Neta – Translation and Meaning in English

Without a doubt, ‘neta’ is one word that you have to get familiar with when traveling to Mexico or talking to Mexican native speakers. This word is the slang translation for ‘the truth’, ‘really?’ and ‘are you serious?’.

What does ‘Neta’ mean?

  • Translation #1: In Mexican slang, people use ‘neta’ as a synonym of ‘la verdad’. As a result, the direct translation in English would be ‘the truth’.
  • Translation #2: Mexican speakers also use this slang word as a synonym of ‘really?’ or ‘are you serious?’.

How and When to use ‘Neta’?

  • As a synonym of ‘the truth’. In informal situations, instead of using ‘la verdad’, Mexican speakers use ‘la neta’. As a result, you could use this phrase in many situations. You can place this expression at the beginning of a sentence or after a verb.
  • As a synonym of ‘really?’ and ‘are you serious?’. Mexican speakers also use this slang word to show surprise or indignation when another person is telling them something. Furthermore, it can also be used to ask if the facts or information people are sharing with you are real. As a result, ‘neta’ is the direct translation of ‘really?’ or ‘are you serious?’. In this context, Mexican speakers can use the expressions ‘¿Neta?’ or ‘¿Es neta?’. See the following examples for further information.


Here are some examples that will help you to use how and when to use ‘neta’.

As a synonym of ‘the truth’

As mentioned before, when using ‘neta’ as a synonym of ‘the truth’, you need to do add an article: ‘La neta’. The good news is that you can use this Mexican slang expression just as you would use ‘the truth’.

Dime la neta, ¿mis tenis están muy feos? Tell me the truth, my sneakers are too ugly?

La neta es que Mariana y José no me caen bien The truth is that I don’t like Mariana and Jose

Si te digo la neta, ¿no te enojas? If I tell you the truth, you won’t be mad?

As a synonym of ‘really?’ and ‘are you serious?’.

Mexican speakers also use ‘neta’ when they want to check that the information the heard is real. Furthermore, you can also use it to show surprise and indignation.

¿Es neta que se te olvidó comprar los boletos? Did you really forgot to buy the tickets?

¿Eres novia de Juan Pablo? ¿Neta? Are you Juan Pablo’s girlfriend? Really?

¿Neta? Pero, ¿qué te dijo? Are you serious? But what did he tell you?

As we saw in the first example, you have the chance to add more information to your question. Just as in English, this structure allows us to double-check the information, but also to emphasize on it.

¿Es neta que eres novia de Juan Pablo? Are you really Juan Pablo’s girlfriend?

Who Can You Use This Word With?

Just as other many slang words, ‘neta’ is appropiated in informal contexts. As a result, you can use it among your friends, family, and people of your age. Of course, you want to avoid this slang word in formal situations.

Other Ways to Say ‘Neta’

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

  • La verdad As mentioned before, this is the direct translation of ‘the truth’, so you can use it on both formal and informal situations.
  • ¿En serio? This expression is the direct translation for ‘really?’ and ‘are you serious?’. As a result, you could use it instead of ‘neta’.
  • La Netflix This is a new slang that Mexican speakers have added to their vocabulary. This expression is very popular because its sound is very similar to ‘La neta’, as a result, Mexican people use it as a synonym of ‘the truth’. However, if we had a measuring scale for slang expressions, ‘La netflix’ is more informal. So be careful to use it just with your friends.

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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