In short – in Mexican Spanish ‘móchate’ is mostly used as a way of saying ‘chip in’ OR ‘chop off’. So, if your Mexican pals start throwing a ‘móchate’ in your general direction, they’re either asking that you to chip in for something OR to cut something (huh?).
‘Móchate’ is the imperative form of the verb ‘mocharse’ in the second person singular (i.e., ‘tú’).
It’s generally an inoffensive expression, BUT it can also be used in a decidedly shadier context …
Well, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
Uses / Meanings of ‘móchate’ in Mexican Spanish
‘Móchate’ can be used in the following ways –
- As a synonym of ‘chop off’
- As a synonym of ‘chip in’
- To ask for any kind of contribution
- To ask for a bribe
As a synonym of ‘chop off’
‘Mocharse’ is a reflexive verb, which means that the subject of the sentence performs the action on itself.
So, if someone tells you to ‘móchate (algo)’, it implies that they want you to ‘chop (something) off’ your own body …
Sounds weird … but it usually refers to cutting hair, nails, and the likes (breathe sigh of relief*).
*Erika’s note – if you actually had to breathe a sigh of relief, you’ve probably been watching too many episodes of “Narcos” on Netflix 😉
Visitando al abuelo
Abuelo – Mijo, ya móchate esas greñas. ¡Pareces vagabundo!
Nieto – Ay, abue…¿a poco no te gustaría tener una melena como la mía?
Grandfather – You gotta chop those locks off, kid. You look like a bum!
Grandson – Come on, grandpa … wouldn’t you like to have long hair like mine?
Victoria – Ví un tutorial de cómo cortar tu propio fleco y quiero intentarlo.
Elena – Okay, pero móchate más abajo para que, si te equivocas, puedas arreglarlo fácilmente.
Victoria – I saw a tutorial on how to cut your own fringe and I want to try it.
Elena – Okay but cut further down so that if you make a mistake, you can fix it easily.
As a synonym of ‘chip in’
‘Móchate’ can also be used in a similar way to the English expression ‘chip in’.
Un aviso en el boletín de la escuela
Estamos recaudando dinero para la graduación. ¡Móchate y ayúdanos a llegar a la meta!
An announcement in the school newsletter
We’re raising money for our graduation party. Chip in and help us reach our goal!
It’s often used with the preposition ‘con’ –
En la universidad
Mariela – Oye, móchate con algo para el pastel de cumpleaños de Toño, ¿va?
Gonzalo – Va que va, ¿cuánto necesitan?
Mariela – Hey, wanna chip in for Toño’s birthday cake?
Gonzalo – Yeah, sure, how much do you need?
By the way, don’t be surprised if ‘móchate’ is sometimes accompanied by a rather curious hand gesture … as if the person were slicing their own chest diagonally!
This is a direct reference to its original meaning (i.e., ‘cut off’ or ‘chop off’), but it’s NOT used in a literal sense (phew!).
Sometimes people skip the word altogether and just plump for the hand gesture.
Other times they might complement it with a wink and/or a whistle.
The first time I saw this, I was eating some chips in my car and this random dude just approached me out of nowhere and opted for the “slicing chest” version without uttering a word …
Needless to say, I was a bit ‘sacado de onda’* (or ‘confused’ / ‘nervous’), but it turned out that the guy in question was hungry and after a few of my “takis xtra hot” chips (I mean, who could blame him?).
Anyway, the moral of this story is that you shouldn’t *necessarily* feel ‘sacado de onda’ if you’re in Mexico and someone motions across their chest with their hand.
*Erika’s note – I think someone might have had too large a dose of Netflix again!
To ask for any kind of contribution
‘Móchate’ doesn’t always refer specifically to money; you could technically ‘mocharte’ with anything to achieve a set goal.
For example, if your pal asks you to bring something to a party, they’ll likely begin the sentence with a ‘móchate con’ –
En un mensaje de texto
Fabián – Wey, móchate con unas papitas para la fiesta de Diana, ¿va? Yo pongo las chelas.
In a text message
Fabián – Bro, could you get some chips for Diana’s party? I’ll bring the beer.
Entre compañeros de departamento
Xavi – ¿Quieres que compre la pintura para impermeabilizar el techo?
Imelda – No, ya la compré, pero móchate con un buen rodillo.
Xavi – Do you want me to buy the paint to waterproof the roof?
Imelda – No, I already bought it, but you can buy a nice roller.
To ask for a bribe
Lastly, we have ‘móchate’ as a way of asking for a bribe.
This is actually a thing … I haven’t been on a Netflix binge again, I swear!
Un politico corrupto chantajeando a otro
Tengo evidencias de todo el lavado de dinero que has hecho…pero móchate con una lanita para mi próxima campaña y me mantengo callado.
A corrupt politician blackmailing another
I have evidence of all the money laundering you’ve been doing … but if you help fund mynext campaign, I’ll keep quiet.
´Móchate’ has three syllables which should be pronounced as follows:
- ‘Mó’ sounds like ‘moh’ (and since it has an accent, this is the syllable you should stress)
- ‘Cha’ is said like ‘chah’
- And ‘te’ sounds like ‘teh’
/ moh-chah-teh /
Similar expressions to ‘móchate’
When you see the verb ‘mochar’ preceded by ‘se’, it’s conjugated in the third person –
Andrea siempre se mocha con las bebidas cuando nos reunimos.
Andrea always brings the drinks when we get together.
‘Me mocho’ translates to ‘I chip in’ or ‘I chop off’ –
Me moché con la banda de música para la boda de mi sobrino.
I chipped in for the band for my nephew’s wedding.
If you wanna refer to a past action, then just say ‘me moché’ –
Siempre que me mocho la barba, me veo diez años más joven.
Whenever I trim my beard, I look ten years younger.
This phrase has an entirely different meaning!
It means something along the lines of ‘he/she got fired’ –
No sabía que Pedro ya no trabajaba en la empresa. Apenas me enteré de que lo mocharon.
I didn’t know that Pedro was no longer working at the company. I literally just found out he got fired.
Hopefully you’re now ready to throw in a ‘móchate’ the next time you ask your Mexican pals to chip in for a party or night out! I guarantee you’ll surprise them and make them smile with your newfound knowledge of Mexican slang.
Oh, and there are MANY other amazing expressions in Mexican Spanish, so I suggest you check out the meaning of ‘cámara’ next (spoiler: it’s not always something that you’d use to take a few snaps!)