71 Cool Spanish Words To Be Cool Like a Cucumber


There are so many cool things about Spanish. 

It is useful and widely spoken

It is relatively easy to learn

It has that sexy and romantic vibe. 

It varies slightly from country to country, showing their unique historical heritage. 

It’s rich in cool words that allow you to express lots of useful ideas.

My goal today is to show you some of these cool Spanish words. Buckle up!

TOP 20 Really Cool Spanish Words and Phrases

  • 🇪🇸 mala leche – 🇬🇧 mean, malicious (literally “bad milk”)
  • 🇪🇸 cachar – 🇬🇧 to understand, to see, to know (commonly used in Chile)
  • 🇪🇸 por si las moscas – 🇬🇧 just in case
  • 🇪🇸 ¡sale! – 🇬🇧 ¡No way!
  • 🇪🇸 porfa / porfis – an abbreviated form of “por favor”: 🇬🇧 please
  • 🇪🇸 gringo/a – a caucasian looking 🇬🇧 foreigner, normally an American or European
  • 🇪🇸 pololear – (in Chile) to 🇬🇧 date someone
  • 🇪🇸 carretear / rumbear – 🇬🇧 to party
  • 🇪🇸 guagua: 🇬🇧 a baby (in Chile) or a bus (in the Caribbean)
  • 🇪🇸 aguinaldo – 🇬🇧 an extra Christmas (or Independence Day) pay
  • 🇪🇸 ¡Una barbaridad! – 🇬🇧 outrageous
  • 🇪🇸 guácala – 🇬🇧 awful / disgusting
  • 🇪🇸 al tiro – 🇬🇧 right away / immediately
  • 🇪🇸 voy y vuelvo – 🇬🇧 I’ll be right back
  • 🇪🇸 tomar el pelo – 🇬🇧 to pull someone’s leg
  • 🇪🇸 ensimismado – 🇬🇧 self-absorbed (comes from the expression: “pensando en sí mismo” – thinking about oneself)
  • 🇪🇸 ¡qué lata! –  🇬🇧 how boring! What a nuisance!
  • 🇪🇸 una vaina – 🇬🇧 a thing, stuff (used in Venezuela)

I have written about Spanish idioms and slang words before. If you are familiar with those posts, you know that “the street language” you can hear in any Spanish speaking country varies significantly from its proper version approved and certified by the Real Academia de Español (RAE).

There are many cool words and expressions that can hardly be found in coursebooks and dictionaries and will allow you to move from “classroom Spanish” to “real-life Spanish”. 

Not sure how to use these words and what the right context for them is? Check out the examples I have prepared: 

🇪🇸 Solo te hice una pregunta. No tienes porque ser tan mala leche conmigo.
I’ve only asked you a question. There is no need for you to be so mean to me. 

🇪🇸 ¿Cachaste lo que dijo la profe? Este año tendremos cinco horas de clases a la semana.
🇬🇧 Have you heard what the professor said? This year we are going to have five classes a week. 

🇪🇸 Sé que vas a manejar tú, pero traje mi permiso de conducir por si las moscas.
🇬🇧 I know it’s you who will drive, but I’ve brought my driver’s license just in case.

🇪🇸 Jefe, voy y vuelvo. Tengo que hacer un trámite corto en el banco.
🇬🇧 Boss, I’ll be right back. I just need to run a quick errand at the bank.

🇪🇸 El año pasado la empresa donde trabajo nos pagó 200 dólares de aguinaldo.
🇬🇧 Last year, the company I work for paid each of us a 200-dollar Christmas bonus.

🇪🇸 Llevamos 5 años pololeando y en marzo nos vamos a casar.
🇬🇧 We’ve been dating for five years and are getting married in March. 

🇪🇸 ¿Qué es esta vaina y quién la dejó en mi cama?
🇬🇧 What is this stuff, and who left it on my bed?

