How do you say Daddy what are you doing in Spanish?

PinShareTweetFlip892 SharesHave you ever wished there were a word to more accurately describe something youre feeling or doing?There probably is oneit just doesnt exist in English.

How do you say Daddy what are you doing in Spanish?

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Have you ever wished there were a word to more accurately describe something youre feeling or doing?

There probably is oneit just doesnt exist in English. There are even emotions we havent experienced because we dont have language for them. Fascinating, isnt it?

Learning another language unlocks new ways to express ourselves in these words-that-dont-quite-translate. It gives us a better understanding of the world, enriches our travel experiences, and brings greater depth to our ability to process and communicate ideas.While Im not fluent in Spanish, Ive often said that Spanglish is my favorite language because there are just some Spanish words that capture what I want to say so much better. (Lucky for me, I can break out into it with my husband or in-laws anytime and they dont think Im crazy!)

Sometimes it takes a whole phrase to attempt to translate the meaning of these words, and other times, there are subtle nuances that are lost in translation.From the funny to the perfectly succinct, here are 25 Spanish words or phrases with no exact English equivalent!

1. VerguenzaAjena / Pena Ajena

To feel embarrassed for someone even if they dont feel embarrassed themselves

These terms vary regionally but seem to carry the same connotation. If youve ever watched a stand-up comedian bombing, you know the feeling this is describing. You put your hand to your head to hide your face, squeeze your fists, and make a crazy cringing face. The best we can do in English is say something is awkward, but I dont think that quite captures the depth of the awkwardness we sometimes feel at someone elses embarrassing moment. I love the idea of having a term specifically for those Michael Scott moments weve all felt.


2. Merendar

To have an afternoon snack, coffee, or tea

Having distinct words in Spanish meaning to eat + specificmeal is pretty great (desayunar, almorzar, and cenar), and now you can add afternoon snacking to the mix! However, it wouldnt be Latin American Spanish without the word meaning something else entirely in some countries. At least in Ecuador,merendar means to have dinner.


3. Empalagar

To be overly sweet, in reference to food or a person

Speaking of foodyou know that feeling you get in your mouth when you scrape up all the brownie batter while waiting for the brownies to cook and then proceed to make a hot fudge sundae once theyre done? (No? Just me?) Weve all had moments where weve eaten something sosweet that our mouths feel weird and we cant possibly take another bite. Spanish has a word for that!


4. Sobremesa

After-dinner conversation, time spent leisurely chatting around the table after a meal

This one isnt used everywhere across Latin America, but from my anecdotal observations, Im pretty sure the act of enjoying a sobremesa is commoneven if the word itself isnt used in a particular place. Ive had countless chats with my Puerto Rican mother-in-law after breakfast and cafecito while everyone else scatters from the table. I think we could all use a slow-paced meal and time spent with family and friends more often in our time-oriented US culture.


5. Tutear

To address someone with the informaltúform

The first time I heard this, I was watching a cheesy Colombian soap opera, and it was one of those words that I immediately understood from context and knowing how words are structured in Spanish. Obviously, we dont need a word for this in English since we dont have an informal you, but I just thought it was so convenient to have this succinct way of saying that someone is addressing a person with thetúform.

As a bonus, Ill throw in vosear here for countries that use the familiar formvos. (Not to be confused with the homonym vocear, which means to shout, announce loudly, or call someones name over a loudspeaker.)

6. Estadounidense

Someone whos from the United States, a United State-an, like saying Colombian, Puerto Rican, or Mexican

Even though its a mouthful to say, I love this Spanish term for its specificity.I prefer to avoid referring to myself as American because it implies that the United States of America is the only America. In English I usually say, Im from the United States, but in Spanish I can also say, Soy estadounidense.

7. Antier

The day before yesterday // In some locations,anteayer is more common.

Lets be judicious with our syllables.

8. Madrugar

To wake up in the early morning, usually before sunrise (the wee hours)

When youve got a 6 AM flight to catch.this word comes in handy!

