Spanish is such an unique language. It’s not because around 460 million people speak this beautiful language or because of the closeness that their speakers bring. The Spanish language, from a linguistic point of view, is fascinating. In Spanish-speaking countries we tend to have terms for very specific actions or situations. Let’s discover these 10 unique Spanish words with no English translation! These expressions will make you sound like a native. ¿Preparados?
#1. Estrenar (verb)
The verb estrenar means “to wear or use something for the first time”.
#2. Vergüenza ajena (noun)
This concept is quite hard to translate. There’s nothing more Spanish than having vergüenza ajena. This is the name we give to the “embarrassment we feel for someone else, even if they don’t share the feeling”. Psychology tells us that sometimes we are so afraid of looking foolish that we can even feel others’ shame.
For instance, we can feel vergüenza ajena when someone makes an unappropriate comment or behaves in a weird way in front of others.
#3. Madrugar (verb)
They say that Spaniards are lazy and are always sleeping. Then, why would we have a verb that means “to get up early”? In Spanish, the verb madrugar is commonly used. In fact, there’s a popular idiom that says, “A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda”. The direct translation is, “God helps those that get up early”. An equivalent English idiom would be, “The early bird catches the worm”.
#4. Friolero/a (adjective)
This is one those unique Spanish words with no English translation! If you define yourself as a friolero, then you are “a person very sensitive to cold”.
#5. Sobremesa (noun)
Every Spaniard loves a good sobremesa. It literally translates as “over the table”. This is how we call the time we spend at the table after a heavy meal. It begins after dessert is served, and typically lasts for thirty minutes or even an hour. During the summer holidays, it can be even longer! Spaniards use this moment to have a relax conversation or to comment on a TV programme.
#6. Merendar (verb)
Speaking of food, here you are another interesting Spanish word with no English translation! Merendar means “to have an afternoon snack”. Spaniards normally do this between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. I know, that sounds very late, right? Don’t forget that in Spain we usually have dinner very late. Also, most people finish their work around five or six, so it’s the perfect time to go for a coffee and something sweet! We call this meal merienda.
#7. Anteayer (noun)
A one-word way to say “the day before yesterday”. It is the shorter version of “antes de ayer”.
#8. Postureo (noun)
The Royal Spanish Academy accepted this term in its dictionary back in 2017. Quite a new word, right?
Postureo, which comes from postura (posture), alludes to the artificial attitude that is adopted for one’s own convenience. In a world ruled by social media, we needed a term to address how some people behave in an unnatural way just to get others’ approval.
#9. Tocayo/a (noun)
Your tocayo (tocaya for females) is a person that has got the same name as you. So, we use tocayo to refer to someone who shares their first name with someone else.
#10. Tutear (verb)
Tutear means “to address someone as tú“.
In Spanish, you can address a person as “tú” or “usted”, both meaning “you”. We only use the form usted for formal situations, for example, when talking to someone who’s older or more important than us (our boss, for instance) or simply someone we don’t know very well. However, when talking to this person, they might decide that the conversation doesn’t require this formality, so they might ask you to use the common pronoun “tú” to address them.
That’s all, amigos y amigas! I hope these Spanish words with no English translation helped broaden your vocabulary!
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This Post Has 2 Comments
Vergüenza ajena = Second-hand embarrassment 🙂
Hahaha! I love your definition, Danielle! It really suits the term.