In the US State I live in, I sometimes hear Spanish speakers greet one another by simply staying "Bueno". I didn't hear this when I was recently in Mexico, although I realize I may just have not noticed it.

How or when is "bueno" used as a greeting? Is it considered slang, and what are some considerations in its use?

Is it used a greeting in Spanish in other places beyond my lone state in the US?

  • 7
    Are you sure it's not "¡Buenas!"? Nov 21, 2011 at 23:59
  • @GonzaloMedina : no, I'm not sure :-)
    – rynomax
    Nov 22, 2011 at 18:35
  • Bueno can be used as a greeting but Hola would be hello
    – Tia27
    Feb 4, 2015 at 21:58

6 Answers 6



Is used as a greeting when answering the phone (primarily in Mexico).


As a short form of buenos/as (días|tardes|noches) is used as greeting in some regions of Spain and Latin America (Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Mexico).

  • 3
    I concur for Mexico bueno in answering the phone, buenas as casual anytime greeting. Nov 22, 2011 at 11:23
  • 2
    In Chile, ¡Buenas! is also used as a greeting, something I think wasn't used so often some time ago. Nov 22, 2011 at 22:19
  • 2
    "Buenas" is also used in Perú as greeting.
    – Ricardo
    Jan 13, 2012 at 10:44
  • 1
    in Nicaragua is also "Buenas" as a greeting
    – cayerdis
    May 17, 2012 at 5:07
  • 1
    "Buenas" is also used by Cubans. Perhaps it's universal?
    – Junier
    Jun 7, 2012 at 6:34

Actually, ¿bueno? is used mostly in México and it doesn't originally represents a greeting or a hello. Around 1880 the telephone first came to México but the service quality was very poor. When somebody tried to call to another person then the operator person would have to connect that call, as the system was very poor then the operator person had to do some "test" in order to check whether the call can be connected or not. So, in order to know that, the operator person would say "¿Bueno?", which literally means "good?" and then wait for the answer, if it was "Bueno" then the call was successfully connected and the actual call proceeded. Here is the source of this information, but it's in spanish http://mx.noticias.yahoo.com/blogs/blognoticias/por-qu%C3%A9-se-dice--bueno--230425941.html

  • 5
    Not around 1800, for sure :)
    – Gorpik
    Oct 22, 2013 at 11:33
  • 1
    That's true, I researched about it and found that it was between 1879 and 1880 when it was first established in México
    – Jose Maria
    Oct 23, 2013 at 1:10
  • 1
    It seems to me that this is folk etymology. Are there any contemporary sources that back this «¿bueno?» claim? -- while not used exclusively as salutation bueno is a common pet word in most Spanish speaking countries. Oct 24, 2013 at 1:42
  • Mexicans say bueno only the phone, afaik.
    – Lambie
    Sep 10, 2022 at 16:57

In Spain, at least in the Basque Country, it is sometimes used as a very informal "good bye", or "see you". Something like "bueno, entonces hasta mañana", and then dropping everything but "bueno". I've even heard it (and probably said it) reduced to "bo".


Here in Puerto Rico we frequently say "Buenas" ("Greetings") when answering phones and greeting people. When we conclude a phone call call or visit, we frequently say "Buen Día", as in "Have a good day".


Yes, it can be. It's by no means a formal greeting, but I wouldn't call it slang. It's a shortening of the longer "Buenos días".

I live in Northern Spain, and in the countryside it's very much used, as well as "¿Que?", which is a shortening of "¿Qué pasa?" ("what's up").


I am currently in Puerto Rico vacationing and I have run across this a number of times, that is, being greeted with "bueno" or even "bueno bueno". My Spanish is very poor, limited to mostly greetings, numbers, etc. But this one has thrown me off & I haven't really known what the proper response should be. That's what has brought me to this site, trying to research what it's about. In fact I just ran to the grocery & was greeted as such. So I'm assuming the proper response should be "bueno" back at them.

  • It looks as though you have a new question here, "What is the correct response when someone in Puerto Rico says bueno to me as a greeting?". If so better to ask it as a new question with a link back here for context.
    – mdewey
    Sep 10, 2022 at 16:13

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