Tag Archives: Folk slang

“Coño” – A word for love, hate, and everything in-between

Context: MIMI #4

My informant is an 84 year-old woman of Spanish / Cuban ethnicity. She grew up in Havana, Cuba and lived there until she had to leave due to the take over of communism at the age of 22. This story was told as an explanation of the word “coño” in the Cuban perspective. The joy in her eyes from describing one of the most important words in her language was beautiful to see. 

Dictionary Definitions: Beaver, fanny, hell, holy crap, bloody hell… etc.


“The word is used tremendously in Cuba. coño is used very much in Spain as well. It cant really be translated, it’s an expression. This is the word for the daily life of daily Cubans in Cuba. It is used in so many ways in various significant ways. Without that word, you really couldn’t express a lot of things. This is a word that carries through everything that’s happening in your life: happiness, unhappiness, fights, thoughts, sadness, anger. I.. I mean it is truly a word that carries on throughout your life. So, if you’re gonna choose one word forever and only one, I would pick that one.”

Upon hearing this story, I was trying to think of a word in the english language that encompassed as much meaning as “coño”, but I really could not think of anything as specific as this. It is a word that fluidly floats through every facet of the human experience and is used to highlight these moments of great despair, happiness, anger, or love. I am curious to know how the word grew into its universal nature, as it seems as though it would have started out with a more singular meaning.

As someone who loves words and language entirely, I find it fascinating that a single expression can be used in so many different ways, depending on sentence structure and the way that it is performed. I think the closest expression we would have in english would be “wow”, because it can be used in so many different situations.

For another reference of ways to use the word, check here:


The Folk Slang of Gamers

The following is a transcribed interview conducted over a video chat between me and interviewee, hereby further referred to as SM.

Me: I just burnt my toast. 

SM: GG, my man. 

Me: What does that mean?

SM: It means “good game.” It’s, like, sarcastic and it’s HUGE for gamers like everyone uses this slang on games and in youtube videos. 

Me: So, what does it actually mean then?

SM: Like when someone just lost a game, especially if they lost it pretty royally, to rub salt in the wound you say sarcastically “GG” like “good game, hahaha.” It’s like you didn’t actually play a good game cause you messed up but here’s me being an asshole to remind you of that. It’s probably the equivalent of saying “good job” sarcastically. 

Me: So you just made me feel worse about ruining my toast?

SM: Yes, I just made fun of you and anyone else would’ve understood it because it is very popular slang. And if I wanted to be extra mean, I would say “GG No Re.” That means good game, no replays meaning you can’t redeem yourself. 


Interviewee is a gamer, so they know quite a bit about popular slang and lingo and use it in everyday life. 


Interviewee and I were speaking just after I had made an error. I had burnt some toast, so he was making fun of me for it by using this folk slang. Interviewee and I are romantically involved, so the conversation was very casual. 


It’s interesting to me how many versions of this slang there are, especially in the gaming community. Many of them typically are snide or sarcastic remarks that tend to get a rise out of other players and make the game more interesting or perk it up. When this translates to daily life, as most have, they are quick wits that rub salt in wounds. They all are typically very short and quick because the gaming world is so fast paced. I learn quite a bit from being around gamers, whenever I can keep up!

Food Worker Slang

The following is a transcribed interview between interviewee and I. Interviewee is further referred to as MH.

MH: Better watch out, Miss. ‘Rona is coming for us!

Me: What does that mean? 

MH: It means that Coronavirus is coming for us all like an angry woman. That’s what we all call it at work so it isn’t so heavy. 

Me: So you call COVID-19 Miss ‘Rona?

MH: hahaha, yeah.  


Interviewee works for Trader Joe’s, a supermarket chain that has been providing food services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers have developed lots of folk slang during this time, some of which I picked up and was able to ask about. 


This piece of folklore was collected from a quick phone call when interviewee had just gotten off of work. The setting was very casual, as we were just talking to catch up and share some folklore.


Lots of slang has been cropping up about coronavirus, especially in communities that are on the front lines, like in food or medical services. It is interesting seeing that some of the people who are most exposed to coronavirus are trying to make a joke of it, even in just the name, so that they can lighten the tone of the overarching fear and hostility they may be facing in the workplace.