In short – ‘ya, wey’ is a very popular Mexican expression. It basically means ‘stop, dude’ and it can be used both as a friendly plea and a full-blown warning!
‘Ya, wey’ consists of two words:
‘Ya’ which, depending on context, can mean ‘already’, ‘now’ or ‘stop’ (in this case, the latter is more accurate).
And ‘wey’, which translates best as ‘bro’ or ‘dude’ (although it’s used to refer to both males and females). The Royal Academy of Spanish Language defines it as a ‘stupid person’ and acknowledges it only spelled as ‘güey’, but it actually has multiple meanings in Mexico and you´ll more often found it written as ‘wey’ or ‘we’.
So, ‘ya, wey’ can be best translated as ‘stop, dude’. You may also find it written as ‘wey, ya’ with no difference in meaning.
Uses / Meanings of ‘ya, wey’ in Spanish
‘Ya, wey’ can be used in the following ways –
- As a synonym of ‘Please, stop!’
- As a serious warning
- To express anguish
As a synonym of ‘Please, stop!’
‘Ya, wey’ can be used as a sincere or even playful plea.
Back in the early days of YouTube, a child screaming ‘¡ya, wey!’ went viral, giving us the most popular example of this use.
He was trying to cross a stream via a makeshift wooden bridge when his friend decided to play a prank on him by moving one of the branches.
Dos niños del mismo equipo jugando fútbol
¡Ya, wey, deja de hacer faltas! ¡Nos van a sacar por tu culpa!
Two kids from the same team playing soccer
Please, dude, stop fouling! They’re gonna kick us off the court because of you!
As a serious warning
Much of the time tone is everything when understanding a phrase, and ‘ya, wey’ is no exception!
If you hear someone say ‘ya, wey’ in a somber tone, it’s no longer a friendly plea, but a full-blown warning. Add another ‘ya’ at the end, and you can be sure that it’s definitely no joke!
Un niño molesto a su compañero
Ya, wey, ya. A la próxima, te parto la cara.
A kid bullying his classmate
Stop already, dude. Next time, I’ll kick your ass.
To express anguish
Ever felt like life has thrown too many curveballs at you and you just can’t handle it anymore?
If so, then this use of ‘ya, wey’ is for you … it’s anguish in its ultimate form.
It´s become such a popular idiom (yeah, thanks for the curveballs, life!), that there are now thousands of memes with ‘wey, ya’ pasted on a photo of actress Love Quinn (from Netflix’s “You”) sporting a rather aggrieved facial expression.
Un estudiante pierde el último bus a casa
Ya, wey…¿Qué fue lo que hice para merecer esto?
A student misses the last bus home
Please, dude … What did I do to deserve this?
‘Ya, wey / güey, por favor’ meaning
If you add ‘por favor’ (or ‘please’ in English) to ‘ya, wey’, it just serves to further emphasize the phrase’s pleading tone.
There are a few notable variations, such as ‘güey, por favor´ (‘please, bro’), or ‘güey, ya, por favor’ (‘please stop, bro’).
Una hermana cambia la contraseña del WiFi
Hermana 1 – Wey, ya, por favor, ¡dame la contraseña del WiFi!
Hermana 2 – ¿Qué me das a cambio por ella?
A sibling changes the WIFI password
Sister 1 – Please, dude, give me the WIFI password already!
Sister 2 – What will you give me in return?
‘Cálmate, wey’ meaning
‘Cálmate’ literally means ‘calm down’ in English, but when accompanied by the ever-faithful ‘wey’, it means something along the lines of ‘take it easy, bro’ or ‘relax, dude’.
En un partido de fútbol
Juan – ¡Eso fue penal! ¡Árbitro vendido!
Manuel – Cálmate, wey, es un juego amistoso …
At a soccer game
Juan – That was a penalty! The referee is biased!
Manuel – Dude, take it easy; it’s just a friendly …
‘Ya, wey’ pronunciation
The word ‘ya’ sounds like ‘yah’ (think the posh version of ‘yes’), and ‘wey’ sounds just like the English word ‘way’.
/ yah way /
Similar expressions to ‘ya, wey‘
If you think that the word ‘ya’ is somewhat ambiguous, a simple ‘no’ should suffice.
¡No, güey, déjame en paz!
No, dude, leave me alone!
Ya basta, wey
‘Basta’ literally means ‘enough’, so this is another great phrase if you´re looking to set those boundaries.
¡Ya basta con tus mentiras, wey!
Enough with your lies, dude!
‘Porfa’ is short for ‘please’ and is a somewhat friendlier version of ‘por favor, wey’.
¡Porfa, wey, pide permiso para ir a la fiesta!
Please, bro; ask for permission to go to the party!
So, there you have it: pretty much all there is to know about the phrase ‘ya, wey’ and its many variations.
Hopefully I’ve broadened your understanding of slang phrases with the word ‘wey’ / ‘güey’! Maybe you’ll even feel ready to try it out with your Mexican friends, they’ll surely be in awe of your mad skills!
If you wanna learn more Mexican slang, I highly recommend that you give our magnum opus on all the expressions with the word ‘mero‘ a quick once over. Trust me it’ll be worth it!