Understanding the popular Mexican slang phrase: A Toda Madre

Examining Two Mexican Slang Expressions
A Todo Dar -versus- A Toda Madre

a toda madre

I was texting with a work friend of mine from Mexico once and he asked me to do him a little favor. I texted back sí, no hay problema/yeah, no problem.

It took him a couple of hours to get back to me and what he wrote left me scratching my head a little.

 ¡Eres a toda madre!

In the Curse Words episode, Paulina explained how Mexicans use the word madre a lot when they curse. And since the literal translation of the expression “eres a toda madre!” is something like, “you’re a full mother!” I was pretty sure I was being cursed at.

I called him up and asked him why he was so angry. We both had a good laugh after he explained that eres a toda madre is just an emphatic way to say “you’re the best.”

I investigated the expression a toda madre a little further and I discovered that it’s a fairly common Mexican slang phrase. It’s definitely informal, it sounds unrefined but isn’t considered overly vulgar, and it’s sort of just a rougher version of the slang expression a todo dar.

I really like the expression a todo dar. It’s a colloquial way to say that something or someone is really great, nice, awesome, etc. A toda madre has the same general meaning as a todo dar but it’s a little coarser sounding, it has a rougher feel to it. And the degree of coarseness depends a lot on the context and how someone is saying it.

Here are some examples to help illustrate the two phrases better:

A Todo Dar -vs- A Toda Madre

  • Gracias, eres a todo dar. – – – – – – – Thanks, you’re the best.
  • Gracias, eres a toda madre. – – – – – Thanks, you’re freaking awesome.
  • Nos la pasamos a todo dar. – – – – – – – We had a great time.
  • Nos la pasamos a toda madre. – – – – – We had a damn good time.
  • ¡La fiesta estuvo a todo dar! – – – – – – – The party was really great!
  • ¡La fiesta estuvo a toda madre! – – – – – -The party was off the hook!
  • Mi maestro de español es a todo dar. – – – – – – – – My Spanish teacher’s the best.
  • Mi maestro de español es a toda madre. – – – – – – My Spanish teacher’s the bomb.

Naturally, these sentences could all be translated a little bit differently. It really depends on the context and how someone is using each phrase. One of the other things that Paulina mentioned to us in the Curse Words episode was that we need to be careful with the word “madre” because Mexicans like to use it a lot to roughen up different expressions. But with the slang phrase a toda madre, I think it’s safe to say that if someone from Mexico ever says to you, “eres a toda madre,” the appropriate response might just be “gracias.” 🙂

Ojalá que esto te ayude.

Un abrazo,