In short – If you’ve spent any time partying in Mexico City, you’ve probably heard the word ‘pacheco‘, an adjective which refers to someone who is high (specifically on weed / pot).
It can also be translated to ‘pothead’ and is less derogatory than the term ‘mariguano‘, which is used to describe someone who has an addiction to pot / smokes too much pot.
Generally speaking, the word ‘pacheco‘ is preceded by the adverbs ‘bien‘ or ‘medio‘, which are used to denote the amount of marijuana consumed.
So, if we say that someone is ‘bien pacheco‘ it means that they´ve consumed quite a lot of pot, while ‘medio pacheco’ is used for someone who´s only had a few drags or puffs.
The English slang equivalents would be ‘stoned‘, ‘high‘ and ‘a pothead’.
It should also be noted that this meaning of ‘pacheco‘ is exclusive to Mexico.
In countries such as Ecuador and Venezuela it’s used to describe an intensely cold climate.
‘Pacheco’ can also be a person’s last name (and a very common one at that!). So don’t jump to the conclusion that it´s a nickname when meeting someone … you’ve been warned!!
Uses / Meanings of ‘pacheco’ in Mexican Spanish
‘Pacheco’ can be use in following ways –
- To describe the state of being ‘high’ (from ‘weed’)
- To describe someone who uses ‘weed’ / ‘pot’
- As a surname
To describe the state of being ‘high’ (from ‘weed‘)
You can think of ‘pacheco’ as the Mexican version of ‘stoned’ or ´high’.
If someone is high on other drugs, you should use the word ‘drogado’ instead.
Me puse medio pacheco en la casa de Viridiana.
I got kinda high at Viridiana´s house.
Sergio – Paulina es súper buena onda.
Salvador – Es que siempre anda bien pacheca.
Sergio – Paulina is super cool.
Salvador – That’s because she’s always stoned.
To describe someone who uses ‘weed‘
This expression is very common amongst friends, especially because it´s much “kinder” than other adjectives. I´d even go as far as to say that the word ‘pacheco’ is somewhat free of the moral burden that drug use can carry.
Julio se la pasa dormido todo el día. ¡Es bien pacheco!
Julio sleeps all day long. He’s such a pothead!
As a surname
As I mentioned before, ‘pacheco’ is also a very common Mexican surname.
A good example would be the award-winning writer José Emilio Pacheco (he won the Cervantes Prize and is author of the famous novel “Battles in the Desert”).
Let’s not forget that ‘Pacheco‘, being a proper noun in this case, should always be written with a capital ‘P’.
El Señor Pacheco acaba de presentar una propuesta para mejorar la seguridad pública en el Estado de Veracruz.
Mr. Pacheco has just presented a proposal to improve public security in the State of Veracruz.
Como dice José Emilio Pacheco en uno de sus poemas, “aunque renazca el sol, los días no vuelven”.
As José Emilio Pacheco says in one of his poems, “Even if the sun is born again, the days will not return”.
The verb ‘pachequear’ is used to describe the action of getting high. It translates to something along the lines of ‘to get high’ or ‘to smoke weed’ in English.
It’s a slang term so you obviously won’t find it in the dictionary!
José – ¿Vamos a pachequear?
Tamara – Nel.
José – Wanna get high?
Tamara – Nah.
Frida – ¿Y los muchachos?
Diego – Se fueron a pachequear.
Frida – Where are the boys?
Diego – They went to get high.
‘Te estás pachequeando’ meaning
If you hear the expression ‘te estás pachequeando‘ and there’s no weed in sight whatsoever, chances are it’s being used to describe someone who’s exaggerating a situation, taking something out of proportion or behaving like a paranoid.
Renata – ¿Y si se enteran de que copié en el examen y me corren de la escuela?
Camila – Tranquila, te estás pachequeando.
Renata – What if they find out I cheated in the exam and I get kicked out of school?
Camila – Calm down, you’re being paranoid.
Jesús – Seguro que Nadia me está engañando.
Alfredo – Tranquilo, cabrón*, te estás pachequeando.
Jesús – I’m sure Nadia is cheating on me.
Alfredo – Chill, dude, you’re overreacting.
*Erika´s note – the word ‘cabrón’ has a whole LOAD of meanings, but here it means something along the lines of ‘dude’ or ‘bro’.
We can divide ‘pacheco‘ into three syllables; ‘pa‘ is pronounced ‘pah‘, ‘che‘ like ‘cheh‘, and ‘co‘ like ‘koh‘.
Bundled together it sounds as follows –
/ pah cheh koh /
Similar expressions to ‘pacheco‘
In many Latin American countries, such as Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras the word ‘grifo‘ (or ‘faucet’ in English) is also used as a synonym of ‘pacheco‘.
This expression is derived from ‘grifa‘, which is a colloquial term for weed in Spain; ‘grifarse’ is also used in Costa Rica to talk about getting stoned.
Estábamos tan grifos que no pudimos volver a casa.
We were so stoned that we couldn´t get home.
‘Moto‘ derives from ‘mota‘, a colloquial Mexican word for marijuana.
But beware … in most other contexts, the word ‘moto’ is short for ‘motocicleta’, which means ‘motorcycle’.
El Juan no vino a reparar la televisión; anda moto otra vez.
Juan didn’t come to fix the TV; he’s stoned again.
‘Pacheco’ is perhaps the most commonly used expression in Mexico to describe a person who uses weed, especially in Mexico City.
Feel free to use this word with your friends, since it’s not as judgmental as other related slang.
Just keep in mind that ‘pacheco‘ is still colloquial Spanish, so I don’t recommend using it in a work environment or with the in-laws.
And make sure to check out our article on ‘equis‘ if you wanna learn more super useful mexican slang!