‘Chava’ is a slang word that Mexican speakers use to call a young woman. As a result, this word means ‘girl’. In Spanish speaking countries, it’s the nickname for Salvador.

Chava – Translation and Meaning in English

What does ‘Chava’ mean?

  • Translation #1: It is the Mexican slang word for ‘girl’. As a result, it’s only used to talk about young women.
  • Translation #2: It’s a very popular nickname for Salvador.
  • Translation #3. Young Mexicans also use this word to express that somebody is inexperienced.

How and When to use ‘Chava’?

  • To say ‘girl’. This word is widely used in Mexico as a synonym of ‘girl’. If you wanted to say ‘boy’, you would use the male form ‘chavo’. Although in English ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ could be used to talk about children, ‘Chavo’ and ‘Chava’ are used to talk about young men and women.
  • As a nickname. It is the Spanish nickname for Salvador’. Even though when you are talking about a boy you change the word for ‘chavo’, in this case, you always keep it as ‘Chava’.
  • To express that somebody is inexperienced. Young Mexicans also use this word with the verb ‘estar’. ‘Estar chavo’ or ‘estar chava’ is a slang phrase that means ‘inexperienced’ or ‘naive’. Here are other useful idiomatic expressions with ‘estar’.


The following examples are going to help you to understand how to use this slang word better.

As a synonym of ‘girl’

Mira, esta es mi chava Look, this is my girl

Esa chava de allá es mi prima That girl over there is my cousin

La chava de la tienda es muy grosera The girl from the store is very rude

As a nickname for Salvador

Although Salvador is a name for men, ‘Chava’ is the nickname that Spanish speakers use. As a result, you don’t have to worry about changing its gender.

Chava es el novio de mi hermana Chava is my sister’s boyfriend

Karina y Chava fueron a la fiesta Karina and Chava went to the party

To express that somebody is inexperienced

If you want to use ‘chavo’ or ‘chava’ as inexperienced, you necessarily need to use the verb ‘estar’. Here are some examples of this popular expression:

Tenle paciencia, está chavo Be patient with him, he’s so inexperienced

¿No sabes que es el vodka? ¡Estás chava! You don’t know what vodka is? You are so inexperienced

Who Can You Use This Word With?

‘Chava’ as a synonym of girl or as a nickname for Salvador are very popular among all Mexicans, so you can use them in all situations. However, the slang expression ‘Estar chava/estar chavo’ is only used by young people, so you won’t hear it in formal situations.

Other Ways to Say ‘Chava’

Although this word is very popular, in Mexico, we have different synonyms that you could use to say ‘girl’.

  • Chica
  • Muchacha
  • Morra →  This slang word is only used among young people, so you can’t use it in formal situations.
  • Señorita →  This synonym is very formal. Usually is used in schools or in the news.
  • Joven →  ‘La joven’ is very formal. So you’ll find this word in the news or formal situations.

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I’ve taught Spanish in Mexico to a wide array of foreigners. From students and tourists to doctors and soldiers who’ve moved and visited here over the years. During the day I’m a freelancer and marketer, while at night I’m here writing for students of the world wide web looking to learn Spanish. I hope you find what you’re looking here during your journey into Español 🙂 Read More About Me

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