Common Spanish phrases

Thursday May 13, 2021 | Spanish Language | Posted by studyspanishinspain

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Common Spanish phrases

Are you learning Spanish? Once you pass the Spanish for beginners level, it’s nice to start using Spanish words and Spanish phrases that the Spaniards use themselves; the typical ones we mean. Once you start using those Common Spanish phrases, you will quickly improve your spoken Spanish. Also, your Spanish will sound more ‘Spanish’; and by hearing yourself using common Spanish phrases, your self-confidence will increase. So Spaniards, here we come!

Spanish words and Spanish slang

Most of the Spanish words and expressions below typically belong to Spain. Although native Spanish speakers – including all of Latin America – share the same language, each Spanish speaking country has their own unique flare including accents, ways of speaking and most importantly slang. When you put a Spaniard in a room with a Peruvian they may have no clue what the other is talking about if they use their own Spanish slang, even though they are both native Spanish speakers.

Spanish courses in Spain

If you are doing a Spanish course in Spain – or you will do – and you live with a host family, we promise that during the first days, you’ll have heard at least half of the following Spanish words or phrases, especially if the host family has teenagers or young adults. But you will also hear your Spanish teachers in Spain using part of this Spanish slang or typical Spanish expressions!

Common Spanish phrases

1. Tío/a

Literal definition: uncle / aunt
Definition: friend
Example: ¡Eh, tía! ¿Qué tal? (Hey girl! How are you?)

2. Chaval/a

Literal definition: kid
Definition: kid, boy, girl, youngster
Example: Esta chavala es muy graciosa. ¿Qué edad tiene? – Solo tiene doce años. (This kid is really funny. How old is she? – She’s only twelve.)
Example: Esta mañana llevé al chaval a la escuela. (I took my boy to school this morning.)
Example: Estas chavalas son hermanas. (These girls are sisters.)

3. Majo/a (to be nice)

Literal definition: nice, attractive
Definition: nice, pleasant, good-looking
Example: David es un tío muy majo y siempre está dispuesto a ayudar. (David is a very nice guy and is always willing to help.)
Example: ¿Qué te parece la profe nueva de mates? Es maja, ¿verdad? (What do you think of the new math teacher? She’s nice, isn’t she?)
Example: Entró una chica muy maja en el bar y todas las miradas se fueron hacia ella. (A very attractive girl came into the bar, and all eyes turned to her.)

4. Babosa

Literal definition: slug
Definition: gullible
Example: Le dije que los gatos tienen cinco patas, ella es una babosa. (I told her that cats have five legs, she’s so gullible.)

5. Vale

Literal definition: to agree / voucher
Definition: ok, yes, alright
Example: Vayamos a cenar fuera. – Vale. (Let’s go out for dinner. – Okay.)

6. Guay

Literal definition: cool
Definition: great, cool
Example: ¿Quieres que veamos la peli en mi ordenador? – ¡Guay, tío! (Do you want to watch the movie on my computer? – Cool, man!)
Example: ¡Gané un viaje a Peru! – ¡Guay! (I won a trip to Peru! – Cool!_

7. Molar

Literal definition: back tooth
Definition: to like someone or something
Example: Es la banda que más me mola de todas. (It’s the band I like the most out of all of them.)

Learn more about Spanish courses in Spain

Spanish in Spain


8. Pijo/a

Literal definition: preppy, posh, spoiled
Definition: to be a spoiled brat or a snob
Example: Arturo es un pijo. No sabe lo que es pasar hambre o bañarse con agua fría. (Arturo is a spoiled brat. He has never gone hungry or had to shower with cold water.)

9. ¡Jolín! ¡Jolines!

Literal definition: these expressions are used to show surprise or anger
Definition: jeez, darn, wow
Example: Haz el favor de callarte, ¿quieres? ¡Jolín! (Will you please shut up? Jeez!)

10. Hombre

Literal definition: man
Definition: used as a term of endearment
Example: ¡Hombre! ¿Qué tal?! (Hey man, how’s it going?)

More Common Spanish phrases

11. Guiri

Literal definition: foreigner
Definition: gringo/a, a term used to refer to North Americans or other Europeans outside of Spain
Example: En verano Barcelona está llena de guiris y solo quedan unos pocos españoles. (Barcelona is full of foreigners in the summer, with only a few Spaniards left.)

12. Caña

Literal definition: cane, reed, rod, glass of beer
Definition: The best, something that is really good
Example: ¡Esto es la caña! (This is the best!)
Sí, este bar es una caña. (Yeah, this bar is awesome.)

13. A dos velas

Literal definition: to two candles
Definition: to be broke
Example: Estamos a dos velas. (We’re broke.)

14. De puta madre

Literal definition: of mother prostitute
Definition: Fucking awesome / fantastic / when something is so frickin’ good
Example: Nueva York es una ciudad de puta madre. Si viviera allí, saldría todas las noches. (New York is a fucking awesome city. If I lived there, I’d go out every night.)

15. Venga

Literal definition: hurry up
Definition: can be used to say come on, goodbye, to say that you are kidding or can be used to cut off a conversation
Example: ¡Venga! ¡Solo falta un gol! (Come on! We only need one goal!)
Venga, hasta luego. (Ok, see you later.)

16. Curro/a

Literal definition: showy, cocky, flashy
Definition: work, job
Example: A Jorge lo echaron y ahora está buscando un curro nuevo. (Jorge was fired and is now looking for a new job.)

17. Qué fuerte

Literal definition: how strong
Definition: wow, can either be used positively or negatively
Example: ¡Qué fuerte! Cuánto tiempo, ¿no? (Wow! Long time no see!)

Two Common Spanish verbs

18. Ligar

Literal definition: to tie, to attach, to bind
Definition: to flirt
Example: Ligar a una persona se trata de hacerla reír, resaltar sus cualidades físicas pero sin insultar y lograr una conexión. (Flirting with a person is about making them laugh, highlighting their physical qualities, without insulting them, and achieving a connection.)

19. Pirarse

Literal definition: to take off
Definition: to leave
Example: Yo me piro antes de que venga mamá y me haga ordenar mi cuarto. (I’ll take off before mom comes and makes me tidy my room.)


Learn more about Spanish courses in Spain

Spanish in Spain



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