Compa – Translation and Meaning in English

‘Compa’ is a very popular slang word among Mexicans. Although it has two meanings, the most famous one is as a synonym of ‘friend’, ‘buddy’ or ‘pal’.

What does ‘Compa’ mean?

  • Translation #1: It’s the Mexican slang word for ‘friend’, ‘buddy’ or ‘pal’.
  • Translation #2: ‘Compa’ is also an abbreviation for ‘compadre’, a word that we use to express the relationship between a father and his child’s godfather.

How and When to use ‘Compa’?

  • To say ‘friend’, ‘buddy’ or ‘pal’. We use ‘compa’ in the same contexts that you use ‘friend’ and ‘buddy’. However, this word is only used by man. As a result, you wouldn’t use it with a female friend.
  • As a shortening for ‘Compadre’. Depending on the context, ‘compa’ may mean ‘compadre’. In this situation, you mustn’t confuse ‘compadre’ with ‘padrino’. ‘Padrino’ is the direct translation of ‘godfather’. And even though if there’s no English word for ‘compadre’, in Mexico, ‘compadre’ is very popular. This is the difference between ‘compadre’ and ‘padrino’: if you have a kid and your best friend is his godfather, your friend would be the ‘padrino’ of your son. However, you and your friend would be ‘compadres’.


Here are some useful examples that will help you understand the situations where you can use ‘compa’. Keep in mind that the context will determine its meaning.

As a way to say ‘friend’, ‘buddy’ or ‘pal’.

Tengo un compa que puede ayudarte I have a friend who can help you

Ayer fui a una fiesta con unos compas Yesterday I went to a party with some friends

Mira, compa, necesito que termines esto lo más rápido posible Look, buddy, I need you to finish this as soon as possible

As an abbreviation for ‘compadre’

As mentioned before, ‘compa’ as a shortening for ‘compadre’ doesn’t have a direct translation in English. Just keep in mind that it’s the title or relationship between a father and his child’s godfather.

Arturo y yo vamos a ser compas Arturo is going to be my son’s godfather

Deberíamos invitar a mi compa a comer We should invite my son’s godfather to eat

Who Can You Use ‘Compa’ With?

If you are using ‘compa’ as a synonym of ‘friend’, ”buddy’ or ‘pal’, you may want to use it just in informal situations. Furthermore, don’t forget that this Mexican slang word is not very used among women. Therefore, you don’t want to use ‘compa’ to refer to a female friend. It’s only used among man to talk about male friends.

And ‘compa’ as an abbreviation of ‘compadre’ is also used in informal contexts. If you are in formal situations, you should use the complete word ‘compadre’.

Other Ways to Say ‘Compa’

Although this word is very popular, in Mexico, we also have other slang and formal synonyms that you could add to your vocabulary.

  • Amigo This is the formal or standard word for saying ‘friend’, ‘buddy’ or ‘pal’. As a result, you can use it in different contexts.
  • Cuate This Mexican word is used as a synonym of ‘friend’. In this article, you can learn more about the different meanings and uses of cuate in Spanish.
  • Camarada ‘Camarada’ is widely used in the North of Mexico as a synonym of ‘friend’. Just as ‘compa’ is more common among man.
  • Carnal This is another slang word that you can use as a synonym of ‘pal’. Carnal is another Mexican slang word that is very popular among young people. In this article, you learn more about what does carnal mean.

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I've been studying Spanish professionally as well as teaching it in Mexico and online for over 10 years. I’ve taught Spanish to a wide array of foreigners from many backgrounds. Over the years, I've made it my mission to work hard on refining many challenging to understand grammar topics to make my students' learning experiences easier, faster and more enjoyable. Read More About Me

Recent Posts

Pin It on Pinterest