‘Ahorita’ – Meaning / In English

In short – ‘ahorita’ is the diminutive form of ‘ahora’ (‘now’ in English), and it’s an extremely popular colloquial term in Mexico and other Latin American countries.

But how can a temporal concept such as ‘now’ have a diminutive?

Well, in this case, the diminutive form was originally used to stress immediacy, so ‘ahorita’ was a way of saying ‘right now’ or ‘this very minute’.

HOWEVER, the meaning of ‘ahorita’ has changed quite a bit and it can now also refer to the recent past and near future …

So … what does it REALLY mean? Well, keep scrolling and let’s find out!




Uses / Meanings of ‘ahorita

Ahorita’ can be used as a synonym of –

  • ‘Just now’ or ‘a moment ago’ (past)

  • ‘Right now’ (present)

  • ‘In a sec’ or ‘right away’ (future)
  • ‘In a bit’ / ‘soon’ / ‘later’ (future)


Just now’ or a ‘moment ago’ (past)

‘Ahorita’ is often used to refer to something that happened VERY recently, so something that occurred ‘just now’ or ‘a moment ago’

Leticia – Mañana no vayas a usar la línea 12 del metro; va a estar cerrada por mantenimiento.

Paolo – ¿Cómo sabes?

Leticia – Ahorita lo ví en las noticias.



Leticia – Don’t take line 12 of the metro tomorrow; it’ll be closed for maintenance.

Paul – How do you know?

Leticia – I heard it on the news just now.


Llegando a casa del trabajo

Aimar – ¿Desde cuándo se fue luz?

Yael – Ahorita que estabas estacionando el coche.



Coming home after work

Aimar – When did the power go out?

Yael – Just a moment ago, while you were parking the car.

Right now’ (present)

As I mentioned before, ‘ahorita’ originally served to emphasize immediacy.

This connotation is still VERY common, and it’s akin to the English expression ‘right now’.

Tómate el café ahorita, que luego se te enfría y lo tienes que recalentar.

Drink the coffee right now, or it’ll get cold and you’ll have heat it up again.


En la oficina

Lalo – ¿Tienes un momento? Tengo unas dudas sobre el reporte.

Anaí – Ahorita no puedo pero…¿te parece si lo revisamos esta tarde?



At the office

Lalo – Do you have a moment? I have some questions about the report.

Anaí – I can’t right now … do you think we could go over it this afternoon?

In a sec’ or ‘right away’ (future)

‘Ahorita’ can also take place in the near future.

In this sense it’s similar to expressions such as ‘at once’, ‘straightaway’, ‘in a sec’ and the likes.

Respondiendo a una llamada

René – Hola, estoy en otra llamada. ¿Te puedo marcar ahorita que cuelgue o es urgente?



Answering a call

René – Hey, I’m on another call. Can I call you as soon as I’m done or is it urgent?


Naim – ¿Me podrías enviar el link de la reunión, por favor?

Gael – Claro, ahorita te lo mando.



Naim – Could you send me the meeting link, please?

Gael – Sure, I’ll send it to you right away.


Ahorita te explico.

I’ll explain it to you in a sec.

In a bit’ / ‘soon’/ ‘later’ (future)

The digital magazine “Cuadernos de Lingüística de El Colegio de México” has published data that shows how ‘ahorita’ has gone through a process of semantic attenuation, meaning that over time it’s been losing its connotations of closeness to the present time.

That’s why nowadays you may also hear ‘ahorita’ used to describe an indeterminate moment of time in the future!

Depending on context, it can mean any one of the following –

Un par de amigos jugando videojuegos

Noa – ¿Cuándo piensas hacer el ensayo de literatura?

Lexi – Ahorita lo hago. Tengo todo en mi cabeza.



A couple of friends playing video games

Noa – When do you plan on doing the literature essay?

Lexi – I’ll do it in a bit. It’s all in my head.


Eden – ¿Está Don Gustavo?

Martina – Ahorita viene.

Eden – ¿No sabe a qué hora?

Martina – Ahorita



Eden – Is Don Gustavo here?

Martina – He’s coming later.

Eden – Do you know when?

