‘Hacerse wey’ – Meaning / In English

In short – ‘hacerse wey’ is a colloquial Mexican expression that has two different meanings: ‘to goof off’ or ‘to play dumb’.

It’s composed of two words, the reflexive verb ‘hacerse’ and ‘wey’, which *normally* translates to ‘bro’ or ‘dude’.*

As you can probably tell, the literal translations of these two words have absolutely nothing to do with the actual meaning of ‘hacerse weyOR the shirking of responsibilities (tut-tut!).

Let’s take a closer look.

Uses / Meanings of ‘hacerse wey’ in Mexican Spanish

‘Hacerse wey’ can be used in the following ways –

  • When someone is deliberately wasting time or being lazy (a bit like the English ‘goof off’)
  • When someone acts as if they’re oblivious to a situation to gain some kind of advantage (i.e., ‘play dumb’)

When someone is deliberately wasting time or being lazy

In this context, ‘hacerse wey’ refers to someone who’s being lazy and is actively trying to avoid work / an arduous (or not-so-arduous!) task.

The word ‘wey (or ‘güey) is the key to understanding this expression as it’s actually a derivation of ‘buey’: a castrated bull or ox that used to (slowly!) plough fields.

That’s why – a few decades ago – calling someone ‘wey‘ was a way of saying that they were clumsy and slow (NOT the mostly casual ‘dude’ or ‘bro’ associations it has today).

Deja de hacerte wey y ponte a hacer la tarea.

Stop goofing off and do your homework.

Mamá – Ve al mercado a comprar tortillas.

Pepito – No puedo, estoy ocupado. ¿Por qué no le dices a mi hermana? Ella siempre se está haciendo wey, no tiene nada qué hacer.

Mom – Go to the market to buy tortillas.

Pepito – I can’t, I’m busy. Why don’t you ask my sister? She’s always goofing off and she has nothing to do.

Carlos – Qué pasó*, Quique, ¿Sí vamos a ir al partido al rato?

Quique – No creo; el Poncho se hizo wey todo el día y ahora tengo que terminar su parte del trabajo para mañana.

Carlos – What’s up, Quique, are we going to the game later?

Quique – I don’t think so, Poncho was goofing off all day and now I have to finish his share of the work before tomorrow.

*Erika’s top tip – in this context qué pasó is similar in meaning to the English ‘what’s up’.

When someone acts as if they’re oblivious to a situation to gain some kind of advantage (i.e., ‘play dumb’)

‘Hacerse wey’ can also be used to refer to a person who “plays dumb” and pretends not to know or understand something.

The key here is that the person in question knows EXACTLY what’s going on but prefers to feign ignorance to avoid taking responsibility for his/her actions or to take advantage of a situation.

Most of the time, people ‘se hacen wey’ to avoid the potential negative consequences of their actions!

Sharon chocó el coche anoche, pero se hizo wey y dijo que ella no sabía nada para que no la regañaran.

Sharon crashed the car last night, but she played dumb and said she didn’t know anything about it so she wouldn’t get told off.

Ya deja de hacerte wey y dime por qué no fuiste a mi cumpleaños.

Stop playing dumb and tell me why you didn’t come to my birthday.

Mamá – Karla, dale el dinero a tu hermano para que pague las facturas.

Karla – Sí má, nada más ten cuidado, porque luego se hace wey y se queda con el cambio.

Mom – Karla, give money to your brother to pay the bills.

Karla – Okay, Mom. Just be careful because he always plays dumb and keeps the change.

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"

‘Hacerse wey’ pronunciation

‘Hacerse‘ can be broken down into three syllables: ‘ah, ‘sehr’ and ‘seh’;

‘Wey‘ sounds just like the English word ‘way‘.

/ ah-sehr-seh way /

Similar words / expressions to ‘hacerse wey’

No te hagas

‘No te hagas’ is a shortened version of ‘no te hagas wey’.

It basically means ‘stop playing dumb’ and it’s a slightly more polite way of telling someone to stop pretending that they don’t understand / know something.

Tú rompiste la tele, no te hagas…di la verdad.

You broke the TV, stop playing dumb … just tell the truth.

Final Thoughts

Let’s be honest, at some point we all ‘hacernos wey‘ … either because we can’t be bothered to finish a task OR to avoid confessing something that’ll probably get us in trouble!

Although this expression shouldn’t be used in a formal or work environment, it’s actually pretty harmless … so you’re not at risk of coming across as rude if you use it with close friends.

Anyway, make sure YOU don’t ‘hacerte wey’ and head over to our article on qué hueva (another popular Mexican expression to describe laziness) next!

¡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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