‘Pa’ su mecha’ – Meaning / In English

In short – ‘pa’ su mecha’ is a Mexican expression popularized by the famous 90s soap opera ‘Marimar’ and it’s been used ever since to express excitement, surprise, and shock. Youngsters now rarely use it, but you’ll likely still hear older generations shout out ‘¡pa’ su mecha!’ fairly regularly.

‘Pa’ su mecha’ is composed of three words:

  • ‘Pa’ is an abbreviation of the word ‘para‘ (or ‘for’ in English).

  • ‘Su’ means ‘your’.

  • ‘Mecha’ is a wick (yes, think candles).

A literal translation would therefore be ‘for your wick’.

You’re probably scratching your head right about now, but bear with me a little longer …

‘Pa’ su mecha’ is actually a euphemism (i.e., an inoffensive word or phrase used in place of a more vulgar one). In this case, it’s a “softer” version of ‘pa’ su madre’, a more vulgar way of saying ‘damn‘.

So, is there any English phrase that is equivalent?

Surprisingly, yes!

We could liken ‘pa´ su mecha’ to ‘holy moly’ and ´holy cow’. Both express surprise and are euphemisms for ‘holy sh**’.

Uses & Meanings of ‘pa’ su mecha’ in Spanish

‘Pa’ su mecha’ can be used in the following ways:

  • To express excitement

  • To express shock or stupefaction

  • To describe something you find impressive

To express excitement

We can trace the origin of ‘pa´ su mecha’ to coastal areas of Mexico, such as Veracruz, Acapulco and Yucatán.

However, as I already mentioned, it was popularized by the TV soap opera “Marimar”; the famous actress Thalía and her mutt always cried out ‘¡pa’ su mecha!’ whenever they got excited about something (yeah, the dog talked too!).

¡Pa´ su mecha, Marimar, qué guapo es Santiago!

Holy moly, Marimar, Santiago´s so handsome!

¡Pa´ su mecha, mira el regalo de cumpleaños que te trajeron!

Holy cow, look at the birthday present they brought you!

To express shock or stupefaction

If something is shocking, or if you’re in bit of a pickle, then ‘pa’ su mecha’ is the expression for you … especially if you’re with other people and don’t want to sound rude.

El coche estaba completamente destruido, ¡pa’ su mecha!

The car was completely destroyed, holy moly!

¡Pa´su mecha, estuvo bien fuerte el temblor!

Holy cow, that was a big earthquake!

Carlos – ¿Ya sabías que nos van a despedir del trabajo?

Pepe – ¡Pa´ su mecha!

Carlos – Did you know that we’re getting fired from work?

Pepe – Holy cow!

To describe something you find impressive

You can also use this phrase if you find something really impressive, again just as we’d use ‘holy cow’ or ‘holy moly’ in English.

Viendo el Taj Mahal por primera vez

¡Pa´ su mecha!

Seeing the Taj Mahal for the first time

Holy cow!

¡Pa´ su mecha! ¡Esa pantalla está bien chingona!

Holy cow! That screen is super cool!

‘Pa’ su mecha‘ pronunciation

Thankfully, this phrase isn’t that difficult to pronounce, ‘pa’ is said like ‘pah’, ‘su’ like ‘soo’ and ‘mecha’ like ‘meh-cha’.

Bundled together it sounds as follows –

/ pah soo meh-cha /

Other similar expressions

¡Pa’ su madre!

As mentioned above, ‘pa´ su mecha’ is a euphemism of ´pa’ su madre’.

And why exactly is ´pa’ su madre’ offensive?

Well, in Mexico (and pretty much everywhere else, if I’m being honest) people’s mothers are obviously very special to them.

So, Mexicans use the word ‘madre’ in a dazzling array of insults / vulgar phrases, the idea being that there’s no worse way to insult someone than by taking aim at their beloved mother.

Anyway, that’s why ‘pa´ su madre’ is best translated as ‘holy sh**’.

¡Pa´ su madre, se nos acabó el dinero!

Holy shit, we ran out of money!

WARNING: be sure to only use this phrase in casual situations with close friends!

¡Ay, dios mío!

‘¡Ay, dios mío!’ literally translates to ‘oh my god!’, and it’s an emphatic way of letting everyone know you’re surprised or in shock.

Curiously, unlike in the U.S. where this expression is widely used by young people, in Mexico it tends to be used mainly by parents and grandparents.

Juan – Mamá, acabo de chocar.

Mamá – ¡Ay, dios mío! ¿Estás bien?

Juan – Mom, I just crashed

Mom – Oh my god! Are you ok?


Another colloquial and non-vulgar way of expressing shock and surprise is with ‘híjole’, although most of the time it’s used when you’re taken aback by something.

Marco – Hoy tienes que llevarte las cosas que dejaste en mi casa.

Paulina – ¡Híjole, no creo poder!

Marco – Today you have to pick up the things you left at my house.

Paulina – Holy moly, I don’t think I can!

Final thoughts

´Pa´ su mecha’ is an excellent option if you’re looking to respond to something impressive or shocking.

It’s a family-friendly exclamation, but keep in mind that it’s still too informal for the office or a formal event.

If you give it a go, your Mexican friends are sure to be taken aback (in a good way!) by your Spanish skills, and maybe they’ll even tell you ‘¡pa su mecha güey, ya sabes español!’.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out our article on ALL the different ways to say damn‘ in Spanish!