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Essential Spanish 'text speak' abbreviations that will help you sound like a local

The Local Spain
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Essential Spanish 'text speak' abbreviations that will help you sound like a local
Predictive text has helped to lessen the amount of text abbreviations Spaniards use, but there are still many ways they shorten words. Photo: Miquel Parera/Unplash

Just when you think you’ve got the hang of Spanish, you get a text from a Spanish friend and realise you have to learn a whole new language all together.


As with English, Spanish has evolved its own peculiar selection of abbreviated ‘text speak’ and it doesn’t always seem entirely logical.

In Spain, where the preferred channel of communication is often WhatsApp - or wasap as it is called in text speak – it’s important to master the lingo – how else can you hold your own in all those group WhatsApp chats?

READ MORE: 95 percent of Spaniards prefer texting to talking

Much of Spanish text talk is just removing the vowels from a word but there are also some commonly used expressions that aren’t immediately obvious.

To help you know your tqm from your xq … here’s a list of the most common ones.

tq or tqm: Stands for ‘te quiero’ and ‘te quiero mucho’ (I love you and I love you a lot). And it’s often accompanied by a heart emoticon.

cnt: No, there’s no ‘u’ missing in this abbreviation. CNT stands for ‘contesta’ (answer), frequently used by impatient friends or jealous partners dying to hear back from you.

q or k: Why use three letters when one will do? q or k stand for ‘que’ – what or that- in text lingo

x: is not a kiss (which is usually represented with bs for besos) but in Spanish text speak is a stand-In for ‘por’ as in ‘three times four’ - tres por cuatro - 3x4. Totally logical!

xq: These two letters stand for ‘por qué’ (Why) and ‘porque’ (because) Also sometimes seen as xk.

xfa: In the same way. por favor/’por fa’ is shortened to xfavor or xfa. Or sometimes pf.

cdt: Cuídate meaning ‘take care’


nvp: An abbreviation for ‘Nos vemos pronto’ see you later, see you soon

npi: An abbreviation for ‘Ni puta idea’ which is quite common and not as rude as it sounds in English.  “No fucking idea, I don't fucking know, who the fuck knows”

ps: isn’t an afterthought, it’s a shortening of pues as in “well" or "so then”

dnd: donde, meaning where.

ntp: No te preocupes or Don’t worry, no problem.


tb: también, meaning ‘too or also’ and it’s negative form, tampoco, is shortened to tmp.

or sometimes mñn: Mañana, meaning morning or tomorrow depending on the context.

maso: A quicker way to say más o menos: More or less, sort of.

jaja: This is the Spanish version for haha. Also appears as jejeje or even jijiji

And don’t forget Spaniards love to use emojis – they even successfully lobbied for their own paella symbol in 2016, and then got Apple to change the image to include the right paella ingredients. 

Have we missed out a phrase that you see all the time? Add your suggestions by emailing [email protected]

READ MORE: 12 signs you've totally nailed the Spanish language




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