In short – ‘machín’ is a slang term that derives from the word ‘macho’. It’s what’s known as an augmentative (the opposite of a diminutive!), so if you describe something as ‘machín’, you’re basically saying that it’s ‘very macho’!
And what exactly does it mean to be ‘very macho’?
Well, quite a variety of things actually … from being ‘brave’ or ‘tough’ to just being generally awesome.
It’s important to mention that ‘machín’ is an actual word too (i.e., it’s listed in the RAE). It’s used to refer to capuchin monkeys across Latin America, a mullet fish in some parts of the Gulf of Mexico, and it used to mean ‘rustic man’ in Spain (although it’s not used much in this sense anymore). So, yeah, quite a few different meanings!
Anyway, in this article we’ll just stick to the meanings of ‘machín’ in Mexican slang.
Let’s get to it!
Uses / Meanings of ‘machín’ in Mexican Spanish
‘Machín’ can be used in the following ways –
- As a synonym of ‘brave’ or ‘tough’
- As a synonym of ‘manly’
- As a synonym of ‘sexist’
- To describe a large amount or quantity of something
- As a synonym of ‘awesome’
As a synonym of ‘brave’ or ‘tough’
The word ‘macho’ is often related to bravery in Mexican slang and, well, since ‘machín’ is used as an augmentative (i.e., it indicates greatness in size / intensity), then it’s obviously used to refer to super brave guys, right?
More often than not, ‘machín’ is actually used as a taunt …
Afuera de la casa abandonada del vecindario
Manuel – Ay, nomás es una casa vacía.
Olivia – ¿Ah, sí? Entra tú solo, a ver si eres tan machín como dices.
Outside the neighborhood’s abandoned house
Manuel – Go on, it’s just an empty house.
Olivia – Oh yeah? Why don’t you go in by yourself; let’s see if you’re as gutsy as you say you are.
Similarly, if you declare yourself to be ‘machín’, you might come across as reckless rather than tough or courageous –
Un borracho en un bar
Víctor – ¡Yo aquí soy el mero* machín!
Mauricio – Cálmate wey, nadie te está echando pleito.
A drunk in a bar
Víctor – I’m the toughest man in here!
Mauricio – Calm down, dude. No one’s picking a fight with you.
*Erika’s note – ‘mero’ has A LOT of uses in Mexican slang, so be sure to check out our article on all things ‘mero’ if you wanna know more!
As a synonym of ‘manly’
Following the same logic, you might come across ‘machín’ being thrown around in movies and TV series when a character is trying to emphasize their supposed “masculinity”.
Arturo – No me gustan las películas de guerra, la verdad.
Gonzalo – ¿Cómo? ¿Pues qué no eres machín?
Arturo – I don’t like war movies, to be honest.
Gonzalo – What? Aren’t you a man?
En una tienda de ropa
Valeria – Esa playera rosa te quedaría bien.
Bruno – ¡Oye! Yo sí soy machín, eh.
Valeria – …¿De qué rayos hablas?
In a clothing store
Valeria – That pink shirt would look good on you.
Bruno – Hey! I’m straight, okay?
Valeria – … What the heck are you talking about?
As a synonym of ‘sexist’
‘Machín’ is also synonymous with the term ‘machista’, which means ‘sexist’ or ‘homophobic’.
So, when people refer to someone as ‘machín’ they might be using it in a derogatory way!
Tania – Nunca le hablas a Gonzalo. ¿Te cae mal*?
Esmeralda – No vale la pena hablarle; es un machín cualquiera.
Tania – You never talk to Gonzalo. Don’t you like him?
Esmeralda – It’s not worth talking to him; he’s super sexist.
*Erika’s note – ‘caer mal’ is a way of saying ‘to dislike someone’ in Spanish, and one of MANY colloquial expressions with the word ‘caer’!
To describe a large amount or quantity of something
HOWEVER, there is a gentler side to the word ‘machín’!
In everyday conversation you’re most likely to hear it being used as a colloquial way to refer to a large amount or quantity of something.
Le pedí al vecino que bajara el volumen de su música y ahora le subió machín.
I asked the neighbor to turn down his music and now he’s turned it up even louder.
En un puesto de elotes en la Ciudad de México
Elotero – ¿Quiere su elote con mayonesa, queso y picante?
Cliente – Sí, échele machín de todo.
At a corn stand in Mexico City
Elotero – Do you want your corn with mayonnaise, cheese, and chili?
Customer – Yep, I want LOADS of everything.
As a synonym of ‘awesome’
Finally, Mexicans also refer to a job well-done or something of high quality as ‘machín’.
Just keep in mind that since it’s a colloquial expression, it’s best suited for informal or casual conversations!
Toño – ¡La Tía Gladys baila machín, eh!
Catalina – Sí, estudió danza profesional…¿sabías?
Toño – Aunt Gladys dances so well, huh!
Catalina – Yeah, she learnt to dance professionally … didn’t you know?
‘Bien machín‘ meaning
As an adverb, ‘bien’ translates to ‘very’, so when people say ‘bien machín’ they’re usually referring to something ‘really awesome’ OR a large amount of something.
Ayer fui al gimnasio y entrené bien machín.
Yesterday I went to the gym and trained really hard.
¡Tu depa nuevo está bien machín!
Your new apartment is absolutely awesome!
‘Machín’ is actually very easy to pronounce!
Just say ‘ma’ like ‘mah’ and ‘chín’ like ‘cheen’ (you need to stress this last syllable because it has an accent!)
/ mah-cheen /
Similar expressions to ‘machín’
This is the diminutive form of ‘macho’,and it normally means ‘sexist’.
Estás actuando como un machito.
You’re being sexist.
Hopefully you now possess all the tools necessary to navigate any mention of the word ‘machín’.
Keep in mind that it has A LOT of different (sometimes not-so-positive) connotations when describing a person, but when talking about the quantity or quality of something, it’s pretty much always safe to use (even if it’s a little informal!).
Ready to learn more interesting Mexican slang?
Well, you should check out our article on the meaning of ‘móchate’ next. Sneak peek: it has some edge to it!