Quick answer– in Mexican slang ‘te la rifas’ means something along the lines of ‘great job’ or ‘way to go’, so if someone says to you ‘te la rifas’ be sure to give yourself a pat on the back! The full form of the verb is ‘rifársela’.
There´s actually a whole raft of slang expressions derived from the humble ‘rifar´ (which literally translates as ‘to raffle’), including ‘rifado’ (which can be both a verb and an adjective) and ‘rífate’, an interjection used as a form of encouragement.
By the end of this article, you´re sure to be a ‘rifado’ (an ace) in all things ‘rifarse’.
Let´s get into it!
Uses / Variations of ‘Te la rifas‘
‘Te la rifas’ is used to tell someone that they´ve done a really good job.
It´s similar to the English expressions ‘great job’ and ‘way to go’.
Eduardo – ¡Qué bien juegas, Gabriel! Te la rifas.
Gabriel – Gracias, wey. Entreno diario para ser el mejor.
Eduardo – ¡You play so well, Gabriel! Way to go!
Gabriel – Thanks, man. I train every day to be the absolute best.
Mateo – ¡Te la rifas! Son los mejores tacos que he comido.
Damián – ¿Neta? Qué gusto que te gustaron*.
Mateo – Great job! They´re the best tacos I’ve ever eaten.
Damián – For real? I’m glad you liked them.
Erika´s top tip – the verb ‘gustar‘ can be a tricky customer; make sure to check out our article on its ins and outs if you wanna know more!
‘Rífate’ is used to encourage someone to complete a (normally risky) task.
For example, if you’re at a bar and your pal wants to ask a girl to dance but can´t quite pluck up the courage, you could use ‘Vas! ¡Rífate!’ to encourage him –
Daniel – No sé, no creo que quiera …
Andrés – ¡Vas! ¡Rífate! No pierdes nada. Si no quiere pues ni modo, pero al menos lo intentaste.
Daniel – I don’t know, I don’t think she wants to …
Andrés – ¡C’mon! ¡Do it! You’ve got nothing to lose. If she doesn’t want to, well … there’s nothing you can do about it, but at least you will have tried.
Or imagine you’re on a hike, and you come across a small river which can only be crossed by a rickety bridge, you could say ‘¡Rífate!‘ to give your nervous pal an extra boost of courage –
Javier – No me vaya a caer ahí y me voy a mojar todo …
Mario – No está tan complicado te lo juro. ¡Rífate!
Javier – What if I fall in? I don’t want to get all wet …
Mario – I swear it’s not that difficult. ¡Just do it!
If you’re a really big fan of something, this can be expressed by adding a ‘rifa’ after the noun in question.
Mi maestro de español rifa. Me encantan sus clases.
My spanish teacher is so cool. I love his lessons.
¡Esta pelicula rifa!
This is such a good film.
¡Esta cerveza sí que rifa!
This beer is really good!
‘Rífate con’ is used to ask someone a favor.
The structure is rífate con + noun OR rífate + gerund.
rífate + gerund
Rífate lavando los trastes, porfa.
Give me a hand and do the dishes please
rífate + noun
María – Rífate con las chelas*, ¿sí? Yo ya puse la comida.
Julia – Sí, no hay problema. Yo las compro.
María – Buy the beers, will ya? I already bought the food.
Julia – Sure, no problem. I’ll buy them.
Erika´s top tip – ‘una chela‘ is Mexican slang for a beer!
Rifarse un tiro
This phrase translates to ‘get into a fight’. ‘Un tiro’ is a fight in Mexican slang.
By the way, the textbook word for fight in Spanish is ‘pelea’, but you´ll also hear other words like ‘pleito’ or ‘riña’.
Damián y Carlos se rifaron un tiro ayer afuera el bar.
Damián y Carlos fought each other yesterday outside the bar.
Me rifé un tiro con un chavo que quiso asaltarme.
I got into a fight with a guy who tried to rob me.
‘Te la rifas’ pronunciation
The ‘te’ in ‘te la rifas’ is said like ‘teh’ and the ‘la’ like ‘lah’.
The ‘ri’ in ‘rifas’ sounds like ‘ri’ (think ‘rihanna’) and the ‘fas’ is said like ‘fahs’.
/ teh lah ri fahs /
‘Te la rifaste’ meaning
‘Te la rifaste’ is the preterite (past tense) of ‘te la rifas’ and therefore implies that the person in question performed a task well.
A good translation would be ‘you nailed it’.
¡Qué buen trabajo hiciste! ¡La neta, te la rifaste!
You did such a good job! Honestly, you absolutely nailed it!
And what does the ‘la’ refer to, I hear you ask! Well, it refers to the difficult task / activity being discussed*!
Te rifaste la tarea
You nailed the task
Te rifaste la chamba.
You did a great job.
*Erika´s note – when using ‘te la rifaste’ or ‘te la rifas’, ‘la’ is always used to denote the noun irrespective of whether it´s masculine or feminine.
‘Te la rifaste, Fernando’
This expression gained a lot of popularity thanks to a meme about the movie “Rio”.
It´s about a blue macaw that travels to Rio de Janeiro to meet Jewel (a female macaw). While in Brazil, a smuggler captures both birds with the help of a kid named Fernando. The smuggler praises the kid´s hard work with a ‘Te la rifaste, Fernando’.
Check out this short clip if you´d like to know more –
‘Rifado’ can be used as both a noun and an adjective.
If someone is a ‘rifado’ (noun) at his job, he´s seriously good at it; you can also describe someone as ‘rifado/a’ (adjective) at something.
Manuel es un rifado en la batería.
Manuel kills it with the drums.
Sarah es bien rifada para cocinar.
Sarah is an ace at cooking.
From now on I hope that you´ll feel proud of your skills when someone calls you a ‘rifado’.
Make sure to keep ‘rifándotela’ (doing an excellent job) with your Mexican Spanish and definitely mosey on down to our article on all the different Mexican euphemisms if you fancy learning even more!