11 Spanish words that cannot be translated into English easily

Hablamos espanol scaledWhen learning another language you often come across a word that is difficult to translate since it has no direct equivalent in English. Here are some of those tricky words you may come across in the Spanish language:

1. Sobremesa

It is well-known that the Spanish take a lot longer with their mealtimes than the English, mainly due to the fact that they sit around afterwards just chatting. Sobremesa is the chatting that takes place after a meal.

e.g. Pude seguir con la sobremesa porque no tuve que trabajar por la tarde.
I was able to continue chatting after dinner because I didn’t have to work in the afternoon.

2. Anteayer

“The day before yesterday”.

e.g. Anteayer fui a Londres. The day before yesterday I went to London.

3. Friolero/a or Friolento/a

This refers to a person who is sensitive to the cold.
e.g. Soy friolero así que prefiero subir la calefacción. I really feel the cold so I prefer to turn the heating up.

困惑した表情のOL4. Pena ajena

To be embarrassed or feel ashamed on behalf of someone else.

e.g. Me dio pena ajena cuando se equivocó con las cifras.
(I was embarrassed for her when she got the figures wrong.)

5. El de la vergüenza

This describes the piece of food left in the middle of the dinner table which everyone secretly wants but no-one dares to take because they don’t want to look greedy or selfish.

6. Aprovechar

This can mean “to make the most of”, “take advantage of”, “use”, “abuse”, “seize”, “exploit”, or “benefit”. It is also used as the Spanish equivalent of French “Bon appetite!”.

e.g. ¡Qué aproveche!Enjoy!
e.g. Hay que aprovechar las oportunidades. You have to make the most of opportunities.
e.g. Aprovecharon la ausencia del jefe. They took advantage of the boss’ absence.
e.g. Se aprovechó de su ingenuidad. He took advantage of her naivety.

7. Tutear

This is to describe the informal way of addressing someone (the tú form – when talking to children, friends, family) rather than the formal “usted” form (used to talk to strangers, older people and in more formal situations)./

8. Merendar

To have an afternoon/teatime snack.

e.g. Mi amiga viene a merendar esta tarde. (My friend is coming for tea this afternoon.)

Woman trying dress shopping for clothing.9. Estrenar

To show or use for the first time.

E.g. Compré este vestido y voy a estrenarlo en la fiesta esta noche.
(I bought this dress last week and I am going to wear it for the first time at the party tonight.)

10. Tener ganas

This can mean to feel like doing something, to be looking forward to something, have the desire to do something.
e.g. Tengo ganas de llegar a casa. I am looking forward to getting home.
e.g. Tiene ganas de que vuelvas. I am looking forward to you returning.
e.g. No tengo ganas de salir esta noche. I don’t feel like going out tonight.

11. Desvelado/a

To be sleep-deprived / awake.

e.g. Anoche el perro del vecino estaba ladrando toda la noche y estuve desvelada.
(Last night the neighbours dogs was barking all night and I couldn’t sleep.)

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