If you’ve ever set foot in Mexico, you’ll probably know that Mexican Spanish is famous for its rich and diverse slang. In casual conversation words such as ‘wey’ (‘dude’) and ‘neta’ (‘are you serious’) are a dime a dozen.
To complicate matters further, a lot of these slang words are completely different from anything heard in more “standard” Spanish!
Step forward ‘quiúbole’, a word so unique that I honestly thought it was a joke the first time I heard it!
“So, spill the beans!”, I hear you cry, “What (on earth!) does it mean?”
Well, ‘quiúbole’ is basically another* synonym of ‘what’s up’, BUT It can also be used as a reproach, meaning something along the lines of ‘what the heck!’.
This little beauty of a word is equally as useful as it is hard to spell, so buckle up your seatbelt and get ready to learn all about it!
*Erika’s note – there are LOTS of different ways to say ‘what’s up’ in Spanish, check out our article on the subject if you´d like a full initiation!
Uses / Meanings of ‘quiúbole’
‘Quiúbole‘ can be used in the following ways –
- To greet someone informally
- To ask someone how they are (again informally)
- As a reproach
To greet someone informally
In Mexican Spanish, ‘quiúbole’ can be used to greet someone informally in the same way that we’d use it’s English equivalent, ‘what’s up´.
As a greeting, ‘quiúbole’ is often uttered without expecting much of a response.
Let’s look at an example –
Juan pasa por el puesto de tacos de su amigo Pedro
Juan – Quiúbole.
Pedro – ¡Qué onda!
Juan walks past his friend Pedro’s taco stand
Juan – What’s up.
Pedro – Yo!
To ask someone how they are (again informally)
This use of ‘quiúbole’ is again similar to ‘what’s up’ in English, but this time in the form of a question.
It’s normally used to ask someone what’s going on (generally) in their life or how they are.
Ana – ¿Quiúbole, Ricardo? ¿Todavía te va bien con el negocio?
Ricardo – Sí, todo muy bien.
Ana – What’s up, Ricardo? Is your business still going well?
Ricardo – Yeah, it’s still going well.
You can also use “quiúbole + con + noun“ if you want to ask after a specific person or about a specific subject.
Think of it as the Spanish equivalent of “what’s up with“.
Alan – ¿Quiúbole con tu hermana wey? ¡Está siendo muy rara!
Israel – Es que se le murió su perrito.
Alan – Chale*, con razón.
Alan – What’s up with your sister, bro? She’s being really weird!
Israel – It’s because her doggy died.
Alan – Damn, that’ll be why.
*Erika’s note – ‘chale’ is another super common Mexican slang word meaning ‘darn’ or ‘damn’.
Used as a reproach
‘Quiúbole’ can also be used when reproaching someone for doing something they probably shouldn’t be doing (i.e., when being a bit naughty)!
In this context it’s a bit like ‘what the heck’ or ‘what the heck are you doing’.
Mamá – ¡Quiúbole! ¡Te caché con las manos en la masa!
Hijo – Perdón, mamá.
Mom – What the heck! I’ve caught you red handed!
Son – Sorry, mom.
‘Quiúbole, wey’ meaning
‘Wey’ is Spanish for ‘dude’ or ‘bro’, so ‘quiúbole, wey’ just translates to ‘what’s up, bro’.
It’s used almost exclusively as a greeting.
Here’s an example –
Dos amigos se encuentran en la calle
Gabriel – Quiúbole wey. ¿Cómo estás?
Santiago – Todo chido. ¿Y tú?
Two friends bump into each other in the street
Gabriel – What’s up dude. How are you?
Santiago – All good. And you?
‘Quiubo‘ / ‘Qué hubo‘ Meaning
‘Qué hubo’ is yet another way of saying ‘what’s up’ in Mexican Spanish (and in Colombia)!
Like ‘quiúbole’, it can also be used as a short greeting or as an informal alternative to ‘cómo estás’.
And what’s’ with this ‘quiubo’?
Well, ‘quiubo’ is actually just a contraction of the phrase ‘qué hubo’ … it means the exact same thing (i.e., ‘what´s up’) but is pronounced slightly differently –
/ cue boh /
And our old (or new!) friend ‘quiúbole’?
Well, it also comes from ‘qué hubo’ but, as with many interjections in Mexican Spanish, the pronoun ‘le’ was whacked on the end for good measure (think ‘andalé’, ‘oralé’ and ‘chale’).
Erika’s note – unlike ‘quiúbole’, ‘qué hubo’ and ‘quiubo’ CAN‘T be used as a reproach; they’re both used exclusively as greetings.
Yes, I know, ‘quiúbole’ looks fantastically difficult to pronounce. In fact, I can already see your mouth watering at the prospect!
But it’s actually much easier than you’d think!
The strange to the English-speaking mind ‘quiú’ is said like ‘cue’ (think snooker), the ‘bo’ like ‘boh’ and the ‘le’ like ‘leh’ (you can start wiping that sweat off your forehead!).
/ cue boh leh /
And that’s all, folks!
You’ve now mastered an essential (well, I think so at least) element of Mexican slang. Your Mexican friends are sure to be swooning over your new-found knowledge, especially if you get that pronunciation right!
If you want to know another great way of saying ‘what’s up’ in Mexican Spanish, check out our article on ‘qué pex’, it´s sure to whet your appetite!
¡Hasta la próxima!