Close

español for Gringos

False friends.

librería


What a Gringo thinks it means... library.

What it really means... bookstore.

Biblioteca means “library.”

sin embargo

What a Gringo thinks it means... booze and drugs prohibited.

What it really means in Spanish... however or nevertheless.

A Spanish word for “sin” is pecado.

dispuesto

What a Gringo thinks it means... tossed out or disposed of.

What it really means... ready, willing or prepared.

Cuando el presidente quería atacar, la nación estaba dispuesta.  When the president wanted to attack, the nation was willing.

Movie titles.

Translate back to the original English the following movie titles in Spanish....

Para Quien Tañe la Campana
.
.
.
.
.
.
For Whom the Bell Tolls

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El Bueno, El Malo y El Feo
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Buscando a Señor Barra Buena
.
.
.
.
.
.
Looking For Mister Goodbar

False friends.

rehusar


What a Gringo thinks it means... to use repeatedly.

What it really means... to refuse.

débil


What a Gringo thinks it means... a nasty guy dressed in red tights who is the CEO in Hell.... May have a tail except when portrayed by Al Pacino.

What it really means... weak.

fácil

What a Gringo thinks it means... stony remnant of prehistoric eras.

What it really means... easy.

False friends.

toalla


What a Gringo thinks it means... the direction Muslims face when praying.

What it really means... towel.  Pronounced:  toh-AH-yah

agrio

What a Gringo thinks it means... I agree.

What it really means... sour.

Famous place in Ecuador:  Lago Agrio (sour lake), aka Nueva Loja.  AH-gree-oh

The word for “bitter” is amargo.

entendido

What a Gringo thinks it means... intended.

What it really means... understood.

False friends.

alocar


What a Gringo thinks it means... allocate.

What it really means... to drive mad.  Associated with loco which means crazy.

con

What a Gringo thinks it means... convict or confidence scheme.

What it means in Spanish... with.

Llegué con mis amigos.  I arrived with my friends.

mime

What a Gringo thinks it means... a non-speaking public performer.

What it means in Spanish... indulge, spoil or fuss over -- imperative form of verb mimar.

No mime a mi sobrino.  Don’t fuss over my nephew.

Pronounced MEE-may.

False friends.

ten


What a Gringo thinks it means... the sum of six and four.

What it really means... have (imperative form).
From the root verb tener.

Ten paciencia.  Have patience.
Ten un buen dia.  Have a good day.

hoy -- pronounced oy.

What a Gringo thinks it means... Yiddish word meaning "oh no."

What it really means... today.

quite


What a Gringo thinks it means... very.

What it means in Spanish... take off, or remove. (imperative)
Pronounced KEE-tay.  From the root verb quitar.

Quite su sombrero en la iglesia.  Take off your hat in the church.

Imperative/informal:  quita.
Quita tu sombrero en la iglesia.
  Take off your hat in the church.

False friends.

se vende


What a Gringo thinks it means... a number between 69 and 71.

What it really means... for sale.

pero

What a Gringo thinks it means... country just south of Ecuador.

What it really means... but.

Llegué tarde, pero mi novia llegó aún más tarde.
I arrived late, but my girlfriend arrived even later.

arma

What a Gringo thinks it means... a person’s arm.

What it really means... weapon.

The word for “arm” (part of body) is brazo.

You may also see/hear arma blanca which is used to mean a knife or bladed weapon as opposed to a firearm or arma de fuego.

False friends.

mundo


What a Gringo thinks it means... mound.

What it really means... world.

A common word for “mound” is montículo.

tormenta

What a Gringo thinks it means... torture.

What it really means... storm.

A word meaning “to torture” is torturar.

pluma

What a Gringo thinks it means... plume of smoke.

What it really means... pen.

Esfero means ballpoint pen.

Pluma also can mean feather, the pen meaning is from the days of quill pens and still carries over to today.  You may also hear bolígrafo for a pen or a ballpoint pen.

In addition to tormenta you may also hear

chubasco  - downpour, squall

aguacero  - hard downpour, usually brief

tronada  - thunderstorm

trueno  - thunder

rayo, relámpago  - lightning

brisa, brisita - breeze, little breeze but can also mean a light drizzle

llovizna  - light drizzle, light rain

neblina  - mist, fog

granizo  - hail

False friends.

leer


What a Gringo thinks it means... to look at, lustfully.

