In short – ‘Mi rey’ literally translates to ‘my king’ and you may well find it used in this sense in literature and cinema, but in Mexican slang a ‘mirrey’ is an entitled male who behaves in an ostentatious, arrogant and/or rude way – similar yet not equivalent to a ‘Karen’ in U.S. meme culture.
Let’s dive into this very popular expression!
Uses / Meanings of ‘mi rey’
‘Mi rey’ can be used in the following ways –
- In a literal way, to mean ‘my king’
- As a term of endearment (used mainly by upper class males)
- As a pejorative word to describe an entitled man
In a literal way, to mean ‘my king’
‘Mi rey’ is composed of the possessive adjective ‘mi’ (or ‘my’ in English) and the noun ‘rey’ (or ‘king’).
So, yeah, it literally means ‘my king’.
¡Mi Rey, una turba iracunda amenaza con entrar al castillo!
My King, an angry mob threatens to enter the castle!
As a term of endearment (used mainly by upper class males)
Back in the twentieth century, ‘mi rey’ (and ‘mi reina’!) was used both as a term of endearment amongst couples AND as a sarcastic way to refer to someone when trying to sound derisive.
However, during the early 2000s in Mexico, young people, especially upper class males, began using ‘mi rey’ to address their friends or other men in general.
So, if you address someone as ‘mi rey’ nowadays, it´s kinda like saying ‘bro’ or ‘dude’.
‘Mi reina’ didn’t evolve in the same way. The female equivalent of ‘mirrey’ is actually ‘lobuki’ (a made up word).
En una taquería
Taquero – ¿Qué onda, güero? ¿Qué le voy a dar?
Joven – Una orden de pastor, mi rey, porfa.
At a taqueria
Taquero – What’s up, blondie? What can I get you?
Young man – An order of tacos al pastor, please, bro.
En un antro exclusivo de la Ciudad de México
Juanpi – ¡Qué onda*, wey!
Rodri – ¡Qué pedo, mi rey! ¡Qué gusto verte!
At an exclusive club in Mexico City
Juanpi – What’s up, man!
Rodri – What’s up, bro! Good to see you!
*Erika’s note – ‘qué onda’ (or ‘what’s vibing’) is an extremely popular greeting in Mexico.
As a pejorative word to describe an entitled man
Eventually, the kind of people who used ‘mi rey’ as a synonym of ‘dude’ became known as ‘mirreyes’.
This mostly refers to men who show off their privilege publicly and/or who behave in an overbearing manner towards people who, from their perspective, are inferior to them.
It’s also used to describe someone who pretends to be upper class by putting on a posh accent (‘acento fresa’ in Spanish) and wearing expensive clothing.
Sandra – Raúl me invitó a salir.
Paola – ¿Y qué le dijiste?
Sandra – Obvio le dije que no. ¡Es un mirrey que cree que el mundo entero le debe rendir pleitesía!
Sandra – Raúl asked me out.
Paola – What did you say?
Sandra – I said no, obviously. He’s a spoiled brat who believes that the entire world should pay homage to him!
Mi primo se cree influencer, pero solo es un mirrey que se la pasa publicando sus derroches en redes sociales.
My cousin thinks he’s an influencer, but he’s just a narcissist who spends all his time posting about his shopping sprees on social media.
‘Mi rey‘ pronunciation
Prepare to really roll that “r” when saying this one!
Let’s break it down into two syllables:
- ‘Mi’ sounds exactly like the pronoun ‘me’ in English
- ‘Rey’ is said like ‘rrey’ (imagine saying ‘ray’ but with a rolled “r”).
/ mee rrey /
Similar expressions to ‘mi rey’
In Mexico people use the English word ‘junior’ to describe the sons and daughters of wealthy parents, especially those considered spoiled.
It’s still used nowadays, but it’s not as popular as ‘mirrey’.
Miguel – ¡Papá, me urge tener el nuevo iPhone!
Joaquín – ¿Te crees un junior o qué? Trabaja para comprártelo.
Miguel – Dad, I really need the new iPhone!
Joaquin – Do you think you have a rich dad or what? Work hard and buy it for yourself.
Lord / Lady
Have you ever seen a viral video starring a so-called ‘Karen’?
Well, there are quite a few similar videos of Mexican individuals behaving poorly, but they’re normally called ‘lords’ and ‘ladies’ (NOT ‘Karens’) + a word that summarizes what their tantrum is about.
Lady 100 pesos se hizo viral por intentar sobornar a un policía con un billete de 100 pesos después de chocar un auto en estado de ebriedad.
Lady 100 pesos went viral for trying to bribe a policeman with a 100 peso bill after crashing a car while drunk.
A fun fact about Mexican meme culture: in funny cat videos, the cat owner is always called ‘Karen’, a nickname that DOESN´T have any negative connotations (in Spanish!) …
… it’s just how cats allegedly call their female or male humans (the latter are known as ‘Karens machos’ or ‘male Karens’).
Although seemingly harmless, calling someone ‘mi rey’ in Mexico might not be such a good idea, but at least you’re all set to understand a LOT of memes and viral videos from Mexican pop culture.
Oh, and if you wanna learn about other interesting Mexican slang terms, you’ll gonna absolutely love our article on the meaning of ‘wey’!
¡Hasta la próxima!