Spanish words that you don’t know that you already know!

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Following are but a few of the Spanish cognates (words that have a common etymological origin) that may help you better communicate here in Mexico.

Obviously, word forms, tense, passive/active voices, use as gerunds or infinitives and other ways we humans twist and turn our words can create numerous variations of most of these. 

Suffice it to say that there are many, many more than we have listed here.  These are simply words that you might have need of using.  We have endeavored to not include those that might be inappropriate or offensive in this culture if used by foreigners.

However, with only these “basics”, you’ll be surprised just how far you can go in effectively expressing yourself with new Mexican amigos!

         A 

abandon – abandonar:  (a-band- o-naur)  (Roll the last syllable)

abbreviation – abreviación:  (a-bra-ve-a-cion) (Roll the “r”)

abdomen – abdomen:  (ab-dough-men)

abnormal – abnormal:  (ab-nor-mal)

abound – abundar:  (a-bund-dar)  (Roll the last syllable)

abrasion – abrasión:  (ah-bra-see-on)

abrupt – abrupto:  (a-broop-to)

abscess – absceso:  (ab-cess-o)

absolute – absoluto:  (ab-sew-loot-o)

   absolutely – absolutamente:  (ab-sew-loota-menta)  (Hard ”a” on last)

   absorb – absorber:   ab-sor-ber (Roll the last syllable)

   abstain – abstenerse:   (ab-ste-ner-say) (Hard last “a”)

   absurd – absurdo:  (ab-surd-o)

   acceleration – aceleración:  (ah-ce-leh-rah-see- on)

   accident – accidente:  (ac-say-dent-a)

   accompany – acompañar:  (ah-com-pah-nyar)  (roll the last syllable.

   accumulation – acumulación: (ah-coo-moo-lah-see-on)

   abundant – abundante:  (ah-boon-dan- tay)

   abuse – abuso:  (ah-boo-sew)

   abyss – abismo:  (ah-bis-mo)

   academy – academia:  (aca-dame-ia)

   accent – acento:  (ac-cento)

   accept – aceptar:  (ac-cep-tar)

   access – acceso:  (ac-cess-o) 

   accessory – accesorio:  (ac-ses-sor-io) (Emphasis on “sor”)

   accuse – acusar:  (ac-cu-sar) (Emphasis on last syllable.)

   acquire – adquirir:  (ad-qee-rear) (Roll the first “r”)

   activate – activar:  (ac-ti-var)

   active – activo:  (ac-tivo) 

   adapt – adaptar:  (a-dap-tar)  (Roll last syllable)

   addition – adición:  (a-di-ce-on)

   additional – adicional:  (a-dic-i-on-al)

   additive – aditivo:  (ad-i-tiv-o)

   adhere – adherir:  (a-day-rear)  (Roll the last syllable)

   adhesive – adhesivo: (a-day-see-vo)

   adjacent – adyacente:  (ad-yah-cent-a)

   adjust – ajustar:  (ah-hoo-star)

   administrate – administrar:  (ad-min-is-strar)

   admire – admirar:  (ad-me-rar)  (Roll the last syllable)

   admit – admitir:  (ad-me-tear)

   adopt – adoptar:  (ah-dop-tar)  (Roll last syllable)

   adore – adorar:  (a-dough-rar)  (Roll last syllable)

   advance – avance:  (ah-van-say)

   adversity – adversidad:  (Odd-ver-see- dad)  (Roll second syllable)

   affect – afectar:  (a-fec-tar)  (Emphasis on last syllable)

   affirm – afirmar:  (ah-fear-mar)

  agriculture – agricultura

  air – aire 

  altar – altar

  aluminum – aluminio

  ambulance – ambulancia

  amphibian – anfibio

   analyze – analizar

   application – aplicación

   artist – artista

   aspirin – aspirina

   assailant – asaltante

   assistance – asistencia

   associate – asociar

   assume – asumir

   asthma – asma

   astringent – astringente

   athletic – atlético

   attack – ataque

   attention – atención

   attraction – atracción

   attractive – atractivo

   audience – audiencia

   auditorium – auditorio

   authentic – auténtico

   author – autor

   authority – autoridad

   authorization – autorización

   authorize – autorizar

   automatic – automático

   automobile – automóvil: (outo-mo-vil)  (But better perhaps is “coche” pronounced ‘coachee’)