Martina – Soon


By the way, if you wanna top up on your Mexican slang, you NEED to check out our “Master Guide” … it’s everything you need to know all in one place 👇🌵🇲🇽

Erika pointing to the word "Mexican Slang Master Guide"



Ahorita’ pronunciation

To pronounce ‘ahorita’ like a pro just divide it into four syllables –

  • ‘A’ sounds like ‘ah’

  • The ‘h’ in Spanish is silent, so you say ‘ho’ like ‘oh’

  • ‘Ri’ sounds like ‘ree’

  •  And finally, ‘ta’ is said like ‘tah’

/ ah-oh-ree-tah /


Just remember that the ‘r’ sound in ‘ahorita’ is “soft”, so you have to tap your tongue against the ridge of the hard palate to produce it!


Ahora’ vs ‘ahorita

Although the diminutive ‘ahorita’ was originally used to imply greater immediacy than a simple ‘ahora’, over the years the use of ‘ahorita’ in Mexico has become so common that they’re now used pretty much interchangeably. In places like Mexico City, ‘ahorita’ is so popular that it’s mostly replaced ‘ahora’ in everyday speech!

It’s important to mention that, just as with ‘ahorita’, ‘ahora’ can also be used to talk about the recent past or near future –

Lidia – ¿Cómo sabes que Dani rompió con su pareja?

Pedro – Ahora lo ha publicado en sus redes sociales.



Lidia – How do you know that Dani broke up with her partner?

Pedro – She posted it on her Facebook just now.


Nat – ¿Puedes decirme qué piensas de mi nuevo video?

Mina – Ahora lo veo y te digo.



Nat – What do you think of my new video?

Mina – I’ll watch it in a minute and let you know.

So, how do we know which one to use? Well, as a rule of thumb, it’s probably best to use ‘ahora’ in Spain, Argentina, and Chile, and ‘ahorita’ in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. Regardless, people will understand you, so no need to get your knickers in a twist.


Ahorita voy’ meaning

‘Voy’ means ‘I’m coming’ in English, and ‘ahorita voy’ is a colloquial expression akin to ‘I’ll be there in a second’ or ‘I’ll be right there’.

Hija – Papá, ¿me puedes ayudar con la tarea de matemáticas?

Padre – ¡Claro, mija*! Ahorita voy contigo.



Daughter – Dad, can you help me with my math homework?

Father – Sure, sweetheart! I’ll be with you in a minute.

*Erika’s note – ‘mija’ is a contraction of ‘mi hija’ (or ‘my daughter’ in English), and it’s a VERY popular term of endearment in Mexico.


HOWEVER (and this is a big however!), many people use ‘ahorita voy’ when they actually have no intention of coming (or doing another task!) quickly at all … think a mum telling a teen to come down for dinner while he’s in the middle of playing a video game and you’ll get the picture!

In this sense, ‘ahorita voy’ is just a vague and evasive answer. Gulp!

Leo – ¿Cuándo vas a sacar la basura?

Nel – Ahorita voy

Leo – ¡Eso dijiste ayer!



Leo – When are you gonna take out the trash?

Nel – I’ll do it in a second

Leo – That’s what you said yesterday!


Similar words / expressions to ‘ahorita

Ahorita mismo

This is another – even more emphatic – way of saying ‘right now’!

¿Alguien te pegó en la escuela? ¡Ahorita mismo voy a hablar con tus maestros!

Someone hit you at school? I’m gonna talk to your teachers right now!

Ahorita no, gracias

This is an extremely common expression in Mexico, and it’s basically just a way of politely rejecting something (normally a proposal of some kind or some sort of service) –

Karen – ¿Te sirvo café?

Mateo – Ahorita no, gracias.



Karen – Do you want coffee?

Mateo – Not right now, thanks.

Ahoritita

You may also come across ‘ahoritita’, a diminutive of ‘ahorita’ (yep, a diminutive of a diminutive!!) which is used to further emphasize immediacy.

Ahoritita compro los boletos para la premiere.

I’ll buy the tickets for the premiere right this second.


Final thoughts

Hopefully you’re a bit less confused about this extremely common colloquial expression … or are at least ready to embrace its ambiguity and maybe even use it to your favor!

If you wanna learn more Mexican slang, then head on over AHORITITA to our article on the meaning of ‘conste’! Trust me, it’s a good’un!

¡Hasta pronto!

Rupert's lived in Mexico for nearly a decade and has been working as a Spanish teacher for even longer (over 10 years now, wow!). He specializes in simple (yet effective) explanations and is a veritable grammar-whizz.

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