Vale, pues… More Spanish Words and Expressions!

Vale, pues… More Spanish Words and Expressions!


Contributed By: Alissa Gamberg

Looking to add more colloquialisms to your Peninsular Spanish vocabulary? We’ve got you covered! Regardless of your Spanish level, you can still keep these words and expressions in your back pocket and your ears peeled as you wander around Madrid.

Venga, you have to learn that this is more than just a command in usted form for “come”! In Spain, we commonly use venga for both and usted as a general animador. Actually, it’s kind of another way to say, “¡Anímate!” (Cheer up! Perk up!) We also typically use venga as an informal way to say goodbye, surprisingly enough. Adios and hasta luego are not your only options! Whether on the phone or on the street, as you and your friend are about to go separate ways, you can say, “Pues nada... ¡Venga!” Or, you could use venga when you’re in a hurry, for example, and the metro door won’t open: ¡Venga! Come on!

Jolines, it’s hot today! If you want to express something a little fuerte but not as fuerte as joder (in other words, lighter than the F-bomb), you can say jolines. Joder is more of a palabrota, which you definitely wouldn’t use in the workplace or formal situations, while jolines is a more suave version.

O sea, we’re not talking about the ocean here. “In other words,” this is a very madrileño way to correct or clarify yourself in speech. Some people are heavy on their o seas in regular conversation (like the a ver we highlighted in last week’s post about Spanish expressions) but others rarely use it.

Genial, you’ve made it to Spain and are on a great start to the summer! While the British translation of genial might be “brilliant”, we Americans would say “awesome,” “great,” “excellent,” etc. You can use this word to describe an idea or a person.

Mogollón is a fun, typically Spanish word in that it’s another expressive descriptor (because the Spanish can’t use simple language to talk about their everyday experiences - they need good descriptors!). You can have a montón of patatas on your plate, or a mogollón if you want to exaggerate even more.

Flipo when I’m having a really good time. Or that concert me flipó because it was a blast. In addition to pasarlo bien or gustar, flipar could be used to express surprise, enthusiasm, or excitement. An easy way to remember it is by thinking of the (somewhat dated) phrase “to flip out” in English.

¿Te animas? Do you feel like it? Are you up for it? Are you down? Vamos a la playa esta tarde. ¿Te animas?

Fatal describes anything from a bad movie to the way you feel with a migraine or even when it’s just one of those days that you can’t seem to do anything right. Qué día más duro, ¡estoy fatal!

Qué rollo, what a bore (or a drag)! Or qué buen rollo if you had a great time or a good conversation. Depending on the context, rollo can be negative or positive.

Estar a tope makes me think of being “at the top of the world”, and sometimes it can have this connotation; el concierto anoche fue genial; estábamos a tope (we enjoyed it to the max). More commonly, you can be a tope de trabajo, for example, if you’re overloaded or up to your eyeballs in work.

Fue una pasada is usually positive, like “amazing” or a buen rollo: La fiesta fue una pasada. Along the same lines, it can express the notion of being “over the top” or going too far. Basically, it’s another form of exaggeration, characteristic of Spanish lenguaje coloquial!

Lisette Miranda

Written by Lisette Miranda

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