9. Trasnochar

To stay up very late, all night, or have a night out

I suppose we could get close with the phrase pulling an all-nighter, but I dont think theres a single word that captures it like Spanish does.Which of these Spanish words without an English equivalent is your favorite? #latinamerica #ttotClick To Tweet

10. Desvelado / a

To be exhausted because you were up all night or couldnt sleep

After you trasnochó, youd bedesvelado for sure. Im pretty sure this also describes the feeling you have after a restless night of sleepa combination of headache + cant concentrate + all you can think about is taking a nap but you have to work. The worst.

11. Estrenar

To use or wear for the first time

Now that I know this exists, I feel like I need a word for it.

12. Tener ganas de

To feel like, to be in the mood for

Ganameans desire or inclination, so this phrase literally translates, to have desires of. But while it means to feel like, I think that doesnt quite capture the nuances.

There are other phrases withganas de in them, like this song I heardin Cuba, Me Muero de Ganas. Which basically means Im dying of desire [for you].

13. Posibilitar

To make possible

Isntposibilitar just more fun sounding to say?

14. Amigovio

Something between amigo and novio

I suppose friends with benefits is the translation, but amigoviojust such a convenient (and completely logical) word that sums it up.

15. Chanclazo

As when your mom yells, Te voy a dar un chanclazo. Im going to smack your behind with this chancla. See also: cocotazo, used in the same contextgetting hit in the head with the knuckles.

I think all of the impressions my husband and his brothers have done of their mom (in love, of course!) over the years have made this sink into my subconscious, and although Ive never experienced the wrath of lachancla, I feel its power. Im pretty sure this one is universal across Latin America (there were a couple well-placed chanclareferences in the movieCoco).

16. Enmadrarse

To become overly attached to ones mother

17. Consuegros

Your son or daughters parents-in-law

This word is super useful because its such a succinct way of referring to in-law relationships. My family and my husbands family know each other, but theres not really a word for that relationship in English.

18. Casa Ajena

The house of a person that youre not close with so you have to be careful and not touch anything, a house where you cant really make yourself at home.

A phrase I didnt know I needed until I heard it described! Its that awkward being at a party, wondering where the bathroom is, and not being sure whether the stiff living room couch is actually for people to sit on.

19. Tocayo / a

Someone who shares the same first name as you, a name twin

In English usually we just say, Hey thats my name, too! How fun is it to have a Spanish word to use when you meet your namedoppelgänger?


20. Tuerto

Blind in one eye, one-eyed person

I mean, this might not come up that often, but how convenient is it to have a word for it when it does?

21. Friolento / a

Very sensitive to cold or always cold

This would perfectly describe my sweet gram, who always took a sweater wherever she went.

22. Enguayabado

Literally: guava-ed, which isnt anything, this is slang in Colombia for hungover

This is one of those moments when Id really like to know the origin of a word.

23. Enchilar

To season with chili

Getting straight to the point with one wordso efficient.In some countries, it can also mean to annoy or pester someone (which is kind of how I feel about chili peppers).Its amusing to think about siblings yelling at each other, Stop chili-ing me!

24. Me cae bien.

I like you (in a friendly, non-romantic way), he seems nice.

Technically we have a translation that captures the essence of what this means, but its one of those interesting, doesnt-translate-literally phrases thats funny to think about. Literally, it means You fall well on me. But its how you would refer to a teacher you like or someone you just met and got along withinstead of the wordgustar.

25. Dominguero & Dominguear

Dominguero: Sunday as an adjective, but also an insult to mean a bad/inexperienced driver (Sunday driver). Similarly, dominguear (to Sunday) can mean to do something at a relaxed pace or to have a chill, fun Sunday.

All these Sunday words! Even if these arent used across all of Latin America, and even ifdominguearis slang that isnt listed in the dictionary, they are just so perfect that I had to include them.


Which of these is your favorite? What untranslatable Spanish words would you add to the list?
Learning Spanish is important when you're traveling in Latin America...but it can be super frustrating when words or phrases don't translate well to English. But sometimes learning Spanish vocabulary can unlock new ways to express ourselves that we didn't know existed! Here are 25 Spanish words or phrases with no exact English equivalentfrom the funny to the perfectly succinct! #spanish #learnspanish #languagelearning #southamerica #centralamerica #latinamerica

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