‘Ándale’: Mexican Slang 101!

Ándale‘ is a colloquial Mexican word derived from the verb andar’; its English equivalent is *normally*come on’.

Although it’s often 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!’), it can also serve as a threat (grrr!), AND as a way to cheer someone up!

This probably all sounds a bit confusing (I was pretty darn confused when I first heard it too!!) … but worry not, as I’m here to demystify all the nuances of this oh-so-Mexican word 😉

Full explanation + examples galore

You can think of ‘ándale’ (and its 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 before, ‘ándale’ is often used in the same way as the English phrase ‘come on’.

And that’s because it’s also used to show support/encouragement!

Just think of it as “come on’s” long-lost Mexican cousin and you’ll be gold!

Two wrestlers fighting. Someone in the crowd shouts, "¡Ándale, Calavera, tú puedes!"

¡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! You’re gonna be late for school.

¡Ándale, ya se nos está haciendo tarde!

Come on, we’re going to be late!

A wrestler knocking on the door of a toilet saying "Ándale, wey!"

To express agreement

‘Ándale’ is also used to express agreement!

It’s basically another way of saying ‘OK’ IN SPANISH.

Erika – Para no quemarlo, por cada taza de arroz, pon dos de agua.

Santiago – ¡Ándale!

Erika – To avoid burning it, you should add two cups of water for every cup of rice.

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!

Rupert’s pro tip – you might also hear ‘ándales‘ (Erika has an aunt who ALWAYS says ‘ándales‘) and, well, it pretty much means the exact same thing!

This is actually a bit of a recurring theme in Mexican slang –

órales = órale

chales = CHALE

simones = SIMÓN

To threaten or challenge someone

‘Ándale’ can also be used to lay down the gauntlet and challenge someone to do something.

It’s a bit like the English ‘go on‘ in this context.

Two wrestlers about to get in a fight.

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 who often used ‘ándale’ as a way of asking for something insistently.

Again, a good English translation would be the ever-faithful ‘come on’.

A wrestler begging another  wrestler to lend him his mask.

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!

Rupert’s note – “El Chavo del 8” is a classic Mexican TV show that’s super popular in Latin America. It’s about a kid, El Chavo, who lives in a barrel (yep, you heard that right!) in a neighborhood courtyard.

It’s absolutely hilarious and well worth a watch if you wanna get to grips with Mexican Spanish and/or Latin American culture!!

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"

Let’s go pussy cat 😉

You probably first came across ‘ándale‘ when watching the Mexican Looney Tunes mouse, Speedy González!

Speedy González uses ‘arriba ándale’ to encourage (and challenge!) Sylvester J. Pussycat to chase him AND catch him up.

And, yep, you WILL occasionally come across this expression in real life!

It’s often used to motivate someone (a bit like the English ‘Come on, let’s go!‘).

It could be said to a child who doesn’t want to get out of bed, for example … or when an athlete is exhausted and you’re trying to give them an extra boost.

How to say it properly!

This isn’t that tough a nut to crack (in my opinion ‘órale’ is more difficult to pronounce!!).

The ‘án‘ is said like ‘ahn‘, the ‘da‘ is said like ‘dah‘, and the ‘le‘ is pronounced ‘leh‘.

/ ahn-dah-leh /

Don’t forget that in Spanish if the first syllable has an accent, that’s where the stress lies!


Before you go ….

So, there you have it, all the different uses for the word ‘ándale’ (phew!).

If you want to further stretch your Spanish-speaking muscles, I strongly recommend you head on over to our article on ‘ÓRALE’ (spoiler: it’s pretty darn similar to ‘ándale‘!).

¡Hasta luego!

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.

And some cheeky vids ...

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