Learning Spanish For Members

Ten Spanish words that English should adopt right now

The Local Spain
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Ten Spanish words that English should adopt right now
Every block of flats in Spain has at least one 'maruja', an old lady who has all the neighbourhood gossip. Photo: Rubén Bagüés/Unsplash

Some Spanish words are so good at perfectly describing a feeling, experience or person you have to wonder why the English language hasn't adopted them yet.


1. Espabilar: To liven up, to come to one's senses, to get one's act together, to wise up, to get a move on, to wake up!

Example: "¡Espabila!¡Qué vas a perder el vuelo!" (Get your arse in gear or you'll miss your flight!)

espabilar meaning english A bucket of cold water will help you to 'espabilar'. Photo: Ryan McGuire/Pixabay.



2. Maruja: a traditional working-class housewife who enjoys watching TV soaps, gossiping about her neighbours and eavesdropping on others. She's the informal broadcaster of radio patio, the so-called courtyard radio where most of the chitchat takes place.

Example: "Menuda maruja estás hecha, deja de chismorrear" (You're such a maruja, stop gossiping).

maruja meaning english There's always a 'maruja' on the lookout in Spanish neighbourhoods. Photo: Nick Karvounis/Unsplash
3. Estrenar: to wear or use something for the first time. It can also be used for new clothing or for a film or play that's premiering.
Example: "Hoy estreno mis nuevas zapatillas rosas" (I'm wearing my new pink sneakers for the first time today).
estrenar meaning in english Fashion-loving Spaniards love to 'estrenar' new clothes. Photo: Joshua Coleman/Unsplash
4. Cachondeo: Lack of seriousness. This may refer to messing about in both a positive sense and a negative one. 
Examples:  "Nos pasamos la tarde de cachondeo" (We spent the afternoon mucking about) 
"Menudo cachondeo de gobierno." (This government is a joke)
cachondeo meaning english Sometimes, too much 'cachondeo' means not enough gets done in Spain. Photo: Eliott Reyna/Unsplash


5. Pagafantas: Literally meaning Fanta buyer, it usually refers to guys who buy drinks for girls and treat them nicely, but never actually get remotely close to sealing the deal in the relationship sense.
Example: "No seas tan pagafantas, deja de mimarla", (Don't be such a pagantas, stop spoiling her).
pagafantas meaning english Don't be 'too nice', don't be a 'pagafantas'. Photo: Adam Ashtamkar/Unsplash
6. Guiri: (Urban Dictionary def.) a somewhat pejorative term for a foreigner, usually a tourist, who happens to be in Spain and stands out as being pretty obviously not a local.
The term is usually used to refer to fairer-skinned people from the likes of Great Britain, Germany or Sweden, for example.
Example: "Benidorm está lleno de guiris." (Benidorm is full of northern European tourists).
guiri Spaniards can spot a 'guiri' from a mile away. Photo: Marc Pascual/ Pixabay
7. Trapichear: to eke out a living by buying and selling, to carry out shady deals, to wheel and deal.
Example: "Siempre son los mismos trapicheando en la plaza", (It's always the same ones wheeling and dealing in the square).
spanish words english should have There's plenty of 'trapicheo' taking place in Spain as there's so much unemployment. Photo: Martin Zaenkert/Unsplash
8. Empalagar: To feel sick from eating too many sweet things. 
Example: "No me gusta el merenge, es demasiado dulce y empalaga", (I don't like merengue, it's too sweet and it makes me feel sick".
empalagar meaning english Spanish pastries can be a bit dry, so it's normal if they cause you to 'empalagarte'. Photo: Ryan McGuire/Pixabay
9. Desvelado: Unable to sleep because you are kept awake by someone or something.
Example: "El llanto del bebé consiguió desvelar a todos" (The baby's crying succeeded in keeping everyone awake). 
desvelado meaning english Spaniards often choose to be 'desvelados' be staying up watching TV until late. Photo: Matthew Henry/Unsplash
10. Entrecejo: The space between the eyebrows.
Example: "No tiene entrecejo, es cejijunto." (He has no space between his eyebrows, just a monobrow). 
Frida Kahlo had the most famous 'entrecejo' in history. Photo: Luis Acosta/AFP




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