This is the first in our series of lists of vocabulary. Today, we’re talking about la vida bonita, la familia, el trabajo, la cocina… that’s right, Spanish vocabulary! So, whether you’re on vacation, in a business meeting, or even having an emergency in a Spanish-speaking city, you’ll be covered as long as you memorize the words and phrases below. Find common Spanish words and expressions you’ll come across in everyday life in these 13 Spanish vocabulary lists organized by topic.

Last Updated: 11/04/2020

spanish vocabulary by topic pink mug written la vida bonita

Why Should I Learn Spanish Vocabulary Lists by Topic?

Learning vocabulary is a key step if you want to learn to speak Spanish fast. For this reason, and to help you find the most appropriate vocabulary for your needs, we’ve organized some essential Spanish vocabulary by topic. Organizing words by theme not only helps you group together related words to learn more words quickly, but it also lets you pick and choose exactly what you learn. For example, if you are never planning to use Spanish for your work, don’t bother learning professional vocab. You probably already know that at MosaLingua, we’re big believers in the Pareto Principle. We think you should learn the 20% of a language that is used in 80% of situations. So, in these lists, you’ll only find the most common and useful Spanish words and phrases.

Browse through our lists of Spanish vocabulary in the main menu below to find the topic you need, and with the click of a button you’ll have all the Spanish words, phrases, sentences, and expressions you should know right at your fingertips. Then, all that’s left is to memorize them! Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate learner, or have reached an advanced level, flashcards are a great tool for learning new words.

13 Spanish Vocabulary Lists Organized by Topic

Basic Spanish vocabulary: Greetings

FYI, this list contains the most basic Spanish vocabulary. This first list, and the ones on manners and conversations, are your top priorities. They’re the bare minimum, the most important things to know if you’re going on a trip to a Spanish-speaking country or want to talk to a Spanish language partner.

  • Hello : Buenos días
  • Good evening : Buenas tardes
  • Good night : Buenas noches

Here, the terms días, tardes and noches are in plural form. In certain Latin American countries and even some places in Spain, it’s common to use the more familiar term and simply say, “Buenas.

  • Hi : Hola
  • How’s it going? : ¿Cómo está? (formal) or ¿Qué tal?
  • Very well, thank you : Muy bien, gracias
  • What’s your name? : ¿Cómo te llamas?
  • My name is … : Me llamo … 
  • Goodbye : Adiós or Chau (informal)
  • See you soon : Hasta pronto
  • See you later : Hasta luego
  • Yes : Sí
  • No : No
  • I don’t know : No sé

We have a whole article dedicated to Spanish greetings and goodbyes, so check it out if you want to spice up your vocabulary!

Basic Spanish vocabulary: Manners

Even if you don’t know much Spanish, people are much more likely to be nice to you and help you out if you are polite to them!

  • Please : Por favor
  • Thank you : Gracias 
  • You’re welcome / no problem : De nada
  • Pleased to meet you : Mucho gusto 
  • Excuse me, pardon me : Disculpe, Perdón
  • Don’t worry about it / it doesn’t matter / no worries : No importa 
  • Good luck : Buena suerte
  • Excuse me please (used to pass someone) : Permiso, con permiso (para pasar) 
  • Please sit down : Siéntese, por favor
  • I agree : Estoy de acuerdo
  • It’s good : Está bien, está bueno
  • I am very sorry! / I’m so sorry! : ¡Lo siento mucho!

Basic Spanish vocabulary: Your first conversation

If we were to give you all the vocabulary you might need to have a conversation, we might as well just give you a dictionary! So, once again, we’ve only selected the most important Spanish words and phrases, the vocab you’ll need for most basic conversations when you’re just starting to learn the language. This Spanish vocabulary list will also help you avoid misunderstandings, comprehend what’s being said to you, and make sure others understand you.

  • I am English / American : Soy inglés(a) / americano(a)
  • I don’t understand : No entiendo
  • Do you understand me? : ¿Me entiende? (usted, formal address)
  • Is there someone who speaks English here? : ¿Hay alguien que hable Inglés?
  • How do you say … in Spanish? : ¿Cómo se dice … en Español?
  • What do you call this? : ¿Cómo se llama esto?
  • What does … mean? : ¿Qué significa … ?
  • Could you speak slower, please? : Más despacio, por favor
  • I don’t speak Spanish (very well) : No hablo (muy bien) español
  • I speak (a bit of) Spanish : Hablo un poco de español
  • You misunderstood me : No me ha entendido bien
  • Could you repeat that please? : ¿Puedes repetirlo, por favor?
  • I’m learning Spanish at the moment : Estoy aprendiendo español 

You might want to practice these with a Spanish-speaking conversation partner before you try them out “live.” Find out where and how to meet conversation partners to practice your Spanish with.

