Spanish words with no direct English translation Every language is beautiful in its own unique way, that uniqueness is why many times we want to express something in a particular language but we just don’t seem to find the word.

One of the interesting things about speaking different languages is that we link words to concepts, objects, feelings, thoughts,  actions etc, and sometimes when learning a new language these words make perfect sense and have a straight forward translation, but other times they do not align at all.

I bet that sometimes when you are talking in one language you find a word that perfectly describe what you want to explain/say and when you try it to say it in  the other language is ….mmm….There is no word for that?? So sometimes in order to describe these words we are going to need to use two o more words, and sometimes even a full explanation.

That is why today we are going to learn some Spanish words that do not have a direct translation in English and to say them, we will need more than one word.

Are you ready….¡Vamos a ello!


Spanish words with no direct English translation



If you prefer watch the video lessons instead of reading it, just click here –>


  • 1- TRASNOCHARto stay up late

When you go out with friends you probably “trasnochas” and that is probably not a good idea if you have to work next day, if that is the case you could excuse your low performance next morning by saying:

Estoy muy cansado, ayer quedé con  mis amigos y transnoché más de lo que debía.

I am very tired, I met my friends yesterday and I stay up later than I should have….


  • 2-MADRUGAR-to wake up early


This is a lot of people who struggle with this, specially during the weekends, if you are meeting a friend during the weekend to go for a hike and you are trying to arrange a time, if he likes to sleep he would probably say:

No me importa, pero no muy pronto, que no quiero madrugar el domingo.

I don’t mind, but not very early, I don’t want to wake up early on Sunday.

Madrugar is a verb, but we also have an adjective to describe someone who likes, or even if they don’t like it they still wake up early, “madrugador” that in English is known as an early bird.


  • 3- ENTRECEJO-the space between someone’s eyebrows


As you see this one is one of those ones that need a full explanation.

El jugador de ajedrez miraba al entrecejo de su oponente mientras esperaba su turno.

The chess’ player looked at the space between the eyebrow of  his opponent while he was waiting his turn.


#note-sometimes when people have hair in the space between their eyebrows we say that “tienen entrecejo”




This word describe a feeling, and it is that feeling you get when you have too much of something that is sweet.

Me encanta el dulce de leche, pero no puedo comer mucho porque me empalaga

I love “dulce de leche” but I can’t eat much because it is too sweet ….maybe?

#note-something that empalaga is “empalagoso”, so as you can see we can use it as an adjective too, for example “el pastel de crema es empalagoso”, we algo use this adjective to describe a couple who are all over each other, they are “empalagosos”, and we could also use it to describe something that in English you would describe as “cheesy”


  • 5-PARDO


Pardo is actually a colour, and it is a colour that it between the colour grey and the coffe/brown color, it is pardo.

Me he comprado un bolso pardo muy bonito

I have bought a very beautiful bag, the colour is between grey and brown…

  • 6- MANCO


We use this word to describe someone who does not have a hand or an arm. It can be because of an accident or they were born without it.


We also have tuerto to express someone only got one eye, and cojo, that means that someone only got one leg.


  • 7-AJENO

I think this word also requires a full explanation as the best way to describe it as something that is not yours, it belongs to someone’s else. It is not yours.

You might hear someone describe it as unconnected, external…but they are not just quite the same…


We take the famous sentence:

Se dice que el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz. It is translated as It is said that peace is respecting other people’s rights.


We can also say:

Lo peor es tener hambre en casa ajena. The worst is when you’re hungry at someone else’s house.


Or even explain that

El décimo mandamiento prohíbe codiciar el bien ajeno. The Tenth Commandment forbids us from coveting other’s people property.

And with that my friend we reached the end of this blog, I hope you enjoyed it and if you want to get deeper into this subject I have created a pdf for you which you can download and save it to your computer, it also comes with some questions to see if you got all the Spanish words with no direct English translation that we have seen today right.


Get it here –> 


As well as usual I would love to hear from you, leave a comment below with one of the words from above, you know what I always say…PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT! And it will help your learning too as apart of reading (passive) you would put it into written words (active).


Now it is time to let this sink and I will see you next week!


Un abrazo


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