Absoluto vs Absolute(ly) Absoluto is an interesting word. Alone, it means absolute, utter, complete. En Absoluto means not at all, by no means, no way. Absolute = absoluto. Absolutely = absolutamente, completamente, totalmente.
Abstracto vs Abstract Abstracto is only an adjective as “Picasso enjoyed abstract art”. Abstract the noun = resumen.
Actual vs Actual Actual means current or present: El presidente actual vive en Madrid – “The current president lives in Madrid.” Actualmente means currently, at present, or now. Actual means verdadero or efectivo. Actually = realmente, en realidad, or en efecto.
Admirar vs Admire Admirar is a semi-false cognate that can mean “to admire.” But it frequently means “to surprise” or “to astonish.”
Advertencia vs Advertisement Advertencia is a warning, piece of advice, reminder, or preface. Advertisement = anuncio.
Affección vs Affection Affección occasionally means fondness toward somebody or something. More commonly affección it refers to a disease or some other sort of medical condition. Affection = afecto or cariño.
Agonía vs Agony Agonía = death throes or dying moments. Agony refers to terrible physical or mental pain = dolor agudo, angustia.
Alteradovs Altered Alterado can mean changed or altered as well as angry or upset. Altered = modificado, cambiado, alterado.
Americano vs American Americano usually refers to anyone from North or South America. American = estaounidense (adjective of Estados Unidos – United States)
Aparente vs ApparentAparente is a semi-false cognate that can mean “apparent.” In Spanish aparente carries a strong implication that things aren’t what they appear to be. Thus, aparentemente fue a la tienda does not mean “he apparently went to the store” but instead: “it appeared like he had gone to the store but he didn’t.” Apparent = visible, claro, evidente, or ostensible.
Aplicar vs Apply Aplicar means to apply something, like a theory, paint, or sanctions. Apply = aplicar when it is a transitive verb. As an intransitive verb, it has many translations: apply for a job – solicitar or presentar; to apply oneself to = dirigirse a uno; to apply in the sense of be applicable = ser aplicable or interesar.
Apología vs Apology Apología refers to defense or a eulogy. Apology = una disculpa or excusa.
Aprobar vs Approve Aprobar means to approve (of), consent to, or endorse, as well as to pass a test or class. Approve = aprobar.
Arena vs Arena Arena means sand. Arena = anfiteatro, redondel, plaza.
Argumento vs Argument Argumento means argument in the sense of reasoning (as in a courtroom). Argument in the sense of disagreement = una discusión, pelea, disputa, or polémica.
Asesino vs Assassin Asesino can refer to an assassin as well as an ordinary non-political murderer or killer. Asesino is also an adjective: murderous. Assassin = asesino.
Asistencia vs Assistance Asistencia usually means attendance, though it can also mean assistance Assistance is most commonly translated by ayuda or auxilio.
Asistir vs Assist Asistir means to attend. Assist = ayudar.
Atender vs Attend Atender can mean to attend in Latin America, but in Spain it means to pay attention to, to heed, or to care for. Attend = asistir.
Autor vs Author Autor can refer to an author or writer as well as the creator of something (e.g., a painting) or the perpetrator of a crime. Author nearly always indicates a writer = un autor, una autora.
Bachillerato vs Bachelor Bachillerato is the equivalent of a high school diploma in the US or A-levels in the UK. Bachelor refers to an unmarried man = un soltero. A bachelor’s degree =una licenciatura.
Basamento vs Basement Basamento is the base of a column, sometimes called a plinth. If you want to visit a basement, go down to el sótano.
Billón vs Billion Billón is kind of a semi-false cognate. It indicates a trillion in US, billion in UK. Billion, as spoken by an American = mil millones. When a Brit says billion, s/he means billón.
Bizarro vs Bizarre Bizarro has two categories of meaning: 1) valient, gallant, brave, or 2) generous. Bizarre = extraño or raro (see raro vs rare, below).
Blanco vs Blank Blanco is a semi-false cognate. It is usually the Spanish word for the color white but can in some instances be translated by blank: una página blanca - a blank sheet of paper. Blank is an adjective = en blanco, liso, or sin adorno.