Basic Spanish vocabulary: Family members

This Spanish vocabulary about family will be particularly useful if you’re a beginner. It’s always good to know how to talk about relatives in Spanish.

  • parents : los padres
  • mother : la madre
  • father : el padre
  • child : el niño or la niña
  • grandfather : el abuelo
  • grandmother : la abuela
  • daughter : la hija
  • son : el hijo
  • uncle : el tío
  • aunt : la tía
  • stepmother / stepfather: la madrastra / el padrastro
  • mother-in-law / father-in-law : la suegra (madre del esposo o de la esposa) / el suegro (padre del esposo o de la esposa)
  • brother : el hermano
  • sister : la hermana 
  • cousin : la prima / el primo

Basic Spanish vocabulary: Food and drinks

This is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce… To learn the names of fruits, vegetables, condiments, and lots more, download the MosaLingua Learn Spanish app.

  • food : la comida
  • drinks : las bebidas
  • vegetables : las verduras
  • to cook : cocinar
  • I’m hungry : Tengo hambre
  • I’m thirsty : Tengo sed
  • breakfast : el desayuno
  • lunch : el almuerzo
  • dinner : la cena
  • What’s today’s special? : ¿Cuál es el plato del día?
  • What would you like to eat? : ¿Qué le gustaría comer?
  • Could I have the bill, please? : Puedo tener la cuenta, ¿por favor?
  • It’s very good : Está muy sabroso(a)
  • Enjoy (your meal)! : ¡Buen Provecho!
  • Cheers! : ¡Salud!
  • sweet: dulce 
  • savory : salado(a)

Intermediate Spanish vocabulary: Clothing

rack of orange and blue shirts spanish clothing vocabulary

  • clothing : la prenda, la ropa
  • shoes : los zapatos
  • pants / trousers : el pantalón
  • shirt / t-shirt : la camiseta / la camisa 
  • jacket : la chaqueta
  • skirt : la falda
  • sweater / jumper : el suéter
  • dress : el vestido

Do any of those Spanish words seem hard to pronounce? Download our free Guide to Spanish Pronunciation and learn everything you need to know about having a great Spanish accent!

Intermediate Spanish vocabulary: Dates and times

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday : lunes, martes, miércoles, jueves, viernes, sábado, domingo 
  • January : enero 
  • February : febrero
  • March : marzo 
  • April : abril 
  • May : mayo
  • June : junio 
  • July : julio
  • August : agosto
  • September : septiembre 
  • October : octubre 
  • November : noviembre
  • December : diciembre
  • What time is it? : ¿Qué hora es? / ¿Qué horas son? 
  • hour : la hora
  • day : día
  • a week : una semana
  • a month : un mes 
  • a year : un año
  • morning : (por) la mañana
  • afternoon : la tarde
  • evening / night : la noche
  • noon / midday : mediodía
  • midnight : medianoche

Intermediate Spanish vocabulary: Travel

  • journey : viaje 
  • baggage : el equipaje  
  • departure / arrival : la salida/ la llegada
  • ID papers / ID documents : los documentos de identidad
  • boarding pass / card : el billete de avión
  • Where are you going? : ¿A dónde va?
  • I’d like to reserve a room for two people : Me gustaría reservar una habitación para dos personas
  • a budget / low-cost hotel : un hotel económico
  • car : coche / carro 
  • driver’s license : el permiso de conducir
  • to get gas / petrol : echar gasolina
  • Could you show me on the map? : ¿Me puede mostrar en el mapa? 
  • I’d like to go to… : Quiero ir a…
  • I’m lost, could you help me please? : Estoy perdido(a), ¿me puede ayudar, por favor?
  • Where are we? : ¿Dónde estamos?

For more Spanish travel vocabulary, I highly recommend downloading our free Spanish travel phrasebook. It lists basic Spanish vocabulary for travel including means of transportation (plane, car, bus, train, etc.), activities, and needs (reserving a room, taking a plane, etc). And just for fun, find out some cool things to do in Barcelona to motivate yourself to learn that Spanish travel vocab!

Intermediate Spanish vocabulary: In case of emergency…

firetruck in city

This list is essential if you’re going to Spain or Latin America, whether it’s for a weekend trip or for a longer stay. I really hope you won’t need it, but keep this list of emergency Spanish vocabulary handy just in case!

