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Learn Spanish Vocabulary

Resources for improving your Spanish vocabulary.
  1. Idioms and Phrases (36)
  2. Online Dictionaries
  3. Translation Resources (88)
  4. Translations from English (55)
  5. Verb Families (19)
  6. Verb Meanings
  7. Vocabulary Games (8)
  8. Word Lists (57)
  9. Word of the Day (298)
  10. Words We Share (14)

Advice for Building Your Spanish Vocabulary
Advice from Spanish students and others on how to increase your vocabulary.

Expanding Your Spanish Vocabulary
Spanish students and others who have learned Spanish offer advice for increasing your vocabulary.

This lesson for beginning and intermediate Spanish students explains the different ways in which fractions can be expresssed.

Spanish Suffixes
Suffixes and how to use them in Spanish, with examples.

'Muchacho/a' or 'Chico/a': What's the Difference
The words 'chico' or 'chica' and 'muchacho' or 'muchacha' are used slightly differently in parts of the Spanish-speaking world. Here are some clues for knowing which one to use.

Months of the Year
Here is a list of the months of the year in Spanish and an explanation of how they are used in sentences.

The Four Seasons
Here are the names of the four seasons in Spanish and how they are used.

Talking Like the Animals
Here are the sounds that the animals make in Spanish. They aren't necessarily the same as they make in English.

Building Your Vocabulary: Prefixes
Spanish and English share many prefixes. Understanding them can help you learn more Spanish words.

How Can I Increase My Vocabulary
It's a problem most learners of a foreign language face: How can I increase the number of words I know? Here, language students share what has worked for them.

Increasing Your Spanish Vocabulary
This collection of lessons and other resources is designed to help Spanish students increase the number of words in their vocabulary.

Using 'Mal-'
As in English, the Spanish prefix 'mal-' is used to indicate that something is bad, abnormal or otherwise not right.

Does Spanish Have Fewer Words Than English?
Does Spanish have more words than English does? Yes, but that shouldn't be seen as a sign of inferiority.

Filler Words and Vocal Pauses
In English we often use filler words such as 'hmmm' and 'err' as we collect our thoughts. What is the equivalent in Spanish?

Points of the Compass
How many ways in can you refer to the directions of the compass? More in Spanish than in English.

Definition of 'Euphemism'
Whether we speak Spanish or English, we use euphemisms frequently. Here you can find out what a euphemism is and see examples in both languages.

False Friends - Spanish Words That Are Easily Misunderstood
Dozens of words are alike or very similar in English and Spanish while having quite different meanings. This collection of Spanish-English false friends, sometimes not-so-correctly referred to as false cognates, is one of the most complete anywhere.

Fickle Friends - Tricky Spanish Vocabulary
Fickle friends are those words that are the same or very similar in two languages and often mean the same thing but not always. This list of fickle friends supplements the entries in the list of false friends above.

Word of the Day
Check back each day to learn a new word. Included with each word is its definition (in English) and an example of its use in a sentence, most of them taken from current Spanish-language publications or Web sites.

Spanish for Beginners
If you're new to learning Spanish, this collection of lessons will help you learn what you need to know.

Spanish Lessons for Intermediate and Advanced Students
If you're beyond the beginner stage of learning Spanish, this collection of lessons can help you learn the details of using the Spanish language well.

Suffixes are simply word endings that can be used to modify a word's meaning. We use them in English all the time, and nearly all of them that we use in English have a Spanish equivalent. But Spanish has an even wider variety, and their usage isn't always as obvious as it would be in English.

Compound Words in Spanish
Spanish has an abundance of compound words, many of them colorful. One word for 'firecracker,' for example, means 'it looks for feet.'

Tips for Increasing Your Vocabulary
Participants in our forum tell what's worked for them as they try to increase the number of words they know.

Discussing Temperatures in Spanish
The Spanish verb 'estar' is often used in Spanish when talking about the temperature. This lesson includes an explanation of how to convert between the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales.

Dichos, refranes y citas
For a quick and enjoyable way of improving your Spanish vocabulary and knowledge of grammar, subscribe to "Dichos, refranes y citas," a daily newsletter that features a new saying, proverb or quotation each day.