Blindar vs Blind Blindar means to armor-plate or to shield, and its adjective blindado means armor-plated, shielded, or bullet-proof. Blind = ciego as an adjective, and cegar or deslumbrar as a verb.
Boda vs Body Boda is a wedding or wedding reception. A body (as of a person or animal) is most often cuerpo or tronco.
Bufete vs Buffet Bufete is a desk or a lawyer’s office. Buffet = una cantina, un buffet libre, or una comida buffet.
Cámara vs Camera Cámara usually means room or chamber, but also means a camera, a camera or operator. Photographic camera usually refers to a still camera = una cámara, una máquina fotográfica.
Campo vs Camp Campo means country(side), field, or farm. Camp = un campamento.
Cargo vs Cargo Cargo refers to a post or position as well as a charge in all senses: hacerse cargo de - to take charge, sin cargo - free of charge, retirar los cargos contra - to drop the charges against. Cargo = cargamento, carga.
Carpeta vs Carpet Carpeta = folder, file, portfolio, briefcase, or table cloth. Carpet is una alfombra or una moqueta.
Carrera vs Career Carrera can refer to any of the following: running, race; a row or line; a beam, girder, or joist; route, ride, journey, course; avenue; career; or university studies. Career = vocación, una carrera profesional or una profesión.
Carta vs Cart / Card Carta refers to a (postal) letter, document, deed, charter, map, or menu. Cart is un carro, una carreta, un carretón, or una carretilla. A card is usually una tarjeta.
Chocar vs Choke Chocar normally means to shock or startle, but can also mean to clink (glasses) or to shake (hands). Choke = sofocarse or atragantarse.
Cientifico vs Scientific Cientifico is both noun (profession) and adjective. Therefore students often use the word scientific to refer to the person: He is a famous scientific. However, scientist should be used to refer to the person: He is a famous scientist.
Colegio vs College Colegio refers to a high school, usually private. College can be translated by colegio only when it refers to “colleges” as in divisions of a school. Otherwise, college = universidad or escuela superior.
Colorado vs Colored Colorado means red or reddish. Colored = de color.
Complexión vs Complexion Complexión refers to one’s constitution, make-up, temperament, or physical build. Complexion = la tez, el cutiz, or la piel.
Compromiso vs Compromise Compromiso is an obligation, commitment, promise, or agreement. Compromise as a noun can be expressed as una transacción, una avenencia, unas concesiones recíprocas, el término medio, or la solución intermedia. Compromise (the verb) = comprometer or transigir.
Conductor vs Conductor Conductor equals conductor when referring to science: un conductor de electricidad – conductor of electricity. It can also mean a driver or a TV or radio presenter. Conductor of an orchestra = un(a) director(a), and train conductor = un(a) revisor(a).
Conexión vs Connection Conexión is a physical or logical connection. Connection (when referring to human/emotional connections) = una relación.
Conferencia vs Conference Conferencia can mean conference, meeting, lecture, speech, or phone call. Conference = una conferencia, una reunión, una asamblea, or un congreso.
Constipación vs Constipation Constipación and Constipado mean to catch a cold, while una constipación (or catarro) is one of the words that means a cold. Someone who is constipated is estreñido.
Contestar vs Contest Contestar means to answer or reply. Contest as a verb = impugnar, atacar, disputar, or contender.
Conveniente vs Convenient Conveniente means suitable, fitting, proper, useful, or advantageous. Convenient means cómodo, práctico, útil, or accesible.
Copa vs Cup Copa = a glass or goblet, an alcoholic drink, a trophy (la Copa del Mundo = World Cup). Cup = una taza.
Copia vs Copy Copia is a photopcopy or other duplicate. Copy can also mean un ejemplar (of a book) or un número (of a magazine).
Coraje vs Courage Coraje can mean courage as well as anger. Courage = el coraje, as well as el valor, la valentía, los ánimos, and las fuerzas.
Corresponder vs Correspond Corresponder means things like to correspond, tally, fit in, match, or belong. Correspond translates to corresponder only in the sense of agreeing with or matching (e.g., this corresponds with our thoughts). Correspond (when referring to a correspondence by mail) = escribirse or estar en correspondencia con.
Cuestión vs Question Cuestión is a matter/issue/question to be resolved. Question = cuestión when referring to an issue, or una pregunta when asking a question.
