In short – ‘no seas malito’ is a colloquial phrase used to ask for a favor or to give a command in a cordial way (a bit like the English ‘be a dear’).
Let’s break this phrase down real quick –
- ‘No seas’ means ‘don’t be’.
- ‘Malito’ is the diminutive form of ‘malo’ (or ‘bad’); in this context it refers to a person’s character/behavior (i.e., a bad person).
As such, ‘no seas malito’ literally translates to ‘don’t be bad’, although we’d obviously never use this exact phrase in English!
Its English equivalents are expressions like ‘be a dear’, ‘be a good boy’ and ‘pretty please’.
Uses / Meanings of ‘no seas malito’ in Mexican Spanish
- To ask a favor
- When giving an order
To ask a favor
When you want to ask someone for a favor, but you sense that you might get a negative response, the expression ‘no seas malito’ helps to stress the importance of your request without sounding too pushy (that’s the logic at least!).
Por fa, no seas malito y sírveme un vaso de agua.
Please be a dear and pour me a glass of water.
Haz paro*, por fa, no seas malito.
Do me a favor, please, be a dear.
Papá, ¿entonce sí me vas a dejar ir a la fiesta hoy? Ándale, no seas malito.
Dad, are you going to let me go to the party today? Come on, pretty please.
*Erika´s note – ‘haz paro‘ means ‘do me a favor’ in Mexican slang.
When giving an order
When someone gives an order, it’s common to use ‘no seas malito’ to soften the request. In this way – although the categorical nature of the order is not lost – it might sound less bossy.
Juan, ve a tirar la basura, ándale, no seas malito.
Juan, go and throw out the garbage, come on, be a good boy.
No seas malito; necesito que te quedes horas extras en la oficina a terminar el trabajo que quedó pendiente.
Could you possibly stay on for a few extra hours to get everything finished.
Mañana voy a estar ocupada, así que no seas mailto y ve a recoger a tu hermana a la escuela.
Tomorrow I’m going to be busy, so be a dear and go pick up your sister from school.
‘No seas malito’ pronunciation
‘No’ is said like ‘noh’.
‘Seas’ has two syllables that sound as follows: ‘seh’ and ‘ass‘.
‘Malito’ is said like ‘mah’, ‘lee‘ and ‘toh’.
/ noh seh-ass mah-lee-toh /
Similar expressions to ‘no seas malito’
‘¿Ándale, sí?’ is used to beg or ask for something persistently.
You might even hear it being used in conjunction with ‘no seas malito’ (normally when the person speaking REALLY wants something)!
¿Me ayudas con mi tarea? ¿Ándale, sí? No seas malito.
Can you help me with my homework? Please say yes, pretty please!
Ma, ¿me das dinero para ir Six Flags? ¿Ándale, sí? Aunque sea poquito.
Mom, can you give me money to go to Six Flags? Would you, please? Even if it’s just a few bucks.
‘Porfis’ is a contraction of ‘por favor’ (or ‘please’ in English) and it’s very popular with children.
En el programa de TV “El Chavo del 8”
Quico – Porfis, mamá, cómprame la pelota, sí, porfis, porfis.
Doña Florinda – ¡Que no! Y ya deja de estar molestando.
In the TV program “Chavo, the Child of 8”
Quico – Please, mom, buy me the ball, come on, please, please.
Doña Florinda – No … and stop bothering me.
As you can see, ‘no seas malito’ is a fun, colloquial way to ask for a favor in a “softer”, more polite way!
We could argue there’s a bit of an emotional blackmail to it, but it’s all good intentioned (I swear!)!
So, ‘no seas malito’ and check out my article on all the different expressions with ‘caer’ which I´m SURE will come in handy during your next foray into Mexico.