‘Ándale‘ is a colloquial Mexican word derived from the verb ‘andar’; its English equivalent is *normally* ‘Come on!’.
Although in Mexico the word ‘Ándale!’ is commonly used to tell someone to hurry up (just like ‘Come on!’) or as a form of encouragement (I told you it was like ‘Come on!’), its meaning can also vary according to the context.
It can also be used both as a threat AND to cheer someone up depending on context and tone (obviously it´s more of a threat when said in anger, grrr).
This may all sound a bit confusing … but worry not as I´m here to demystify all the nuances of this useful little word!
Anyway, let´s get into the nitty-gritty!
Erika´s note – words similar to ‘ándale’ can also be found in other Spanish speaking countries: for example, ‘venga’ in Spain, or ‘dale’ in Argentina.
There’s also the Mexican expression ‘ándale pues’ which has a similar meaning to ‘ándale’ in *most* contexts.
Uses / Meanings of ‘ándale’
When in Mexico, you’re likely to hear people say ‘ándale´ in a friendly or effusive way …
… just don’t be surprised if you also hear a mother yelling at her son using this exact same word (maybe even on the exact same day!).
You can think of ‘ándale’ (and it´s brother-in-arms, ‘órale’) as the chameleon of Mexican spanish as it can be used in a variety of different contexts and has a whole range of (often opposing) meanings.
It can be used in the following ways –
- To encourage someone to do something / To cheer someone up
- To hurry someone to perform an action
- To express agreement
- To threaten or challenge someone
- To beg or ask for something very insistently
By the way, if you’d prefer to watch a video of all the above uses, here’s a link to one we made earlier –
To encourage someone to do something / To hurry someone to perform an action
As I mentioned earlier, the word ‘ándale’ can be used as a synonym of the English phrase ‘come on’.
If you think about it, ‘come on’ has quite a few different meanings depending on the specific situation, and the same is true for ‘ándale’.
As with ‘come on’ in English, we use ‘ándale’ to show support / encouragement AND when we´re trying to cheer someone up.
Just think of it as “come on’s” long-lost Latino cousin and you´ll be gold!
¡Ándale! Tú puedes llegar al final de la Carrera.
Come on! You can finish the race.
¡Ándale, no pares! ¿Estás bien?*
Come on, don´t stop! Are you ok?
¡Ándale, no seas triste!
Come on, don´t be sad!
It can also be used in the sense of hurrying up –
¡Ándale, apúrate! Ya es tarde para ir a la escuela
Come on, hurry up! It’s too late to go to school.
¡Ándale, ya se nos está haciendo tarde!
Come on, we´re going to be late!
*Erika´s note – we´ve written a real beauty of a guide on ‘are you ok’ (a super useful little phrase) in Spanish, so be sure to check it out!
To express agreement
‘Ándale’ is also used to express agreement; it’s basically another way of saying ‘ok’ in Spanish.
Be sure to check out our comprehensive guide to saying ‘ok’ in spanish if you´d like to delve a bit deeper into this gem of a topic!
Erika – Para no quemarlo, por cada taza de arroz, pon dos de agua.
Santiago – ¡Ándale!
Erika – In order not to burn it, for every cup of rice, put two cups of water.
Santiago – Ok!
Antonio – Llévate una chamara, puede llover en el concierto.
María – ¡Ándale!
Antonio – Take a jacket, it might rain at the concert.
María – Ok!
To threaten or challenge someone
Although this use may seem a little strange, ‘ándale‘ is in fact a favorite of parents across Mexico as it´s often used when scolding children.
Here ‘ándale’ lays down the gauntlet and is used to challenge someone to do something.
It´s a bit like the English ‘go on‘ in this context.
Mamá – ¡Ándale, vuelve a levantarme la voz en público!
Mom – Go on, I dare you to yell at me in public again!
To beg or ask for something very insistently
This use was popularized by Quico, the famous Chavo del 8 character. He would basically use ‘ándale’ as a way to ask for something insistently.
Again, a good English translation would be the ever faithful ‘come on’.
Quico – ¡Ándale! Cómpramelo por favor, por fis, ¿sí?.
Doña Florinda – ¡No!
Quico – Come on! Buy it for me, please, pretty please … was that a yes?
Mom – No!
‘Arriba ándale’ meaning
This popular expression is used to motivate someone (a bit like the English ‘Come on, let´s go!‘).
It could be used when a child doesn’t want to get out of bed or when an athlete is exhausted and you´re trying to give them an extra boost.
You probably first heard ‘arriba ándale’ when watching the famous Mexican Looney Tunes mouse, Speedy González.
Speedy González is basically encouraging Sylvester J. Pussycat both to chase him AND to catch him up.
Here’s a fun video in which Speedy González does just that –
‘Underlay’ / ‘onderlay’ meaning in Spanish
Although the words ‘underlay’ and ‘onderlay’ sound similar to ‘ándale’, neither of them actually exist in Spanish!
The correct spelling is ‘ándale’ (don´t forget that accent!).
To make pronunciation easier, you can divide the word into three parts.
The ‘án’ in ‘ándale’ is said like ‘ahn’, the ‘da’ is said like ´dah´, and the ‘le’ like ‘leh’.
/ ahn dah leh /
Don´t forget that in Spanish if the first syllable has an accent, that´s where the stress lies!
So, there you have it, all the different uses for the word ‘ándale’ (phew!).
Don’t forget to stretch your Spanish speaking muscles and whip out an ‘ándale’ the next time you want your friends to hurry up when heading to a Mexican party.
It´s also important to remember that it’s a simple (but nice) way to cheer someone up when they´re feeling down!
That´s all folks! ¡Hasta luego!