Culto vs Cult Culto can refer to a religious sect or to a religious service. As an adjective, it means cultured or refined. Cult = una secta.
Damnificado vs Damned Damnificado = victim, from the verb damnificar - to injure, harm, damage. Damned = condenado or maldito.
Decepción/Decepcionar vs Deception/Deceive Decepción = disappointment. Decepcionar = to disappoint. Deception = un engaño, un fraude. To deceive = engañar, defraudar.
Defraudar vs Defraud Defraudar can mean to defraud or cheat as well as to disappoint or let down. Defraud = estafar or defraudar.
Delito vs Delight Delito refers to a crime, offence, or misdeed. Delight = el placer, el deleite, el encanto, or la delicia. To delight = encantar or deleitar.
Departamento vs Department Departamento means department, section; office; compartment; province; or apartment. Department = departamento, sección, ministerio.
Desgracia vs Disgrace Desgracia means misfortune, mishap, accident, setback, or bad luck. Disgrace = la deshonra or ignominia.
Deshonesto vs Dishonest Deshonesto means indecent or lewd. It means dishonest only in the sense of untrustworthy, not in the sense of not telling the truth. Dishonest = poco honrado, fraudulento.
Despertar vs Desperate Despertar means to wake up, both figuratively and literally, and requires a direct object. To say “I’m waking up” in the sense of getting out of bed, you need to use the reflexive form, despertarse. Desperate = desesperado.
Destituido vs Destitute Destituido means devoid of or lacking or someone who has been removed from office. Destitute = indigente, desamparado, necesitado, or en la miseria.
Disco vs Disco Disco is a semi-false cognate. Aside from disco, it has numerous translations: disk, discus, traffic-light, or (audio) record. Disco = disco, discoteca, or sala de baile.
Dirrección vs Direction Dirrección is most commonly as an address, but is occasionally used to describe one of the Cardinal Points (N, E, S, W), or the steering on a car.
Discutir vs Discuss Discutir is stronger than discuss; more like debate or argue. Discuss = hablar de, tratar de, comentar.
Discusión vs Discussion Discusión can be a simple discussion, but more commonly it refers to something more intense, like a debate, dispute, or argument. Discussion = dialago.
Disgusto vs Disgust Disgusto is not as strong as disgust; it means annoyance, displeasure, grief, or trouble. Disgust = repugnancia or aversión.
Echar vs Echo Echar has numerous meanings, including to throw, to put, to pour, to give, to cut, and to push. Echo = resonar, repetir, or hacer eco.
Editor vs Editor Editor is an adjective: publishing, and a noun: publisher or editor. Editor = editor, director, or redactor.
Educación vs Education Educación has a broader meaning than education. The Spanish word’s best translation is upbringing, which includes both school education as well as what a child learns at home. Education = formación or enseñanza.
Educado vs Educated Educado means well-mannered, polite, or cultivated, from the verb educar – to raise, bring up, rear. Educated is from the verb to educate = formar or instruir.
Efectivo vs Effective Efectivo means real or actual. En efectivo means “in cash”. Efectivos are military forces or (police) officers. Effective = eficaz.
Elevador vs Elevator Elevador means elevator only in Mexico, though un elevador de granos is a grain elevator anywhere. Elevator = un ascensor.
Embarazada vs Embarrassed Embarazada means pregnant. It can also be a noun: una embarazada is a pregnant woman, or an expectant mother. Embarrassed =avergonzado, molesto, or incómodo.
Emocionante vs Emotional Emocionante means exciting, thrilling, or moving. Emotional indicates something that is afectivo, emocional, or emotivo, or someone that is sentimental.
Equivocado vs Equivocal Equivocado means wrong. Equivocal =equívoco or ambiguo.
Eventual vs Eventual Eventual means fortuitous, possible, or temporary. Eventual = final, definitivo, consiguiente.
Eventualmente vs Eventually Eventualmente is temporary or conditional. Eventually could be translated as finalmente.
Excitar vs Excite Excitar means to excite sexually. Excite (when talking about something you’re looking forward) to = entusiasmar or provocar.
Éxito vs Exit Éxito means success: a gran éxito – very successful. Exit = una salida.
Fábrica vs Fabric Fábrica is a factory, plant, or mill. Fabric = el tejido or la tela.
