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47 Spanish Exclamations and Interjections for Lively Conversations

One big thing that marks you out as a foreigner? A lack of Spanish exclamations and interjections. 

Interjections are words or brief phrases that express emotions or feelings.  The key is that the word or phrase “interjects” or “interrupts” the rest of the phrase.

These are often exclamations, but not always.

How can we language learners avoid sticking out like a sore thumb when in casual speaking situations?

By “kitting ourselves out” with a whole toolbox of Spanish interjections and exclamations for any occasion, of course!


1. ¡Por favor!

Por favor means “please,” but you can use it like “For goodness sake!” or “come on” when you’re exasperated and telling someone off.

It can also be a pleading or bored appeal for someone to stop what they’re doing and move on.

Por favor,  esto tiene que ser un chiste.
(Come on, this has to be a joke.)

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2. ¡Dios (mío)!

Spanish speakers often use Dios (“God”) and Dios mío (“My God”) as expressions of amazement or sometimes disgust (if said with a sneer), similar to the English exclamation “Oh my God!”

¡Dios, es tan guapo!
(God, isn’t he handsome!)

¡Dios mío! ¡Qué desordenado que eres!
(Oh my God! You’re so messy!)

3. ¡Qué susto!

¡Qué susto! is used to mean “What a scare!”

It’s used to express shock, both to show when you’re shocked yourself and also to show you understand when someone is telling you about a fright they experienced themselves.

¡Qué susto! Pensé que había un ladrón en la casa.
(What a scare! I thought there was a burglar in the house.) 

4. ¡Venga!

Venga literally means “(you) come,” but it’s used in the same way as the English exclamations “come on!” or “yeah right.”

Venga, tío. Vamos a perder el tren.
(Come on, dude. We’re going to miss the train.)

Venga, no lo creo.
(Yeah right, I don’t believe it.)

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5. ¡Cállate (hombre)

¡Cállate! means “shut up!” 

The addition of hombre (man/dude) allows you to use it more softly, kind of how we’ll laughingly say “shut up!” to express disbelief in conversational English.

¡Cállate, hombre, por favor!
(Please, man, just be quiet.)

Also, like ¡Venga! you can use it to mean “bullsh*t”:

¡Cállate, qué tontería!
(Shut up…what nonsense!)

6. ¡Ay!

It’s usually a friendly exclamation, though it can also be used to express sympathy, disgust, or surprise.

Ay, pobrecito.
(Aw, poor little thing.).

¡Ay!… ¡No me digas eso!
(Don’t tell me that!)

 ¡Ay! ¡Qué susto!
(Woah! What a scare!)

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7. ¡Porque sí! / ¡Porque no!

This is an exclamation you might use very often in Spanish when being asked “Why?” ¡Porque sí! means “Just because!,” while ¡Porque no! can mean “Just no.”

¿Por qué no vienes a la fiesta?
(Why don’t you come to the party?)

Porque no.
(Just no.)

¿Por qué te gusta el helado?
(Why do you like ice cream?) 

Pues porque sí.
(Well, just because.) 

8. ¡Fíjate!

The reflexive verb fijarse means to pay attention, so fíjate means “pay attention to this/that.”

You can use it to simply draw someone’s attention to something, but as an exclamation, it’s also used to express surprise, like “Look at that!”

¡Fijate! Creo que ese chico allí es un vlogger famoso.
(Look at that! I think the guy over there is a famous vlogger.) 

9. ¡Joder!

That’s the most common swear word in Spain which is comparable to an F-bomb. 

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Swearing is a bit more acceptable in Spanish than it is in English, although make sure to listen out to whether other people are cursing to make sure you aren’t going to offend anyone.

¡Joder! Perdi mi pasaporte.
(F***! I lost my passport.) 

10. ¡Oye!

The meaning of ¡Oye! is a bit like “Hey!” It’s used either to call someone’s attention or to object to something they have done or said.

¡Oye! ¡¿Qué haces?!
(Hey! What are you doing?!)

