Determining the best possible word to express a concept among several choices.

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3
votes
2answers
732 views

Translation of “thank goodness” or “whew!”

In English, if a bad situation seems imminent but is finally avoided, we might reply with an interjection like "Thank goodness!" or "Whew!". I know "Thank goodness!" has several possible translations ...
3
votes
3answers
277 views

Translation of “settling in”

In English, "to settle in" describes what someone does after moving in to a new place or returning from a long vacation: I just got back, I'm still settling in. We moved last week! It will be ...
2
votes
2answers
451 views

Translation of “It will be a while before/until…”

When explaining that something won't happen soon, English uses expressions like: It will be a while until ... It will be a while before ... It will be a long time until ... It will ...
2
votes
2answers
123 views

Translation of “in a pickle” and related phrases

In English there are several idioms or phrases that describe being in the midst of a very difficult situation: in a pickle in a quandary in a predicament in between a rock and a hard place How ...
2
votes
1answer
138 views

cordura vs sensatez vs juicio vs sabiduría

Other than juicio, which has the additional meaning of a legal trial, these words all have to do with wisdom, judgement, and/or sense, as I understand it. In what ways are they different?
7
votes
1answer
921 views

“Echar” vs “tirar” vs “lanzar” vs “arrojar” vs “disparar” (to throw)

The basic meaning of them all as I understand it is: To throw Disparar seems to pertain exclusively to shooting or throwing something for the sole purpose of harming (maybe to shoot is the best ...
4
votes
1answer
91 views

Using female nouns to refer to males, how are adjectives affected?

Here is an English example where someone is referring to a man as a turtle: That turtle is slow. He is angry because he will not win. (calling that man a turtle) In Spanish, the referenced ...
6
votes
1answer
88 views

Reflexive and non-reflexive third person

This English sentence is ambiguous: He ate his food. The word his can refer to the He at the start, or another man. In Spanish: Él comió su comida. Does the ambiguity still remain or does ...
5
votes
1answer
223 views

How do you write task lists in Spanish?

In English: Go to store. Eat dinner. ... How would this be written in Spanish?
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Ways to express “to get ready” or “to get dressed”

What verbs in Spanish are used to express the concept of "getting ready" or "getting dressed" (for example, before leaving the house to go out to dinner)? I've seen alistarse, arreglarse, prepararse, ...
3
votes
2answers
518 views

esperar: wait vs. hope vs. expect

The verb esperar (e.g. Estoy esperándolo.) can be used in at least three senses: to wait for to hope to expect In English, these all mean very different things: I'm waiting for you to ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

challenge: desafío vs. reto

The English word "challenge" can be translated to Spanish as desafío (desafiar) or reto (retar). Is there any difference between these words, or are they exact synonyms? If there is a difference, when ...
1
vote
2answers
154 views

Insect bites vs. stings

In English, some insects bite you (like mosquitos), while other insects sting you (like bees). A bite generally involves an animal's mouth, while a sting involves another part of the animal (a bee's ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Translation of “bed bug” (chinche?)

In English, bed bugs are parasitic insects that can infest beds and the areas where people sleep. Wikipedia shows that the Spanish term for bed bug is chinche. However, my understanding is that ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Translation of “let me know”

I use the phrase "let me know" all the time in English. For example: Just let me know when you're free. Could you let me know whether you can come tomorrow? If you have any questions, just let me ...
2
votes
1answer
160 views

justicia: justice and righteousness?

In the Spanish Bible, I believe the English "justice" and "righteousness" are both translated as justicia. Is justicia the only word that can translate both of these terms? Is there any way to know ...
1
vote
1answer
184 views

plan: plano vs. plan

The English "plan" can be translated into Spanish as plan or plano. What is the difference between plan and plano, and when would each one be used?
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Translation of “be nice” (said to children)

In English, if children are misbehaving, someone might correct them by saying, "Be nice!" How is this normally said in Spanish?
3
votes
1answer
412 views

shy: tímido vs. reservado vs. vergonzoso vs. penoso

In many parts of the Spanish-speaking world, describing a person who is "shy" can be done with at least four different words: tímido reservado vergonzoso penoso What is the difference between ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Words for boat, ship, and other seafaring vessels

In English, we have many words to describe the different types of vessels that travel on water: boat ship yacht dinghy canoe kayak raft watercraft vessel sailboat barge catamaran lifeboat/liferaft ...
8
votes
6answers
3k views

What is the difference between allí and ahí (“there”)?

English What is the difference between allí and ahí? Is there any difference in pronunciation between the two? Are there any contexts where one is correct and one is wrong, or are they completely ...
1
vote
1answer
808 views

Translation of “too good to be true”

In English, we say something is "too good to be true" to express that apparently amazing deals or benefits generally aren't real. Is there an equivalent phrase in Spanish?
1
vote
1answer
6k views

Translating “kind words” (as in “Thank you for your kind words.”)