🇪🇸 Tengo que escribir un ensayo de dos mil palabras. ¡Qué lata!
🇬🇧 I have to write a two-thousand-word essay. What a nuisance!

🇪🇸 ¿Viste cuánto subió la gasolina? Es una barbaridad lo que cobran! 
🇬🇧 Did you see how much gas has gone up? What they charge is outrageous!

🇪🇸 ¡Qué hermosa tu guagua! ¿Cómo se llama?
🇬🇧 What a pretty baby! What’s her name?

🇪🇸 Andas muy ensimismado últimamente. ¿Ha pasado algo?
🇬🇧 You’ve been so self-absorbed lately. Has anything happened?

🇪🇸 A: Mi abuela está tomando clases de yoga.
🇪🇸 B: ¡Sale! Pero si tiene como cien años!
🇬🇧 A: My grandma is taking yoga classes.
🇬🇧 B: No way! Isn’t she like a hundred years old?

What an admirable thing to see a rather elderly lady doing yoga poses, isn’t it? By the way, if you are still struggling with numbers in Spanish, one of my older posts might come in handy. 

18 Untranslatable Spanish Words with a Cool Meaning

As you might have already realized, Spanish and English can’t always be translated literally. One of the most common mistakes English speakers make when learning Spanish is, in fact, translating ideas word by word. 

🇪🇸 Test Your Spanish Knowledge 🇪🇸

It is not advisable to do so, as ideas that sound entirely correct in one language often lose their meaning when trying to find a translation for every element. 

On the other hand, there are quite a few Spanish words that simply don’t have a straightforward equivalent in English. 

Let’s have a look at some of the untranslatable Spanish words then:

  • 🇪🇸 sobremesa – 🇬🇧 a period of relaxation and socializing at a table after a meal
  • 🇪🇸 desvelarse – 🇬🇧 to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep
  • 🇪🇸 madrugar – 🇬🇧 to get up very early in the morning
  • 🇪🇸 trasnochar – 🇬🇧 to stay up until late at night
  • 🇪🇸 vergüenza ajena – s🇬🇧 hame or embarrassment for something another person has done or said
  • 🇪🇸 estrenar – 🇬🇧 to use or to wear for the first time
  • 🇪🇸 tutear – 🇬🇧 to address someone with the “tú” form instead of “usted”
  • 🇪🇸 friolero / friolento – 🇬🇧 to always feel cold
  • 🇪🇸 acalorado – 🇬🇧 to always feel hot
  • 🇪🇸 quincena – 🇬🇧 half a month, 15 days
  • 🇪🇸 lampiño – 🇬🇧 a smooth-skinned, hairless man
  • 🇪🇸 consuegro/a – 🇬🇧 your son’s or daughter’s parent-in-law
  • 🇪🇸 pavonearse – 🇬🇧 to show off like a male peacock (“pavo real”)
  • 🇪🇸 tocayo – 🇬🇧 a person with the same first name as yours
  • 🇪🇸 dar jugo –  🇬🇧 to speak nonsense, literally “ to give juice.”
  • 🇪🇸 peinar la muñeca / rallar la papa – 🇬🇧 to be crazy (literally to comb the doll / to grate the potato)

Cool, isn’t it? Who would have thought there is a word that describes family relation between parents in law, right?

Since the best strategy to learn new vocabulary is through examples, I gladly offer you some: 

🇪🇸 Después del almuerzo nos quedamos como tres horas más haciendo sobremesa.
🇬🇧 After lunch, we stayed at the table for three more hours socializing.

🇪🇸 Soy super friolenta. ¡Incluso en verano duermo con los calcetines puestos!
🇬🇧 I’m always cold. Even in summer, I sleep with my socks on!

🇪🇸 Mi consuegra es enfermera. Ella te puede vacunar.
🇬🇧 My son’s mother-in-law is a nurse. She can give you the vaccine jab.

🇪🇸 Hoy conocí al hermano de Juana. Resulta que somos tocayos. Él también se llama Pedro.
🇬🇧 Today I met Juana’s brother. As it turns out, his name is the same as mine: Pedro. 

