I’m Paulísima, from Spring Spanish, and today I’ll teach you 5 Spanish words that make you sound smart while speaking with native speakers!
Let’s say you want to spice up your Spanish and sound a little more fancy than average… These words are perfect for you! Let’s start with a word that, even if you don’t know it, I’m pretty sure that you love the concept that the word itself represents…
1. A great conversation starter that smells delicious
Petricor, petricor (Petrichor, petrichor)…
That is the name for the delicious earthy smell that comes after it has rained over dry land. It has a name! In Spanish, we call it “olor a tierra mojada” (“smell of wet dirt”).
It’s actually in the lyrics of an amazing traditional song:
- ¡Guadalajara! ¡Guadalajara! ¡Sabes a pura tierra mojada! (Guadalajara! Guadalajara! You taste just like wet dirt!)
Imagine it has just started raining and that smell is in the air. Say:
- ¡Me encanta el petricor! (I love petrichor!)
Most likely the Spanish speaker you’re with is going to be like: ¿Petri qué? (Petri what?)
To that you reply: Petricor, el olor a tierra mojada. (Petrichor, the smell of wet dirt.)
Pum! That’s impressive!
2. Be resolute and fervent
Our second fancy word: acérrimo (obstinate, acerbic, fervent, resolute). This translates like obstinate, acerbic, fervent or resolute. Though the average Spanish speaker wouldn’t use this word in everyday conversations, they would still understand what you mean. Let’s use it in two sentences:
- Soy una acérrima defensora de los derechos de los animales. (I’m a fervent defender of animal rights.)
O algo más sencillo (Or something easier):
- Soy una acérrima enemiga de ponerle piña a la pizza. (I’m an acerbic enemy of putting pineapple on pizza.)
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If you’re not liking it, would you consider staying a little longer, maybe you’ll like the next word. Leaving now would be a craso error… That’s right: craso error (unforgivable mistake).
Fun fact: There was this Roman politician and general, called Marcus Licinius Crassus, who joined Julius Caesar and Pompey in the first triunvirato (triumvirate, having 3 leaders). Crassus famously deployed a terrible strategy in the battle of Carras.
Since he had Craso in his name, and his mistake was huge and unforgivable, a lot of Spanish speakers think that the expression Cometer un craso error (to commit an unforgivable mistake) comes from this dude, Marco Licinius Craso, but actually that’s not the case.
One more time: Cometer un craso error (To commit an unforgivable mistake).
The word “craso” comes from the Latin “crassus”, which translates as “fat” or “bulky”. It applies to big mistakes, errors which do not admit justification or apology, since they come from extreme clumsiness or naivety on the part of the person who made them. So really, it was just a coincidence that Craso, the one that made a craso error (unforgivable mistake), happened to have the name Craso as part of his family name.
Let’s use it in a sentence:
- Sería un craso error no pedir tus tacos con todo. (It would be a gross mistake not to order your tacos “with everything”.)
- No venir a México, teniendo la oportunidad, es un craso error. (Not coming to Mexico, if one has the opportunity, is a big mistake.)
¡Craso error! (Huge, unforgivable mistake!)
4. Broadly speaking
Here’s the next one: grosso modo (broadly speaking). This is not a word, but a locución latina (a Latin phrase) that funnily a lot of Spanish speakers use wrong.
The most common way people would say this in Spanish is: en general (in general) or en términos generales (in general terms), but I’m sure you want to impress your friends occasionally, so you can up your Spanish game by, instead of saying en general (in general) or en términos generales (in general terms), saying grosso modo (broadly speaking).
Let’s use it in a sentence:
- ¿No sabes cómo funciona? Te lo explico grosso modo. (You don’t know how this works? Let me explain it to you in broad terms.)
Super important don’t say: Te lo explico
A grosso modo. This is the mistake that most Spanish speakers make. You don’t need the “A”. It’s just: grosso modo. Always!
Te lo explico grosso modo. (Let me explain it in general terms.)
5. You can’t measure this!
Here’s the next one: inconmensurable (unmeasurable). This is a false friend in Spanish and English! Inconmensurable in English means, grosso modo (broadly speaking), lacking a basis of comparison.
But in Spanish, it refers to something that, given its magnitude, cannot be measured! Like the amount of gratitude I feel to all of you who have subscribed to our channel.
If I was being basic and common I’d said:
- Mi gratitud hacia ustedes no tiene medida. (My gratitude to you all cannot be measured.)
But let’s be fancy instead:
- Mi gratitud hacia ustedes es inconmensurable. (My gratitude to all of you is immeasurable.)
6. Quiz time.
Now, it’s time to test your knowledge!
- Listen to this: Sería un craso error no oler el petricor en una mañana de primavera. (It would be a gross mistake not to smell the petrichor on a spring morning.)
Now tell me: ¿Qué es petricor? (What is petrichor?)
If you said: The smell after rain falls you are correct!
- ¿Qué es un craso error? (What is a “craso” mistake?)
An unforgivable mistake, that is right!
- What word best completes the sentence:
Mi amor por ti es ___________ (My love for you is immeasurable)
a) Incomestible b) Inconmensurable.
- Which one is correct?
¿Te lo explico a grosso modo or Te lo explico grosso modo?
¡Te lo explico grosso modo! ¡Sin la A! (Without “a”)
- En la frase (In the phrase): Soy una acérrima defensora de los derechos de los animales, which word best represents the meaning of “acérrimo”?
- Resolute b) Wavering
Resolute! Wavering would be the opposite of acérrimo or acérrima, because I’m a woman: acérrima.