Posts Tagged Spanish vocabulary

Spanish Noun: Magnate, milmillonario

Saturday, March 13th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Noun: Magnate, milmillonario

Pronunciation: Mahg-nahn-tay, meel-mee-yoh-nah-reeoh

Translation: Magnate, billionaire

Function: Nouns

There are gradations is Spanish too for the very rich, so magnate doesn’t change: ‘magnate’, a billionaire is a ‘milmillonario’ (still to be widely accepted), a multi-millionaire is a ‘multimillonario’ and a millionaire a ‘millonario’

‘Milenario’ has nothing to do with money, but with time: it means “millennial”.


Ahora es un millonaria… antes de 2007 era multimillonaria


She is now a millionaire… before 2007 she was a multimillionaire

Spanish Word: Comidas

Friday, February 19th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Comidas

Pronunciation: Coh-mee-dahs

Translation: foods

Function: Usage

Beware when asking for fruits and some vegetables in Latin-America or Spain. They may look the same, but their local names can vary: USA’s zucchini is known as ‘calabacin’ is Spain, ‘calabacita’ in Mexico, ‘zuquini’ in Bolivia, and many more instances -almost one different per country-

The same goes for beans of Latin-American: ‘frijoles, frijoles, frejoles y porotos’, they all are ‘judías’ in Spain. The same goes for some fruits, like South-American ‘damascos’, a.k.a. ‘chabacano’ in Mexico and ‘albaricoque’ in cuba or Peru.


Maíz, Elote



Spanish Word: dio, o

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 | Permalink

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Spanish Word: dio, o

Pronunciation: deeoh

Translation: gave

Function: Monosyllable

Only one exception is allowed for the conjunction ‘o’, bearing the ‘acento’, as in: ‘5 ó 6 pares de zapatos’ [5 or 6 shoe pairs], but only when it is in between numbers, to avoid confusion with digit ‘0’.

Many written ‘monosílabos’ [monosyllables] no longer require an ‘acento’ [stress mark] because they were found as having a single unequivocal meaning. There are many of them. Some of the most important ones are: ‘fe’ [faith], ‘fue’ [was] and ‘vio’ [saw]


Yo no fui


It wasn´t me

Spanish Word: -ez

Monday, February 15th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: -ez

Pronunciation: Ehs

Translation: Mac-

Function: suffix

This is a very common ending in ‘patronímicos’ [patronymics] present in last names, it means “son of”, just as “mac” does. One example explains by itself: in Spain you can find the last name ‘Martínez’, meaning ‘hijo de Martín’ [son of Martin], while in Ireland you have “MacMartin”, meaning “son of Martin” too.

There are many examples and here are the most common ones: ‘Sánchez’ – son of ‘Sancho’, ‘Pérez’ – son of ‘Pedro’; Álvarez’ – son of ‘Alvaro’; González’ – son of ‘Gonzalo’; Fernández’ – son of ‘Fernando’.





Spanish Word: -ction

Friday, February 12th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: -ction

Pronunciation: see-ohn

Translation: -ction

Function: suffix

This ending clearly shows that English and Spanish share a common root: the Indo-European. When you start studying one of them as a foreign language, you are told “you already know dozens of words” by changing a mere letter, as in ‘acción’ [action]Spanish Word: -ción

And that’s what this suffix main significance is: action, movement; as in ‘conducción’ [conduction] and ‘introducción’ [introduction]. It can also denote a state, as in ‘desesperación’ [desperation] and ‘aflicción’ [affliction]





Spanish Word: a.m., p.m.

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: a.m., p.m.

Pronunciation: ah aymay, pay aymay

Translation: a.m., p.m.

Function: Abbreviation

In Spain, they say ‘buenas noches’ [good night] from dusk till dawn. In America it all depends on the clock, and changes to ‘buenos días’ at 12:01 a.m.

These abbreviations stand for “antemeridiano” [ante meridiem] y “postmeridiano” [post meridiem]. A change from the first to the second occurs at noon. In most Latin-American countries this change also indicates you should no longer greet with ‘buenos días’ [good morning] but with ‘buenas tardes´[good afternoon] instead.


Llegaremos a las 12 p.m.


We will get there at noon

Spanish Word: Presente histórico

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Presente histórico

Pronunciation: Preay-sayn-tay ees-toh-ree-coh

Translation: Historical present

Function: Usage

To help you do story-telling when your Spanish past tenses are not that polished, you can do it the American way: by using the ‘presente histórico’ [historical present, which means you talk about something from the past using the present tense, something typically done by historians.

You can see in the following example how a happening of the past is told using the present tense, as if things were happening that very moment. You can use this rhetorical resource when your past-tense skills are yet to be fully learned.


Y ahí estoy, todo mojado, cuando de repente pasa todo un equipo de futbol y me ayuda a empujar el coche.


And there I am, all wet, when all of a sudden, a whole soccer team passes by and helps me push the car.