  • Help! / Help me! : ¡Socorro! ¡Ayúdeme!
  • I need your help : Necesito su ayuda
  • It’s an emergency : Es una emergencia
  • I’ve lost my passport : He perdido mi pasaporte
  • Leave me alone : ¡Déjeme en paz!
  • There’s a fire! : ¡Hay un incendio!
  • I need a doctor urgently : Necesito un médico urgentemente
  • I am ill /sick : Estoy enfermo(a)
  • medicine : el medicamento
  • Where is the nearest pharmacy? : ¿Dónde está la farmacia más cercana?
  • I’m going to the hospital: Voy al hospital 
  • headache : el dolor de cabeza

Advanced Spanish vocabulary: Work

  • cover letter : carta de motivación
  • CV / resume : el CV
  • business / firm / company : la firma, el negocio, la compañia
  • boss : el jefe
  • employee : el empleado
  • to work : trabajar
  • to go to work : ir al trabajo
  • working hours : el horario de trabajo
  • strategy : la estrategia
  • freelancer / independent : el freelance / independiente

If you’d like to learn more specific vocabulary about the world of business or learn professional Spanish, we also have a special Spanish for Business app. Click to learn more or to download it!

Advanced Spanish vocabulary: Moods and emotions

Here is a list of Spanish words to know so that you can tell people how you are feeling.

  • happy / content : contento(a), feliz, alegre
  • depressed : deprimido(a)
  • worried : preocupado(a)
  • excited : emocionado(a), excitado(a)
  • calm / relaxed : tranquilo(a), calmado(a)
  • anxious / nervous : nervioso(a)

Useful Spanish adjectives

Make your conversations more specific with these common Spanish adjectives. For other useful descriptive words, read our article and video about the colors in Spanish.

  • new : nuevo(a)
  • fast : rápido(a)
  • closed : cerrado(a)
  • open : abierto(a)
  • hot : caliente
  • cold : frío
  • small : pequeño(a) 
  • clean : limpio(a)
  • easy : fácil
  • funny : divertido(a), gracioso(a)
  • nice / kind : simpático, agradable

Useful Spanish verbs

This list is by no means exhaustive! But it does include some of the most important and useful verbs in Spanish.

  • to be : estar, ser
  • to have : haber (verbo auxiliar), tener 

Those two verbs are what we call “auxiliary verbs,” otherwise known as “helper verbs.” You’ll use them a ton, especially once you start learning tenses.

  • to communicate : comunicar

Learn this list of verbs if you want to be able to communicate in Spanish!

  • to live : vivir 
  • to improve : mejorar

That’s an important one for learners 😉

  • to reach : alcanzar
  • to refuse / reject : rechazar

Don’t get that one mixed up with “to reach” (alcanzar) even though they look similar!

  • to pay : pagar
  • to extend / spread : expandir(se)

That little (se) on the end means that the verb can be reflexive.

  • to deny /refuse : negar
  • to sneeze : estornudar

Spanish, like English, has some irregular verbs. Learn what they are and how to conjugate irregular verbs in Spanish in your MosaLingua app!

How Can I Learn Spanish Vocab?

There’s no secret to learning this Spanish vocabulary, you just have to memorize it. It’s the only way to learn these words and expressions, and commit them to your long-term memory. That said, learning by heart does not necessarily mean boring work! You can totally make learning this basic Spanish vocabulary more fun, simply by associating it with activities you enjoy.

To begin, find a learning method that interests you, targets your needs and appeals to you. We recommend giving our app for learning Spanish a try. The advantage of our app is that you don’t have to spend hours studying to make rapid progress. Actually, just 5 to 10 minutes a day is enough to get a good start! Our app sends you a notification when you need to review vocabulary you have previously learned, so it’s easy to practice consistently. Keep studying until you’ve committed the vocab you need to your long-term memory and have it on the tip of your tongue at all times.

Is It Possible to Make Learning Vocab Fun?

Like I said, studying vocab doesn’t have to be tedious. Integrate vocabulary practice into fun activities to help you learn it. Like what, you might ask?

  • You can start by jotting down the Spanish vocabulary you learned today on post-it notes. Then, stick them on all the objects at home or in your office that you want to learn! The idea is to put them in visible spots so that you see them as often as possible. Don’t take them down until you can remember the words without giving it any thought!
  • Another one of my favorite activities is to watch films, in Spanish of course. Pick out some Spanish movies on Netflix and enrich your vocabulary while also improving your listening comprehension skills – and having fun!
  • Similarly, you can watch TV series in Spanish or listen to the radio, and get your ear used to the sounds of Spanish.

We grouped all of these fun activities and more into a guide to help you learn Spanish fast. We also came up with a list of the best resources for learning and practicing Spanish. Check them out for more ideas and inspiration!

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Bonus: Funny Spanish jokes

What better than some good old fashioned jokes for learning a language? To end on a high note, watch this video of some jokes in Spanish. It teaches you the jokes, plus explains what makes them funny and gives you the English translation. You might even learn some new Spanish words, or additional meanings for words you already know. See, I told you you could have fun learning Spanish vocabulary! 😉

 

And before you go, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tips and fun videos!