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La Roja’s Gringa Guide to Spanish: Wepa? Orale? Dale?

by Amanda La Gringa
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Lesson 9: The Sounds Latinos Make.

The Gringa Guide to Spanish is back! What do you say to that? Wepa! Orale! Epale! Hmmm…what do these words mean anyway? Are they even words or more like sounds Latinos make when they get excited? Let’s figure it out together, shall we? Dale!

Not sure about you…but none of the words from this Gringa Guide lesson were taught during any of my Spanish courses in high school or college. It wasn’t until my travels through Mexico and Latin America did I start noticing the words…or exclamations that Latinos use freely throughout their conversations with (what seemed to me) no rhyme or reason. Add to that, several new words I learned since moving to Miami (dale..surprise surprise)…and my celebro just can’t keep up with them all!

Do you feel my pain? Well, in an effort to help us gringos keep them straight…I’ve pulled together a short list of these exclamations and their most common usages:

  • Wepa: Apparently of Puerto Rican descent, this exclamation is mainly used when something is to be celebrated and always yelled…the meaning is similar to “Oh yeah!” “Cool!” or “Go for it!” etc. Also, if you are really cool…use the hashtag #WEPA on Twitter!
  • Orale: While there are several Mexican words that could be included in this list, I’m trying to keep it PG…so only Orale (usually pronounced OOOOOOrale) made the cut. Most commonly used with the following meaning:  “right on”, “hell yeah”, “Okay” and “alright”
  • Epa: Also said as “Epale”…this word is similar in meaning to Wepa, but with more feeling of surprise…something you maybe weren’t expecting, like “Wow!” or “Whaaaat!”
  • Dale: You can blame Miami (and Pitbull) for my over-usage of this word…but it’s just so much fun! In my opinion, this word embodies all of the above-mentioned words…so use it whenever you feel the urge to express any excitement and celebration! My personal favorite usage is…”Dale que tu puedes” aka DQTP!

So…what do you think, has this helped to clear up a few things for you?! If I missed anything or got something wrong…feel free to comment below and let me know!

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Hola Hi May 23, 2012 - 4:52 pm

love the Gringa Guide to Spanish posts!

Erin August 30, 2017 - 5:03 pm

Fellow gringa here with several years of study in the Spanish language and culture. Your explanation of dale is missing the fact that. ¡Dale! is basically “Get ’em.” or “Get it!” depending on the context.


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