Back once more to rot your brain with felonious ramblings from “la pinta”, this installment of Prison Slang will go over some terms and phrases used primarily by Mexican-American (chicano) inmates behind prison walls.
All prison slang referenced here is that which I have personally heard in use, and came to learn the meanings either with simple deductive reasoning by way of context, or by just asking the inmate!
La Pinta – Slang among Mexican gangs simply meaning “prison”. Literally, I believe this word translates to “the can”.
La Juda (pronounced hoo-dah) – Slang term meaning “cops” or correctional officers. Also, “chota” or “jura”.
‘Spensa – Short for dispensa. Used to request pardon, as in the American slang term “my bad”. Often used when someone gets in someone else’s way or commits another minor
Wey – Like “ese”, wey is commonly heard both on the streets and in prison, though many gringos (who are not really called “gringos”) have no idea what it actually means. Wey is used to casually refer to a male friend, similar to the American version “homeboy”. Literally translates to “jackass”
Gabacho – Derogatory Chicano term for American white males. Equal to what white
people typically understand “gringo” to mean, but much more commonly used.
Odelay – Chicano expression of exclamation, usually in a positive or agreeable manner.
Equivalant to American slang such as “Right on!” or “Totally!”
La Wila – (prounounced “wee-lah”) Featured first in Prison Slang 101, the term “wila” bears mentioning twice: in prison, “wila” is Chicano slang for a small note used to pass contraband information. The American prison slang for this item is “kite”.
Chingasos – Chicano term for fighting, throwing punches, etc.
Frajo – (pronounced frah-ho) Chicano slang for “cigarette”.
Pisa or Paisa – (pronounced pie-sah) Slang term for Mexican immigrants who have not yet assimilated. Can be used derogatarily, but is not necessarily an insult.
Heina – Term meaning girlfriend, “shortie” or desirable girl/woman.
Trucha – Meaning to keep aware, look out, or be smart. Often used in prison to express and warn that correctional staff may be approaching.
Keep Ojos – Meaning to “keep eyes” or keep watch for another.
Simon– (prounced see-moan) Chicano slang for “yeah” or “I understand, I agree”. Almost sounds like two words when spoken, like combining the Spanish “Si” for yes,
with the Jamaican sound “Mon” for man.
Que ‘Onda – Commonly used in greeting, meaning “What’s up” or “What’s going on?”.
Chulo – Used for men similarly to the American “Pretty Boy” or “Preppy” (Papi Chulo, etc.). Meaning “cute”. The female version, chula, likewise, denotes an attractive woman.
Chale – Disagreement or argument about anything.
Ruka or Ruca – Another term meaning girlfriend, wife, etc. Literally translates to “old lady”.