   avenue – avenida

   avid – ávido

         B 

   balance – balancia

   balcony – balcón

   band – banda

   bandit – bandito

   bank – banco

   banquet – banquete

   bar – barra

   barber – barbero

   barometer – barómetro

   basic – básico

   benefit – beneficio

   bicycle – bicicleta

   blouse –blusa

   border – borde

         C 

   cactus – cactus

   calculate – calcular

   calendar – calendario

   calm – calmar

   canal – canal

   cancel – cancelar

   candidate – candidato

   capacity – capacidad

   case – caso

   cavity – cavidad

   center – centro

   chaotic – caótico

   check – checar

   chocolate – chocolate

   circle – circular

   circuit – circuito

   clarify – clarificar

   classification – clasificación

   coincide – coincidir

   collaborate – colaborar

   collect – colectar

   collection – colección

   column – columna

   combination – combinación

   combine – combinar

   commission – comisión

  common – común

 compact – compacto

 compare – comparar

 compensation – compensación

 compete – competir

 competitor – competidor

 complement – complemento

 complete – completo

 complication – complicación

 component – componente

 compose – componer

 comprehend – comprender

 computer – computadora

 conclusion – conclusión

 concrete – concreto

 concur – concurrir

 condition – condici

 conflict – conflicto

 confusing – confuso

 connect – conectar

 consecutive – consecutivo

 consequence – consecuencia

 conserve – conservar

 considerable – considerable

 consolidate – consolidar

 constant – constante

 construction – construcci

 consult – consultar

 contact – contacto

  contain – contener

  continue – continuar

  continuity – continuidad

  contract – contracto

  contribute – contribuir

  converse – converso

  conversion – conversi

  convert – convertir

  cooperate – cooperar

  coordinate – coordinar

  copy – copia

  correct – correcto

  correspondence – correspondencia

  cost – costo

  create – crear

  critical – crítico

  crucial – crucial

  cube – cubo

  cure – cura

  curious – curioso

         D 

dance – danza

deceleration – deceleraci

decide – decidir

decision – decisi

declaration – declaraci

decorate – decorar

deduct – deductivo

definite – definitivo

defect – defecto

demonstrate – demostrar

defunct – difunto

dense – denso

dictionary – diccionario

different – diferente

direct – directo

direction – direcci

distance – distancia

divide – dividir

distant – distante

dozen – docena

duplicate – duplicado

         E 

effective – efectivo

electricity – electricidad

elegant – elegante

eliminate – eliminar

energy – energía

equivalent – equivalente

establish – establecer

estimation – estimación

evaluate – evaluar

exact – exacto

exactly – exactamente

exercise – ejercicio

expansion – expansión

expedition – expedición

expert – experto

extraordinary – extraordinario(a)

         F 

fabric – fábrica

fabricate – fabricar

fabulous – fabuloso

family – familia

fatigue – fatiga

favorite – favorito

fraction – fracción

future – futuro

         G 

gardener – jardinero

gasoline – gasolina

genuine – genuino

gratitude – gratitud

         H 

hamburger – hamburguesa

herb – hierba

history – historia

horizontal – horizontal

hormone – hormona

horticulture – horticultura

hospitality – hospitalidad

humid – húmedo

         I 

ideal – ideal

image – imagen

immediately – inmediatamente

immense – inmenso

immigration – inmigración

imperfect – imperfecto

importance – importancia

impossible – imposible

interior – interior

invite – invitar

         J 

jar – jarra

jargon – jerga

jovial – jovial

jungle – jungla

justice – justicia

         K 

khaki – caqui

kilogram – kilogramo

         L 

labor – labor

laboratory – laboratorio

laborious – laborioso

lagoon – laguna

latitude – latitud

legal – legal

limit – limitar

line – linea

liquor – licor

list – lista

locality – localidad

         M 

map – mapa

margarine – margarina

marvelous – marvilloso

minute – minuto

modify – modificar

music – música

         N 

narcotic – narcótico

national – nacional

native – nativo

naturally – naturalmente

navigable – navegable

necessary – necesario

necessity – necesidad

negative – negativo

neutral – neutro

normal – normal

         O 

object – objeto

observe – observar

obstruct – obstruir

obtain – obtener

occur – ocurrir

one – uno

         P 

Pacific – Pacifico

pact – pacto

palace – palacio

palm – palma

past – pasado

patience – paciencia

patio – patio

pause – pausa

pavement – pavimento

pearl – perla

photography – fotografía

plaza – plaza

positive – positivo

prepare – preparar

present – presentar

problem – problema

 

 

         Q 

quiet – quieto

quarter – cuarto

 

  R 

recently – recientemente

radiant – radiante

real – real

radiator – radiador

rectify – rectificar

reality – realidad

radio – radio

reason – razonar

refine – refinar

reasonable – razonable

ranch – rancho

rare – raro

receive – recibir

 

  S –

salad – ensalada

sign – signo

salary – salario

security – seguridad

significant – significativo

silence – silencio

simplify – simplificar

site – sitio

second – segundo

secret – secreto

server – servidor

support – soportar

– T –

terrace – terraza

traditional – tradicional

talent – talento

terrible – terrible

traffic – tráfico

tardy – tardo

tart – tarta

tea – té

telephone – teléfono

telescope – telescopio

temperature – temperatura

tourist – turista

temporary – temporal

tepid – tibio

tunnel – túnel

terminate – terminar

  U –

universe – universo

ultimate – último

university – universidad

use – usar

utensil – utensilio

united – unido

utilize – utilizar

urgency – urgencia

universal – universal

urgent – urgente

 

  V 

vacant – vacante

vanilla – vainilla

vacation – vacaciones

vary – variar

vast – vasto

vehicle – vehiculo

valid – válido(a)

verb – verbo

verify – verificar

 

 

  W 

web site – sitio web

 

– X –

x-ray – rayo x

 

– Y –

Yankee – yanqui

yard – yarda

 

  Z –

zero – cero

zigzag – zigzag