🇪🇸 Mañana me toca madrugar. Tengo que estar en el aeropuerto a las 5!
🇬🇧 I need to get up very early tomorrow. I have to be at the airport at 5 AM!

🇪🇸 Cuando Jacinta se puso a cantar sentí vergüenza ajena. ¡Canta tan desafinado!
🇬🇧 When Jacinta started singing, I felt embarrassed for her. She sings so out of tune!

🇪🇸 Vamos a salir de vacaciones en la segunda quincena de enero.
🇬🇧 We’re going on vacation in the second half of January.

🇪🇸 Anoche me desvelé y ahora estoy muerta de sueño.
🇬🇧 I woke up last night and couldn’t settle back to sleep. Now I can´t keep my eyes open.

🇪🇸 Qué bueno que te eligieron el Trabajador del Mes, pero no tienes por que pavonearte tanto.
🇬🇧 It’s great you’ve been elected the Employee of the Month, but it is no reason for you to show off like this.

Me he comprado un bikini nuevo. Lo voy a estrenar en mis vacaciones en Cancún.
🇬🇧 I’ve got myself a new bikini. I’m going to wear it for the first time during my vacations in Cancun. 

🇪🇸 No me digas “usted”. En esta empresa todos nos tuteamos.
🇬🇧 Don’t call me “usted.” We all use the informal “” in this company. 

🇪🇸 Ayer tuve un examen oral de economía. No estudié nada, así que supongo que dí mucho jugo.
🇬🇧 I had an oral exam in economics yesterday. I didn’t study, so I guess I said a lot of nonsense.

16 Spanish Words That Mean “Cool”:

Another impressive thing about Spanish is the number of synonyms it has. Especially considering that each country where this language is spoken adds its own creative results to the list. 

Still not convinced? Look how many synonyms the simple word “COOL” has:

  • bacán/ bacano
  • perfecto
  • súper
  • bárbaro
  • chévere
  • descueve
  • guay
  • nítido
  • molar
  • piola
  • top / topísimo
  • pulento/a
  • chulo
  • (todo) cachete
  • choy
  • buena onda

Be careful, though, when using those words. Even though some of them are widely understood both in Spain and Latin America, others – like choy, guay, pulento are tied to a specific country.

The examples below will help you understand how to use the words from the list:

🇪🇸 La fiesta de anoche estuvo muy bacán.
🇬🇧 The party last night was really cool. 

🇪🇸 Mi vecino se compró un descapotable a todo cachete.
🇬🇧 My neighbor has bought an awesome convertible. 

🇪🇸 Pablo me mostró una aplicación chévere para aprender los verbos irregulares.
🇬🇧 Pablo showed me a cool app to learn irregular verbs. 

🇪🇸 La casa de Carlos es muy pulenta! Tiene siete dormitorios y una piscina enorme.
🇬🇧 Carlos’s house is so cool! It has seven bedrooms and a huge swimming pool. 

🇪🇸 ¿Has escuchado el nuevo disco de U2? ¡Me mola!
🇬🇧 Have you heard the new U2 album? It is so cool!

🇪🇸 ¡Qué bárbaro! Lorena se casa el mes que viene y nos ha invitado a todas a la boda.
🇬🇧 How cool! Lorena is getting married next month, and we are all invited to the wedding party!

🇪🇸 El viernes cenamos con Jorge en ese restaurante nuevo en la esquina. Es topísimo! Tienes que ir con Pedro.
🇬🇧 Last Friday Jorge and I had dinner in that new restaurant around the corner. It is so cool! You must go there with Pedro. 

🇪🇸 La maestra fue muy buena onda con nosotros y dijo que nuestro proyecto era el mejor.
🇬🇧 The teacher was really cool (friendly) and said our project was the best.

