I have heard the following sentence in the TV series "Vis a Vis", which takes place in Spain:

– Estás embarcada.

Context: Sole and Macarena are prisoners in a female prison. Macarena has found a SIM card which could have info on where the loot of a robbery (performed by an already dead inmate) is hidden. Sole advises her not to go after this money because she thinks it will only bring problems. Macarena disagrees and tells Sole that she will go after the money because she needs it to pay her bail. Finally, Sole says the sentence above.

Does "estar embarcado" mean something like "to play with fire"? Is it used in both Spain and Latin America?

  • 4
    In Spain, estar embarcado/a is slang meaning to be in a mess, or in an unpleasant situation. I don't think it is used elsewhere, though I might be wrong.
    – Gorpik
    May 27, 2020 at 15:02
  • 5
    I didn't know this expression. I would've interpreted as related to estar embarcado en [una actividad, un proyecto].
    – pablodf76
    May 27, 2020 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


Literally "embarcado" comes from the verb embarcar, meaning put something or someone in a ship, train or airplane; e.g. "hemos embarcado para México" (we have shipped to Mexico).

Like @Gorpik said, at least in Cuba we use "embarcado" as a synonym of to be in problems, in an informal way; e.g. "perdí mi trabajo socio, estoy embarcado" (man I lost my job, I'm in trouble). Apparently this is related with meanings 3 and 4 you can find in DRAE, the translations could be: 3- "To put someone in a difficult task" or 4- "leave in the lurch". So is like you are shipped alone to a difficult almost impossible task.


"estar embarcado" is a common Spanish expression that can mean "to be in trouble" or "to be in a difficult situation". In the context of the TV series "Vis a Vis", the character Sole is telling Macarena that she is getting herself into a difficult situation by pursuing the money from the robbery. The use of the verb "embarcado/a" in this context implies that the situation is complex and potentially risky, akin to being on a boat in rough waters.

This expression is used in both Spain and Latin America, although it may have slightly different connotations or usage depending on the specific region or dialect. In general, it conveys a sense of being involved in a difficult or troublesome situation, and is often used in a negative context to warn someone about the potential consequences of their actions.

  • 1
    It's pretty clear that the literal meaning of "embarcado" is not the intended one in this context. Aug 14, 2020 at 21:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.