Factoría vs Factory Factoría can mean a factory (in some Spanish-speaking countries), but is more commonly a trading post. Factory = una fábrica.
Facultad vs Faculty Facultad refers to mental faculty, power or ability, or a university department. Faculty in reference to a group of teachers = el profesorado.
Falta vs Fault Falta is a lack, want, need, absence, shortage, failure, or shortcoming. A fault (imperfection) is un defecto, un desperfecto, or una imperfección. Fault (blame) = la culpa.
Familiar vs Familiar Familiar as an adjective means family, familiar, domestic, informal, plain, or colloquial. As a noun it refers to a relative or close friend. Familiar is only an adjective: familiar, conocido, común, familiarizado, íntimo.
Fastidioso vs Fastidious Fastidioso means annoying or boring. It can mean fastidious in Latin America. Fastidious = escrupuloso.
Firma vs Firm Firma can refer to a firm, but more commonly means a signature. Firm as an adjective means firme, sólido, duro, seguro. As a noun, Firm = una firma or una empresa.
Fiscal vs Fiscal Fiscal means fiscal or tax-related as an adjective. As a noun, however, it refers to a district attorney or public prosecutor. Fiscal = fiscal.
Formal vs Formal Formal means reliable, dependable, responsible, or serious. Formal = solemne, correcto, oficial, or, when referring to clothing, de etiqueta.
Fracaso vs Fracas Fracaso is a failure or disaster. Fracas = una gresca or una reyerta.
Fútbol vs Football Fútbol refers to soccer (in American English). Football = el fútbol americano.
Fútil vs Futile Fútil means trivial. Futile = inútil, vano, or infructuoso.
Ganga vs Gang or Gangia / Ganga is a bargain, although ganga may be heard in Spanglish as a word for “gang,” the usual word is pandilla.
Grabar vs Grab Grabar is to engrave, record (as in a tape recorder), or impress. Grab = asir, coger, or arrebatar.
Gracioso vs Gracious Gracioso means funny or cute. Gracious = gentil, cortés, or refinado.
Grosería vs Grocery Store Grosería seems to follow the -ía pattern on most Spanish words for stores, but in fact it refers only to rudeness, crudeness, or vulgarity. Grocery Store = tienda de abarrotes/comestibles, bodega, or abacería, depending on what country you’re in.
Honesto vs Honest Honesto means sincere, honorable, or decent. Honest = sincero, franco, or honrado.
Humor vs Humor Humor means mood or humor. Humor refers to gracia or humor. Sense of humor = sentido del humor.
Idioma vs Idiom Idioma refers to a language. Idiom = idiotosmo, modismo, or lenguaje.
Ignorar vs Ignore Ignorar means to not know or to be unaware of. Ignore = no hacer caso de, desatender, or dejar a un lado.
Inconsecuente vs Inconsequential Inconsecuente refers to something that is contradictory. Something inconsequential (among other possibilities) = de poca importancia.
Insulación(?) vs Insulation Insulación isn’t a word in Spanish (although you may hear it in Spanglish). “Insulation” = aislamiento.
Insulto vs Insult Insulto means insult in most places, but in Mexico it can also refer to indigestion or a stomachache. Insult = insulto.
Introducir vs Introduce Introducir is a semi-false cognate. It means to introduce only in the context of introducing a topic. Introducir can mean to introduce a topic or a person. Introduce = presentar.
Jubilación vs Jubilation Jubilación refers to retirement: both the act of retiring and a pension. Jubilation = júbilo.
Labor vs Labor Labor can mean any kind of work: paid work, chores, needlework, etc. Labor = trabajo (the actual work) or la mano de obra (the workers).
Largo vs Large Largo means long, generous, or abundant. Large = grande or importante.
Lectura vs Lecture Lectura refers to the act of reading or reading material. Lecture = una conferencia, una explicación, or un sermoneo.
Letra vs Letter Letra refers only to a letter of the alphabet. Letter = un letra (of the alphabet) or una carta (that you write to a friend).
Librería/Librero vs Library Librería is a bookstore, while librero refers to a bookseller or bookcase. Library = una biblioteca.
Lujuria vs Luxury Lujuria = lust, lewdness, excess. Luxury = el lujo.
