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I have heard the following dialogue in the Narcos TV series:

¿Qué húbole?
—¿Qué pasó?
—Que las mataron. Había como seis o siete niñas ahí.

Context: Two co-workers meet by chance at the door of a brothel in which there is a crowd because several prostitutes have been murdered recently.

What does "¿qué húbole" mean in this context? Is it a Colombian specific greeting? Shouldn't the pronoun come before the verb, i.e. "¿Qué le hubo?" ? Does the pronoun "le" mean "to you" (formal form), i.e. between friends, people would use "¿Qué húbote?" instead ?

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    Answers have already given you the meaning but I wanted to add, yes, it is very common slang in Colombia and quiihubo y quiubloe sometimes are used as a greeting more that an actual question. We even have a newspaper called Q'Hubo (pronounced quiubo) – DGaleano Jan 13 at 19:21
  • In the 60's and to some extent today (specially in older people) a common greeting in the Antioquia region was ¿que hubo ole? If not taken from the mexicans, this might have been the origin of quiubole. Just my guess. Ole (not olé) was used similar to "dude" in English – DGaleano Jan 13 at 19:31
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This appears to be a colloquial idiom meaning "What happened?" or "What's up?". In a couple of forum questions people mention it's rather common in Mexico and Venezuela. To me (from media exposure to Mexican Spanish) it sounds distinctly like something a Mexican would say. It's so common there, it seems, that it's often spelled as one word, quihúbole (if you search for "qué hubole" in Google, it actually suggests "quiubole").

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Without knowing this, I would've readily understood ¿Qué hubo? (exactly parallel to Portuguese "O que houve?"), even though such an idiom is not used in my dialect. But the added -le has no possible function there that I can imagine.

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  • In fact, in Colombia is quite common to hear it as a one word: quiubo (/kíubo/) – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Jan 13 at 19:55
  • It seems usual in Spanish to use expletive pronouns. Besides "qué hubole", another very popular expression (in Colombia) which also uses an expletive "le" is "¡hágale pues!" – Alan Evangelista Jan 17 at 0:44
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Significa ¿cómo estás?.

Es una manera de saludar utilizada popularmente en México, sería más como "quiubole" y su traducción literal sería "Qué hubo".

Y tienes muchas razón al argumentar que se escucha en numerosas películas, bien sean mexicanas o no, por ejemplo, si te pones a ver Ad Astra: Hacia Las Estrellas te darás cuenta que el doblaje hacia el español mexicano lo utilizan.

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    Hola Gustavo, y bienvenido al sitio. Fíjate que yo no estoy de acuerdo con los que te han dado tantos votos negativos. Me parece que tu respuesta sí aporta algo. Más adelante cuando tengas, creo 15 puntos de reputación, podrás dejar comentarios, y lo que aportaste aquí quizás quedaría mejor como comentario, porque no es significativamente diferente de las respuestas ya existentes; pero me parece absurdo que se te den tantos votos negativos por este post, sobre todo porque eres nuevo usuario. Por lo tanto voy a votar a favor. (Si no, ni siquiera podrías ver mi comentario.) – aparente001 Jan 13 at 4:34
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    Yo estoy de acuerdo con @aparente001 y tampoco entiendo por qué tantos votos negativos sin explicación. – wimi Jan 13 at 8:42
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    @aparente001 los votos negativos fueron votos automáticos ocasionados por el enlace que añadió Gustavo, que dirigía a un sitio de streaming ilegal de películas. Gustavo, en el futuro procura evitar enlazar a sitios ilegales, por favor, para no desmerecer una respuesta que por otro lado parece correcta. Sé bienvenido al sitio, y esperamos ver más colaboraciones tuyas en el futuro. – Charlie Jan 13 at 8:55
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The most common way to write this used to be Quiúbole. Now with the text message dialect, we can also see kiúbole. (I won't be writing it that way -- but I want you to understand it if you come across that form.)

In Mexico it is a fun little fillip (ornament) to tack on a "le" at the end of this, that or the other, for example "¡Híjole!", which is more or less the same as "¡Caramba!" (Oh gosh! or even "Jesus H. Christ!". Here's another one: "¡Párale!" which means "Stop that!". (Normally, "le" would be an indirect third person singular object but in these expressions it does not provide meaning -- it's a decoration syllable, similar to sticking "mal" into the middle of many sentences in German.) One of the best ones is "Hórale," which can mean "Sure, fine, go ahead" or, more commonly, "Get going, man."

"Quiúbole" is thus "Quiubo + le", which is "¿Qué hubo?" plus the ornament for fun. It is a relaxed greeting between family or friends. It's a greeting to be given later in the day with someone you saw in the morning, or a friend you just saw yesterday or a few days ago. Like "Hey how's it going?" or "What's new?" or "What's the latest?".

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