15 Spanish Words Americans use ALL THE TIME

15 Spanish Words Americans use ALL THE TIME 😯

I wish at the beach right now and every 5 minutes I would be like: ¡Amigo, una piña colada por favor! 

You don’t have to be un experto en español (an expert in Spanish) to understand what a piña colada is, right? Everybody knows this! And just as piña colada, there are many other words or phrases in English that come directly from Spanish. 

In this article we will comment on quince palabras en español (15 Spanish words) that are very common in English, including 4 that come from a super popular song. Stay until the end to find out what song that is! 

Who knows? Maybe you know way more Spanish than you think! 

Food and drinks 

  1. Margarita

Margarita es… Yes, it is a drink, famously made with tequila, lime juice and cointreau, but en español también significa (but it ALSO means) daisy! 🌼 

  1. Salsa

So, salsa is both the music style and the super famous concoction famous in Mexican food.

Typical salsas are:

  • salsa verde (green sauce)
  • salsa roja (red sauce)
  • pico de gallo —which, by the way, means rooster beak!
  1. Burrito

This word is a diminutive: it’s small for burro, which means donkey.

 So, you’re actually saying “little donkey” whenever you get this at Chipotle. 

  1. Chocolate

You know how hard it is for Mexicans to say “chocolate” in English.

The word actually comes from the Nahuatl xocolatl, porque el chocolate (because chocolate), como todas las cosas buenas (like all great things) ¡es mexicano!


  1. Armadillo 

This cute little fellow’s name means “little armoured ones” en español. So, you know the word, but now remember the Spanish pronunciation: armadiLLO. 

  1. Barracuda

This scary-looking fish is the reason why mi mamá no me deja (my mom doesn’t let me) get in the water wearing anything metallic. 

Political stuff 

  1. Guerrilla 

When I first heard an American saying this word, I thought they were saying GORILLA. 🙈

En español se pronuncia (In Spanish it is pronounced) Gue-RRI-lla. I know, I know… ¡¡¡La ERRE del diablo!!! (That devilish R).

  1. Conquistador 

We call the Spaniards that invaded American lands this name: conquistador, singular; conquistadores, plural.

You can also use this same word to call a man who is quite lucky with the ladies. 

  1. Embargo 

That questionable geopolitics move, you know? It has the same meaning in Spanish AND you can use it to say “however”: SIN EMBARGO (Literally, without embargo!). 


  1. Cafetería

Same word except, en español, lleva acento en la i (in Spanish we stress the I).

  1. Patio

Americans borrowed this word, that means courtyard. Here, we have to pay attention to the pronunciation of the T sound.

Spanish with Nirvana 

A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido… Great!!! Then, you know 4 words in Spanish that are identical in English except in the way they’re pronounced. 

  1. Mulato

Long time ago, in the horrible times when casts were a thing in Mexico, mulato was an adjective that described a person of black and white ancestry. 

It is still used today and though it’s not a word I would use, there are people who do, to talk about themselves and that’s okay. It’s 2020 las palabras se pueden reapropiar (words can be reclaimed). 

  1. Albino

Albinism is the total lack of pigmentation in a living being. For a person that has this skin condition we use the word ALBINO [AL-BEE-NO]. 

  1. Mosquito

This one is like burrito, a diminutive. So, we have the word MOSCO, a flying annoying insect and because they’re little, well… We call them mosquito (Like little mosco!)

  1. Libido

Desire for sexual pleasure. In Spanish, it is pronounced Lee – BEE- do. Libido. So, it’s almost identical to English, except in the D sound. 

FREE Spanish Training

¡Muy bien! Now you are able to enrich your Spanish vocabulary by using 15 words you already knew, but pronouncing them en español

If you want to go beyond learning a few words, go right now to the Free Spanish training that we’ve put together to show you how you can apply a method called Conversation Based Chunking (which I secretly use in my videos) to ease your way into fluency en español

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