Quick answer – ‘A toda madre’ is a Mexican slang term used to say that something is ‘great’ or ‘awesome’. It´s often used instead of ‘bien’ in the phrase ‘pasarla bien’.
‘A toda madre’ was popularized by the famous 90s movie ‘Blood in blood out’, which explores the Chicano culture in East Los Angeles.
Although its use is definitely informal and it includes the word ‘madre’ (which is used in A LOT of rude expressions), it’s actually not considered offensive at all.
That being said, you should only really use it amongst friends or with people you know well.
Uses / Meanings of ‘a toda madre’ in Mexican Spanish
‘A toda madre’ can be used in following ways –
- As a way of saying that someone is awesome
- As a way of saying that you had an awesome time / that something is awesome
- To express gratitude
As a way of saying that someone is awesome
In Mexico there’s quite a big difference between saying that someone is ‘ buena onda’ and that they´re ‘a toda madre’.
It´s kinda like the difference between saying ‘you´re cool’ (‘eres buena onda´) and ‘you´re freaking awesome´ (‘eres a toda madre´) in English.
Por favor invita a Paulina a la fiesta, me cae a toda madre.
Please invite Paulina to the party, she´s freaking awesome.
Me dio mucho gusto conocerte, eres a toda madre.
It was really nice to meet you, you’re freaking awesome.
As a way of saying that you had an awesome time / that something is awesome
‘A toda madre’ can be used to describe events (parties, concerts, etc.), especially when they exceed your expectations.
A pesar de que los miembros de los Rolling Stones ya están viejos, el concierto estuvo a toda madre.
Even though the members of the Rolling Stones are really old, the concert was awesome.
It can also replace ‘bien’ in the expression ‘pasarla bien’ (i.e., ‘la pasé a toda madre’).
Eduardo – ¿Cómo la pasaste, gallo?
Martín – A toda madre, wey.
Eduardo – Did you have a good time, man?
Martín – It was awesome, dude.
Creo que me estoy enamorando de Luis. Nos la pasamos a toda madre en la feria.
I think I’m falling in love with Luis. We had a seriously good time at the fair.
To express gratitude
If someone tells you (or gives you!) something you really appreciate, you can actually use ‘a toda madre’ as an earnest way of saying ‘thank you’, especially if you’re close to the person and you want to really express your appreciation.
Just keep in mind that ‘a toda madre’ is quite colloquial, so I don’t recommend you use it in a formal work environment.
Salvador – Toma, te compré unos tacos y una chela para alivianar tu cruda.
Jesús – ¡A toda madre, wey!
Salvador – Here, I bought you some tacos and beer to get rid of that hangover.
Jesús – Thank you so much, dude!
Dulce – Hablé con mi jefa y me dijo que te presentes mañana … ¡te dieron el trabajo!
Paloma – ¿De verdad? ¡A toda madre; no sabes lo mucho que significa para mí!
Dulce – I talked to my boss, and she told me you start tomorrow … you got the job!
Paloma – Really? Thanks so much, you don’t know how much it means to me!
‘A toda madre‘ pronunciation
‘A toda madre’ consists of three simple words, bundled together it sounds as follows –
/ Ah toh-dah mah-dreh /
Similar expressions to ‘a toda madre’
A todo dar
‘A todo dar’ is a euphemism for ‘a toda madre’. Both expressions share the same meaning, but ‘a todo dar’ has a much gentler ring to it.
La exposición de surrealismo en Bellas Artes está a todo dar.
The surrealism exhibition at Bellas Artes is awesome.
Gracias por acompañarme, eres a todo dar.
Thanks for coming with me, you’re the best.
Está poca madre / No tiene madre
In Mexican Spanish there are a wide variety of slang expressions containing the word ‘madre’.
Some are offensive, such as ‘estoy hasta la madre’ (‘I´m fed up’).
And most of them sound very similar …
… ‘está hasta su madre’ is a way of saying ‘it’s too crowded’, for example.
In the case of ‘poca madre’ and ‘no tiene madre’, they can both be used in two contradictory ways:
- To say that you like something a lot
- To indicate that someone has really upset you.
If you want to say that you really like or appreciate something, these two expressions work as synonyms of ‘a toda madre’.
As always, the meaning depends on context and intonation.
Juan – Qué onda, ¿te gustó tu regalo?
Ernesto – ¡Sí, está poca madre!
Juan – What’s up, did you like your gift?
Ernesto – Yeah, it’s freaking awesome!
Te recomiendo la nueva temporada de Stranger Things, no tiene madre.
I recommend the new season of Stranger Things, it´s freaking awesome.
¿Estás saliendo con mi novio? Qué poca madre*, pensé que eras mi amiga.
Are you dating my boyfriend? Unbelievable, I thought you were my friend.
No tienes madre, Julio. Te gastaste todo el dinero en alcohol.
You should be ashamed of yourself, Julio. You spent all the money on alcohol.
*Erika´s top tip – you might also come across the expression ‘qué poca’, which is basically just a euphemism for the more vulgar ‘qué poca madre’.
Now that you´re a Mexican slang master, your friends are sure to think that you’re ‘a toda madre’!
Just remember that although this expression isn´t particularly rude, it IS always informal … so don´t go slinging it around at work!
Craving more Mexican slang?
Well, head on over to our article on ‘pacheco’ (the Mexican Spanish equivalent of ‘stoned’).