spanish, rather than some "international" lowest-common denominator.

So any of them are good.

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  • I think that's not absolutely true. Those expressions in Spain are not wide known altgouht last one 'Que bárbaro' may be understood. Personally I know 'chevere' and 'que padre' because I have friends from other spanish-speaking countries, but I've never heard 'bacán'. – sanzante Dec 31 '15 at 13:04
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"that's cool" -> "Qué guay" or "eso mola"

"it would be cool to..." -> "estaría guay si...", "sería guay si..." or "estaría bien si..."

Spanish from Spain

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La forma más neutra sería decir:

Qué bien, Muy bien, Genial

En el español chileno se dice de muchas formas distintas, marcando incluso un estatus socioeconómico según lo que digas: la raja, bacán, piola, pulento, la zorra, macanudo, del corte, nice.

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    ...súper, regio, el descueve, chancho, choro, flor, flor flay, groso, cuático, del uno, desraje, filete... – Rodrigo Feb 18 '17 at 1:10

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