Spanish has had a big influence on the English language, especially in the United States, so much so that many Spanish words have found their way into our vocabulary.

1) Solo

Solo can be used along with “riding” or “flying” to mean that you’re going to an event alone. We could ask our friend if they are going to a party with their partner and if they aren’t they might say; “Nope, I’m riding solo tonight”

2) Mi casa es su casa

Meaning: my home is your home. I have no idea why this expression has found its way into English but you can definitely hear English speakers using it. For example, John Travolta says it in a scene in Pulp Fiction

3) Aficionado

If you’re an aficionado of something you are a fan of it. “I’m a gothic literature aficionado” for example.

4) Plaza

My Spanish students are always asking me “How do you say plaza? Square?” The answer is yes…and no. In English we also say plaza (pronouncing the Z). However, there are some big “plazas” that we have to call square. For example, The Red Square in Moscow. Generally speaking however, you can say plaza and it’s perfectly fine, we wouldn’t say “Major Square” to say plaza mayor we’d just say “plaza mayor”.

5) Dinero

Basically everyone will know that you mean money if you say “dinero”. It’s used in informal English.

Here’s a real life example from The Offspring’s “Why don’t you get a job?”

“My friend’s got a boyfriend and she hates that d*ck, she tells me everyday, he wants more dinero just to stay at home”

6) Fiesta

Let’s go party! Or, let’s have a fiesta! This is probably more commonly known among American English speakers but many people in other English speaking countries will be familiar with this word

7) Loco

If you’re feeling a bit crazy you’re feeling a bit loco. There are so many examples from pop culture of how English speakers have used this word. My personal favourite is Owen Wilson’s use of it in the hit comedy Zoolander (it’s at the end of the clip below)

8) Sierra

A sierra is a chain of mountains like the sierra Nevada. We also use “mountain range” but mountain range is more generic. For example, the Himalayas are a mountain range but aren’t a sierra. Sierras are found more in arid, hot areas.

9) Quixotic

This isn’t a Spanish word that Spaniards would use but it’s inspired by the greatest Spanish literary hero: Don Quixote. It means someone very chivalrous, unpredictable and impulsive. Basically, it means that the person acts like Don Quixote. This wouldn’t be used in everyday English but I saw it and fell in love with the word!

10) Nada

We use nada to replace “nothing”.

“Hey Paul did you catch any fish this afternoon?”

“Nope, nada!”


That’s it! There are some more Spanish words we use in English which aren’t on the list: Do you know any others? Leave a comment below & share them!

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