Can You Ace This A-Z Spanish Terms Quiz?


By: Torrance Grey

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Buenos dias, amigos! If you're interested in Spanish -- and the fact that you're reading this suggests that you are -- we've got a few facts to whet your appetite for our quiz.

First: more than 400 million people worldwide speak Spanish, making it the second-most spoken language on the planet. Only Chinese has more speakers. Second: Spanish speakers can be found on nearly every continent, with the largest number in South America, followed by North America and Europe. Third: Spanish is the official language of 21 nations.

With such a worldwide domain, Spanish has a lot of regional variations. In fact, in Spain, you'll sometimes hear the language called "Castellano," identifying Spain's particular variety of the language, called Castilian Spanish. There are a lot more regional differences in Spanish, most of them dealing with what individual words and phrases mean. So there are plenty of opportunities to make a faux pas! It's best to stick to the basics until you learn what means what. As with English, there are plenty of innocent-seeming words that actually have sexual meanings!

With all that in mind, we've put together this quiz on some essential Spanish words and phrases. Do you know "bien" from "bueno," or "tardes" from "noches"? Prove it now with our quiz!

What does "hombre" mean?

Yes, this one is "man." It sounds a little better in Spanish than in the Latin from which it descended. That's "homo," which has taken on a derogatory meaning.


What is a "libro"?

"Libros" are books. You'll notice the similarity to the English word, "library."


A "dia" is a ____.

This word is masculine despite ending in "a." "El dia" is masculine and "la noche" is feminine. Many early cultures had a male sun god and a female moon goddess, and the idea that the sun and daytime were "masculine" and the moon and night "feminine" remained embedded in certain languages.


What is a "gato"?

Nope, it's not "gate!" Once you know, you can see the similarity to "cat" in English and "chat" in French.


"San" or "Santa" means ______.

You see this all the time in city names, like San Francisco, named for Saint Francis. "Todos Santos" means "All Saints," a common name for a church.


What day is "hoy"?

"Hoy" means "today." It's also the name of a Spanish-language newspaper printed in the United States.


What is "comida"?

"Comida," meaning "food," is derived from the verb "comer." That means, of course, "to eat."


What is an "iglesia"?

In the English-speaking world, this is best known as a last name, "Iglesias." But it means "church," and is related to the English word "ecclesiastical."


"Amor" is which emotion?

This is another term that people drop casually into conversations in English. It helps that it's virtually the same in French: "amour."


"Buenas tardes" means _______.

"Tardes" is the Spanish word for "afternoon." It can mean "good evening" in some areas, where the dinner hour is eight or nine, and the afternoon stretches into what North Americans consider the evening.


A "casa" is a _______.

You might have known this one. "Casa de ____" is a popular way to name restaurants. Or maybe you just saw the Will Ferrell comedy, "Casa de mi Padre."


"Querido/Querida" means:

"Querer" in Spanish means "to want or desire," but can also mean "to love." So "querido" means "beloved." It's not a crude expression of wanting somebody.


"Chico/chica" means a/an _____.

This term designates older children. The words for a little boy or girl are "nino" and "nina," (with a tilde over the "n").


Azucar means ...

Some Spanish teachers will tell you that only verbs can end in -ar, -er, or -ir. They are not quite right. There are exceptions, like "mujer" and "azucar."


What would do most likely do with your "perro"?

"Perro" is Spanish for dog. "Cachorro" is "puppy" -- like in English, they are seemingly unrelated words.


A "camino" is a _____.

There's an easy way to remember this one. California's major coastal highway, Highway 101, is El Camino Real: "The royal road."


What is a "cocina"?

This is a useful word in traveling. Many restaurants are named "Cocina de _____," with the proprietor's name or a town name.


"Nosotros" means ...

There's a remarkable difference between the simplicity of the two-letter "we" in English and the three-syllable "nosotros" in Spanish. You might be more familiar with the possessive form, "nuestro/nuestra." It comes up in book and movie titles, like "Nuestra Tierra" or "Nuestra Familia."


If something is lower than your position, it is _______ you.

The verb "bajar" means to lower or put down, while "bajo/baja" means "low." This is why Baja California is the peninsula right below California.


"Tu" means ____

Spanish has a familiar and a formal "you." The familiar form is "tu," and the formal is "usted." Verbs, too, change depending on which noun you're using.


Your "madre" is your _________.

"Madre" and "padre" are the words for mother and father. "Padres," plural, means parents.


Your "hijo" is your _____.

When the gender is known, "hijo" means "son" and "hija" is daughter. But like other words in Spanish, the masculine noun stands in for either one when gender isn't known. In addition, this word is often seen as a contraction: "mijo" for "mi hijo."


What is a "coche"?

"Coche" or the easier-to-recognize "carro" both mean car. Don't be fooled by "cockroach," which is "cucaracha."


If a woman is "linda," what is she?

"Linda" (pronounced "leen-da"), is one of the highest compliments you can give a woman's looks. Lighter terms, like "preciosa," or "hermosa," are for lower levels of attractiveness.


An "arbol" is a ____.

This word means "tree." It's related to English words like "arboretum" and, of course, the minor holiday of Arbor Day.


You'd use the word "estimado/estimada" to _______.

This means "esteemed," and is how you'd start a business letter or one to a person you don't know well. It's traditional, like "dear" in English.


If a Spanish speaker says "Salud!" to you, you have most likely ...

This means "Health!" In many Latin American cultures, the first sneeze is greeted with "Salud," then "Amor," then "Dinero." Health, love and money are valued in that order.


What does "embarazada" mean?

This is one of the dreaded "false cognates" your Spanish teacher warned you about. "Embarazada" is "pregnant," *not* "embarrassed."


"Presentar" means ______.

Burn this one into your memory: In Spanish, you "present" someone; you don't "introduce" them. Why? Because "introducir" is a verb relating specifically to sexual penetration. Awkward!


A "mujer" is a/an ____.

This is another odd noun. It looks more like a verb, with its "-er" ending.


The best translation of "caballero" is ______.

Though literally it means "horseman," this term denotes a gentleman. It's a distinction passed down from Latin, in which men who rode horseback instead of walking were assumed to be noblemen.


What are you asking when you ask "como se dice"?

When learning Spanish from a native speaker, you'll use this one a lot. You miaght ask, "Come se dice 'Nice to meet you'?"


"De donde?" is an informal way of asking ______.

This is a fairly informal way of saying it, and can even be challenging (e.g., "You're in the wrong place.") In conversation with a new acquaintance, you'd more likely say, "De donde es usted?"


"Equivocarse" means to _______.

The "-se" on the end means a verb is reflexive, referring back to the subject. In other words, no one but you can make your mistakes. (Deep, eh?)


If someone says "Obrigado" to you, you are most likely _____.

Just wanted to see if you're on your toes! "Obrigado/obrigada" means "thank you" in Portguese, and is used in Portguese-speaking nations.


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