🇪🇸 A: ¿Qué tal tu nuevo jefe?
🇪🇸 B: Bastante piola. Exigente pero justo.
🇬🇧 A: What’s your new boss like?
🇬🇧 B: Pretty cool. Demanding but fair.

🇪🇸 A: ¿Qué te parece mañana a las 8?
🇪🇸 B: Perfecto. Te espero en mi casa. 
🇬🇧 A: How about tomorrow, 8 PM?
🇬🇧 B: Cool. I’ll be waiting for you at home. 

17 Cool Spanish Words That Will Twist Your Tongue

In spite of its many similarities to English, the Spanish language has its challenges too. 

One of them is undoubtedly pronunciation. 

Oh, these throaty Js and mute Hs and vibrating RR!

Or those changing sound Gs!

I know! Some Spanish words do make for real tongue twisters.

But hey, isn’t it fun to be finally able to master them? 

  • 🇪🇸 Ojalá! – 🇬🇧 I wish! / I hope so!
  • 🇪🇸 juguetón – 🇬🇧 playful
  • 🇪🇸 un ají – 🇬🇧 a chili pepper
  • 🇪🇸 aburrido – 🇬🇧 bored
  • 🇪🇸 un perro – 🇬🇧 a dog
  • 🇪🇸 ahorrar – 🇬🇧 to save (money, time, etc.)
  • 🇪🇸 ferretería – 🇬🇧 hardware store
  • 🇪🇸 vergϋenza – 🇬🇧 shame, embarrassment
  • 🇪🇸 ronronear – 🇬🇧 to purr
  • 🇪🇸 una prórroga – 🇬🇧 an extension
  • 🇪🇸 un pingϋino – 🇬🇧 a penguin
  • 🇪🇸 ferrocarril – 🇬🇧 railroad
  • 🇪🇸 un espantapájaros – 🇬🇧 a scarecrow
  • 🇪🇸 desarrollar – 🇬🇧 to develop
  • 🇪🇸 alrededor – 🇬🇧 around
  • 🇪🇸 sonrojar – 🇬🇧 to blush
  • 🇪🇸 la jerarquía – 🇬🇧 hierarchy
  • 🇪🇸 un otorrinolaringólogo – 🇬🇧 a nose and throat doctor
  • 🇪🇸 una hamburguesa – 🇬🇧 a burger

Do you feel like practicing your pronunciation?

The sentences below are packed with those challenging words. Why don’t you try and say them out loud?

🇪🇸 Ojalá hubiera alguna ferretería cerca de mi casa.
🇬🇧 I wish there were a hardware store near my house. 

🇪🇸 El gato aburrido se quedó dormido y ahora está ronroneando. 
🇬🇧 The bored cat fell asleep, and it is purring now.

🇪🇸 Un pingüino juguetón está corriendo alrededor de los turistas.
🇬🇧 A playful penguin is running around the tourists. 

🇪🇸 El espantapájaros que pusiste en el campo es una vergüenza. No asusta a nadie.
🇬🇧 The scarecrow you’ve placed in the field is an embarrassment. It doesn’t scare anyone. 

🇪🇸 La nueva línea de ferrocarril alrededor de la ciudad permitirá a la gente ahorrar mucho tiempo de viaje. 
🇬🇧 The new railway around the city will allow people to save a lot of commute time. 

🇪🇸 Me duele mucho la garganta. Tengo que pedir hora con un otorrinolaringólogo. 
🇬🇧 I have such a sore throat. I need to get an appointment with a nose and throat doctor. 

🇪🇸 El perro de Joaquín se ha comido mi hamburguesa. 
🇬🇧 Joaquin’s dog has eaten my burger. 

Remember, practice makes perfect. And reaching a native-like level of pronunciation is all about persistence and practice. 

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Joanna Lupa
Joanna Lupa
Polish by birth, Chilean by the turns of life. Has spent 20 years in that beautiful South American country working as a language teacher and translator. Has taught Spanish and English to students of all proficiency levels. Passionate about languages, books, and traveling. A mother of 2 trilingual teenagers.

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