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Spanish Words You Can’t Translate to English

girl thinking
Ever find yourself short of words? You might be interested in learning a few Spanish words that can't translate to English Photo by KoolShooters on Pexels

How many words are in the English dictionary? Their estimated number is 171, 456.

With the exception of a few recently coined terms and some obsolete words, you can basically say whatever you want with any of these words. As a matter of fact, the more concise the words, the better.

We are doing pretty much the same thing right now. But what if we are unable to find the words we are looking for?

It is in this way that new words are created, ladies and gentlemen. Perhaps the words you are looking for in the other languages. It’s only a matter of knowing where to look.

We will begin our quest to find the right words by examining the unique Spanish words available that do not have an English equivalent.


Do you sometimes feel sick after eating too many sweets? Do you feel nauseated even after one bite? Empalagar is the same feeling you experience when you consume too much sugar.

People with a low tolerance for sweets tend to experience this. They start feeling dizzy and nauseated when they go over their limit.

The term can also be used when referring to a couple who are too affectionate to each other. It makes you cringe when you see them, doesn’t it? That’s empalagar in a nutshell.


The word chapuza is used to refer to something that was crudely crafted.

So, if you’re thinking about giving a present to a loved one, be sure it’s not a chapuza. You don’t want to hear that term said out loud.


This is what you refer to as your daily routine. Things like tying your shoes, pocketing your keys, and checking your phone are all examples.

It’s a force of habit that you can’t break because you’ve done it so many times.


This is a shortened version of “the day before yesterday.”

I heard you returned from Cancun a while back. When did you return?” “I got back antier,”


A word like this can be understood in many different ways, so it doesn’t have a set definition. To put it in simplest terms:

You had a hard time sleeping, so you move around like a zombie the next day.

That’s what Desvelado is all about. The term is like insomnia and sleep deprivation combined into one.


woman holding clothes
In English, you can simply say “Oh I bought a new dress, I can’t wait to wear it.” But in Spanish, you can simply call it estrenar. Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels

Have you ever waited for a limited edition item? You were glad to get one for yourself, weren’t you? You couldn’t wait until you get to use it.

Those feelings you’re experiencing are called estrenar. It occurs when you use or wear something for the very first time.


The word aturdir describes the moment you are frozen in shock when hearing terrible news. Your vision tunnels into nothing and it’s like you’re paralyzed,

Because you are literally frozen to the spot.


You may have a friend who is always wrapped up in a blanket or jacket. That’s exactly what a Friolento is.

They are the kind of people who constantly feel cold (no matter the temperature) or need to wrap themselves in cloth in order to stay warm. For them, it’s more or less like a security blanket whenever they feel lonely or cold.


The Spanish counterpart of the French term “bon appétit” is “provecho.”

Latinos use this expression when they wish their friends a good meal. The equivalent meaning in English would be “I hope you enjoy your meal.” Compared to saying provecho, it’s too much of a mouthful.


This means “going out for a snack.” It usually refers to the snack eaten between lunch and dinner.

La Sobremesa

Suppose you invite the family of your girlfriend to dinner at a restaurant. Despite the fact everyone on the table has already eaten, no one seems to be getting up.

That situation is what you call a La Sobremesa. You can use it in situations where someone has spent too much time loitering after finishing a meal or when no one plans to leave the table because they enjoy the conversation.

In Latin culture, La Sobremesa plays a significant role. It’s a good time to catch up on missed things and bond with those you love.


The day between a weekend and a holiday is referred to as a puente.

Put yourself in a situation where Thursday is a non-working holiday. Since you are planning on taking a long weekend, you decide to file a leave on a Friday. It’s actually a smart move, especially if you’re planning to spend time with your significant other over the long weekend.

Dar Un Toque

This is what you call a ‘Dar Un Toque’ when you alert someone that you missed a call so they will return it.

For example, your girlfriend calls during your working hours. She did not let the call ring more than once, but instead she let it ring once and dropped it. You won’t be able to resist calling her back once she does this.


One who enjoys receiving affection from others, such as hugs or kisses.

The word is mostly used to refer to women, but not in a bad way. It’s simply because they are a lot more reciprocal in terms of physical touch. Latinas, in particular, enjoy being coddled by their loved ones. They are sure to appreciate any gesture of affection.

couple kissing
Latin people are an affectionate bunch, so they often use this to refer to themselves. Alteration: cropped Photo by Kyle Bearden on Unplash

Te quiero

Te quiero in English is a tie in between “I like you” and “I love you.”

When a Latina wants to express her feelings without coming across too strongly, she uses te quiero. Despite being a less intense version of te amo, it still expresses love as it does with te amo.

This would indeed prove useful if you are interested in impressing a Latina girl. The words you read here are likely to be some of the words you hear her say a lot if things go well.

As you can imagine, saying I love you isn’t something you can do just out of the blue. It takes time for it to fully bloom and develop, just like how your feelings do.

Several years in the future, as soon as you tie the knot with the Latina woman of your dreams, you’ll be able to find these words in spanish useful.

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