17 Interesting Spanish Words That Can't Be Directly Translated Into English
Do you ever struggle to find the word you are looking for? You know exactly what you mean – but annoyingly enough there isn’t a word for it.
If you can relate to this, you might not be thinking in the right language. Often other languages have the perfect word while English falls speechless due to cultural differences. Check out 17 interesting Spanish words that don’t have an English counterpart below.
‘Cariño’ describes feeling love for someone who isn’t your partner or your crush, such as the love you feel for your best friends, family and co-workers.
Ever wanted to eat something because it looks delicious, even though you are not hungry? ‘Gula’ describes the feeling of wanting to eat just because the food tastes good, even if you are already full or not hungry.
‘Botellón’ is a group of youths who meet in a public area to socialize and consume alcohol. The youths buy the alcohol from local stores as a cheap alternative to an expensive night out. The phrases literally means “big bottle.”
Most people have walked past teenagers who are getting tipsy in the park, but there isn’t a word in the English language to describe this gathering. Now you can use the Spanish equivalent!
‘Madrugada’ refers to the period between the middle of the night and early morning, which is roughly between 1AM and 4AM.
5. Pena Ajena
This Spanish word means feeling shame on behalf of another person (even if that person doesn’t actually feel ashamed.) Perfect for when your friend accidentally trips over!
‘Sobremesa’ describes the time spent after lunch or dinner talking to the people you shared the meal with.
7. Empacho (Mexican Spanish)
Most of us have experienced Empacho – the uncomfortable, distended abdominal pain that you feel after eating too much food. It isn’t as bad as indigestion or food poisoning, although it can result it vomiting, bloating, diarrhoea and flatulence. It simply means feeling really, really full – so rather than being an infection, the pain is self-inflicted.
This Spanish word describes a climactic show of spirit in either a performance or a work of art. It is often applied to flamenco dancing or bull-fighting.
‘Empalagarse’ is a Spanish word that refers to the strange, fluffy sensation your tongue has after you have eaten too much sweet food. This is the perfect word for people with a sweet tooth!
‘Fiambre’ refers to food that is prepared for spirits and the dead. Fiambre is often a salad, and it is prepared yearly to celebrate Day of the Dead.
Most people have probably felt ‘Atolondrar’ – to become so overwhelmed by something that you become distracted and careless. After a long day of emails, phone calls, texts, work, meetings and deadlines, you may find yourself making silly spelling mistakes and errors.
If you are close to your family, ‘Consuegro’ is a useful word to know; it describes the relationship between two people whose children are married to each other. For instance, your mother and your mother-in-law are consuegros.
A ‘Friolero’ is a person who is especially sensitive to cold weather and temperatures.
A ‘Merienda’ is a light, quick meal that is eaten between lunch and dinner, normally in the late afternoon. It is normally considered a meal for children, and if adults eat at the same time they don’t refer to the meal as merienda.
‘Conmoción’ is the emotion held in common by a group or gathering.
16. Te quiero
Lots of people will wish there was an English equivalent to the Spanish word ‘Te quiero’; it is a way to tell someone that you care about them. It is more meaningful than ‘I like you’ but less meaningful than ‘I love you’, and is often used between close friends.
‘Lampiño’ describes a man who struggles to grow facial hair, and has very little or none at all.
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