6 Spanish Words That Are Out to Embarazarte

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Uh, that doesn’t mean what you think it means.

If you’re feeling insecure in your English to Spanish translating abilities, you’re not alone. Especially because there are some Spanish words that are trying to fool you. You know, the ones that look similar to English words but don't mean the same things. These are known as "false friends," and they are probably the reason your abuelita has given you some serious side-eye in the past. Here are some Spanish words you may have used incorrectly in the past:

1. Embarrass - Embarazada

Once, I told my Mom that my 6-year-old cousin was embarazada, and she promptly (and rightfully) burst out in laughter. I ended up telling her that her niece was feeling pregnant, which is not even close to what I meant. Talk about embarrassing.

2. Deception - Decepción

This tricky Spanish word does not mean to deceive someone. But it may be what happens as a result of your deception: disappointment. The correct translation is actually engañar.

3. Stretch  -  Estrecho

These two very similar looking words may as well be antonyms. Estrecho means narrow. So all those times you meant to say stretching out, you should have been using estirando.

4. Exit - Éxito

And this is why just adding a vowel to the end of an English word doesn’t work. Éxito’s English counterpart is success, and if you need more convincing, just watch any novela where the villain talks about how well his or her evil plans are going. Use salida if you mean exit.

5. Excited - Excitada

They look so similar, but one has a much sexier connotation. You think you’re telling someone you’re so excited a la Jessie Spano, but what you’re really saying is, well, horny. Better stick to emocionada/o.

6. Tuna - Tuna

This one is completely unfair. They are written exactly the same way and are even pronounced almost identically, but in Spanish tuna is an edible prickly pear cactus. If you’re looking for seafood, ask for atún. 

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About this author

Yara Simon, Contributor

Yara Simón is a freelance writer who grew up in Miami and was raised by her Nicaraguan mother. She graduated from the University of Florida before moving to New York. She loves the city, though she suffers from fritanga withdrawals. Fashion labels Proenza Schouler and Wes Gordon make her heart flutter, and she won't miss an episode of Game of Thrones. 

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