Miami Phrases Every ‘Cane Should Know

Little Havana is home to many Cuban Americans in Miami-Dade County. Photo Credit: Sharon Hahn Darlin

Every University of Miami student holds the privilege of studying in one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the country. As students adjust to academics and campus life, it’s essential to learn about the local culture and vernacular.

Miami is such a melting pot of languages and cultures, that it’s resulting in a unique linguistic landscape with its own South Floridian dialect. Below are some essential Miami phrases that will help anyone seamlessly integrate into the city’s dynamic and colorful atmosphere.

“¿Que bola?”

A quintessential Miami greeting, “¿Que bola?” translates to “What’s up?” or “What’s going on?” in English. Originating from Cuban Spanish, this phrase embodies Miami’s strong Cuban influence. You’ll hear it frequently from fellow students, locals, and even professors as a casual way to start a conversation or check in on someone’s day.


Popularized by Mr. Worldwide himself, “dale” is a versatile expression that finds its roots in Cuban and Latin American Spanish. It can be used to show agreement, encouragement, or simply to say “go ahead” or “let’s do it.” Whether it’s for studying together, hitting the beach, or trying out a new restaurant, “dale” will become a staple in your daily conversations.

“Cafe cubano”

Cuban coffee, also known as a “cafecito,” “colada” or simply “cafe cubano,” is a strong, sweet and small espresso shot that packs a punch. Anyone can find and try this energizing beverage at one of the many local cafeterias around campus or in the city, like Cafe Vicky. As college students, this coffee’s energy boosting powers may become addicting – you’ve been warned.

“Pero like”

“Pero like” is one of the most common phrases used among Miami locals. “Pero” literally means the conjunction “but” in English, so it’s a fusion of Spanglish that has become very reminiscent among younger generations in the 305. The phrase is a very casual way of continuing a thought and conversation. This one might catch on pretty quickly for those who start to use it.

“La parranda”

In Miami, “la parranda” refers to a lively party or gathering, usually involving music, dancing and good company. Miami’s nightlife is legendary, and you’re likely to be invited to numerous parrandas throughout your time at the university. Don’t be afraid to embrace the experience and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant nightlife scene.


The area code “305” is synonymous with Miami and holds immense pride for its residents. It’s not just a number; it represents the city’s unique identity and sense of community. You’ll often hear people referring to themselves as “from the 305,” which instantly connects them to the city’s culture.

“The U”

As a UM student, you’ll hear this term frequently. “The U” refers to the University of Miami, your home for the next few years. Show your school spirit by embracing this abbreviation, throwing up “the U” hand gesture and proudly displaying your gear during sporting events and other campus activities.

During your journey as a University of Miami student, learning these essential Miami phrases will help you feel more at home in this lively and diverse city. Embrace the culture, immerse yourself in the local traditions and don’t be afraid to use these phrases in your day-to-day interactions. Miami’s unique blend of languages and cultures will enrich your college experience and create lasting memories throughout your time at The U. Dale!