Describing character in Spanish – beyond “nice”

Over 40 words to describe personality!

You are bound to meet lots of interesting people when you travel abroad. If you want to describe someone accurately you need to know more words than just “interesting” or “nice”.

Beginners of the language find it difficult to be able to describe someone in detail so you cannot get a true idea of someone’s real personality. Often they rely on “fun”, “good”, “bad” and similar easy, general words.

This post will teach you more specific descriptive words to describe people and their unique personality – we will include positive traits, negative traits and those that are inbetween and could be classed as good or bad depending on the situation.

Endings of adjectives

1) Generally the adjectives that end in –o to describe a man would change to an –a ending to describe a woman.

Es un hombre bueno – He is a good man
Es una mujer buena – She is a good woman

2) The ones that end in -e do not change.

Juan es tristeJuan is sad
Ana es tristeAna is sad

3) Neither do those that end in –ista (egoísta) 

4) Adjectives that end in –r for the male, add on –a to describe a woman:

Felipe es trabajadorFelipe is hard-working
María es trabajadoraMaria is hard-working

Positive personality traits

amable / amistoso/a – friendly

Los camareros son muy amables en ese bar
The waiters are really friendly in that bar

bueno/a – good

Ella es una persona muy buena
She is a really good person

cariñoso/a – caring/affectionate

La madre es muy cariñosa con sus niños
The mother is very affectionate with her children

contento/a / feliz – happy

Estamos contentos con el resultado
We are happy with the result

Los niños son felices, siempre están sonriendo
The children are happy, they are always smiling

culto/a – cultured

Es un hombre muy culto, le gusta ir al teatro cada semana
He is a very cultured man, he goes to the theatre every week

divertido/a – fun

Ella es muy divertida, siempre da fiestas los fines de semana
She is good fun, she always throws a party at weekends

encantador/a – charming

Es un chico encantador, tiene buenos modales
He is a charming boy, he has good manners

fiel – loyal

Mi mejor amiga es tan fiel, siempre puedo depender de ella
My best friend is so loyal, I can always rely on her

generoso/a – generous

Mi vecino es tan generoso, nos da pasteles caseros cada semana
My neighbour is so generous, he gives us home-made cakes every week

genial – great

Mi profesor de ciencias es genial
My Science teacher is great

gracioso/a – funny

Mi jefe es gracioso, nos hace reír tanto
My boss is funny, he makes us laugh so much

honrado/a – honest

Es una chica muy honrada, nunca dice mentiras
She’s a really honest girl, she never tells lies

inteligente – intelligent

Los estudiantes en esta clase son inteligentes
The students in this class are intelligent

listo/a – clever

Mi tío es muy listo, siempre sabe la respuesta
My uncle is very clever, he always knows the answer

de mente abierta – open-minded

El director es de mente abierta, quiere usar sistemas nuevos
The manager is open-minded, he wants to use new systems

simpático/a – nice

Juan es simpático, siempre está de buen humor
Juan is nice, he’s always in a good mood

sincero/a – sincere

Gloria es sincera, siempre dice lo que piensa
Gloria is sincere, she always says what she thinks

optimista – optimistic

Mi abuela es optimista, piensa en lo bueno de todo
My grandmother is optimistic, she thinks about the good of everything

trabajador/a – hardworking

Jorge es trabajador, es la última persona salir de la oficina
Jorge is hard-working, he is the last person to leave the office

valiente – brave

Es valiente, no tiene miedo de nada
He is brave, he’s not scared of anything

Negative personality traits

antipático/a – horrible

Pedro es antipático, no ayuda a nadie
Pedro is horrible, he doesn’t help anyone

cobarde – cowardly

Es cobarde, no puede enfentarse con sus problemas
He is cowardly, he cannot face up to his problems

despistado/a – scatterbrained

Es despistada, olvida sus llaves a menudo
She’s scatterbrained, she often forgets her keys

egocéntrico/a – self-centred

Es un hombre muy egocéntrico, solo piensa en si mismo
He’s a very selfish man, he only thinks about himself

egoísta – selfish

Son egoístas, siempre aparcan su coche en nuestra plaza
They are selfish, they always park their car in our space

exigente – demanding

El niño es muy exigente, siempre pide algo
The boy is very demanding, he always asks for something

malcriado/a – rude

Pilar es malcriada, nunca dice gracias por nada
Pilar is very rude, she never says thank you for anything

mentiroso/a – deceitful

Es mentiroso, raras veces dice la verdad
He is deceitful, he rarely tells the truth

mimado/a – spoilt

Los niños son mimados, sus padres les compran todo lo que piden
The children are spoilt, their parents buy them everything they ask for

perezoso/a – lazy

Nunca hace sus deberes, es muy perezoso
He never does his homework, he’s very lazy

poco fiable – unreliable

Mi compañero es poco fiable, siempre llega tarde
My colleague is unreliable, he always arrives late

presumido/a – show-offy

La chica es presumida, siempre saca fotos de si misma
The girl is a show-off, she always takes photos of herself

tacaño/a – mean

Es tacaño, nunca quiere gastar dinero
He’s mean, he never wants to spend money

torpe – clumsy

Mi hermano es torpe, deja caer todo
My brother is clumsy, he drops everything

vago/a – lazy

Siempre se levantan tarde, son vagos
They always get up late, they are lazy

Neutral – depend on context

ambiciosos/a – ambitious

Eduardo es ambicioso, quiere montar su propio negocio
Eduado is ambitious, he wants to set up his own business

anticuado/a – old-fashioned

Mis abuelos son anticuados, todavía llevan ropa de los años setenta
My grandparents are old-fashioned, they still wear clothes from the 70s

franco/a – straight-talking

José es muy franco, dice exactamente lo que piensa
José is very frank, he says exactly what he thinks

hablador/a – talkative

Carmen es habladora, ha hablado durante todo el viaje
Carmen is very talkative, she has spoken during the whole journey

orgulloso/a – proud / vain

Somos muy orgullosos de nuestro hijo por aprobar sus exámenes
We are very proud of our son for passing his exams

Está tan orgullosa, siempre se mira en el espejo
She is so vain, she’s always looking at herself in the mirror

reservado/a – reserved

Es una persona reservada, prefiere callarse las cosas para si misma
She is a reserved person, she prefers to keep things to herself

sensible – sensitive

Francisco es muy sensible, se enoja fácilmente
Francisco is very sensitive, he gets upset easily

sensato/a – sensible

Beatriz es sensata, siempre sabe lo mejor que hacer
Beatriz is sensible, she always knows the best thing to do

tímido/a – shy

Es un niño tímido, prefiere jugar solo
He is a shy boy, he prefers to play alone

tonto/a – silly/stupid

Mi tío es tonto, siempre hace cosas locas
My uncle is silly, he always does crazy things

tranquilo/a – calm / laid-back

Mi primo es tranquilo, nunca se enoja
My cousin is calm, he never gets mad