What does re mean in Spanish? Let’s find it out together!
If you have ever talked to someone from Argentina, probably you have noticed that we use re a lot.
Re in Argentina basically means ‘in a high degree’ or ‘extremely’, and it can be translated into English as ‘very’, ‘totally’, or, more colloquially, ‘hella’.
Usually it’s used before an adjective or another adverb, but sometimes it’s used as a prefix before nouns, too!
So continue reading the article to learn how to use re naturally in your everyday conversations!
What does re mean in Spanish?
Re + adjective
This is the most common use of re in Spanish. Before an adjective, re emphasizes the quality expressed by it.
El libro es re interesante. (= muy interesante)
La fiesta fue re divertida. (= muy divertida)
¡Ese tipo está re loco! (= That guy is hella crazy!)
It’s always great to see native speakers using grammar in context naturally. So I ‘m going to show you two good examples!
First, let me introduce Ricardo Darín to you. He is one of the most important Argentine actors, internationally awarded and recognized in the Hispanic world.
In the following video (min: 5:47), you can hear him using re + adjective during an interview on El hormiguero, a popular late night show in Spain.
There, Ricardo is playing a game with the host and he is translating (in an exaggerated way, of course!) phrases from Spanish from Spain into Argentine Spanish. Re divertido!
And probably you already know Anya Taylor-Joy, right? She’s a famous young actress who recently has become very popular due to her leading role in the Netflix series The Queen’s gambit.
Although she was born in the US, she’s half-Argentine and has lived here a few years in her childhood, so she speaks Argentine Spanish fluently!
In this interview (min 2:48) you can hear how she uses re + adjective when asked who she would save: Han Solo or Indiana Jones. Re difícil, man!
Re + adverb
In this case, re emphasizes the quality expressed by an adverb.
Juega re bien al tenis.
Habló re formalmente en la reunión.
Es muy organizada y toma notas re prolijamente. (= extremely neatly)
This usage is common too, but a little bit less frequent with -mente adverbs because a lot of times we use an adjective form instead. For example, we could say rápido and not rápidamente.
Terminé re rápido el informe para mañana. (= very quickly)
Now let’s see what happens with nouns!
Re + noun
When used with nouns, without an adjective, re just emphasizes that something is really big, good, or that there is a huge amount of it.
Es un re amigo. (= a really good friend)
¡Hay una re cucaracha en el baño! (= a serious cockroach)
Esa familia tiene la re plata. (= a lot of money)
Re + verb
Again, re means ‘in a high degree’ when used with verbs.
Me re duele la espalda. (= My back really hurts)
¡Me re asusté! (= I got really scared!)
And that’s all for today!
Just have a final piece of advice: you can use re colloquially from time to time, but don’t exaggerate! We still use adverbs like muy, realmente, mucho, etc.
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Thank you very much and until next time,
I always wondered about this! Thanks Kevin
¡Gracias a vos, Santi!