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Here are 15 Slang Terms You’ll Only Understand if you’re from New Mexico



New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, is a state rich in culture, and history. But don’t forget that it also has unique slang that sets it apart from the rest of the country. The place has a blend of Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo influences, and this is why New Mexico has a language all its own.

Here are 15 slang terms you’ll only understand if you’re from the Land of Enchantment.

1. Chile

Pronounced “chee-lay,” this is not just a spicy pepper. If you must know, it’s actually a way of life in New Mexico. Whether red or green, chile is an essential ingredient in New Mexican cuisine and a source of pride for locals!

2. Burque

Source: Instagram

Do you want to know what the younger generation is calling Albuquerque? Burque! Pronounced “boor-kay,” this place is the heart and soul of New Mexico—a bustling metropolis with a laid-back vibe.

3. Duke City

This is another nickname for Albuquerque! Duke City pays homage to its Spanish heritage and rich cultural heritage.

4. The Q

Another moniker for Albuquerque!

5. Santa Feans

Santa Fe is a city in and the capital of New Mexico, and residents of that area are also called Santa Feans! Here’s to the people known for their artistic flair and creative spirit!

6. Zia

Just look at this symbol with its distinctive sunburst design. The Zia is a symbol of New Mexico’s Native American heritage and state pride!

7. Land of Mañana

Organ mountains

Source: Instagram

Talk about a place with people who love putting off work and doing everything tomorrow.

8. Land of Enchantment

This is New Mexico’s official state nickname, the Land of Enchantment, and it perfectly captures the state’s magical allure and timeless beauty.

9. High Desert

With its vast open spaces, dramatic landscapes, and clear blue skies, New Mexico’s high desert is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

10. Ese or Esé

This is saying something like “dude,” and can be used as a friendly greeting or an affectionate expression.

11. Ya ya

Do you want to sound like a local? Try saying “Ya ya!” This is often used to express excitement or agreement among New Mexicans. It can be used in any situation!

12. Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Source: Instagram

Tourists might know this as the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, but to locals, this is simply Balloon Fiesta! Held annually in Albuquerque, the event is the largest hot-air balloon festival in the world. It draws visitors from far and wide to witness the breathtaking spectacle of hundreds of colorful balloons taking to the skies.

13. Hatch Green Chile Festival

The event is held in the small town of Hatch, New Mexico, and celebrates the harvest season with live music, food vendors, and, of course, plenty of delicious green chile dishes.

14. Lowrider

Just look at this beauty! No wonder it is a cultural icon in New Mexico. It is more than just a car; it’s a work of art and a symbol of pride for its owners.

15. Breaking Bad

Twisters New mexico

Source: Instagram

There’s a reason why this place looks familiar! While not exclusive to New Mexico, the hit TV series “Breaking Bad,” which was set and filmed in Albuquerque, has left an indelible mark on the state’s pop culture landscape.

New Mexico is a state unlike any other. If you find yourself in the Land of Enchantment, be sure to brush up on your New Mexican slang and immerse yourself in everything this unique state has to offer!

Lover of all things travel related outside and inside the US. Leo has been to every continent and continues to push to reach his goals of visiting every country.