11 Emotional Spanish Words We Really Need in English

CC0 Pixabay
CC0 Pixabay
Tara Jessop

Spoken by some 400 million native speakers around the world, Spanish is a language rich in history but also constantly adapting and evolving. Spanish is also a deeply emotional and intuitive language which has words to express the most specific but also the most profound of feelings. Here are eleven words which the English language would really benefit from using.


A word often used in the world of flamenco, tener duende means something along the lines of ‘to have soul’. It refers to a quality of authenticity, of passion and of heightened emotion.

Vergüenza ajena

When you feel sorry or embarrassed for someone else but that feeling is strong enough that you genuinely feel it yourself, you’re experiencing vergüenza ajena.


They say that a mother’s love is unconditional but what about that of a child? Emnmadrarse describes the state of a little boy or girl that has become excessively attached to their mother.


Affection can be shown in many ways, for some people its kind words and attention, for others it’s hugs and kisses. The mimoso is someone for whom affection involves a lot of touching and physical contact.

Te quiero

There are many ways to say ‘I love you’ in Spanish and te quiero is one of them. Yet it also expresses a sense of desire and wanting, differing slightly from the more romantic ‘te amo’.


The dinner is over, everyone has enjoyed the meal and the conversation is flowing – this is when the sobremesa happens. An important part of any good dinner party is the enjoyment of the sobremesa that comes with it.


The feeling you have when you’re so overwhelmed by everything going around you in life that you find yourself dumbfounded and unable to think straight or do anything. That’s when you can say that you’re aturdido.


In most Spanish-speaking cultures, the family is a huge part of a person’s life and the Spanish language reflects this. The word consuegro describes specifically the relationship between two sets of in-laws (in other words, two people’s respective parents).


Another word used to describe a quite specific relationship, a comadre describes a particularly close female friend. This is someone you can confide in, trust implicitly and rely on in times of need.


What’s the opposite of love? It could be hate but it could also simply be desamor, or a lack of love. A wife who feels her husband just doesn’t care anymore, a father who feels his children have no affection for him – the problem here is desamor.


Practically speaking, tutear means to speak to someone using ‘tu‘ rather than the more formal ‘usted‘. In reality what is also denotes is a sense of familiarity, closeness and even friendship.

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