spanish words

140+ Common Spanish Words and Phrases to Build Your Vocabulary

When it comes to travel, education, business situations and personal communication, common words rule the day.

Nearly any Spanish conversation calls for an understanding of basic vocabulary.

In your day-to-day interactions with friends, neighbors and co-workers, chances are that you’re using basic nouns, verbs, interrogative words and conversational phrases.

Let’s go over this list of over 140 words to start building your Spanish skills!


Most Common Spanish Words

spanish words

There are certain Spanish words that you will hear pretty much everyday. Here are ten of the most common Spanish words.

  • Hola — hello
  • Adios — bye
  • Sí — yes
  • No — no
  • Por favor — please
  • Gracias — thank you
  • Lo siento — I’m sorry
  • Perdón — excuse me
  • ¿Como estás? how are you?
  • De nada — you’re welcome

Common Spanish Greetings and Conversational Phrases

spanish words

If you want to start a conversation, you need to know how to greet someone properly. Then you’ll need to whip out some phrases that allow for basic communication in any situation. Learn these essentials to speak with friends as well as strangers!

  • Buenos días — good morning
  • Buenas tardes good afternoon
  • Buenas noches good night
  • ¿Cómo te llamas? — what’s your name?
  • Me llamo… — my name is…
  • ¿Qué tal? — how’s it going?
  • ¿Cómo te va? — how’s it going?
  • ¿Qué pasa? — what’s up?
  • ¿Cómo está usted? — how are you? (formal)
  • Bien, gracias — fine, thank you
  • ¿Y tú? — and you?
  • Estoy buscando… — I’m looking for…
  • ¿Qué haces? — what are you doing?
  • ¿Te gusta…? — do you like…?

Common Spanish Nouns

spanish words

Nouns identify people, places or things. They’re some of the most basic words and are used in nearly every sentence—so get to know a few of the most common ones!

  • La casa — the house
  • La mesa — the table
  • La ventana — the window
  • La silla — the chair
  • La puerta — the door
  • El reloj  the clock
  • El piso — the floor
  • El coche — the car
  • La calle — the street
  • La tienda the store
  • La biblioteca — the library
  • El libro — the book
  • La playa — the beach
  • La montaña — the mountain
  • La iglesia — the church
  • El museo — the museum
  • La universidadthe university
  • El aeropuerto — the airport
  • La nariz — the nose
  • Los ojos — the eyes
  • La boca — the mouth
  • La cabeza — the head
  • El brazo — the arm
  • La pierna — the leg
  • La mano — the hand
  • El pie — the foot

Common Spanish Verbs

spanish words

Verbs describe actions and are essential words when speaking any language. Of course, you’ll need to learn all their conjugations, but when memorizing new verbs it’s always best to learn the infinitive

  • Abrir — to open
  • Ayudar — to help
  • Bailar — to dance
  • Cambiar — to change
  • Caminar — to walk
  • Cantar — to sing
  • Comenzar — to begin
  • Contar — to count
  • Comprar — to buy
  • Correr — to run
  • Creer — to believe
  • Dar — to give
  • Deber — to have to
  • Decir — to say
  • Entender — to understand
  • Estar to be
  • Estudiar — to study
  • Gustar — to like
  • Haber — to have
  • Hablar to speak
  • Hacer — to make/do
  • Ir — to go
  • Jugar — to play
  • Llamar — to call
  • Pagar — to pay
  • Partir — to leave
  • Pedir — to ask for
  • Poder — to be able to
  • Poner — to put
  • Preguntar — to ask
  • Querer — to want
  • Saberto know
  • Ser — to be
  • Tener — to have
  • Viajar — to travel
  • Visitar — to visit
  • Vivir — to live

Common Spanish Words for People and Animals

spanish words

Of course you’ll probably need to know some words to describe people and animals, since those are things you’ll also probably encounter every day!

