Tricky Words Part 2

by David

Tricky Words.Here’s the second installment of Tricky Words– Spanish words that are difficult for the native English speaker.

Let’s dig right in.

Excitar does not mean to excite, nor does excitarse mean to get excited. It means to arouse or get aroused in a sexual sense. To talk about being excited, use emocionar, emocionarse and emocionado.

Decepción, decepcionar and decepcionarse all refer to being let down or disappointed. They have nothing to do with being deceived. Engañar is the right way for talking about deception.

Accountability is sometimes mistranslated as contabilidad. Contabilidad is accounting, as in taking care of the money. To talk about accountability, you can try rendición de cuentas, rendir cuentas, or simply responsable and responsabilidad. He’s accountable to his boss – El rinde cuentas a su patrón. He’s accountable – El es responsable.

Embarazada/o does not mean embarrassed. This is another one that many beginning Spanish students learn early on, so it’s not always a problem. But I have heard people say “estoy embarazado” when they are in fact not pregnant, what they really mean to say is that they are apenado. Me da pena or Qué pena are the most common ways to say I’m embarrassed and That’s embarrassing.

Constipado refers to a blockage of the nose/nasal cavity, not the colon/intestines, and works pretty well if you have a head cold or congestion of the nose. If your problem is constipation, try estreñido and estreñimiento.

Tricky Words Series

  1. Tricky Words: Parte Uno
  2. Tricky Words Part 2
  3. Tricky Words Part 3
  4. Tricky Words Part 4

One Comment  leave one »

13.Apr.2007 - 8:55 pm

Great list, thanks for clearing some of these up for me. I never learned the meaning of “embrazado” until recently, when I was actually embarrassed by saying it to someone, who then proceeded to laugh at me. 🙁


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