32 Advanced Spanish Adjectives for More Vibrant Self-expression
Adjectives are sweet, colorful, delicious and decorative—they add nuance to your language, and help you express yourself more precisely and more vividly.
They also might be the answer to the big, burning question all Spanish learners have: “How do you know that you’ve achieved Spanish proficiency?”
I don’t really have a definitive answer to this question (perhaps nobody does) but one thing is sure: When you’re able to sprinkle your sentences with advanced Spanish adjectives at the right moments, it instantly makes you look like a very proficient Spanish speaker.
In fact, there comes a point in your Spanish studies where you have to get proactive about enriching your adjective vocabulary list as much as you can. This will result in you running ever farther towards Spanish mastery. And you know what? We already started that work for you.
We’ve compiled a list of 32 advanced Spanish adjectives for you to use and juice up your conversaciones (conversations) as well as six excellent additional resources so you can keep learning more and more Spanish adjectives.
The adjectives we’ve provided here (and their numerous, colorful synonyms) will help you become better able to maintain a flawless conversation with a Spanish native speaker.
They’ll help you understand even more of the Spanish words spoken to you, and with them you’ll find that you develop a better grip on the most common idioms found in the Spanish language.
But first, let’s do a quick recap of how to use Spanish adjectives the right way.
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A Spanish Adjective Crash Course
Before diving into the midst of it, let’s give you a quick refresher on how to use adjectives properly in Spanish.
In English, it’s pretty straightforward to use adjectives. You just plop one down in front of the noun you want to modify. Sin embargo (however), the process is a little more complex in Spanish.
Let’s have a brief look at the main rules Spanish adjectives have to follow.
Changing an Adjective’s Gender
Unlike in English, where adjectives have only one form, Spanish adjectives change form to agree with the gender of the noun they modify (masculine or feminine) and the number indicated by the noun (plural or singular).
Most Spanish adjectives end in –o in their masculine form and –a in their feminine form.
- Masculine form: aburrido — afortunado — enfermo — enojado
- Feminine form: aburrida — afortunada — enferma — enojada
- Meanings: boring — fortunate — sick — angry
Nevertheless, there are some exceptions to this rule. Sometimes, a masculine singular Spanish adjective may end in –a or –e, or even a consonant.
- Masculine form: egoísta — materialista — eficiente — responsable — azul — débil
- Feminine form: egoísta — materialista — eficiente — responsable — azul — débil
- Meanings: selfish — materialist — efficient — responsible — blue — weak
Making Adjectives Plural
There are three basic rules to making adjectives plural in Spanish.
First, you just add a –s to singular adjectives ending in a vowel.
- Singular form: alto — rubia — interesante
- Plural form: altos — rubias — interesantes
- Meaning: tall — blonde — interesting
Second, you add –es to adjectives ending in a consonant.
- Singular form: fácil — trabajador
- Plural form: fáciles — trabajadores
- Meaning: easy — hardworking
Third, if a singular adjective ends in –z, change –z to –c and add –es.
- Singular form: feliz
- Plural form: felices
- Meaning: happy
How to Place Spanish Adjectives
In Spanish, adjectives may precede or follow the noun they modify. Here are the rules you need to follow.
Most descriptive adjectives follow the nouns they modify. Check out the following examples:
- gatos feos (two ugly cats)
- madre querida (my dear mother)
- lugares interesantes (some interesting places)
Adjectives that impose limits—numbers, possessive adjectives, demonstrative adjectives and adjectives of quantity—usually precede the noun they modify.
- su novia (his German girlfriend)
- una compañía (one successful company)
32 Advanced Spanish Adjectives to Sprinkle over Your Sentences
Now take a look at this huge list of 32 Spanish adjectives to fire up your Spanish speaking skills!
Example: No seas desagradecido con tus padres. (Don’t be ungrateful to your parents.)
Synonyms: Ingrato, desnaturalizado
Example: El divorcio de Fernanda fue inesperado. (Fernanda’s divorce was unexpected.)
Synonyms: Casual, brusco, insospechado
Meaning: Budding, emerging
Example: Su barba incipiente lo hacía lucir desaliñado. (His emerging (growing) beard made him appear untidy.)
Synonyms: Rudimentario, embrionario, primitivo, naciente
Meaning: Inaccurate, incorrect
Example: Lo que estás diciendo no es completamente incorrecto, pero es inexacto. (What you are saying is not completely incorrect, but it is inaccurate.)
