Hall 1101-351

Giovanni Morales

Professor Hall

English 1101-351

October 30, 2018

No Mames: more than just don’t suck


“ Yo bro you won’t believe that I got into this fight with three guys and and I won, they thought I had the disadvantages, but they didn’t know who they were messing with.” That was my coworker Alfred who always seem to have a interesting story to tell, but I did not believe him and my response to his story would be  “No mames ”. Always in disbelief in to what he has to say because he just doesn’t look like the type of guy to get into problems and to be honest even win a fight. Another one tells me that I’m lucky that I didn’t meet him when he was younger because he was rebellious in his younger days and I tell him “No mames ” Because since the time I have known him he has been a nice guy. To those who are reading this you are all probably scratching your heads, what is “no mames” ? The phrase no mames is a funny and complicated phrase, but after you learn about it, maybe you can use it too. Phrases or words can bring people together as long as there is community that knows what it means which makes it exclusive, it has a way of bring people together such as no mames

The phrase no mames is a spanish slang exclusive to mexicans being in disbelief and it means “stop lying”, “ are you fuck kidding me?” or “no way”. According to dictionary.com “One of the earliest records of the phrase’s usage online is from a Spanish-language forum post on July 27, 1992.” , there is still a debate whether no mames did originated from Mexico(                                                                                           ). But if you were to translate it directly into english the result would be “ don’t suck”, “wait what I thought you said you it was use as a way of being in disbelief.” I get where you guys are coming. When I first found out about that about the translation I was confuse as well, but you just gotta roll with it. Don’t tell me that deadass literally means deadass, because I’m imagining a pair of butt cheeks laying in a coffin.

As I said it’s a Mexican slang. In a Conan episode, Conan o’Brien, the late night talk show host brings in a guest Diego Luna a famous Mexican Actor well known in both Mexico and the United States. Luna was  promoting this upcoming movie he was in, Elysium which takes place in a futuristic Los Angeles where everyone speaks Spanish and Conan goes on to ask  “Okay Diego I’m curious what’s a phase that I should learn, if I’m gonna exist, what’s the most useful phrase?” Diego goes on to say “If you want to survive in the future in this country you have to know No mames, which is an expression.” And they go back and forth with the phase as it is being censored on tv. “What does that means?” Conan asks and Diego replies “ literally means “do not suck” or “dont suck it” Conan not knowing its true meaning starts ranting out “no mames”,  “Hey you Kid, no mames!”. Luna stops Conan and tells him that not how it’s used and it is not used on kids. Explaining “No mames can be used in many ways like “no way really” or “don’t mess around”.(                             ) This is true you don’t want to use this phrase on family or kids, it’s mainly used in a conversation with friends. Like what Luna said it “can be used in many ways” and based on how the person is being expressed you will know how the person will use it. Imagine saying no mames to someone who does not know its meaning like Conan, it would just be meaningless

I remember the time when I used no mames on my dad, I did not know it couldn’t be used on family members all I remember was talking to my dad what time will the food be ready and he said “it’s going to take some time” not knowing the real meaning I told him “no mames”. My dad was in shock to hear something like that coming from me because, as a hispanic kid everyone knows to never disrespect your parents because you will get a real ass whoop. I was lucky enough to have guest in the house so he laughed it out instead of making a scene and my mom told me to not say that again.

There actually other alternatives of the word no mames, such as no manches and no me digas. Starting off with “no manches” it literally translate to “don’t stain”, but it is actually used like no mames but rated PG-13. And if were going to start rating these phrases then no mames is rated R and finally “No me digas” which is PG and its means “you don’t say”

The world Cup is over, the only highlight from Mexico playing was Mexico defeating Germany. Yes, the 2014 World Cup winners lost the match to Mexico. When the first goal was made everybody jumped from there seats and one of the reactions that was recorded from the crowd from the game was a women and you can see her with excitement and although you can not hear what is she’s saying, but if you read her lips, you get “no mames”. In the article from El Diario by Juan Mesa , interviewed the famous Karen Harfusch whos reaction went viral on twitter says it was fun going viral and this was the match she was looking forward to see (                                                                   ). Yeah no mames as in no way, we were all in shock. The world cup is always full of surprises, anything can happen. Perhaps this video wouldn’t have gone viral if she didn’t say no mames, only those who were Mexican retweeted her reaction and made it go viral because they knew what no mames meant and her reaction was just the same as everyone else.

I find it fascinated that the phrase no mames is given a completely new definition within the Mexican community. When it sounds appealing to others the phrase begins to spread and others start to use it and that is the case with Mexico and the United states, Mexicans migrate to the United States and they take with them their culture. In this case it was me, listening to other people use the phrase made me want to use it because I wanted to be closer with other people. The same goes for New York City, it’s a diverse community and there are words and phrases that are exclusive that other communities may not know about it. That is the beauty of slang it does not have to be formal. You feel more connected and a part of something when two or more know what the slang is about. So next time when you are talking to your Mexican friend and they tell you something that you feel like is a lie just tell them no mames.



  1. “What Does No Mames Mean?” Dictionary.com, Dictionary.com, www.dictionary.com/e/slang/no-mames/.
  2. Coco, Team, director. Diego Luna Teaches Conan Survival Spanish. YouTube, YouTube, 5 Aug. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFZY_o0QoJk.

Mesa, Juan. “Quién Es ‘Lady No Mames’, El Símbolo De La Celebración De México En Rusia.” El Diario NY, El Diario NY, 18 June 2018, eldiariony.com/2018/06/18/quien-es-lady-no-mames-el-simbolo-de-la-celebracion-de-mexico-en-rusia/.