27 words that you already know in English (for Spanish speakers)

Did you know that if you speak Spanish you probably know a lot of words in English, even if you’ve never taken a single English class?

Because of the history of the English language, many words in English come from Latin. So you’ll find many similarities between Spanish and English.

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But there are also a large amount of words that come directly from Spanish (some with a small difference in spelling). So all this time, you’ve known a lot of English without even realizing it!

English Made Easy

Following are 27 words that were “stolen” from Spanish and added to the English language (many are also similar to Portuguese). Some of these come from the mix of Spanish/Mexican and American culture back during the days of “the New World.”

Remember that although many of these words are spelled exactly the same in English and Spanish, they are not always pronounced the same. So be careful, and use the speaking function of Google Translate if necessary.

Here we go:

27 words you already know in English

  1. Aficionado – used in English to describe a person who is very knowledgeable about a subject (for example, an aficionado of baseball, an aficionado of Spanish history)
  2. Alligator – from Spanish “el lagarto,” which would literally translate to “the lizard” in English.
  3. Armada – a navy
  4. Bonanza – something that creates wealth or prosperity, a large amount of something good (for example, a bonanza of cheap Apple products)
  5. Bronco – a type of horse (the American football team of Colorado is called the Broncos).
  6. Cafeteria – a place where you eat food and/or drink coffee
  7. Canyon – pronounced the same as in Spanish. NOTE: the Grand Canyon is not in Colorado (as Spanish speakers often call it “the Colorado Canyon” because the Colorado River runs through it.
  8. Chipotle – a type of chili pepper and the name of a popular American fast food restaurant.
  9. Chocolate – pronounced chalk-lit in English
  10. Chorizo – a type of sausage
  11. Conquistador – someone who conquers
  12. Embargo – from the verb “embargar,” a ban on trade (for example, the United States has an embargo on Cuba)
  13. Guerilla – a small group involved in fighting (for example, guerilla warfare)
  14. Hacienda – a house on a large piece of land (used especially in the Southwest United States). In English, remember to pronounce the H
  15. Hurricane – a huge storm
  16. Llama – a type of animal common in Peru, remember the l‘s aren’t pronounced like y
  17. Loco – sometimes used by Americans instead of saying crazy
  18. Macho – used to describe a man who is strong and masculine (for example, Mark Wahlberg is very macho, which is why he acts in so many action films)
  19. Mosquito – a small, annoying insect
  20. Nada – in some cases, this can be used to mean nothing (for example, when you’re looking for something but can’t find it, you might say, “Nada”).
  21. Negro (offensive) – can be used to talk about black people, but is almost always considered offensive in English, so be careful!
  22. Patio – a paved outdoor area adjoining a house or restaurant (for example, if you eat out in a restaurant, you can ask to be seated on the patio)
  23. Plaza – a city square
  24. Puma – also called a cougar or mountain lion depending on where you are
  25. Siesta – also called a nap (take a siesta/take a nap)
  26. Vanilla – remember that the l’s are not pronounced like y
  27. Vigilante – a member of a group of individuals who uphold the law in their community without legal authority

Whether you’ve just begun learning English or you’ve been learning for a while, building your vocabulary is extremely important. You need the right tools, like Anki, and you need it to be fun. It also helps to have a great community to support you in your learning and to make friends.

Do you want to revolutionize your English with us? Remember to sign up for our mailing list and get the FREE report, “101 Words You’ll Never Learn in School.”

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  • So cool but there are some problems with the pronounce because the traslate does not read the words in english.

  • Ethan Zinho says:

    Are you sure? It does for me. You have to click the audio symbol.

  • Moniquett Dulce Le says:

    Interesting 🙂

  • Aguirre Sofia says:

    jajajajaj soy de buenos aires no puedo creer que usen palabaras como negro, o vigilante!!!!