In English if someone complements you or expresses their gratitude for something you've done, you can respond with something like, "Thank you for your kind words." What Spanish phrase would best ...
3
votes
1answer
777 views

Translation of “personal statement”

What phrase in Spanish is used to describe a "personal statement" (i.e. a short essay composed for a college application, for example)?
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Waterfall: cascada vs. catarata

What is the difference between cascada and catarata as translations for the English "waterfall"? Are they synonyms, or is there a difference?
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Armpit: sobaco vs. axila

"Armpit" in English can be translated as either sobaco or axila in Spanish. Is each term used in different regions, or are they both used across the Spanish-speaking world? What is the difference, or ...
1
vote
2answers
324 views

“although” vs. “even though” vs. “though”

In English, there are three conjunctions that are very similar: although even though though Is aunque the only possible translation of these to Spanish, or are there similar synonyms in Spanish as ...
1
vote
3answers
5k views

Translation of “llevar a cabo”

What does the Spanish phrase llevar a cabo mean in English? What are the most common translations of the phrase into English?
1
vote
1answer
246 views

Efficient: eficiente vs. eficaz

The English "efficient" can be translated as either eficiente or eficaz in Spanish. What is the difference between these two translations? In what situations can each be used?
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Translation of “to catch up” (sharing recent happenings with someone you haven't seen lately)

In English, "to catch up (with each other)" can be used to describe two people that haven't seen each other in a while that are sharing recent events in their lives with each other. For example: "I ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

Translation of “What have you been up to lately?”

In English, when meeting someone you haven't seen for a while, you might ask, "What have you been up to lately?" What is the equivalent question in Spanish?
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Translation of “Are you ok?” or “Are you alright?”

What is the best Spanish translation of the English phrase "Are you ok?" or "Are you alright?" (said out of concern for someone who has just gotten hurt, for example after tripping and falling or ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Translation of “What's wrong?”

What is the most natural translation of the English phrase, "What's wrong?" (i.e. what you would ask a person who appears sad or hurt or withdrawn)? ¿Qué te pasó? would be one option, but that seems ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Ways to say “you're welcome”

The "textbook" way to say "you're welcome" in Spanish is de nada. English has many ways to express this: You're welcome. No problem. Don't worry about it. My pleasure. What other ways are there in ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Choosing between “Mirar” and “Ver”

What is the real difference between "Ver" and "Mirar". They are quite close in meaning but what are the differences between them? What are the rules to know whether we should choose one or the other?
4
votes
3answers
5k views

Why “¿Cómo te llamas?” means “¿Cuál es tu nombre?”?

Why does "¿Cómo te llamas?" mean "¿Cuál es tu nombre?". After all, it literally means "How do you call yourself?". Yet, most of the time, you don't call yourself anything; rather, other people call ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is it 'Santo' Tomás/Domingo, not 'san'?

As far as I know, those two are the only exceptions. Is there a particular reason for this?
3
votes
3answers
567 views

Latinoamérica, Hispanoamérica, or Sudamérica?

Latinoamérica, Hispanoamérica, Sudamérica or other? For someone living in Venezuela or Chile, for example, what term would I be most likely to hear to describe countries south of the US? The terms ...
2
votes
3answers
120 views

Translation of “CD” and “DVD”

What are the possibilities for translating "CD" (Compact Disc) and "DVD" (Digital Video/Versatile Disc) into Spanish?
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Translation of “bowl”

I have heard many different translations for bowl (the dish) in different Spanish-speaking countries. What words are normally used to translate "bowl"? Which is most universally understood? What ...
4
votes
5answers
5k views

Most accurate translation of “possum”

What is the most universal Spanish word to describe a possum? What regional variations exist? Does the translation refer specifically to the same animal as the English word, or does it cover a larger ...
6
votes
1answer
109 views

Polite terms for excrement

There are many vulgar terms for excrement, but what are the non-vulgar, polite ones (used in medical settings, or with children, or among adults in polite conversation)?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Translation of “awkward” (as in “an awkward situation”)

In English, the word "awkward" can be used to describe a situation that is uncomfortable and embarrassing (but neither word seems to fully describe what "awkward" describes). What is the best ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Translation of “What goes around comes around”

What is the best Spanish translation of the English idiom, What goes around comes around?
2
votes
2answers
194 views

Is the country México or Méjico?

Is the name of the country south of the United States spelled México or Méjico? Which is the official name of the country in English and Spanish? When is each version used?
1
vote
1answer
2k views

How should “have been” be translated?

I often use the phrase "have been" (or "has been") in English in sentences like: It has been raining a lot recently. I have been thinking about the exam all week. It's been a long time since I've ...
7
votes
4answers
30k views

Where did “pico de gallo” get its name?

Does pico de gallo (the type of salsa) literally translate as "rooster's beak"? If so, where did it get that name, and how does that describe the salsa?
0
votes
4answers
303 views

What is the best way to refer to those of Spanish descent or language?

In English there are several ways to refer to people who speak Spanish or are from a Spanish-speaking country: Hispanic, Latin, Latino, Chicano, Spanish-speaking, etc. What equivalent terms exist in ...
5
votes
1answer
662 views

Words for “size”

I know there are multiple words for size in Spanish, but I'm quite fuzzy on when to use them. The two most common seem to be tamaño and talla, although in some contexts (like shoes), número seems ...
1
vote
2answers
247 views

Spanish words for cap, cover, lid, etc

What Spanish words can be used to describe a cap, cover, lid, or top (in other words, something placed on top of something, usually to close an opening)? What is the difference between tapa and tapón? ...