Spanish Phrase: ¿Me puede… ?

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Phrase: ¿Me puede… ?

Pronunciation: Meh pooay-day

Translation: Can you… me?

Function: Phrase

When asking a question, starting the sentence with ‘me’ helps you keeping it simple, as in ‘¿Me puede decir… ?’ [can you tell me... ?] as opposed to ‘¿Puede decirme… ?, where the ‘me’ is joined with the verb, forming a complex word form called an “enclítical”

It clearly is simpler, to start with the pronoun ‘me’ (or plural form ‘nos’) and continue with a verb in infinitive, instead of the alternative: an enclitical.


¿Me puede ayudar?


Can you help me?

Spanish Word: Tú

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word:

Pronunciation: Too

Translation: You

Function: treatment

Remembering all kinds of people names is more important in English than Spanish, as English has no ‘tú’ treatment, and the only way to show familiarity trough the spoken word is to say a person’ name along the talking. In Spanish-speaking countries people can even talk with great familiarity to other people who call them on the streets… and get away with the fact that they don´t really remember who “that one” was.

You can use it more freely in Spain. In Latin-America the ‘tú’ treatment is reserved for family and friends only.


Háblame de tú


Talk to me as a friend

Spanish Word: Se

Monday, January 11th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Se

Pronunciation: Say

Translation: [n/a]

Function: Form

‘Se’ makes easier to construct some Spanish sentences, when the subject is unclear: just begin the sentence with ‘Se’ and use a verb… without a subject, as in ‘Se quemó’ [it burned], while standing before something unknown.

People pretty much use it when they’ve broken something: ‘se cayó’ [it fell], instead of [lo tiré] [I let it fell]. Such impersonal form is much more used in Spanish than in English.


El niño se cayó y se pegó en su cabeza


The boy fell and hit his head

Spanish Word: Pingüino

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Pingüino

Pronunciation: Peen-gooee-noh

Translation: Penguin

Function: Usage

The two small dots appearing sometimes on top of an u (ü) before the e & i vowels are called ‘diéresis’ [dieresis]. It is more noticeable if you wrongly put them on top of any other vowel, than forgetting to use them when they are supposed to be there.

The usage rule is simple: ‘diéresis’ should be used when the u is to be pronounced; this is necessary because in most of the words with the syllables ‘gue’ and ‘gui’ the u is not spoken because of grammar. When in doubt, you can say the word aloud without the u and check how it sounds.





Spanish Word: Estará

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Estará

Pronunciation: Ayhs-tah-rah

Translation: Is going to be

Function: Usage

English expression ‘is going to…’ has been wrongly incorporated into spoken Spanish in some American countries, as in ‘vamos a estar…’ [we are going to be…', where a much shorter 'estaremos...' [we'll be...] would have been enough.

You can both save words and talk a better Spanish if you avoid this practice. Use the future tense if you are comfortable using it. If you are not, then use the common construction: ‘Voy a’ + infinitive verb (in this case you don’t need to know all verb variations for the future tense)


Oscar estará ahí


Oscar is going to be there

Spanish Word: Don, Doña

Friday, January 1st, 2010 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Don, Doña

Pronunciation: Dohn, Donya

Translation: Don, Madam

Function: Title

You will find these courtesy titles almost paired to “Sir” and “Lady”, although you can still find ‘Señor Don” and ‘Señora Doña’ used in Spain… which falls short of the “king” or “queen” themselves. You will see it used in most written invitations.

You will also find a college degree used instead of ‘Señor’ [Mr.] or ‘Señora’ [Lady] as in ‘doctor’ [doctor] or ‘ingeniero´[engineer]. If you don’t know whether somebody has a degree or not, stay on the safe side and use ‘Don’ freely, as it works for both: informal or important occasions.


Sra. Doña Fe Roa Paz


Madam Fe Roa Paz

Spanish Phrase: La cuenta

Sunday, June 14th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Phrase: La cuentaPronunciation: lah’ koo-wen-tah’

Translation: The bill

If you’re eating out in a local restaurant in a Spanish speaking country and you would like to get the bill, you need to say “La cuenta, por favor.” That literally means, “The bill, please.”

As you may already know, the Spanish phrase por favor translates to please in English – and if you’re asking anybody a favor, it does pay to always add that at the end of your sentence.

Spanish Word: Cerveza

Monday, June 8th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Cerveza

English Word: Beer, ale, malt liquor

Pronunciation: ther-vay-thah’

Function: noun

Your visit to any Spanish country will never be complete unless you have sampled what the local brew has to offer. Beer lovers would have a blast sampling drinks like cerveza de barril or draught beer; cerveza de botella or bottled beer; cerveza negra or brown beer; cerveza clara or light beer; and cerveza de sifón or draught beer.If someone asks you “¿De barril o botella?”, you have to say whether it’s a draught or bottled beer that you want.

