The Meaning of Chula: What It Is and How To Use It

What does the Spanish word chula mean? This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the word chula, including its definition and translation, usage, English synonyms, sentence examples, and more!

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What does the Spanish word chula mean?

According to Dictionary and Spanish Dict, the word chula, also commonly seen as mami chula, is a Spanish slang term of endearment that means “cute” or “beautiful.” This term is exclusively used for women, as it ends in a feminine “a.” The male equivalent of the term chula is chulo, also commonly seen as papi chulo which means pimp daddy. The feminine form of the term chula could be even further reduced to chulita, which means “little cutie,” according to Urban Dictionary. Chulita makes use of the diminutive suffix -ita for the word chula, which is used to make words into a smaller version or cuter version of themselves. People might refer to an attractive woman whose name they do not know as la chula, or muy chula.

In different Spanish-speaking countries, the word chula can mean different things. For example, in Spain, the word chula is considered an insult and is used to call a woman lower-class or back-alley. In Chile, the word chula is a slang term for penis! However, in most Latin American countries like Mexico, the word chula means cute or pretty. This word does not only have to refer to beautiful women, but places or father feminine nouns as well. There is even a Southern California city called Chula Vista near San Diego, which directly translates to beautiful view.

The word chula became popular in the late 90s and early 2000s, when Katino rappers like Chrisopher Rios began using them in song lyrics.  For example, in Puerto Rican Rios’ song “Piña Colada,” he raps that all of the “mami chulas” want to ride on his Honda scooter, which is his way to brag that he gets many attractive women.

Overall, the word chula is considered a very informal common way to call someone attractive. One should be careful when using a term like this, as some can find it demeaning or sexualizing, and it can mean different things in different countries. Thus, one should only refer to someone else as a chula or a mami chula if they know that person is going to be okay with it and won’t feel demeaned or insulted. 

How can the word chula be used in a sentence?

The word chula can be used in many different circumstances. This is a very casual, informal term so one should avoid using it in formal or professional context. It is not an appropriate term to call your coworker at the Christmas party, but could be an appropriate term to call your girlfriend on the dance floor. When in doubt, opt for a phrase with less sexual undertones. In this example, it is Maria’s birthday and her fiancé Ricardo has planned a night out for the two of them. Maria comes downstairs in a stunning dress.

Ricardo: Vaya. Te ves increíble.

(English – Ricardo: Wow. You look amazing.)

Maria: Gracias. Tú también.

(English – Maria: Thank you. So do you.)

Ricardo: ¿Estás lista para tu sorpresa, mami chula?

(English – Ricardo: Are you ready for your surprise, cutie?)

María: ¡Por supuesto!

(English – Maria: Of course!)

Ricardo: Estamos comenzando la noche en tu restaurante de carnes favorito, reservé una cabaña para nosotros en el club para que puedas bailar con todo tu corazón, y luego tengo un postre casero esperándonos cuando lleguemos a casa.

(English – Ricardo: We are starting the night off at your favorite steakhouse, I booked a cabana for us at the club so you can dance your heart out, and then I have a homemade dessert waiting for us when we get home.)

María: Eres increíble.

(English – Maria: You’re amazing.)

Here, Ricardo uses the term mami chula as a term of endearment to refer to his girlfriend. This is the Spanish equivalent of calling someone cutie, sweetheart, or any other romantic slang term. Ricardo should ensure to only use the term chula and mami chula to refer to someone he is romantically involved with, or if he was single, a woman that he finds attractive. Maria would not be very happy if Ricardo referred to a celebrity or another woman at the bar as a mami chula!

What are English synonyms for the word chula?

There are many different ways that someone can call someone pretty or attractive in both English and Spanish. In Spanish, some synonyms for chula include chica, chiquita, mami, or mamacita. In English, there are also a plethora of synonyms for chula. Synonyms are words that mean the same thing as a given word or phrase. One might choose to use a synonym in this situation if they are in a situation or location where Spanish is not commonly spoken, or if they fear being misunderstood. If someone is in doubt, they should use the English term, particularly if they are fearful if insulting or demeaning someone. This list of synonyms for chula is provided by Thesaurus

  • cutie
  • raving beauty
  • centerfold
  • bathing beauty
  • angel
  • dish
  • sexpot
  • peach
  • fox
  • pin-up
  • hot dish
  • bunny
  • dream girl
  • cupcake
  • babe
  • glamour girl
  • true love
  • beauty queen
  • good-looking woman
  • dollface
  • dreamboat
  • broad
  • tomato
  • cutie-pie
  • chick
  • sex kitten
  • sex bunny
  • honey
  • hot number
  • cover girl

Overall, the word chula means cute or pretty. This word is exclusively used to refer to something that is attractive and feminine, whether that is a woman or another faminine know, like Chula Vista, which means “beautiful view.” This word is often used in the term mami chula, which directly translates to “pretty mama” but is used as a term of endearment for a beautiful woman.

Sources:

  1. https://www.dictionary.com/e/translations/chula/#:~:text=Chula%20is%20Spanish%20slang%20for,chula%20(%22hottie%22).
  2. https://www.spanishdict.com/answers/128160/what-is-a-chula
  3. http://www.chulavistaconvis.com/abouts/about.aspx#:~:text=About%20Chula%20Vista%2C%20California,Bay%20and%20coastal%20mountain%20foothillshttps://www.thesaurus.com/browse/cutie