5 untranslatable words in Spanish

Did you know that in every language there are words that are “untranslatable”, meaning that they do not have a direct translation into another language using just a single word. But why? Often, the reason is because of cultural differences between the speakers of each language.

In this article, we’ve prepared, specifically for you, ten really common untranslatable words that don’t exist in English, but should. Let’s get started with these untranslatable words!

1. Tocayo/tocaya
Has anyone ever tell you, tocayo/a? Well, that is probably because that person shares your first name!
Meaning: Somebody who has the same name as you / your ‘name-twin’, or namesake.
In Context: Me confundes con otra María, es mi tocaya.
Translation: You’re getting me mixed up with the other Elena, we have the same name.

2. Puente
When there are only one or two days between a holiday and the weekend people sometimes take those days off and call it puente.
Meaning: Long weekend
In context: Este puente me lo voy a pasar en la playa.
Translation: I’m going to spend this long weekend at the beach.

3. Estrenar
Estrenar means to wear or use a new item for the first time.
Meaning: for wear/use something for the first time
In context: Estrené mi vestido rojo anoche.
Translation: I wore my red the dress for the first time last night.

4. Madrugar
This verb describes the action of getting up very early in the morning.
Meaning: get up very early
In context: Ayer madrugué para salir a correr.
Translation: Yesterday I got up very early in the morning to go for a run.

5. Friolento/friolenta
If you are always wearing a sweater and being a person sensitive to cold temperatures more than others, this word is for you!
Meaning: a person who is especially sensitive to cold temperatures.
In context: Soy muy friolera, nunca salgo de casa sin una chaqueta.
Translation: I’m very sensitive to cold temperatures, I never leave my house without a jacket.

Now you are ready to teach these new words to your friends and surprise them with words they may not know even exist! Do you know other untranslatable words? Share them with us in the comments, we would love to read about them.

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Lisa Ramirez Written by:

Graphic Designer, Blog editor, Spanish Teacher.

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