Spanish Word of the Day: 'Tutear'

The Local Spain
The Local Spain - [email protected]
Spanish Word of the Day: 'Tutear'
Photo: nito103/Depositphotos"

When to use 'tú' and when to use 'usted'? There's a word for that.


With a culture that's so steeped in respect for your elders, tutear in Spanish is something we can't translate easily into English. 

So, what does it mean?

Tutear means “to address informally” or “to address as tú”. In Spain, it is considered disrespectful and rude when a younger person addresses an elderly person with instead of usted, the formal way of saying "you" in Spanish.

The following examples will give you a clearer idea:

  • En España, se considera una falta de respeto tutear a las personas mayores.

       In Spain it is considered rude to address elderly people informally.

  • Yo siempre tuteo a mis amigos, pero no a mis padres.

       I always address my friends informally, but not my parents.

  • No me tutees, háblame de usted..

      Don't address me as "tú", use usted.



Check out our other word of the day posts

This word of the day has been contributed by LAE Madrid, the leading Spanish academy in Madrid. Accredited by the Insitituto Cervantes, it offers Spanish courses for all levels and also has Spanish classes for kids and familiesRead their blog for more Spanish!




Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also