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.


According to https://translate.google.com/#view=home&op=translate&sl=es&tl=en&text=estar%20embarcado, "estar embarcado" means "be embarked" or "be shipped". "Estás embarcada" literally means "You are shipped". So, Sole is telling Macarena that she is in trouble.

  • 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

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