Boludo is one of the first words learned by the traveller in Argentina, and also one of the words that the traveller will be eager to use, even if he/she doesn’t really know if it is appropriate.
Yeah, you’re right, Argentineans really use this word a lot. But that doesn’t mean the word can be used every single time it crosses your mind (well, actually you can do that, but you might be a little bit rude).
Boludo literally means “someone with big balls”, but this hasn’t stopped people to use boluda as well.
Boludo can be used as an insult, with a meaning close to idiot, or can have a mild use as “silly” or a completely aggressiveness free use, as an interjection, usually accompanied of “che”.
You’ll hear lots and lots of times “Che, boludo/a” around Argentina, and yes, it’s really common, and no, people generally won’t get offended by it, but you should know that saying “Che, boludo” to someone generally implies a high level of confidence between the two people in question. We don’t say “Che, boludo/a” to a professor, nor to the old man in the park, nor to the old lady that works in the grocery shop. You shouldn’t say “Che, boludo” to someone unless you’re already acquaintance with him/her.
If you’re new in town and you use this phrase, people most like will be indulgent and won’t get mad, but we encourage you not use it in that very important job interview next week.
– Che, boludo, ¿qué hacemos hoy a la noche? (Hey, what are we doing tonight?)
– ¡No seas boludo…! (Don’t be silly!)
– Sos un boludo, ¡no te quiero ver más! (You’re an idiot, I don’t want see you never again!)
– Boludo, no sabés lo que pasó…! (Dude, you have no idea what happened!)