8 Untranslatable Spanish Words

By Lucía Rodriguez.

Lee este artículo en español.

In Spanish we have many expressions and words that perfectly define some actions that do not have  an exact translation in English. Some accurate words that precisely describe something you are doing or feeling and you wish to have them in your language.

There are even  emotions that  can not be expressed , because other languages do not have words for them. That is the case of Querer y Amar, these words can describe different degrees of love. Some Spanish words capture and describe much better what you want to say.

Learning Spanish unlocks new ways to express ourselves in these words-that-don’t-quite-translate.

Sometimes it takes a whole phrase to attempt to translate the meaning of these words, and other times, there are subtle nuances that are lost in translation. 

Here you have Spanish words with not exact translation in English:

To use or wear for the first time
Now that you know this word exists, you will need it.
👉🏼 Ayer estrené un vestido para mi primer día de trabajo.

-Tener ganas de
to feel like, to be in the mood for
Ganas means “desire or inclination,” so this phrase literally translates, “to have desires of something ” But it means “to feel like”.
👉🏼 Tengo ganas de comer un helado.

The action to have an afternoon snack, coffee, or tea
In Spanish there are distinct words for describing the act of eating a specific meal (desayunar, almorzar, and cenar), and now you can add afternoon snacking to the mix!
👉🏼 Me gusta merendar contigo.

To wake up early in the morning, before sunrise.
It is very common madrugar in Latin American countries because of the distances or transit.
👉🏼 Mañana tengo que madrugar.

To stay up very late, all night, or have a night out
Yes, usually for a party you can stay out until very late at night.
👉🏼 Hoy nos trasnochamos.

Someone who shares the same first name as you, a “name twin”
In English usually we just say, “Hey that’s my name, too!” How fun is it to have a Spanish word to use when you meet your name doppelgänger?
👉🏼 Nos vemos mañana tocayo.

After-meal conversation, time spent leisurely chatting around the table after a meal
The act of enjoying a sobremesa is common in Latin American countries–even if the word itself isn’t used in a particular place. You could have countless chats with family and/or friends after breakfast or dinner while everyone else scatters from the table. It is an excellent idea to use a slow-paced meal and time spent with family and friends more often.
👉🏼 En nuestra casa la sobremesa es siempre larga.

Very sensitive to cold or always cold
This would perfectly describe your friend who always wears a sweater and complains about the cold weather.
👉🏼 Elena siempre tiene frío, es demasiado friolenta.

See you!

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