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I have heard the following sentence in the TV series Narcos:Mexico:

Lo que pasa es que ahorita la deuda, bajita la mano, ya va por los 200 millones de dólares.

Context: Félix, leader of the Guadalajara cartel (México) and Pacho Herrera, one of the leaders of the Cali cartel (Colombia) are discussing about the money that the Cali cartel currently owes to the Guadalajara cartel. Pacho says that he and his associates always pays their debts and then Félix says the above sentence.

What does "bajita la mano" mean in this context?

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    There is this 'locución adverbial' bajo mano meaning "secretly", not sure if this is also the case. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Feb 14 at 9:16
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    No me atrevo a ponerlo como respuesta, pero el diccionario de americanismos dice, para mano, "bajita la ~. loc. adv. Mx. Disimuladamente, atenuadamente. pop + cult → espon". Esto viene a ser lo mismo que bajo mano. – OnlyThenDidIReckonMyCurse Feb 14 at 10:16
  • I have researched a little more and found this meaning on dle.rae.es/mano: "1. loc. verb. Abaratar una mercancía. Comenzó vendiendo a muy alto precio, y luego tuvo que bajar la mano." I think that is close to the intended meaning in this sentence: "at least", "if I guess a low figure". i.e. the sentence translation would be something like "Right now the debt is at least 200 millions dollars" – Alan Evangelista Feb 14 at 14:21
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That one is easy for me as a Colombian.

Bajita la mano means at least

This comes from signaling with the hand how much something is. So when you say "bajita la mano ya va por los 200..." you want to express that underestimating the quantity it is at least 200.

This is used very often here in Colombia when two people are guessing the cost of something or the age or someone or a similar thing.

i.e.

  • ¿Cuántos años crees que tenga Juan?
  • Bajita la mano ya va por los cincuentas.

.

  • Uy, ese carro tan bonito debe costar por ahí 40 millones
  • Noooo, estás loco, por esa plata ni te lo muestran. Bajita la mano vale 60.

In any case you want to indicate the minimum estimated amount of something.

@iria comment is interesting. Notice that "bajar la mano" where you are using the verb bajar is completely different. I'm guessing that the full sentence would be si pusiera bajita la mano para indicar la cantidad, la pondría mínimo a este nivel. Here it is not the verb bajar but bajita as adverb of quantity.

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    cool! bajar la mano has a different meaning in my country, e.g. 'El profesor bajó la mano en el examen', means that he had to make the exam much easier than it was originally meant to, that is because too many students failed, so the teacher made more people than usual to pass it – Iria Feb 14 at 16:40
  • @Iria it is not "bajar" but "bajita". The example in your comment means exactly the same here but using "bajita" as adverb has the meaning in my answer. – DGaleano Feb 14 at 16:50
  • @DGaleano Thanks for the answer. Adverbs are gender-invariable and have no diminutive, so I guess you meant that "bajita" is an adjective instead of an adverb? Given that "bajita" is the diminutive of "baja", is "baja la mano" (e.g. Baja la mano ya va por los cincuentas) also usual? – Alan Evangelista Feb 14 at 17:02
  • Well I'm always confused adj and adv but since this expression is a fragment where verb is omitted I would say that "bajita" modifies "poner" and not "mano" so it is not adj so I'll go with adv. Anyway "baja la mano" is not used at all. It is always "bajita la mano....." – DGaleano Feb 14 at 17:07
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    That's true, @AlanEvangelista, "bajita" is not an adverb, but "bajita la mano" is an "adverb phrase" ("locución adverbial"). – Charo Feb 14 at 22:50
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I'm Mexican and I can tell you that the right meaning is "at least". It is used to express a minimum quantity or quality of something, that surely is bigger or of more quality.

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