curious spanish words

10 curious words in Spanish

Spanish is such a rich language and has many curious words as regards their meaning or the way they sound. Here we show you 10 curious Spanish words that are quite common and which will encourage you to learn and enrich your vocabulary.

All definitions have been adapted from the RAE Spanish Academy.

Algarabía (noun, f.): Noise and confusion produced when people talk at the same time. Some English words with a similar meaning would be racket, palaver, hullabaloo.

Example: “En la fiesta había una gran algarabía que impedía escuchar la música”.

(At the party,  there  was such a racket that it was impossible to listen to the music).

Cuchitril (noun, m.): Hovel, very small room, usually dirty. A small shabby house.

Example: “La habitación era un cuchitril y apenas cabía nada”.

(The room was a hovel and there was not enough space).

Cursi (adjective): When a person tries to be smart and elegant but he/she is unsuccessful.  Also, old-fashioned or overly sentimental. The closest word in English would be “twee”.

Example: “Decoraron la casa de una manera muy cursi”.

(They decorate the house in a very twee way).

Enclenque (adjective): Sickly, weak, delicate, fragile.

Example: “Debes comer más y empezar a hacer deporte, estás hecho un enclenque”.

(You should eat more and start practicing some sports, you look weak).

Hule (noun, m.): Oilcloth, waterproof fabric that usually covers a table.

Example: “Cubre la mesa con el hule antes de servir la comida”.

(Cover the tablewith the oilcloth before serving food).

Jarana (noun, f.): Knees-up. Noise produced by people partying.

Example: “¡Menuda jarana hay montada en la calle! Todo el mundo está de fiesta”.

(There is such a party on the street! Everybody is having a knees-up!).

Pantuflas (noun, f.): This would be the Spanish word for slippers. However, people also use zapatillas de estar en casa but  this is too long!

Example: “Me han regalado unas pantuflas muy cómodas”.

(They bought me a very comfy slippers).

Tentempié (noun, m.): Snack, bite that usually you eat to get your energy back and literally, keep you standing up.

Example: “A media mañana siempre me tomo un tentempié”.

(At midday, I always  have  a snack).

Tiquismiquis (adjective): A picky person, fusspot. Another Spanish word with a similar meaning is “quisquilloso”.

Example: “Es un tiquismiquis, siempre se está quejando por todo”.

(He is very picky, he is always complaining about everything).

Sibarita (noun, m. and f.): Depending of the context; self-indulgent, foodie, sybarite.

Example: “Él es un sibarita, siempre desayuna caviar y una copa de champán”.

(He is sybarite, he always  has caviar and champagne for breakfast).

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Author Info

Adrián Lago

I am a journalist and a Spanish teacher. I am passionate about travelling and learning other languages and I always try to transmit this to my students.

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