Spanish Vocabulary

Learn 10 Spanish words per day and know 2,500 words after one year!

Many words in Spanish and English are similar, but similar words can have very different meanings, so be careful.


Here are words 41 to 165* to know in Spanish:

m. = masculine noun; f. = feminine noun.

If a grammatical gender is not marked for a noun below, it is because "it's complicated"; for example, the word is masculine in some meanings and feminine in others, or it can be used as a noun but is more commonly used as an adjective, among other possibilities.

acción f.  action

actividad f.  activity

aire m.  air

arte  art [usually m. when singular (el arte moderno  modern art) and f. when plural (las bellas artes  fine arts)]

atención f.  attention; service

banco m.  bank

Barcelona  Barcelona

base f.  base

calidad f.  quality

capacidad f.  capacity

capital  capital [economics] m.; capital [city] f.

caso m.  case

causa f.  cause

central  central

centro m.  center; downtown

clase f.  class

color m.  color

comisión f.  commission

común   common

comunicación f.  communication

comunidad f.  community

condiciones f.  conditions

congreso m.  congress

crisis f.  crisis; recession

cultura f.  culture

decisión f.  decision

defensa f.  defense

diferentes  different; various

director m. or directora f.  director; principal [education]

dólares m.  dollars

economía f.  economy

económico   economic; inexpensive

educación f.  education; manners

efecto m.  effect

elecciones f.  elections

elementos m.  elements

energía f.  energy

época f.  epoch; era

espacio m.  space

especial  special

estudio m.  study

Europa  Europe

experiencia f.  experience

familia f.  family

figura f.  figure

final  end m.; final [sports] f.

función f.  function

futuro m.  future

general  general

grupo m.  group

historia f.  history

idea f.  idea

imagen f.  image

importante  important; major

información f.  information

interés m.  interest

interior m.  interior

internacional  international

investigación f.  investigation; research

julio  July

justicia f.  justice

libertad f.  liberty

Madrid  Madrid

México  Mexico; Mexico City

miembros m.  members

ministerio m.  ministry [government]

ministro m. or ministra f.   minister [government]

minutos m.  minutes

momento m.  moment

movimiento m.  movement

música f.  music

nacional  national

natural  natural

necesario  necessary

necesidad f.  necessity

número m.  number

objetivo m.  objective

objeto m.  object

opinión f.  opinion

organización f.  organization

origen m.  origin

parte  part f.; report m.

persona f.  person

personal  personal

población f.  population

policía  the police f.; the police officer m.

política f.  politics

político m. or política f.  politician

popular  popular

posibilidad f.  possibility

posible  possible

posición f.  position

presencia f.  presence

presente  present

presidente m. or presidenta f.   president

principal  principal [i.e., main]; principal [economics] m.

principio m.  principle; beginning

problema m.  problem

proceso m.  process; trial, proceedings [law]

producción f.  production

productos m.  products

programa m.  program

público m.  public; audience

puntos m.  points; stitches [medicine]

realidad f.  reality

relación f.  relation; relationship

relaciones f.  relations [international, sexual, etc.]

república f.  republic

resultados m.  results

secretario m.  secretary

sector m.  sector

seguridad f.  security

serie f.  series

servicio m.  service

silencio m.  silence

sistema m.  system

situación f.  situation

social  social

sociedad f.  society

superior  superior

televisión f.  television

total  total

unión f.  union

universidad f.  university

zona f.  zone; area

*These words are "cognates"—words that are the same, or nearly the same, in both Spanish and English. Remember, though, that words can have more than one meaning! For example, the Spanish word 'parte' has many of the same meanings of the English word 'part' (a piece of the whole, some of), and that is the main meaning in both languages. However, the English 'part' can also mean an actor's role in a play or movie, or the line along which someone separates his or her hair, while the Spanish 'parte' can mean an official report. As you can see, even words that share a few meanings in two languages may also have additional meanings that are found only in one language or the other.

It is easy to think, if you have not studied another language for very long, that for every word in your native language, there is one, and only one, word in the other language. This is very far from the truth! It is a mistake to look for this one-to-one, language-to-language, correspondence. It is also a mistake to think that a word that looks like one you are familiar with from your own language has the same meaning in another language. For example, 'crime' is 'delito' (not 'crimen,' which is 'murder'); 'embarrassed' is 'avergonzado' or 'apenado' (not 'embarazada,' which is 'pregnant'); 'intoxicado' is 'suffering from food poisoning' (not 'drunk,' which is 'borracho' or 'ebrio'); 'pretender' is 'to try to' or 'to intend to' (not 'to pretend,' which is 'fingir'). The words mentioned in this paragraph are "false cognates"; they look the same in both languages, but their meanings are not the same at all!

It is important, always, to pay attention to what a word means in its language. On the rare occasions when it means the same as a similar word in your own language, you can celebrate. Otherwise, learn what it really means in the other language, so you can use it correctly, the way native speakers of that language use it and understand it.

Also know that, on these pages, I am not telling you all the meanings of every word; only the main meanings. As you are a beginning student of Spanish, it is better not to overwhelm you. If your goal is to learn Spanish well and accurately, I highly recommend you spend the few extra dollars up front for the best, biggest dictionary you can get. At this moment that would be the Collins Spanish Dictionary:

It is certainly possible to use a smaller dictionary, but then you are susceptible to "small dictionary syndrome," which will have you learning things about Spanish that are neither true nor accurate (and which you will have to unlearn later). It will be easier on you to learn the correct meanings the first time!


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Created -- 2017-07-04
Revised -- 2017-08-22