Using Metric Measurements
Your Spanish abilities may be fine, but if you don't have at least a basic understanding of the metric system, you won't be able to discuss measurements well.

Spanish Homophones
List of Spanish homophones and homonyms, words that sound alike and can easily be confused, along with their definitions.

Size of Spanish Vocabulary
Although Spanish speakers have far fewer words at their disposal than English speakers do, the smaller vocabulary of the language shouldn't be seen as a sign of inferiority.

The easiest way to expand your vocabulary in Spanish is to find other uses for those Spanish words you already know. One way is to add prefixes, beginnings that change or expand the meanings of words.

Quiz on Suffixes
Do you know the Spanish suffixes? Find out by taking this quiz.

Counting - Cardinal Numbers
Follow these rules, and you can count for the rest of your life and not run out of Spanish numbers.

The '@' Symbol in Spanish
Learn how the "@" symbol used in e-mail is referred to in Spanish and where the word came from.

Turning Adjectives Into Nouns
Almost any Spanish adjective can be turned into a noun. Here's how, along with many examples.

What Is the Longest Word in Spanish?
Various sources claim that superextraordinarísimo is the longest Spanish word, but we can do better than that.

'Conocer' and Related Words
Learn about the Spanish word conocer, often meaning "to know," and words derived from it.

The Spanish of Peru
Many of the words distinctive to Peruvian Spanish that you're likely to come across as a tourist are related to food.

Verbs Ending in '-ducir'
This is a guide to the common, and some not-so-common, Spanish verbs that end in '-ducir.'

Adjectives with Location-Dependent Meanings
Some adjectives change meaning depending on whether they come before or after the noun they refer to.

More Confusing Verb Pairs
These sets of verb pairs are often easily confused by Spanish students.

Shopping in Spanish
This vocabulary list provides some of the most common words and phrases that come in handy when shopping in Spain or Latin America.

Expressing Fear
The two most common ways of expressing fear in Spanish are 'temer' and 'tener miedo.'

Definition of 'Suffix'
Glossary definition of 'suffix' as used in both English and Spanish.

Definition of 'Prefix'
Glossary definition of 'prefix' as used in both English and Spanish.

Definition of "Acronym"
Glossary entry.

Varieties of Spanish
Most regions of the Spanish-speaking word have own slang and terms of local usage, but the standard vocabulary of Spanish is understood everywhere.

Definition of 'Homonym'
Glossary definition of "homonym" with examples in Spanish and English.

Nouns with Ambiguous Gender
Nearly all nouns in Spanish can be placed in one of two categories — masculine and feminine. However, there are some words of ambiguous gender that don't fit quite so neatly.

Meanings of 'Santo'
The Spanish word santo usually means "holy" or "saint," but the word has escaped its religious boundaries to obtain a wide range of meanings.

Thanksgiving Vocabulary
Spanish vocabulary list of words related to Thanksgiving.

Saying 'Next' in Spanish
The concept of "next" may seem quite basic, but it can be expressed in Spanish in several ways, depending on how it is being used.

'Derecho' and 'Derecha'
The Spanish words 'derecho' and 'derecha' are easily confused. Here's a quick guide to using these common words correctly.

Words of Both Genders
Nearly all nouns in Spanish are always masculine or always feminine. But there are a few nouns that can be either, and their meaning depends on which gender they are.

Words for Snow
Spanish has dozens of words and phrases that can be used to refer to all types of snow and related phenomenon.

Expressing Afterthoughts
Spanish has two common ways of introducing an afterthought, unrelated comment or offhand remark, ways that are typically translated as "by the way" or "incidentally" in English.

Ordinal Numbers
Ordinal numbers are those such as "first" and "second" in English, primero and segundo in Spanish. This lesson explains how they are used and provides a list for reference.

Definition of 'Onomatopoeia'
Definition of 'onomatopoeia' with examples in Spanish and English.

Filler Words
In English, you might say "ummm" between words as you collect your thoughts. Spanish speakers are more likely to use real words as vocal filler material.

Spanish for Dining
One of the most pleasant aspects of international travel is experiencing new foods. Here is some vocabulary to help you with the basics.

