No mames vs No Manches – How to use them correctly

Examining Two Mexican Slang Expressions
No mames -versus- No manches

If you spend a little time with someone from Mexico, there’s a good chance that at some point you’re going to bump into the expressions no mames or no manches. That is to say, they’re both extremely common and it’s important for students of Mexican Spanish to know how to use them, especially no mames, because it isn’t something you want to go throwing around without knowing what you’re doing.

We talked a lot about these two expressions in our podcasts, however we know that it can be very helpful for visual learners to see some examples on the page, ¡así que vamos!

What No manches and No mames mean, and how to pronounce them

  • NO MAMES pronounced “no-mawmes,” with an emphasis on “maw” – ¡no MAWmes!

    This Mexican slang expression usually communicates some kind of surprise, disappointment, or rejection of an idea. Keep in mind that No mames is a very informal and course sounding, “street” language expression. Therefore it’s best to use only around friends, in other words, it’s not appropriate around little kids or stuffy adults 🙂

  • NO MANCHES – pronounced “no-mawnches,” with an emphasis on “mawn” – ¡no MAWNches!

    The slang expression No manches is the softer version of No mames. That is to say, it communicates surprise, or rejection of an idea, but it doesn’t sound overly vulgar, and it’s more appropriate around children. However, it does has a “street language” sound to it, therefore it’s still best to reserve it for use around friends and family.

No mames and No manches -in action!

Situation 1:
Your neighbor’s dog starts barking late at night, for the third time that week.

no mames

¡cállate! – shut up!
¡No manches! – Are you kidding me?!

¡No mames! – You’ve gotta be f**king kidding me!

Situation 2:
Your friend tells you she just got a big pay raise at her job.

no mames

No manches, amiga! – Wow, girl!
No mames, amiga! –  Holy sh*t, girl!

Situation 3:
You find a parking ticket on your windshield.

no mames

¡Solo me fui por cinco minutos!
I was only gone for five minutes!

¡Ay no manches! -What the heck!
¡Ay no mames! – No f**king way!

Situation 4:
You have a friend that asks you to go out clubbing on a Monday night.

no mames

Tengo que trabajar mañana.
I have to work tomorrow.

No manches, güey. – No way, bro.
No mames, güey. – No way in hell, bro. 

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Mexican Spanish slang has a lot of nuances. For instance, phrases like no mames, a toda madre and vale madre, are generally used more by the younger generation, and are all considered to be “street language.” However, phrases  like no manches, a todo dar and órale are used by people of every age, gender and class level. 

For that reason, here at Doorway To Mexico, we take time to go over the subtleties of the language, so that you can feel confident when you speak.

Furthermore, once you have a grasp of Mexico’s “street language,” you will see a dramatic improvement in your comprehension skills. In other words, learning what they’re saying on the street can help you keep up with Spanish conversations in everyday life. 

By comparison, there’s no easier way to learn Spanish than podcasts. Firstly, there are no textbooks. You just need to relax and let it sink in! Secondly, and most importantly, it’s free! But above all, they’re fun, and that’s what really matters.

Therefore, if you are interested in amping up your Spanish skills, our podcasts can help. 

Moreover, you will see a dramatic increase in your ability to keep up with Spanish conversations. In other words, ¡vas a mejorar!

Lastly, Doorway To Mexico is for serious Spanish students. That is to say, our community of Spanish language learners are focused and ready to learn.