Mama vs Mama Mama refers to a breast(aka seno, where tete is just the nipple), as in “Mamitis” = mama’s boy (A man who has not cut the cord). Mama = mamá (see how important an accent can be?)
Mango vs Mango Mango can mean mango the fruit as well as a handle (as of a knife). Mango = mango.
Marca/Marco vs Mark Marca is a mark (as in a spot or line) as well as a brand, make, or label. In sports, una marca is a record or best time. Un marco is a (picture) frame, goal, setting, or framework. Mark = una mancha or una señal.
Masa vs Mass Masa can mean mass (in terms of people and volume), as well as dough. Mass (in reference to church) = la misa.
Matar vs Mate Matar means to kill. Mate = as a noun is un macho / una hembra for animals, un compañero / una compañera for people. To mate means aparear or unir.
Mayor vs Mayor Mayor as an adjective means main, major, larger, older. As a noun is means chief, boss, superior, adult, or ancestor. Mayor = el alcalde or la alcadesa.
Minorista vs Minority Minorista is a Caribbean and South American word for retail or retail seller. Minority = la minoría or, as an adjective, minoritario.
Molestar vs Molest Molestar means to annoy or bother. Molest = acosar sexualmente.
Motivo vs Motive Motivo isn’t necessarily the same thing as motive (which tends to have a negative connotation, like “motive for the murder”); it’s more like reason or cause. Motive = móvil, motivos, or intención.
Natural vs Natural Natural as an adjective means natural, fresh (with fruit), and illegimate (with children). As a noun it means nature or native. Natural = natural, normal, innato, or biológico (with family members).
Negocio vs Negotiation Negocio refers to a business, deal, or transaction. Negotiation = una negociación.
Nombre vs Number Nombre means name or noun. Number = un número.
Noticia vs Notice Noticia is a news item or piece of news. Noticias means news or information.
Nudo vs Nude Nudo is a noun: knot, node, joint. Nude (as a noun or adjective) = desnudo.
Ocasión vs Occasion Ocasión is usually a chance or opportunity. Ocasión can also mean cause or reason, and in Latin American Ocasión refers to a bargain. Occasion = una vez, una oportunidad, un acontecimiento, una razón, or un motivo.
Oculto vs Occult Oculto can mean hidden, concealed, or secret, as well as occult. Occult = oculto or misterioso.
Oficial vs Official Oficial as an adjective is the same as in English. Oficial as a noun, it refers to a military officer or a skilled worker. Official (as a noun) = un funcionario.
Oficio vs Office Oficio = trade or function, religious service/mass, or an official letter. Office = una oficina, un despacho.
Once vs Once Once is eleven in Spanish. Once = una vez.
Ordinario vs Ordinary Ordinario can mean ordinary as well as common or coarse (in reference to a person) and fine or ok, in answer to ¿Cómo estás? Ordinary = normal or corriente.
Pan vs Pan Pan is bread. Pan is una cazuela, cacerola, olla, or sartén (skillet).
Papa/Papá vs Papa Papa means potato when it’s feminine (la papa) and Pope when it’s masculine (el Papa). Papá is equivalent to poppa or dad in English. Papa = papá.
Parientes vs Parents Parientes refers to your extended family, cousins, uncles, aunts etc. Parents on the other hand, refers only to your father and mother. Therefore, parientes is relatives in English. Parents = los padres.
Patrón vs Patron Patrón can indicate a boss or owner as well as a pattern or standard. Patron = patrocinador or cliente.
Pie vs Pie Pie = foot – both the body part and unit of distance (12 inches). Pie = pastel.
Plagio vs Plague Plagio is plagiarism. Plague = la peste, la plaga, or el fastidio.
Prácticamente vs Practically Prácticamente should not be used to mean almost; it means practically in the sense of “in a practical way” or “in practical terms.” Practically = casi.
Preciso vs Precise Preciso can mean precise, correct, or necessary. Precise = preciso or exacto.
Presente vs Present Presente means present when talking about time or presence. Present meaning “gift” = un regalo.
Preservativo vs Preservative Preservativo indicates a condom. Preservative = un conservador.
Pretender vs Pretend Pretender means to claim: Ella pretende ser rica – She claims to be rich. Pretend = fingir or simular.
