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That's the Truth: 'Verdad' and Related Words

English Cognates Include 'Verify'



Edificio en Orense, España, una ciudad también llamada Ourense. (Building in Orense, Spain, a city also called Ourense.)

Photo by Certo Xornal; licensed via Creative Commons.

The most common Spanish word for "truth" is verdad, although it is slightly more flexible in usage than the English word. Some examples:

  • La verdad es que este país está gobernado por una colección de tontos. The truth is that this country is governed by a group of fools.
  • Respondió la verdad a todas las preguntas. He answered truthfully to all questions.
  • ¿Es verdad que cuando un hombre está ebrio dice la verdad? Is it true that when a man is drunk he tells the truth?
  • La verdad a medias es la peor mentira. A half-truth is the worst lie.
  • Prefiero mil veces una verdad dolorosa que una mentira piadosa. I prefer a thousand times over a painful truth to a kind lie.
  • Esto es la pura verdad. That's the gospel truth.
  • De verdad que no me importa. It really doesn't matter to me.

In questions, especially tag questions, verdad can be used when seeking verification:

  • Ya no me quieres ¿verdad? You don't love me any more, do you?
  • Entonces no sabemos realmente si el viaje por tiempo es posible ¿verdad? Then we don't really know if time travel is possible, do we?
  • En fin, se fueron a Madrid ¿verdad? Finally they went to Madrid, didn't they?

Verdad comes from the Latin word for "truth," veritas. Spanish also has numerous other words and phrases, most of them with English cognates, that derive from veritas. Here are the most common:

Tener verificativo — to take place, to occur (most commonly used in Mexico). El estreno de la película tendrá verificativo el miércoles. The movie premiere will take place on Wednesday.

Veracidad — veracity, truthfulness. La presunción de veracidad es un principio legal. The presumption of truthfulness is a legal principle.

Veraz — truthful. No es fácil contestarlos porque sus preguntas necesitan respuestas veraces. It's not easy to answer them because their questions require honest answers.

De veras — used to emphasize that something is true, much like "really" often does.

  • De veras no sé nada. I really don't know anything.
  • ¡De veras ustedes son geniales! You really are fantastic!
  • De veras me parece una situación lamentable que se llegue a este punto. It really seems to me to be a sorry situation that it has come to this point.

Verdadero — true, real, authentic.

  • ¿Cuál es el verdadero nombre de Prince Royce? What's Prince Royal's real name?
  • La verdadera riqueza de una nación está en su gente. The true wealth of a nation is in its people.
  • En Mallorca no existe el clima propicio para que se desarrollen perlas verdaderas. A climate favorable for the development of genuine pearls doesn't exist in Mallorca.

Verdaderamente — truly, really. Lo que importa verdaderamente en la vida no son los objetivos que nos marcamos, sino los caminos que seguimos para lograrlos. What is truly important in life isn't the goals we set but the paths we take to reach them.

Verificable — verifiable. No tienen una explicación verificable. They don't have a verifiable explanation.

Verificación — verification, a test or experiment used in an attempt to verify something. El estado tiene un programa de verificación vehicular obligatorio. The state has a mandatory vehicle testing program.

Verificar — to verify, to check, to test. En enero vamos a verificar dónde están los leones. In January we will check to see where the lions are.

Verificarse — to become a reality, to occur. Los mayores problemas se verificaron en el sector oriente. The biggest problems occurred in the eastern region.

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