Spanish Online

Blog

Spanish Language & Culture

Enjoy the articles about the Spanish language and culture of the Spanish speaking world. Get introduced to the culture of Spain and Latin America. Read about language hacks, learning tips, Latin American and recipes, culture, and more.

151 views

A Dive into Unique Spanish Words You’ll Only Hear in Spain

A dive into unique spanish words you'll only hear in Spain

Welcome to a linguistic journey to the streets of Spain where to hear Unique Spanish words that dance off the tongue like a secret code. We’ll delve into the heart of Spain’s linguistic landscape, uncovering the vibrant and distinctive Spanish slang that adds an extra layer of flavor to the Spanish language. This is a dive into Unique Spanish Words You’ll Only Hear in Spain.

From the bustling markets of Madrid to the sun-soaked beaches of Barcelona, Spain is full of Spanish phrases and expressions that are as diverse as the country itself. Join us as we explore the streets, cafes, and tapas bars to decipher the colloquial language that might leave even seasoned Spanish speakers raising an eyebrow.

Get ready to embrace the essence of Spanish culture through its unique and region-specific slang. You will learn a new set of expressions or idioms in Spanish, providing you with a linguistic passport to navigate Spain’s spoken word. So, whether you’re planning a trip to the Iberian Peninsula to travel or to study Spanish in Spain or you’re simply fascinated by the beauty of language, this is your gateway to understanding the typical Spanish slang that’s as authentic as a flamenco performance in Seville.

VALE

It’s hard to talk to a Spaniard and not hear the word ‘vale’ every few minutes. In fact, one of the things that surprise people who are in contact with Spaniards or living in Spain is how often this typical Spanish word can appear in a conversation.

Its meaning is to indicate agreement or conformity with what another person says, so it is equivalent to the American expression OK, which in Spain is hardly used in spoken language but is used in more informal written language (text messages, social media, etc.).

A conversation where the word “vale” might appear could be, for example, the following:

¿Nos vemos esta noche?
Vale, a las nueve.

MOLAR

The Spanish verb “molar” is used to say that you really like something, that it is pleasant, or that it’s great. It is an expression of colloquial use; its origin is in the Gypsy language, but it has become very widespread, especially among young people.

For example, you can say “esta camiseta mola” (this T-shirt is cool) or “¡cómo mola tu coche!” (your car is very cool!) or even use the verb when you like a person: “me mola mucho Jorge” (I really like Jorge).

GUAY

The word “guay” is also constantly used among young people in Spain and means that something is very good or very nice. For example, “la nueva temporada de la serie está muy guay” (the new season of the series is very cool).

Guay would be the Spanish equivalent of the term “cool” in English.

TÍO, TÍA

Anyone who has just started learning Spanish knows very well what the words “tío” and “tía” mean: they come up when you begin to learn the names of different family members, referring to the brother or sister of one of our parents.

In Spain, in addition to their general use, they are also used to refer to friends or companions in informal situations and when there is a sense of complicity. For example:”Tía, ayer llegué tardísimo a casa” (Tía, I got home very late yesterday). Also, on other occasions, it can have a derogatory meaning, as in “¿qué se ha creído este tío?” (What does this guy think he’s doing?).

FLIPAR

“Flipar” is also an informal typical Spanish word that means to be very enthusiastic or amazed by something or someone. For example: “Flipo con lo que acabas de decir” (I can’t believe what you just said) or “Estoy flipando con lo que está pasando” (I’m blown away by what’s happening). It is also often used to describe being under the influence of some drug.

HOSTIA

“Hostia” is a word of religious origin, referring to the round piece of bread consecrated during the Mass, representing the body of Jesus Christ. However, in Spain, it also has two more colloquial and somewhat vulgar meanings. It can mean a slap or a hit, as in “ayer me di tal hostia que me duele todo el cuerpo”, (yesterday I hit myself so hard that my whole body hurts); or it can be used as an exclamation to express different feelings such as astonishment or surprise, for example “Ostia! Me había olvidado de que hoy es su cumpleaños!” (oh no, I forgot today is his birthday.

Typical spanish words Que Hostia

MONO, MONA

Beyond designating an animal of the ape family, the word “mono” or “mona” in Spain refers to a person or thing that is pleasant or attractive. For example “Ese vestido es muy mono” (That dress is very cute), or “esta niña es muy mona” (that little girl is very cute).

Typical spanish words mono

PIJO, PIJA

The term “pijo” or “pija” refers to a person who, by their style of dress, manners, and way of speaking, affectedly displays the tastes of a wealthy social class. It is also used to talk about things associated with wealthy individuals. For example you can say “Carla es una pija” (Carla is a ‘pija’) or “este colegio es muy pijo” (this school is very ‘pijo’).

LIGAR

“Ligar” is a synonym for the verb “atar,” but in Spain, ‘ligar’ is also used to express the action of finding a partner for romantic or sexual relationships, usually casual. An example could be: “¡Esta noche he salido a ligar!” (Tonight I went out to ‘ligar’ (to pick up someone)!

VENGA

The word “venga” can mean different things. It can be the conjugated form of the present tense of the Spanish verb “vengar” (to avenge) or the subjunctive of the verb “venir” (to come). However, if, based on the context, it doesn’t refer to either of these two options, you’re most likely be hearing it as an interjection to encourage/hurry or as a way of expressing rejection and disbelief.

To express haste, you can say “Venga! Vamos a llegar tarde”(¡Come on! We’re going to be late), while to express disbelief, you might say “¡Venga! Eso no se lo cree nadie” (No! No one believes that).

Do you like to read more about common phrases in Spanish and Spanish slang? Follow the links to improve your Spanish and have fun with Unique Spanish Words You’ll Only Hear in Spain.

You might also want to read:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *