Cuate – Translation and Meaning in English

Cuate is another common slang word for young Mexicans. Although it has some other meanings, for young people ‘cuate’ is very popular as a synonym of ‘friend’. 

What does ‘Cuate’ mean?

  • Translation #1: It’s a Mexican slang word for ‘friend’.
  • Translation #2: In Mexican slang, it’s also used as a synonym of ‘guy’. 
  • Translation #3: In formal contexts, cuate is also used as a synonym of ‘fraternal twins’. 

How and When to use ‘Cuate’?

  • To say ‘friend’, ‘buddy’ or ‘pal’. Cuate is one of the many Mexican slang words that you can use to say ‘friend’. Just as with another slang vocabulary, this word is only appropriate in informal conversations. It’s popular among both men and women.  
  •  To say ‘guy’. This slang word is also used as a synonym of ‘guy’. In this context, Mexican people tend to use it to refer to a person close to their age that they don’t know. 
  • As a synonym of ‘fraternal twins’. In Mexican standard Spanish, cuate is the word that we use to say ‘fraternal twins’ (non-identical twins). Keep in mind that if you’re talking about a pair of twin girls, cuate will become cuatas. This word always needs to agree in number and gender with the noun. 


Here are some examples that will help you use ‘cuate’ correctly. Keep in mind that the meaning of this word will be determined by the context. 

To say ‘friend’

Just as the Spanish word ‘amigo’, ‘cuate’ has to agree with number and gender with the noun. Check the following examples. 

Martín y Alex son cuates desde la preparatoria Martin and Alex are friends since high school

Todos mis cuates están de viaje en España All my friends are visiting Spain

Carolina y Abril son muy buenas cuatas Carolina and April are very good friends

To say ‘guy’

Although in this context men and women use ‘cuate’, they only use it to refer to a man. In this situation, we’ll never use this word to talk about a woman. 

Conozco a un cuate que te puede ayudar I know a guy that can help you

El cuate de la tienda fue muy grosero conmigo The guy on the store was very rude to me

As a synonym of ‘fraternal twins’ 

When using this word to talk about twins, keep in mind that we only use it to talk about non-identical twins. On top of this, ‘cuate’ may change depending on the babies’ gender. 

Alba es la cuata de Sofía Alba is Sofia’s twin

Sara y Ramiro son cuates Sara and Ramiro are twins

En mi familia hay dos parejas de cuates In my family, there are two pairs of twins

Who Can You Use ‘Cuate’ With?

When used as a synonym of ‘friend’ or ‘guy’, cuate is only appropriate in informal conversations. Furthermore, keep in mind that this word may be more common among men. ‘Cuate’ as a synonym of twins is very common in both formal and informal situations. However, be aware that this word is only used in Mexico in both its slang and standard meaning. 

Other Ways to Say ‘Cuate’

Here are other synonyms that you can use to replace ‘cuate’. 

  • Mellizo This is the formal Spanish word for non-identical twins. Just as ‘cuate’, mellizo has to agree with the gender of the babies. 
  • Amigo This is the word for saying ‘friend’. You can use it in both formal and informal contexts. 
  • Camarada ‘Camarada’ is widely used in the North of Mexico as a synonym of ‘friend’. Just as ‘carnal’ is more common among men.
  • Carnal This is a very popular slang word that Mexicans use to say ‘friend’. Unlike ‘cuate’, carnal is used for very special friendships. In this article, you’ll learn more about the meanings of carnal in Spanish.  
  • Compa This is another popular slang word that young Mexicans use to say ‘friend’. In this article, you can learn more about the meanings of compa in Spanish

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

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