  • La persona — the person
  • La mujer — the woman
  • El hombre — the man
  • La niña — the girl
  • El niño — the boy
  • La familia — the family
  • El esposo — the husband
  • La esposa — the wife
  • El padre — the father
  • La madrethe mother
  • El hijothe son
  • La hija — the daughter
  • La abuela the grandmother
  • El abuelo the grandfather
  • El tío — the uncle
  • La tía — the aunt
  • El primo — the cousin (m)
  • La prima — the cousin (f)
  • La mascota the pet
  • El gato — the cat (m)
  • La gata — the cat (f)
  • El perro — the dog (m)
  • La perra — the dog (f)
  • El pájaro — the bird 

Common Spanish Words Related to Food

spanish words

Food is a big part of Spanish culture, so here are the essential words for you to order your favorite meal!

  • La comidathe food
  • La bebida the drink
  • El pan the bread
  • El huevo the egg
  • La fruta the fruit
  • La verdura the vegetable
  • El arroz the rice 
  • El frijol the bean
  • La carne the meat
  • La papa/patata the potato
  • El café — the coffee
  • El té — the tea
  • El vino — the wine
  • La cerveza — the beer
  • La leche — the milk
  • La agua — the water
  • El jugo the juice
  • El desayuno breakfast
  • El almuerzo lunch 
  • La cena dinner
  • El restaurante the restaurant

Spanish Question Words

spanish words

Asking questions is an important part of speaking any language. These are the words you need to ask questions in Spanish:

  • ¿Cómo? — how?
  • ¿Cuál? — which?
  • ¿Cuándo? — when?
  • ¿Dónde? — where?
  • ¿Por qué? — why?
  • ¿Qué? — what?
  • ¿Quién? — who?

Easy Spanish Words (Spanish-English Cognates!)

spanish words

Cognates are words that have the same origin or root word. There are hundreds of Spanish and English cognates, but start with learning these as an excellent way to effortlessly increase your vocabulary!

  • Tren — train
  • Necesario — necessary
  • Ordinario — ordinary
  • Público — public
  • Minuto — minute
  • Acción — action
  • Nación — nation
  • Tradicional — traditional
  • Posible — possible
  • Básico — basic
  • Realmente — really

More Resources to Learn Spanish Vocabulary

Common Spanish words open doors by facilitating communication. The more common vocabulary you know, the better off you’ll be. 

This list is a great spot to start building your foundational vocabulary, but there are tons of great resources out there that can get you learning and practicing even more common Spanish words!

Here are some of the best resources to find more common Spanish vocabulary words to add to your word bank and build your core vocabulary!


This site contains a comprehensive list of 1,000 useful Spanish words that cover a wide variety of topics.

If your intent is to grow your vocabulary and add these common words to your skillset, then this is a super great resource.


FluentU is all about learning Spanish through authentic videos that native speakers would watch.

The language learning program takes short Spanish clips from movies, TV shows, news segments, and more, and adds learning tools to help learn you the language as it’s actually used.

Each video comes with interactive subtitles that allow you to see information about different vocabulary words (such as the contextual definition and pronunciation information) in real time. There are also review tools built into the app, such as a video-based dictionary, quizzes and custom flashcards.

This vocabulary resource provides several lists divided into topics with some of the most common Spanish words.

Whether you’re honing your skills on greetings, body parts, shopping lingo or a number of other subjects, all of the applicable vocabulary is pre-sorted and labeled.

The website’s interface is very simple, so it’s easy to navigate and find vocabulary about whatever you want.

This resource has 1,000 common Spanish words and is more interactive than just a list of vocabulary.

The words and translations are divided into lists of 20 random words alphabetically sorted.

At the end of each list, learners are given the opportunity to take a quiz on what they’ve just learned. Each quiz asks learners to choose the correct translation of a word, so it’s a pretty straightforward, speedy process.

Quizzing yourself is a great method for gauging retention of these common words. 


Now that you have over 140 more words in your core Spanish vocabulary, you’ll be have a good basis for most conversations. 

Keep learning words and building that foundation!

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