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English words used in Spanish: Anglicisms!

There are many English words used in Spanish! What words and why? I will answer this today!

And I’m not talking about words that are exactly the same in both languages, such as actor or animal (you can read the full list in this article!).

On a globalized planet, it’s inevitable for the Spanish language to be influenced by the business, technology and media worlds – all of which speak English as a lingua franca!

So let me introduce this new concept: Anglicisms. They are words or phrases from the English language that are used in another language.

Are you ready to discover some of the most frequent Anglicisms used in Spanish? Let’s go!

Why do we use English words in Spanish?

You can see an example of Anglicisms on this funny short by Zac Morris, a YouTube celebrity and English teacher from the US who fell in love with the Latin culture: Cuando hablas inglés sin hablar inglés.

According to linguists, there are mainly three reasons why people choose to use English words in Spanish.

The first reason is prestige. Usually people who already speak English very well (but not necessarily) tend to use Anglicisms just to show off, be cool or fit in.

In our video, the Argentine guy could have said adicto al trabajo instead of ‘workaholic’. I’m sure that if I ask my neighbors what a ‘workaholic’ is they won’t know it.

But whatever, ‘workaholic’ sounds cooler. If the other person doesn’t understand, we will use it as an opportunity to teach and impress them.

The second reason is ignorance. In this case, native Spanish speakers aren’t aware that an equivalent in Spanish already exists, so they just use the English word.

A good example is ‘flashback’, which is translated as analepsis into Spanish. Even I didn’t remember this word before researching for writing this article 😀

I think I studied it once in a literature class back in uni, so it makes sense that most people would simply use ‘flashback’.

And finally, the third reason is to fill a gap in the Spanish language, when we want to refer to something new and there isn’t a word to mention it.

In this case, the words are directly incorporated into the vocabulary (for example ‘software’) or the term is hispanicized (for example tuit for ‘tweet’ or wasap for ´WhatsApp’).

hombre influencer - English words used in Spanish
Mi hermano quiere ser influencer, pero no tiene muchos likes. – Foto de MART PRODUCTION

List of frequent Anglicisms (actually) used in Spanish

You will notice that, effectively, many of these Anglicisms come from the business, technology or entertainment industries.

It’s possible to find many more Anglicisms with a quick search on Google, but honestly some of them aren’t used that frequently.

Tengo un meeting instead of tengo una reunión sounds too snob, even for someone like me, who is admittedly kind of Anglophile and gives his students feedback, instead of retroalimentación.

But anyways here’s the list! I decided to include the version in Spanish when available, so it’s up to you to sound more Hispanic or not. Let’s go!

———-

app | aplicación

backstage | detrás de escena
bestseller | superventas
blog |
blogger | bloguero
boom | éxito/auge repentino
bullying | acoso
brunch | desayuno-almuerzo

camping | campamento
casual | informal
casting | selección, audición
catering |
CEO | director general, director ejecutivo
chat (internet) |
check-in | llegada, registro
check-out | salida
click | clic
coaching | entrenamiento, instrucción, asesoramiento (it depends on the context)
cool (great) | genial (and other translations depending on the country)
copyright | derechos de autor
coworking | cotrabajo
cupcake |

detox | depurativo
duty-free | libre de impuestos

email | correo electrónico

feedback | retroalimentación, comentarios, impresiones
fit | sano, en forma
fitness |
flash | destello
flashback | analepsis
follow (social media) | seguir (the complete Anglicism is dar follow)
full | (expression: a full) con mucha dedicación/intensidad

hacker |
hardware |
hashtag | etiqueta (but nobody uses it)
hipster | hípster (with an accent mark)
hit (successful pop song) | éxito
hobby | afición, pasatiempo
home office | teletrabajo, trabajo en casa
hostel | hostal

influencer | influyente

light | liviano
like (social media) | me gusta
link (internet) | enlace
look | imagen, estilo, apariencia, etc.

marketing | mercadotecnia
master (degree) | maestría
masterclass | clase magistral
meme |
muffin |

nerd | empollón (but mainly in Spain)
networking | hacer contactos
newsletter | boletín
notebook (computer) | portátil

online | en línea
outfit | conjunto

performance | presentación, función (theater session), actuación (acting), etc.
personal trainer | entrenador personal
playlist | lista de reproducción
podcast | pódcast (with an accent mark)
post (internet) | entrada, publicación

ranking | clasificación, lista
rating (TV) | índice de audiencia
remake | nueva versión, adaptación
runner | corredor
running | carrera

selfie | autofoto
show | espectáculo
smartphone | teléfono inteligente
snack | aperitivo
snob | esnob
software |
soundtrack | banda sonora
spam | correo no deseado
spoiler | destripe (but no one uses it, really)
spot | anuncio, publicidad
start-up | empresa emergente
story (social media) | historia
streaming | emisión/transmisión en directo

tablet | tableta
tip | clave, tip, recomendación
trailer | traíler

voucher | cupón, vale descuento

webcam | cámara web
win-win | todos ganan, beneficioso para todos, ganancia segura (there isn’t an exact translation)

youtuber | youtubero (nobody says that)

But wait a minute, there’s more! It turns out that there are a few Anglicisms that are used wrongly.

This is the list of false Anglicisms:

Crack: someone very good at a particular subject or sport. Lionel Messi would be a ‘crack’ of football.

Fashion: it does exist in English, but it’s a noun. In Spanish, it’s used as an adjective.

Feeling: spark or chemistry between two people, especially in a romantic way.

Footing: the activity of running in a recreational way.

Friki (from ‘freaky’): meaning actually nerd or geek, a person who is very interested in a particular subject.

Puenting: bungee jumping! Puente means bridge in Spanish.

Zapping: channel surfing or channel hopping.

And that’s all for today!

Do you want to learn more Spanish?

I hope you have enjoyed this article about Anglicisms or English words used in Spanish.

If you liked this post, you can share it with someone else who might find it helpful! I’m always glad to reach and help more people around the world.

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And to improve your Spanish even further, book a lesson with me! My students are already speaking Spanish and using it in their everyday lives. Be one of them!

Thank you very much and until next time,

Kevin.

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