What it means in Spanish... to read.

Pronounced lay-AIR.

papel

What a Gringo thinks it means... of or pertaining to the Pope.

What it really means... paper.

How to say “the Pope” in Spanish:  el Papa.  Pronounced PAH-pah.

bigote

What a Gringo thinks it means... racially-prejudiced person.

What it really means... moustache.

Pronounced big-OH-tay.

False friends.

mitin


What a Gringo thinks it means... cold-weather hand covering.

What it really means... a rally, such as a political rally.

Pronounced similar to the English word “meeting”:  MEET-in.

placer

What a Gringo thinks it means... a horse that usually finishes in second place.

What it means in Spanish... a pleasure.

amarillo

What a Gringo thinks it means... a long-tailed animal that has leathery body armour.

What it really means... yellow.

The animal mentioned above is an armadillo.

False friends.

por

What a Gringo thinks it means... impoverished.

What it really means... for.

Estoy dejando este libro por Estefanía.  I’m leaving this book for Estefanía.

adinerado

What a Gringo thinks it means... dining room.

What it really means... moneyed or wealthy.

La familia de Alejandro es una parte de sociedad adinerada en esta ciudad. 
Alejandro’s family is part of moneyed society in this city.

A word for “dining room” is comedor.

rico

What a Gringo thinks it means... statute by which the authorities jailed the Dapper Don and other “wise guys.”

What it really means... rich.

puerto rico -- rich port.

Rico is also used to describe food, or anything good.  Related are sabroso and its diminutive sabrosito, both from the root saber which can mean to taste of as well as to know.

Did you like the food?
It was delicious.
¿Le gustó la comida?
Fue muy rica.
or just Muy rica.

The breakfast was tasty.
El desayuno fue sabroso.

The salad has a nice taste - it tastes of cilantro.
La ensalada tiene buen sabor - sabe de cilantro.

The diminutive can be used for emphasis, it means the same:
The weather here is very agreeable, really pleasant.
El clima aquí es muy agradable, muy sabrosito.

Using the superlative for rico:
We spent a nice, but really nice, weekend there.
Pasamos un fin de semana muy rico, pero riquísimo, allá.

False friends.

rodilla


What a Gringo thinks it means... Godzilla’s kid brother / reptilian monster.

What it really means... a knee.

zona de estar

What a Gringo thinks it means... guest star’s dressing room.

What it really means... den (room in a house).

A word for 'actor’s dressing room’ is camerino.

A word for ‘star’ -- heavenly object or famous person -- is estrella.

Other phrases for ‘den’ -- the room -- are sala de estar and cuarto de estar.

factible

What a Gringo thinks it means... provable by facts.

What it really means... feasible or possible.

Pronounced fahk-TEE-blay.

False friends.

cementario


What a Gringo thinks it means... cement factory.

What it really means... cemetary.

silla

What a Gringo thinks it means... window sill.

What it really means... a seat or chair.

carne

What a Gringo thinks it means... a carnival.

What it really means... meat.

Getting around in South America.

How many of these verbs do you know?



to go          ir (highly irregular verb)

Voy a Ipiales mañana por la mañana.
I (will) go to Ipiales tomorrow in the morning.

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to move (to a new country or new place, for instance)        mudarse

Me mudé de Nueva York a Machala, Ecuador, durante el año pasado.
I moved from New York to Machala, Ecuador, in the past year.

--------

to drive       manejar

Manejo este coche con mucho cuidado.
I drive this car very carefully.

--------

to travel       viajar

Viajan de Quito a Cuenca.
They travel (or traveled) from Quito to Cuenca.

--------

Also ‘volar’ : to fly ... ‘jinetear’:  to ride (a horse) .. and ‘zarpar’:  to set sail.

Princely distinctions.

English term on the left....

prince (member of royalty)                príncipe (accent 1st syllable)

principal (adj. meaning “chief”)          principal
(same spelling in English and Spanish, accent on final syllable in español)

principle (noun meaning “tenet”         principio  prin-SIP-ee-oh)
     or “basic point”)

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