What does the Spanish word mortal mean when used as slang? Does it have a positive or negative connotation towards the thing being described?


In Argentina:

In informal conversation, it's roughly equivalent to 'terrific', as in very good, awesome

For example,

'¡El recital estuvo mortal!'

meaning that it was really good, that I enjoyed it very much.

  • At least in Argentina. Not sure about other countries. – Mauricio Scheffer Mar 1 '12 at 5:58
  • Not in Spain, where it is exactly the opposite. Please qualify your answer for the sake of clarity. – CesarGon Mar 1 '12 at 8:47
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    In Spanish you can have the same meaning with "de muerte" – Laura Mar 2 '12 at 7:38
  • @Laura: Indeed. – CesarGon Mar 2 '12 at 14:08
  • That's interesting, If you say that in Mexico, depending on how you say it, it could mean the exact opposite; '¡El recital estuvo mortal!' may actually imply that you almost die from hearing it, but with a slightly different accent and context may mean that it was great... – Chepech Mar 23 '12 at 18:45

In Spain, and as far as I understand, it has a powerful negative connotation. For example:

La reunión fue mortal.

The meeting was awful.

However, and as it sometimes happens with other words, it may as well be used with exactly the opposite meaning. I haven't ever heard it that way, though. Wheat I have heard, as @Laura points out, is de muerte meaning "extremely good" or "awesome":

¡La comida está de muerte!

The food is awesome!

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    We use mortal in much the same way in Mexico. – Michael Wolf Mar 5 '12 at 3:56

It can also mean "extremely funny" in Spain.

La broma fue mortal

The joke was extremely funny

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