In short – ‘fresa’ literally means ‘strawberry’ in English, butit’s also an extremely popular Mexican expression used to refer to privileged, upper-class youths.
It’s so widespread that you’ll likely even come across it in the media,and it’s actually evolved to have a few different connotations (like all self-respecting slang words!).
Okay, so … why strawberries?
Well, no one knows for sure!
What we DO know is that its origins can be traced back to the seventies, when it began to appear in Mexican media to describe rich young people with a nasal accent (kinda similar to a Valley Girl accent!) who often used an excessive number of English words (i.e., Spanglish) when speaking.
Anyway, let’s take a look at all of its uses!
Uses / Meanings of ‘fresa’ in Mexican slang
‘Fresa’ can be used in the following ways –
- To refer to a person who behaves in a way that suggests they belong to the “upper class” (whether this is true or not)
- To refer to the accent and way of talking
- As a synonym of prudish
- To describe a luxury item or fancy object
To refer to a person who behaves in a way that suggests they belong to the “upper class” (whether this is true or not)
Simply put, being ‘fresa’ is a way of life!
It describes the way people perceived as being ‘fresas’ dress, the brands they buy, their attitude AND the places they visit.
Originally, the term ‘fresa’ was pejorative and it was used as a way to criticize privileged teens and young people who were (and perhaps still are!) thought of as vapid, shallow, airheaded and the likes.
Sofía – Wey, ¿por qué no invitaste a Mariana a la fiesta?
Gilberto – No la soporto, es súper fresa.
Sofía – Dude, why didn’t you invite Mariana to the party?
Gilberto – I can’t stand her, she’s too much of a snob.
HOWEVER, the very same rich kids that the term had originally intended to chastise actually ended up appropriating it.
Nowadays you can even find people on social media giving advice on how to become ‘fresa’, such as viral Tiktoker París Danielle. She’s even been parodied by another super popular Tiktoker called Hank who gives advice on how to become a ‘fresa de barrio’ (‘barrio’ meaning ‘hood’ in English).
So, basically the term ‘fresa’ now also encompasses anyone who acts with a sense of superiority and entitlement, regardless of how much money they actually have!
Samuel – Todos ellos son bien fresas.
Martha – Sí. Todos son una bola de mirreyes*.
Armando – Ay, solo les tienen envidia.
Samuel – They’re such swanks.
Martha – Yeah. They’re all a bunch of spoiled brats.
Armando – Oh, you’re just jealous.
*Erika’s note – ‘mi rey’ (or ‘mirrey’) is very similar in meaning to ‘fresa’, but it refers only men!
To refer to a specific accent and way of talking
‘El acento fresa’ (or ‘the fresa accent’)is a very specific way of talking, recognizable across Mexico and, well, pretty much every region has its own local version!
It has key elements such as a nasal sound, a vocal fry, and the stressing of the last syllable of certain words (which makes pretty much every phrase sound like a question!).
It’s also common for ‘fresas’ to throw A LOT of English words into the mix.
People describe this as ‘hablando con la papa en la boca’, meaning ‘talking with a potato in the mouth’, a reference to how people’s cheeks seem to inflate when talking with a ‘fresa’ accent.
Some iconic examples are Paulina de la Mora, the protagonist of the series “La Casa de las Flores” (“The House of Flowers” in English) and Javi and Bárbara Noble from the movie “Nosotros los Nobles” (soon to have an American adaptation called “We are the Nobles”).
Frases de Bárbara Noble en “Nosotros los Nobles”
O sea*, no te confundas, papacito, ¡ya quisieras!
Jesus Christ! ¿Y mi boda?
Barbara Noble quotes from “We the Nobles”
Like, make no mistake, honey, you wish!
Jesus Christ! What about my wedding?
*Erika’s top tip – if you wanna sound REALLY ‘fresa’, then you’ll need to incorporate ‘o sea’ (‘I mean’), ‘tipo’ (‘sort of’) and ‘de que’ (literally ‘of which’) into your everyday lexicon; they’re a typical fresa’s favored ‘muletillas’ or ‘filler words’.
As a synonym of prudish
‘Fresas’ have a reputation for being traditionalists, never taking risks, and in the case of female ‘fresas’, for staying celibate before marriage and never swearing or drinking (this, of course, is a stereotype)
As such, people associate the term with ANYONE who behaves in the above manner.
En una fiesta
Verónica – ¿Quieres otra chela?
Luis – No, gracias, no estoy tomando.
Verónica – Ah, caray, ¿por qué tan fresa?
At a party
Verónica – Do you want another beer?
Luis – No, thanks, I’m not drinking.
Verónica – Oh, wow, why so uptight?
To describe a luxury item or fancy object
Finally, ‘fresa’ can also be used to describe an object, place or activity that appears luxurious or expensive in any way.
¡Órale, wey, qué fresas están tus tenis!
Wow, bro, your snickers are lit!
‘Fre’ is said like ‘freh’, and ‘sa’ is said like ‘sah’.
/ freh-sah /
‘Niño / niña fresa’ meaning
‘Niño’ means ‘boy’ in English, and ‘niña’ is ‘girl’, so as you may have already guessed, a ‘niño’ or ‘niña fresa’ is akin to a ‘cool kid’, ‘rich kid’ or a ‘spoiled brat’ (depending on the context) –
“La niña fresa”, canción de Banda Machos
Una novia yo tengo
Es muy linda y traviesa
Pero tiene un defecto, esniña fresa
“La niña fresa”, song by Banda Machos
I have a girlfriend
She’s very cute and playful
But she has a flaw, she’s a rich girl
‘Te freseas’ meaning
‘Te freseas’ is an extremely common Mexican expression which refers to someone acting like a stuck-up rich kid OR just being too cool for school.
It’s particularly common in meme culture.
Un meme en el que unos novios comen tacos el día de su boda
Estos podríamos ser tú y yo, pero te freseas.
A meme in which groom and bride eat tacos on their wedding day
This could be you and me, but you’re too stuck up.
Similar expressions to ‘fresa’
Niño bien / niña bien
This is another popular way of referring to rich kids in Mexico, especially those raised in traditional households and who’ve perhaps had a very Catholic upbringing –
¿Por qué tan peinadito? ¡Hasta pareces niño bien!
Why so well-groomed? You look like a rich kid!
This one is mostly used by older generations to refer to spoiled kids with rich parents (derived from the American tradition of naming one’s first child ‘junior’) –
Mi hijo va en una escuela de puros juniors y lo molestan mucho.
My son goes to a school for rich kids, and they bully him a lot.
Mexican culture is quite complex, and classism is unfortunately still rife. As such, ‘fresa’ should only be used in a friendly / playful manner OR to chastise someone’s behavior.
I mean, think about how the Kardashians polarize people’s opinions; some love and admire their lifestyle, whilst others look down on them, but they cause a fascination of sorts. Well, the same goes with ‘fresas’!
And now that you know all about ‘fresas’, how about checking out the meaning of ‘chilango’? It’s the word for another group of people in Mexican society …