In the hit novel Mala Onda by Chilean author Alberto Fuguet I remember the word "bomb" being used a lot.

It's obviously a slang word. I think it was only used in dialogue. I got the impression it was there to set the tone of the period, which is the very early 1980s.

Una vez fui a su casa, me acuerdo a hacer un trabajo. El impacto fue duro, no pude dormir, quedé bomb.

Regresar a Chile, loco, a este puterío rasca, bomb, con los milicos por todos lados y la repre, las mentes chatas, es más que heavy.

Me siento detrás de ellos, mis ojos enfrentando el estacionamiento, mis oídos enfrentando a estos dos clones de Jerry Lewis en su etapa más bomb.

So how widespread is or was the term "bomb"? Just '80s Chile or beyond?

As a bonus question, what does it mean? Just "cool" or something else?

  • 4
    This question is the bomb!
    – Flimzy
    Nov 17, 2011 at 17:32
  • The book made me think it was being used in Chile before I remember it being used in English, but I might be wrong on that. Nov 17, 2011 at 18:07

2 Answers 2


That word "bomb" (or "bomba" in Spanish) was (and sometimes is) used not only in Chile but in Argentina also. In phrases like:

¡Esto es una bomba! (This is so awesome/cool!)


¡La pasamos bomba! (We had a very good time!)

But as you said it was used more in the '80s and it's not used very often now.

  • It really stood out to me particularly for being spelled in English consistently in the book. Thanks for the answer! Nov 18, 2011 at 19:51
  • I'm not sure this fits in with the first two example sentences. Can you make any comment on those now that I've added some from the actual text of the book? Nov 21, 2011 at 15:20
  • 1
    Mmm... I don't know that use of "bomb". Maybe is a very specific slang of that Author or maybe as you say a term used only in Chile in the '80s. Nov 21, 2011 at 20:25
  • Those expressions are also used in Spain nowadays.
    – Sergio Tx
    Aug 30, 2016 at 11:08

I'm Chilean and in the 80s was a teenager (and therefore used the generational expressions present in "Mala onda"). I can tell you with certainty that the term "bomb" was not used, nor used today.

But, as the author of the accepted answer says, the term "bomba" was widely used in the sense of "cool". And consider that the protagonist of "Mala Onda" is a young arrogant and cheesy, who splashes all his sentences with Anglicisms. So we must understand that "bomb" is a phrase of the character, with which the author tries to imitate and criticize the loss of the identity of a social group at that time.

(Sorry, I know my answer is late in 5 years.)

  • 1
    Gracias Rodrigo, yo estoy leyendo el libro ahora y la maldita expresión ya me estaba perturbando bastante. Gracias a dios encontré una buena respuesta y afortonadamente deja claro que la gente no hablaba así. Es más, creo que en general se muestra a una sociedad chilena exagerada en sus rasgos superficialmente negativos, y que probablemente el Chile de esa época, incluso el mundo burbuja de los Matías Vicuña, debe haber sido bastante distinto. 5 años tarde pero igual de útil.
    – user13562
    Aug 30, 2016 at 3:17
  • Nunca lo he escuchado con el sentido de cool ni en documentales, como el personaje es de clase alta entonces rasca. No es lo que se pregunta pero de un dic: * Bomb: 2. An unbelievable or unreal object or action. 3. An conspicuous failure, esp. a performance or entertainment which receives bad reviews and public disapproval. Fig., a dud. Bad. 2. to do sth very poorly. Chabacano, vulgar, malo, de mala calidad que no se cree de lo malo que es. Enfermo de malo, barato, mal hecho, de mala calidad, de segunda categoría. Penca, fome, chanta, trucho, rasca, ordinario. Un fiasco.
    – cocteau
    Sep 16, 2021 at 2:33

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