Privado vs Private Privado means private as in exclusive (such as a school or club). Private is fairly general – it’s basically the opposite of public = privado, personal, secreto, íntimo, or particular.
Procurar vs Procure Procurar rarely means to procure; the more common translations by far are to try and to manage (to do something). Procure = obtener, conseguir.
Quitar vs Quit Quitar means to take away, remove, or get rid of. Quit = dejar, abandonar, salir de. To quit one’s job = abandonar su puesto, dimitir.
Rapista vs Rapist Rapista is an uncommon word for a barber (peluquero or even the cognate barbero is more common), being derived from the verb rapar, to cut close or to shave. A sexual attacker is a violador.
Raro vs Rare Raro can mean rare, but more commonly means odd or strange. Rare = poco común or excepcional.
Real vs Real Real can mean real as well as royal. Real = verdadero, auténtico, or legítimo.
Realizar vs Realize Realizar means to realize only in the sense of to make real, to attain, or to fulfill. Realize can mean realizar as well as darse cuenta de, comprender, and reconocer.
Receta vs Receipt Receta = recipe or prescription. Receipt = un recibo or una factura (as in an official receipt for taxes).
Recolección vs Recollection Recolección is a collection, harvest, or summary. Recollection = recuerdo or la memoria.
Recordar vs Record Recordar means to remember, recall, or remind. Record (the verb) = registrar, inscribir, or grabar.
Red vs Red Red refers to a network – like the internet. Red the color = rojo.
Relativo vs Relative Relativo has the same meaning as an adjective, but as a noun it is used only in linguistics. Relative as a noun = pariente or familiar.
Restar vs Rest Rester means to take away or subtract, to not give much, to remain or be left or, in sports, to return. Rest as a verb = descansar or apoyar.
Revolver vs Revolver Revolver is a verb: to move around, turn over, revolve, or disturb. Revolver is a noun = un revólver (that accent is important!)
Ropa vs Rope Ropa means clothing. Rope = una cuerda or una soga.
Salario vs Salary Salario refers to hourly wages. Salary as fixed earnings per month or year = el sueldo.
Sano vs Sane Sano = healthy, fit, or intact. Sane = cuerdo, sensato, or de juicio sano.
Sensible vs Sensible Sensible = sensitive or regrettable. Sensible = juicioso, sensato, or prudente.
Sensiblemente vs Sensibly Sensiblemente usually means “perceptibly” or “appreciably,” sometimes “painfully.” Sensibly is sesudamente.
Simple vs Simple Simple can nearly always be translated by simple: when it means foolish, not compound, etc. Simple (as in unadorned or uncomplicated) = sencillo.
Sobre vs Sober Sobre is either a noun: envelope, or a preposition: on, above, over. Sober = sobrio or sereno.
Sopa vs Soap Sopa refers to soup or, informally, a hangover. Soap = jabón.
Soportar vs Support Soportar means to bear, carry, support, hold up, or withstand. Support as a verb = apoyar, sostener, or mantener.
Suceder vs Succeed Suceder means to happen or to follow, come next. Succeed = tener éxito, triunfar.
Suceso vs Success Suceso is an event, incident, happening, or sometimes a crime. Success = un éxito or triunfo.
Tabla vs Table Tabla can refer to a board, plank, sheet (of metal), table top, or stage. Table = una mesa.
Tipo vs Type Tipo means type/kind as well as guy or bloke. Type = tipo or clase. To type (as a verb) = escribir a máquina.
Trampa vs Tramp Trampa indicates a trap. Tramp = un vagabundo or una zorra.
Tratar vs Treat Tratar means to treat or handle; to deal with, be about, have to do with; or to address. Treat as a verb = tratar, invitar, curar, or discutir.
Tuna vs Tuna Tuna has a range of meanings: prickly pear, a student music group (glee club), the life of a rogue, and, in Central America, drunkenness. Tuna = el atún.
Últimamente vs Ultimately Últimamente means lastly, finally, as a last resort, or lately. Ultimately = por último, al final, a la larga, en el fondo.
Último vs Ultimate Último means final or last. Ultimate has several meanings: the best = definitivo; the most important/essential = fundamental, esencial; the latest = último grito.
Vaso vs Vase Vaso is a glass or tumbler. Vase = un florero or jarrón.