38 Essential Chunks to Describe People in Spanish
In this article, I’ll teach you 38 words and some phrases to describe a person, whether it's someone you just met or whether you are trying to find a friend in the middle of una fiesta (a party).
Descriptions are also helpful when talking to the police (for the facial composite of a robber, for example), or when you gather with your friends a echar el chisme (to gossip).
In any case, after reading this article, you’ll know all the phrases to describe someone’s appearance and character!
FIRST, THE BASICS
The chunks used to describe yourself are Yo soy (I am) or Yo tengo (I have), from the verbs “ser y tener” (to be and to have). To describe someone else, you would use él/ella es (s/he is) and él/ella tiene (s/he has).
I would describe myself as follows:
- Yo soy una mujer alta. (I am a tall woman.)
- Tengo cabello castaño. (I have light brown hair.)
- Tengo ojos cafés. (I have brown eyes.)
- Yo soy joven y tengo piel morena. (I am young and I have brown skin.)
So, as you can see, to describe a person you can talk about their estatura (height):
- alto or alta (tall)
- bajo or baja (short)
And, my personal favorite, chaparrito or chaparrita, which is used to refer nicely to someone who is very short. It's also a term of endearment.
What about referring to tamaño (size) in relation to el cuerpo (the body)?
- delgado or delgada (slim)
- curvilínea or voluptuosa (curvy)
- gordo or gorda (fat)
- grande (big)
- pequeño or pequeña (small)
It is helpful to learn the body parts first, so you can use them to specifically describe them, for that I have made a video about the body parts that you can check out as well.
For example, el cabello de las personas (people's hair) may be:
- rubio (blonde)
- pelirrojo (ginger)
- castaño (light brown)
- negro (black)
- rizado (curly)
- lacio (straight)
- ondulado (wavy)
- recogido (tied)
- suelto (loose)
- corto (short)
- largo (long)
Some of the features a person might have on their face include:
- un bigote (a mustache)
- una barba (a beard)
- un lunar (a mole)
- pecas (freckles)
- hoyuelos (dimples)
Or you can recognise someone because they wear glasses: María Fernanda usa lentes (María Fernanda wears glasses).
These are some phrases you may use to talk about la apariencia de alguien (someone's appearance):
- un hombre guapo (a handsome man)
- una mujer guapa (a beautiful woman)
- un hombre feo or una mujer fea (an ugly man/woman)
- bonita or bonito (pretty)
Using them in context
En la fiesta (at a party)…
- Hola, ¿has visto a mi amigo? (Hello, have you seen my friend?)
- Él es blanco, alto y muy guapo. (He is white, tall and very handsome.)
- Tiene ojos azules y cabello rubio. (He has blue eyes and blonde hair).
- También tiene una nariz grande con un lunar. (He also has a big nose with a mole on it.)
- ¿Lo viste? (Did you see him?)
Using muy (very) before an adjective helps to reinforce the characteristic. In the example “muy guapo”, handsome is emphasized, and you may apply the same to different adjectives.
What happens if a physical description is not enough? Then, you need to talk about las cualidades de la persona (a person's qualities).
A person may be:
- inteligente (smart)
- astuto or astuta (clever)
- tonto or tonta (stupid)
- loco or loca (crazy)
- extraño or extraña (weird)
- paciente (patient)
- flojo or floja (lazy)
- trabajador or trabajadora (hard-working)
- amable (nice)
- cariñoso or cariñosa (caring)
- grosero or grosera (rude)
Fun fact! Did you notice that no distinction is made between femenine or masculine in words ending with an E? That's because the same word applies to both women and men.
Let's have a look at the following example:
- Marta es mi mamá. Ella es muy inteligente y trabajadora. (Marta is my mom. She is very smart and hard-working.)
Another fun fact! If you ever travel to Mexico, you should know the chunks that we use to describe someone depending on whether we like them or not:
- Tú eres / Él o ella es “buena onda” (You are / He or She is friendly)
- Tú eres / Él o ella es “mala onda” (You are/ He or She is not friendly)
- Tú eres / Él o ella es “chido” (You are/ He or She is cool)
- Él o ella es una “víbora” (Literally, he or she is a snake) — This expression is used to talk about people who like speaking about others behind their back.
If you say these chunks, ¡ya eres mexicano, wey! (Dude, you are a Mexican!)
Asking to describe someone or something
Lastly, you should know how to ask someone to describe another person to you.
You should use these two chunks:
- ¿Cómo es tu hermana / mamá / novio/ novia? (How is your sister/mom/boyfriend/ girlfriend?)
- ¿Cómo luce? (How does she/he look like?)
FREE Spanish Training
Excellent work guys! Now you know how to describe yourself or others in Spanish. So can you tell me in the comments how would you describe YOURSELF? And if you want to learn more vocabulary, then feel free to check out the other videos on our channel!
Now, if you're ready to go beyond that and have more in-depth conversations in fluent Spanish, we have a free Spanish training on our website where you'll discover the method we use in our Spring Spanish Academy to teach students to speak fluent Spanish. You also get some free sample Spanish lessons there that come straight from our Academy!