Weather Terms
Everybody talks about the weather, so if you learn these words your efforts will help you with casual conversations.

The Suffix '-miento'
The suffix -miento is used to turn verbs into nouns.

The Meaning of 'Ya'
Ya is one of those words whose meaning depends almost entirely on the context.

Spanish Beach Vocabulary
If you're a beach lover, sooner or later you'll find yourself someplace where Spanish is spoken.

Learn the words for the names of relatives such as "father," "aunt" and "second cousin."

Vocabulary of Air Travel
If you're traveling by air to or through a Spanish-speaking country, here's some vocabulary you will want to know.

First impressions count. That's one reason you should learn some of these common greetings before visiting an area where Spanish is spoken.

Spanish speakers frequently use the diminutive suffixes not only to indicate size but also to make a word less harsh or to indicate affection.

Augmentative Suffixes
Although augmentative suffixes aren't as common in Spanish as diminutive suffixes, they are frequently added to nouns as a way of expanding vocabulary or providing a nuance of meaning, often a negative one.

Claro is one of the most commonly used words in Spanish for expressing agreement.

Approximations can come in handy in everyday speech, since we often think in round figures rather than specifics.

Yes, you can say ayúdame (or more formally, ayúdeme or ayúdenme, depending on how many people you're talking to) as a way of requesting help. But don't be surprised to hear someone call out simply "¡auxilio!"

Vocabulary for Lodging and Hotels
Here is some vocabulary that will help you if you're spending the night in an area where Spanish is spoken.

Definition of 'false friend'

Definition of 'Cognate'

Principles of Translation
Effective translation is sometimes as much an art as a science. The key is to translate ideas rather than words.

Count to 10 in Spanish
Children sometimes learn how to count to 10 in a foreign language merely because it's fun to do so. But knowing the numbers can also be practical when traveling or shopping.

What Does 'Chauito' Mean?
To understand an unfamiliar word, it sometimes helps to divide it into its parts.

What's the Difference Between 'Chico' and 'Muchacho'?
The two words are often interchangeable, but there are some differences in meaning.

Using 'ver' and 'mirar'
The Spanish verbs 'mirar' and 'ver' have similar meanings, but they aren't typically interchangeable. Here's a quick guide to their use.

Definition of 'Transliteration'
When one language adopts words from another language, transliteration can be part of the process.

What Is a Synonym?
Definition of "synonym."

What Is an Antonym?
Definition of "antonym."

Expressions of Frequency
This lesson for Spanish students covers expressions of frequency, indicating how often events occur. This includes terms such as the Spanish equivalents of "never," "always" and "sometimes."

Here are names for all the basic colors and then some.

10 Mistakes To Avoid While Learning Spanish
Making mistakes is a natural part of learning any language, but chances are you don't want to make some of the easily avoidable mistakes that might make you sound less intelligent than you are.

Medical Spanish
This site is mainly for people who are learning medical Spanish, but there's plenty here of general interest too.

Words Ending in '-quiera'
How to use Spanish words such as 'dondeqiera,' 'cualquiera' and 'quienquiera,' which can mean 'wherever,' whatever' and 'whoever,' respectively.

Using the Prefix 'Super-'
Use of the Spanish prefix 'super-'

'Hombre' and 'Mujer'
Explanation of how mujer and hombre, the words for "woman" and "man," are used.

Using 'Comer'
An explanation of how the verb 'comer' is used in Spanish.

Using the Suffix -dumbre
Explanation of the Spanish suffix '-dumbre' with sample sentences.

Meanings of 'Ciudad'
Explanation of how the Spanish word 'ciudad' is used.

100 Spanish Words You Need To Know
A list of the 100 Spanish words you need to know. This is currently a work in progress; the list should be complete sometime in 2011.

Calling for Help
Question and answer about workers calling for help.

How To Express Certainty in Spanish
A look at how "cierto," "seguro" and other words can be used to express certainty in Spanish. Sample sentences and translations are provided.

Using 'Parte'
Usage of the Spanish noun parte in its masculine and feminine forms.

Translating When Words Have No English Equivalents
Translation can be a challenge when Spanish words have no good English equivalents.

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