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Definition of Pana

Pana is a word that refers to a “friend”, and is generally used to designate someone trustworthy.


  1. Friend
  2. Companion
  3. Colleague
  4. Buddy
  5. Parce


Its origins of its use in Caribbean Spanish does not seem to be an exclusive invention of Venezuelans, which is where this term meaning “friend” is most used, but most probably shares origin with other Caribbean brothers, since the Venezuelan Spanish of the Caribbean coast has many similarities with the Spanish of the islands.

However, there is a linguistic myth involving this word that comes from the fact that friends in Venezuela used to meet in bakeries to chat. When their parents would ask them where they were going, they would answer “voy a la pana” and that is where “pana” comes from in reference to friends.

However, there is another possibility, the word “pana” could also come from the English “partner”, which means “partner, companion”. It is very likely that this is the origin of “pana”. Just “pana” has the same meaning and usage as the English “partner”.

What is implicit in the myth of the bakeries is the novelty of the word, that is to say, people who today are in their forties remember this word as something new in their language.


In Chile, the word “pana” can express “breakdown”, but it is also used to refer to the liver of animals.
There is also the French and Italian word “panne” which is used with two meanings “breakdown” and “skin”.

In Spain it is a type of fabric of the same type of cloth or diaper that etymologically comes from “pannus”, in Latin a kind of velvet, hence in countries like Ecuador and Argentina Corderoy fabric is called corduroy.