Synonyms: Incorrecto, errado, falso, equivocado
Example: El plagio es una conducta inadmisible en la universidad. (Plagiarism is unacceptable in university.)
Example: Lo que dijo sobre la pintura moderna fue ridículo. (What he said about the modern painting was ridiculous.)
Synonyms: Grotesco, absurdo, necio, cómico
Meaning: Inappropriate, unsuitable
Example: Este programa es inadecuado para el horario infantil. (This program is unsuitable for a children’s time period.)
Synonyms: Inconveniente, incongruente, impropio, opuesto
Example: Sus sabios consejos le ayudaron a enderezar su vida. (His wise advice helped him to rectify his life.)
Synonyms: Erudito, ilustrado, científico
Meaning: Frightened, scared
Example: No había nadie en casa, sólo el perro asustado por la tormenta. (There was no one at home except the dog, who was frightened by the storm.)
Synonyms: Acobardado, atemorizado
Meaning: Disgusting, revolting
Example: De allí salía un olor asqueroso a pescado podrido. (The smell of a disgusting, decomposed fish came from down there.)
Synonyms: Inmundo, repugnante, sucio, repulsivo, nauseabundo
Meaning: Well-known, renowned, famous
Example: Esta vez probamos suerte y no fuimos a cenar a un restaurante conocido. (We tried our luck this time and didn’t have dinner at a well-known restaurant.)
Synonyms: Célebre, afamado, famoso, popular
Meaning: Conceited, arrogant, presumptuous
Example: Juan es un presuntuoso. Cree que hace todo mejor que nadie. (Juan is conceited. He thinks he does everything better than anyone else.)
Synonyms: Presumido, altanero, pretencioso
Example: Es un hombre muy superficial, su plática trivial me aburre. (He’s a superficial man, his trite conversation bores me.)
Synonyms: Banal, insignificante
Meaning: Abundant, plentiful
Example: Este río es abundante en truchas. (Trout are abundant (or plentiful) in this river.)
Synonyms: Cuantioso, copioso, desbordante
Example: El carismático político ha sido reelegido. (The charismatic politician has been reelected.)
16. De poca confianza
Example: El me dijo que su hermana es de poca confianza. (He told me that his sister is untrustworthy.)
Synonyms: No fidedigno, rajón, fajón
Example: El niño no es malo, solo es muy travieso. (The child is not a bad kid, he is just very mischievous.)
Synonyms: Revoltoso, enredador, diablillo
Meaning: Long-lasting, durable
Example: El objetivo es conseguir un motor duradero y confiable. (The goal is to get a durable and trustworthy motor.)
Synonyms: Resistente, durable, estable, firme, permanente
Example: Juan estaba reluctante a decir la verdad a los policías. (Juan was reluctant to tell the truth to the policemen.)
Synonyms: Reacio, reticente, opuesto
Example: La reunión con su familia fue reconfortante para él después de la tragedia. (It was comforting to him to be with his family after the tragedy.)
Synonyms: Reconstituyente, vigorizador
Example: Este vino es genuino, su gusto no deja lugar a dudas. (This wine is real, its taste doesn’t leave any doubt.)
Synonyms: Auténtico, real, original, verdadero
Meaning: Tough, resistant
Example: Ha surgido una cepa resistente a los antibióticos. (An antibiotics-resistant strain appeared.)
Synonyms: Tenaz, duro, robusto, poderoso, vigoroso, fuerte, eficaz
Meaning: Exciting, thrilling, exhilarating
Example: La final del Mundial de Sudáfrica 2010 fue muy emocionante. (The world cup final game in South Africa was exhilarating.)
Synonyms: Interesante, excitante
Meaning: Solemn, formal
Example: No te puedes estar riendo en un acto tan solemne como este. (You can’t be laughing during an event as solemn as this one.)
Synonyms: Formal, serio, enfático, ceremonioso, grave, digno, severo
Meaning: Awkward, uncomfortable
Example: Se hizo un incómodo silencio al entrar su hermano. (An awkward silence happened when his brother came into the room.)
Synonyms: Irritante, molesto, perturbador
Meaning: Astonished, amazed
Example: Se quedaron asombrados de lo fácil que era. (They were astonished at how easy this was.)
Synonyms: Confuso, atónito, estupefacto
Meaning: Meticulous, thorough, careful
Example: Juan es muy meticuloso en su trabajo y siempre quiere que quede perfecto. (Juan is very careful during his work and always wants things to be perfect.)
