Tricky Words Part 3

by David

Tricky Words.I’m back today with some more tricky Spanish words.

Bizarro. This is not by any means a very oft-used Spanish word, but when you run across it, it will do you well to know it means gallant, brave, dashing, generous, or splendid, and not bizarre, strange or weird. To talk about bizarre or strange things, try raro or extraño. Note also that raro is closer in meaning to strange than to rare.

Coraje does not usually mean courage*, which would be valentía. Coraje actually means anger, rage.
* Apparently, there are some areas where coraje can mean courage, or “fighting spirit”, but by and large this isn’t the case.

Actual. Actual in Spanish means current. Actualizar means to upgrade, update or bring up to date. Actualmente means currently. So how to get the English meaning for actual? Try verdadero or real. For actually, try por cierto, de hecho, or al contrario.

Compromiso does not mean compromise in the sense of giving in to the other party or changing your ideals. Compromiso actually referrs to a commitment, obligation or even an appointment. “Tengo un compromiso” is the best way to say “I have something I need to do”, “I have an appointment/commitment” etc. So how can you talk about compromise? It’s actually a tough question, but the verbs tolerar (tolerate), and ceder (to yield) work pretty well. The dictionary has transigir, but I’ve never heard it in normal conversation.
Soccer Ball
Fútbol. In Spanish this word can be used with or without the accent mark, with the predictable change in pronunciation, but it can’t be used for the popular US sport named football, which would be fútbol americano. Fútbol actually means soccer. Of course, I can’t forget all the British English speakers, who actually do use the word football to talk about soccer. So much so that a soccer player is a footballer.

Tricky Words Series

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

6 Comments  leave one »

06.May.2007 - 5:55 pm

The word, > has always confused me. Especially when I travelled to Mexico back in July 2001, and a native Spanish speaker from Argentina (she now resides in VA), corrected me from using real and suggested that I use actual instead. Hmmm.

In any event, I really like your “Tricky Words” installments. I have read each one.:)

06.May.2007 - 5:56 pm

I meant to say the word actual. Oops! ¡Lo siento!

07.May.2007 - 11:01 pm

The word actual is tricky all right, but I’m not sure why someone would correct you from using real and tell you to use actual, since the meanings are totally different- I’d have to see the context to offer an opinion. Of course, ‘real’ in and of itself is also a tricky one, since it can mean ‘real’ in the English sense, or it can mean ‘royal’.

11.May.2007 - 2:14 pm

My suggestion for compromise: hacer concesiones. 🙂

11.May.2007 - 2:20 pm

Cristina, that’s a great suggestion. Thanks!

11.May.2007 - 6:12 pm

Your site is perfect!


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