Guerra, pronounced with the quintessentially strong rolling R and without uttering the U, is the Spanish word for war or warfare.
It’s actually of Germanic origin – from the old word werra – meaning disorder or fight (bellum is the word in Latin for war).
La guerra acaba de empezar.
The war has just started.
Yo no quiero ir a la guerra.
I don’t want to go to war.
Guerra can be used to name an armed conflict but also other situations such guerra de sexos (battle of the sexes), guerra de precios (price war), guerra psicológica (psychological warfare), consejo de guerra (court-martial), banda de guerra (military band).
The expression ‘a war to the death’ is una guerra sin cuartel, a battle cry is un grito de guerra, and if someone describes something as de antes de la guerra (from before the war) it means it’s ancient or outdated.
Interestingly, the word for warlike or relating to war in Spanish is bélico.
Ha sido un conflicto bélico muy sangriento.
It’s been a very bloody military conflict.
Me gusta mucho el cine bélico.
I really like war films.
There are also some useful expressions with guerra in Spanish, such as dar guerra (to be a handful or cause trouble) or querer guerra (to look for a fight or to be on the prowl).
El niño está dando guerra, si no le doy su juguete se pone a llorar.
The boy is being a handful, if I don’t give him his toy he starts crying.
Ese tío quiere guerra. No deja de insultar a la gente.
That guy is looking for trouble. He won’t stop insulting people.
There are more uses of guerra in Spanish but we leave you with a slogan you’ve probably heard before which Spaniards have of course translated: Haz el amor, no la guerra (make love, not war).