2020 not only gave birth to a pandemic, but also to a lot of brand-new Spanish words! Today I’ll teach you 10 of the words that became so popular among Spanish speakers that the Royal Spanish Academy decided to include them in the 2020 edition of its dictionary. Fancy, right?
In practical terms that means that you must know these words if you want to keep up in conversations with native speakers… and if you want to impress them with your knowledge of the newest Spanish word trends.
To give you an idea: now we have a word for “being afraid of statues”; a word for “trolling someone” (as if Spanish speakers haven’t been doing that for years already)… and my personal favorite is the word for celebrating your birthday… on Zoom! I will also tell you cuál es la palabra del año (which is the word of the year)!
Many of the most popular words in 2020 are related to the pandemic, so it’s only logical that I start off with this word.
We know it stands for CoronaVirus Disease. The translation into Spanish would be Enfermedad causada por coronavirus (ECC). Interestingly, however, native Spanish speakers use el acrónimo en inglés (the English acronym) (COVID), which may be pronounced as either covid or covid (both are correct).
A controversy arose as to whether COVID es una palabra femenina o masculina (is a feminine or masculine word). At first, the Royal Spanish Academy said it was feminine because enfermedad—the equivalent of “disease”—is feminine.
Many Spanish speakers disagreed because el virus is masculine. Long story short, now both are correct and used by natives on pretty much the same measure.
- A causa de la COVID, han muerto más de 170,000 personas en México. (Due to COVID, more than 170,000 people have died in Mexico.)
- Como le dio el COVID, no ha salido de su casa. (Since they got infected with COVID, they haven’t left their house.)
This is the equivalent of “lockdown”, which is basically a synonym of 2020. This word even made candidate for word of the year 2020. Did it win? You will find out at the end!
In the meantime, you may use it in sentences like this:
- El confinamiento ya me tiene harta. (I’m sick of lockdown.)
This means both “to go into quarantine” and “to be in quarantine”. Isn't it beautiful? Four words in English turn into one in Spanish… ¿Quién dijo que el español era difícil? (Who said Spanish was hard?!?)
By the way, si estás cuarenteneando (if you are in quarantine) o si estás por cuarentenear (or if you’re about to go into quarantine) and want to make the most of your time, subscribe to our channel and enjoy our 5 free weekly lessons! Also click the bell to get a notification every time a new lesson is up.
Another candidate to word of the year. As you can probably tell, it’s the translation of “infodemics”, which was also very popular en el mundo angloparlante (in the English-speaking world).
Es una combinación entre (It’s a combination between) información (information) and epidemia (epidemic), and it refers to the rapid spread of inaccurate information, generally online…
- La infodemia es muy peligrosa. (Infodemics is very dangerous.)
Esta fue la palabra del año en 2019 (This was the word of the year 2019). Interestingly, it wasn’t included in the dictionary until a year later. La RAE es rarísima (The Royal Spanish Academy is so weird)!
Yet another word my friends and I have been using for almost a decade, pero apenas la agregan al diccionario (but it’s been added to the dictionary only recently).
This is the Spanish version of the English verb “to troll”. Tiene exactamente el mismo significado (It has exactly the same meaning), but you may also use it when someone is bantering with you or someone else.
- ¡Ya, wey! Deja de trolearme. (Stop it, dude! Stop bothering me!)
And the word troleo means “banter” although it’s not among the most popular in 2020 and doesn’t appear in the dictionary.
Deja de (stop (doing something)) is a good example of a chunk. In English, you just say “stop”, (for example, “stop talking”); in Spanish, you’d say deja de hablar, so with the preposition de.
How do you know? Only because you just heard me say it. So, learn this chunk by heart and you’ll always get it right in conversations! For more useful Spanish chunks like this, check the Spanish chunking demo we have on our website.
Politics and Economics
There is evidence that this word se ha usado (has been used) since 1932, but it didn’t make it to the dictionary until 2020. It’s used insultingly against people or actions showing certain features related to fascism.
- Qué opinión tan fascistoide. (Such a fascistoid opinion.)
This is another candidate for word of the year. It’s a combination between estatua (statue) and fobia, which is the Greek word for “fear”.
The media has used this word to refer to both el rechazo y la destrucción (the rejection and the destruction) of statues amid protests against racism.
¿Qué piensas de la estatuafobia? (What do you think about “estatufobia”?) Did it become common in your country? Tell me in the comments!
Social gatherings and fun
You’ll hear this word muy frecuentemente (very frequently) in Spanish-speaking countries. It’s the contraction of fin de semana (weekend) and you’ll hear it often in sentences like:
- ¿Qué vas a hacer el finde? (What are you doing on the weekend?)
- ¿Cómo te fue el finde? (How did your weekend go?)
- Nos vemos el finde. (We’ll see each other on the weekend.)
And mi palabra favorita del 2020 (my favorite 2020 word) …
It’s a combination between Zoom, the videoconferencing software, and cumpleaños (birthday).
Native Spanish speakers use it to refer to a virtual social gathering held on Zoom to celebrate a birthday, given that actual social gatherings están prohibidas (have been forbidden) in most countries.
Lo bueno de los zoomleaños (The good thing about birthday celebrations on Zoom) is that one may invite people from all over the world.
¿Te tocó celebrar o estar en un Zoomleaños? (Did you host or attend a birthday celebration on Zoom?) How was it? Did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments!
And now, as promised, drumroll … the word of the year 2020 is… Confinamiento (Lockdown)!
You know which words weren’t part of Spanish speakers dictionary in 2020? Anything travel-related!
That’s why I prepared an article with 30 Spanish nouns that you absolutely need when traveling to Spanish-speaking countries… hopefully this year!