Spanish words you need to know to build your Spanish vocabulary

Facts: How many words are in the Spanish language?

Produced, edited, and published by the Royal Spanish Academy, Diccionario Real Academia Española is considered the normative dictionary of the Spanish language. The first edition of this dictionary dates back to 1780 and its most recent edition was published in 2014 and includes more than 93,000 entries and 195,000 definitions.

  • • 75% of them are Latin words.
  • • Others have Arabic, Italian, and French influences.
  • • A lower percent includes modern words such as ‘wi-fi’ and ‘internet’ that are widely used worldwide.

If you want to be fluent in Spanish, you should learn the most common 2,000 words first. As you’ll soon discover, not all words carry equal weight. Learning these high-frequency, high-value words allows you to be competent in reading 80% of any given text. In fact, a fluent Spanish speaker without a higher education knows 5,000 words, while a well-educated fluent speaker knows 10,000 words. If you want to speak like a native, your aim is to constantly expand your vocabulary.

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Spanish words: How many words are in the Spanish language?

The 10 most beautiful Spanish words

You can understand 50% of the texts written in Spanish

Top 10 most common Spanish words pronounced by fluent Spanish speakers

  1. 1. Hola = Hello

    Let's naturally start with "Hola”. This is one of the most known words in Spanish and a great way to start a conversation with someone from Spain. Click play below to listen to the actual pronunciation:


  2. 2. Amor = Love

    Love is a universal feeling and we definitely had to talk about it here. Spanish people have a lovely way of saying they care deeply about someone or something by using the word "amor". Hear it in action here:


  3. 3. Felicidad = Happiness

    When there's love, there's definitely happiness and we are all chasing this feeling. Listen closely and you might just get some "felicidad" in your life today:


  4. 4. Gato = Cat

    Let's talk pets. There are two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. We are going to talk about our feline pets first. Listen to how “gato” sounds like when pronounced by a Spanish speaker:


  5. 5. Perro = Dog

    Let's not forget about our lovely and loyal companion called "perro". This is a really useful word for dog lovers worldwide. Here is how you should pronounce it:


  6. 6. Sonreír = Smile

    Sometimes we have to create our own sunshine. Start every day with a simple and everything will be alright! Here is the proper Spanish pronunciation of the word “sonreír”:


  7. 7. Español = Spanish

    Next, let’s see how people in Spain say “Spanish”. The correct answer is "Español". Listen to how a Spanish speaker would pronounce it:


  8. 8. = Yes

    Everyone loves positive answers. Welcome every challenge with a simple ‘sí’ and everything should work smoothly. Start right now by learning how to say “yes” in Spanish:

  9. 9. Gracias = Thank you

    Thank you for reading this far or should I say "Gracias"? Here's a native speaker thanking you in Spanish:


  10. 10. Adiós = Goodbye

    No polite conversation can end without a proper "goodbye". If you're brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello. Here's how a native Spanish speaker will say "¡Adiós!" to you:


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Speaking Spanish

Are you excited to learn the most frequently used basic Spanish words?

Basic Spanish Weather Words

  • Caliente: Hot
  • Frío/ fría: Cold
  • Lluviosa/llvioso: Rainy
  • Soleada/soleado: Sunny
  • Nevada/nevodo: Snowy
  • Ventosa/ventoso: Windy

  • Basic Spanish Time Words

  • Hoy: Today
  • Mañana: Tomorrow
  • Ayer: Yesterday
  • Antes: Before
  • Después: After
  • Ahora: Now

Basic Spanish People Words

  • Familia: Family
  • Hijo: Son
  • Hija: Daughter
  • Amigo: Friend
  • Niña: Girl
  • Niño: Boy
  • Hombre: Man
  • Mujer: Woman

Speaking Spanish

Spanish essentials: Verbs and Question words

People speaking Spanish

Let's learn the most used Spanish verbs!
Spanish Verbs
Abrir: to open Example: ¿Puedo abrir la ventana? (Can I open the window?)
Cerrada: to shut Example: No es necesario cerrar las ventanas. (You needn't shut the windows.)
Ayudar: to help Example: ¿Necesitas ayuda? (Do you need help?)
Estar: to be Example: ¡Es delicioso! (It is delicious!)
Gustar: to like Example: A mí me gusta el color azul. (I like the colour blue.)
Jugar: to play Example: Yo juego al tenis. (I play tennis.)
Llamar: to call Example: Yo telefoneo a mi amigo. (I call my friend.)
Querer: to want Example: Yo quiero hablar contigo. (I want to talk to you.)
Tener: to have Example: Ellos tienen cuatro bicicletas. (They have four bicycles.)
Vamos: to go Example: Nosotros vamos al teatro. (We go to the theatre.)
Venir: to come Example: Volveré en una hora. (I'll come back in an hour.)
Saber: to know Example: Yo lo sé. (I know it.)

Question Words
¿Qué…?: What? Example: ¿Qué me recomiendas? (What do you recommend?)
¿Quién…?: Who? Example: ¿Para quién es? (Who is it for?)
¿Cuándo…?: When? Example: ¿Cuándo es la hora límite de salida? (When is check-out time?)
¿Dónde…?: Where? Example: ¿Dónde está el baño? (Where is the toilet?)
¿Por qué…?: Why? Example: ¿Por qué no te quedas tú? (Why don't you stay?)
¿Cuál?: Which? Example: ¿Cuál es la mejor? (Which one is the best?)
¿Cómo…?: How? Example: ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)

People speaking Spanish

Did you know?

Top Spanish words

Every language has its own quirks, history, and culture surrounding it. While you may develop a rich vocabulary in Spanish, some words will always remain untranslatable.

Most beautiful Spanish untranslatable words:

  • Pirulí: A cone-shaped sugar candy. More than just a "lollipop," the "pirulí" has unique stylistic and cultural connotations in Spanish-speaking countries.
  • Ojalá: A word loaded with hope and desire, often translated as "I wish" or "God willing," but the historical roots tied to Arabic and the expression of strong hope give it a special place in Spanish.
  • Vergüenza ajena: This phrase translates to "feeling embarrassed for someone else," capturing a specific social empathy that is heavily contextual and culturally nuanced.
  • Sobremesa: The time spent after lunch or dinner talking to the people you shared the meal with. It’s a significant part of social culture in Spanish-speaking countries and lacks an exact equivalent in English.
  • Estrenar: To wear or use something for the first time. While directly translatable, the excitement and cultural importance placed on this act in Spanish culture adds a layer of meaning missing in English.
  • Merienda: A light meal or snack in the late afternoon, similar to afternoon tea but with its own distinct cultural importance in Spain and Latin America. This word encompasses more than just a meal time—it’s a social event and a cherished daily tradition.

Top Spanish words

Why learn the most common Spanish words first?

Make Spanish learning fun and easier

Starting with the Spanish basics means you will begin by learning the easiest words first and gradually increase difficulty. This way you will feel great while learning and see how your language knowledge broadens.

Have basic Spanish conversations in no time

You'll be able to speak to someone from Barcelona or Madrid about regular topics like weather, politics or family. This will make you confident in your Spanish skills and eager to learn more.

Become fluent in Spanish faster

By learning the most common Spanish words first you are learning the smart way. Why learn the most unusual words in Spanish when you might never use them in real life?

You improve your Spanish vocabulary

Each new Spanish word you learn piles up until your vocabulary builds stronger and stronger. Each lesson gets you one step closer to fluency.

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