Example: En esa tienda venden mi cerveza preferida.

Translation: In that shop, they sell my favorite beer.

Spanish Word: Libre

Thursday, June 4th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Libre

English Word: Free

Pronunciation: lee’-bray

Function: adjective

The word libre in Spanish has quite a number of meanings. It can mean that something like a taxi is empty or unoccupied. It can also refer to someone who is not married. The term trabajar por libre refers to someone who is a freelancer.

Here, we will use the term libre in reference to something that is not occupied, such as in the following sentence:

Example: Esa plaza no está libre.

Translation: That seat is not free.

Spanish Word: Fresco

Monday, June 1st, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Fresco

English Word: Cool, fresh

Pronunciation: fres-koh’

Function: adjective

Depending on how it is used in a sentence, the word fresco itself has a few equivalents in the Spanish language.

For example, the term fresco can refer to a man who has a fresh attitude. When you say la fresca, it means that there is a cool breeze, but it can also refer to a blunt remark.Finally, when you say al fresco, that is the equivalent of saying that it is cool outside.

Example: Era un día lluvioso y fresco.

Translation: It was a cool and rainy day.

Spanish Word: Queso

Thursday, May 28th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Queso

English Word: Cheese

Pronunciation: keh-soh’

Function: noun

If you’re dining in a quaint Spanish restaurant or sampling the local brew in one of the tapas bars, you might have a craving for a slice of their local cheese. The word is pronounced as keh-soh’ and here’s how you will use it in a sentence.

Example: Una ración de queso por favor.

Translation: A portion of the cheese, please.

Spanish Word- Nocturno

Monday, May 25th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Nocturno

English Word: Evening, night

Pronunciation: knock-tur-noh’

Function: adjective

You may have noticed that the function of the word nocturno as it is described here is an adjective. This is because in Spanish, the word is used not as a noun – but as an adjective to describe how things are happening at night, or how clubs or establishments are still open during the evenings.

Example: Donde está el club nocturne?

Translation: Where is the nightclub?

Spanish Word- Derecho

Friday, May 22nd, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Derecho

English Word: Straight

Pronunciation: day-ray’-cho

Function: noun
There is actually quite a number of meanings for the Spanish word derecho. It could refer to being lawful or just; it can refer to the taxes or the customs department, or it could also refer to the right side of a piece of clothing. However, we will focus here on the use of derecho when asking directions – which pretty much means that you need to go straight ahead.

Example: Ir derecho…
Translation: To go straight…

Spanish Word- Suficiente

Monday, May 18th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Suficiente

English Word: Enough, sufficient

Pronunciation: soo-fee-the-en’tay

Function: adjective
Let’s say that you’re having dinner and you hear a new Spanish companion say something about not having enough money on him or her to pay for the meal, this is what you will usually hear:

Example: No dinero suficiente.
Translation: I don’t have enough money on me.

Another sentence that you might hear the locals say when they talk to each other is “No tienes la estatura suficiente” which means that you’re not tall enough.

Spanish Word- Necesito

Thursday, May 14th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Necesito…

English Word: I need.

Pronunciation: nay-they-se-toh’

Function: transitive verb
When traveling to any part of Spain, you do need to learn what to say so that you can express what is it exactly that you need. This is where the Spanish word necesito becomes handy.

Example: Necesito que me lo digas…
Translation: I need you to tell me…

Spanish Word- ¡Socorro!

Monday, May 11th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Word: ¡Socorro!

English Word: Help!

Pronunciation: so-cor’-ro

Function: verb
Another Spanish term for help is ayuda – although if you are in an emergency, the term socorro is more often used. Naturally, you would want anybody within hearing distance to come to your aid in case you encounter any type of emergency which is why it is a must to learn about this Spanish term for the word “Help!”

Example: ¡Socorro!
Translation: Help!

Spanish Weeks

Thursday, April 16th, 2009 | Permalink

Instead of having just one Spanish word for the day, let’s amp things up a bit and make it seven.

If you’re vacationing in some exotic beach in Central America, you might be tempted to laze away the time – but you don’t want to miss your return flight – so you need to learn about the Spanish terms for the days of the week!

Here’s the list:

Monday – Lunes
Tuesday – Martes
Wednesday – Miercoles
Thursday – Jueves
Friday – Viernes
Saturday – Sabado
Sunday – Domingo

However, if you want to ask a local what the day is today, the correct sentence would be “¿Cuál es hoy?”. Then, you will get the above responses which correspond to the days of the week.

Spanish Word- Multa

Monday, April 13th, 2009 | Permalink

Spanish Word: Multa

English Word: fine

Pronunciation: mool-ta

Function: noun
No matter which part of the world it is that you are in, paying a fine for a traffic violation or a similar offense is something that some individuals just have to bear. If you do need to pay a fine, the Spanish term that you will hear is multa.

Example: ¿De cuánto es la multa?
Translation: How much is the fine?


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