One of the most famous Colombian slang words, is “parce”, or “parcero/a”; a word whose meaning is roughly like “dude”, “bro” or “mate” in English (it’s not 100% equivalent though as “parce” can be used for both men and women).

It is a word which you’ll hear in near enough every informal conversation between young(ish) Colombians, and is especially popular among guys. Less commonly, you might come across “parcerito”; the diminutive version, which sounds a little too cutsie for most people’s taste.

Origins of “Parcero”

As with all slang terms, there are hundreds of different versions of where they originally came from.

One of the more convincing in this case, is that “parcero” first came from the word “aparcero” – the term used for a person who held a stake in a community plot of land (or “parcela“). Back in the day, the fortunes of those working on these shared plots – the only source of food and income –, would be very closely interlinked.

Thus, your fellow “parcero” would become someone you relied upon, worked closely with, and hopefully, shared some good times. It’s easy to see then how this later mutated to become your “friend” in modern Colombian conversation.