When I was in the Dominican Republic, I heard men referred to as tigres... I took it to mean that they were flirts, but I never really got a good definition.

Can anyone explain how calling a man a 'tigre' would translate into English? In Dominican slang or otherwise!

  • Just to add to the different answers. Keep in mind that in slang, mainly in Spain but also in other countries, "el trigre" is also a way to refer the toilet, usually when it's not exactly a clean one. So if you want to use "tigre" beware with your wordings and with the context of your phrases
    – Bardo
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 12:09

10 Answers 10


From a Dominican slang site

TIGUERE or Tigre (Tee-gur-eh): n. noun.,
1. Literal meaning “tiger”.
2. A street corner hustler.
3. A street smart character, smart-ass"


I must agree with most of, if not all the definitions provided by the other poster. A tigre or tiguere translates into:

  • a street smart
  • a thug
  • a gangster
  • a very wise guy for good (or for bad)
  • a shark
  • even a very intelligent person

It depends on the context when you use the word tigre which I use a lot when talking among Dominicans.


The Diccionario de americanismos has different meanings on tigre for Dominican Republic:


II. 1. m-f. Cu, RD, Co, Ve, Ec, Bo, Py, Ar; Ur, p.u. Persona muy hábil en alguna actividad.

III. 1. m-f. RD. tíguere, persona golfa.
2. RD. tíguere, persona cuya identidad se desconoce.

I for instance found this sentence in La fiesta del Chivo (2000), by Mario Vargas Llosa, which is based in Dominican in the 60s:

Trujillo, en un viaje a Estados Unidos, se enteró de que el pimpollo de los afiches era un tíguere domicano.

Note the usage of 'tíguere' instead of 'tigre', which is also used in Diccionario Dominicano:

“Tiguere” se utiliza para definir a una persona oportunista, tramposa o astuta, es aquel individuo que tiene un buen repertorio de habilidades para manejar muchas situaciones. Que no se deje engañar facilmente y que siempre ve o busca ventaja en las cosas.


Just returned from the Dominican Republic this week - the small town of Guerra to be exact where they explained 'tigre' ('tiguere' is the animal there) and Tiguerona to me.

It definitely is used with a good connotation as well as a bad one. Doesn't always have to be negative.

A person who is wise and street smart and someone who will take advantage of the situation be that both GOOD or bad. A shark is probably a good English parallel (like a card shark).

Either way the person is wise and smart... now whether the tigre or tiguerona uses his strengths for good or for bad is to be determined.

I definitely watched them use tigre or tiguerona as a compliment as well!


I lived in the Dominican Republic for a couple of years and I heard it used in a few different instances (used both in negative and jokingly positive ways):

  • Troublemakers in the street (members of gangs, etc.)

  • Prankster

  • Scoundrel

  • Bold or daring person (men mostly)

It is also occasionally used with women ('tigra'), but not as often.


In Spain I'd say it has a positve connotation. Calling someone 'tigre' is a friendly and casual way of praising someone:

Imagine two friends randomly meeting on the street:

  • ¿Qué pasa, tigre? ¿Qué haces tú por aquí?

and/or maybe cheering him up:

Imagine a soccer player that has spent the whole match sitting on the bench; now his coach picks him to play the last 10 minutes:

  • ¡Vamos, tigre! ¡A por ellos!

The basic connotation of Tigre is the English version of a 'bad boy', 'bad ass', 'wise guy' or 'shark'.


tiger is someone who is on top of the ranks on street world. A tiger one is always ready for everything and react when it's needed. most of the time they are burglars, thieves and hustlers...


When I was in the Dominican my friends there explained that "Que lo que tiguere" was most closely translated to "What's up playa" in American slang. I heard it pretty frequently in the Punta Cana/Veron/Bavaro regions.


Tiguere o Tigre : Muchacho joven, hábil, audaz. Pero también poco serio y de poca confianza. " Mi hijo, no te juntes con Carlos que ese es tipo es un tigre"

Young man who is gutsy or good at something.

Dominican slang dictionary


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