Synonyms: Minucioso, detallista, escrupuloso
Meaning: Efficient, productive
Example: Los trabajadores de su empresa son muy eficientes y han convertido la empresa en líder del mercado. (The workers in his company are very efficient and have made the company a leader in its field.)
29. Hecho a mano
Example: Esta cartera está totalmente hecha a mano. (This wallet is completely hand-made.)
Meaning: Fascinating, enthralling, riveting
Example: Me parece fascinante la personalidad de mi jefe. (I find my boss’s personality fascinating.)
Synonyms: Alucinante, atrayente, deslumbrante, encantador
Meaning: Uneasy, anxious, worried, concerned
Example: Un padre siempre es un hombre preocupado. (A dad is always a worried man.)
Synonyms: Intranquilo, inquieto, alarmado
Meaning: Incredible, unbelievable
Example: Por increíble que parezca, una cucaracha puede sobrevivir sin cabeza varias semanas. (Although it may seem incredible, a cockroach can survive for several weeks without a head.)
Synonyms: Inverosímil, inconcebible
Resources for Learning Even More Advanced Spanish Adjectives
“Contemporary Latin American Literature”
This great advanced Spanish reader gathers almost 100 works from some of the greatest Latin American authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Noble Prize winners Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz and Gabriel García Márquez. Note that each text is unabridged, in its original length and form (unlike other books in which the texts are adapted to suit the level).
The book also includes an introduction of the author, pre-reading notes, footnotes of difficult words with English translations and post-reading questions to complete your reading sessions.
Needless to say, this reader will be a gold mine of advanced Spanish adjectives used in context by some of the greatest minds of South America.
“Read and Think Spanish”
This second reader features more than 100 interesting articles about the enchanting diversity of Latin American culture—from Spain’s Andres Segovia to Peru’s ancient fishing techniques to El Día de los Muertos in Mexico and the United States.
You’ll surely appreciate the wide variety of texts covering food, traditions, music, history and geography, among other things. You’ll also find new vocabulary (including very useful adjectives!) along with their English translations in the margins, end-of-chapter questions in Spanish and a 100-minute audio CD with native speakers reading aloud many of the articles contained in the book, so you’ll not only see how the language is written but also hear how it sounds in conversation.
“1,001+ Spanish Language Flash Cards”
“1,001+ Spanish Language Flash Cards” will introduce you to the 1,001 most useful Spanish words, together with their meanings.
Flashcards are known for tremendously speeding up the learning process, as they kind of work like pictures: once they’re imprinted into your mind’s eye, they stay there.
You will find a great number of categories ranging from Activities to Animals, Body Parts, Business, Colors, Communication, Direction Education, Entertainment, Family, Foods & Drinks, Health, Holiday & Events, Housing, Personality & Feelings, Places, Politics & Government and Science & Technology. Believe me, memorizing new advanced-level Spanish adjectives are a breeze thanks to this book!
“1001 Most Useful Spanish Words”
This very small, 55-page book full packed with a ton of vocabulary will make your day! For just a few bucks, you are getting the most common Spanish words arranged by such categories as foods, numbers, days of the week, months, colors, seasons and family, along with their definitions and sample Spanish sentences with English translations. This is a very good way to learn some useful Spanish adjectives that you might not know for a bargain!
“Spanish English: Bilingual Visual Dictionary”
This first amazing dictionary introduces a wide range of useful current vocabulary in thematic order, using full-color photographs and artworks. It covers topics rarely covered by other dictionaries such as people, appearance, health, services, studies, transportation, sports, leisure and environment, among other things.
You will appreciate that it goes into such specific words as the different parts of a computer or camera, the different players (positions) in a football game, or the members of a rock band.
The huge amount of vocabulary included along with the illustrations will definitely have a place in your Spanish learning book arsenal!
“A Frequency Dictionary of Spanish”
The last book in this selection is an up-to-date Spanish frequency dictionary which provides a list of the 5,000 most commonly-used words in the language.
What really sets this dictionary apart from other frequency dictionaries is that the majority of the processed texts used to compile this 5,000-word list were taken from the 1990s through the 2000s, so modern relevancy and up-to-date usage frequency is assured.
In addition, you’ll find 30 thematically organized lists of frequently used words on different topics (animals, weather, materials, family, etc.) that may not make it onto the 5,000 most common words list. ¡Muy recomendable! (Highly recommended!)
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)