11. ¡Hala!

It’s used a bit like “Wow!” in English:

¡Hala! ¡Mira qué chula está la luna!
(Wow! Look how pretty the moon is!)

You can also use it to hurry someone up, like “Come on!”:

¡Hala, venga! ¡Pásame la pelota!
(Come on! Pass me the ball!)

12. ¡Olé!

This word is often associated with Flamenco, where people shout it to express that they’re impressed by the dancing and musical skills of the performers.

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However, it can be exclaimed to cheer someone on during any impressive performance. 

¡Olé! ¡Esa fue una canción impresionante!
(Bravo! What an incredible song!)

13. ¡Guay!

This word is used mostly in Spain. When used as an interjection, this expresses approval like “cool” or “terrific.”

¡Guay! No esperaba que tuviéramos el mismo libro favorito.
(Cool! I didn’t expect we’d have the same favorite book.)

14. ¡Vale!

While this can also be a conjugation of valer (to be worth/to cost), in Spain, vale is used as an interjection meaning “okay.”

¡Vale! Podemos encontrarnos en el restaurante.
(Okay! We can meet at the restaurant.) 

15. ¡Órale!

This word is used in Mexican-American slang and in parts of Mexico. It means “sure” or “okay.”

¡Órale, te llamaré más tarde!
(Sure, I’ll call you later!) 

It can also be used to express amazement or surprise, as well as to hurry someone up:

¡Órale, qué chido carro!
(Wow, what a cool car!) 

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¡Órale, apúrate!
(Come on, hurry up!) 

16. ¡Guau!

This word can mean “wow” or “woof” (as in the noise a dog makes) depending on the context.

¡Guau! ¡La vista desde esta altura es impresionante!
(Wow, the view from up here is amazing!) 

17. ¡Arriba!

Arriba often means “up,” but as an interjection, it can also indicate approval or excitement.

Estoy seguro de que ganaremos este partido de fútbol. ¡Arriba, equipo!
(I’m confident we’ll win this football game. Hooray, team!) 

Arriba can also act as a command meaning “wake up”:

Arriba, niños, ya es hora de ir a la escuela.
(Wake up kids, it’s time to go to school.) 

18. ¡Bravo!

This is a tough one. Bravo means “bravo.” In either language, it’s used to applaud a good job.

¡Bravo! ¡Felicidades por tu ascenso!
(Bravo! Congratulations on your promotion!) 

Qué actuación tan maravillosa, ¡bravo!
(What a wonderful performance, bravo!

19. ¡Gracias a Dios! / ¡Bendito sea Dios!

Gracias a Dios literally means “thank God,” while Bendito sea Dios means “God be praised.”

Both are used like the English expressions “thank God” or “thank goodness.”

¡Bendito sea Dios! Dejé caer mi teléfono en la piscina, pero aún funciona.
(Thank God! I dropped my phone into the pool, but it’s still working.)

20. ¡Menos mal!

This phrase is used to express relief. It literally means “less bad.” It’s similar to the English words “whew” and “phew.”

¡Menos mal! Iba a pensar que mi jefe se iba a enojar conmigo, pero se olvidó completamente de mi error.
(Whew! I thought my boss was going to get mad at me, but he forgot all about my mistake.) 

21. ¡Cáspita!

Though it has no direct translation, it’s used to denote admiration like the English word “wonderful.”

¡Cáspita! Este es el mejor chocolate caliente que he probado nunca.
(Gosh! This is the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted.) 

22. ¡Dale!

Dale can mean “go for it,” but it can also mean “okay” or “go ahead” depending on the context:

¡Dale! Siempre has querido probar el surf.
(Go for it! You’ve always wanted to try surfing.)

¿Puedo hacer un discurso para tu boda?
(Can I make a speech for your wedding?)

Sí, dale.
(Yeah, go ahead.) 

23. ¡Claro!

Claro and its sister phrase claro que sí are both used to mean “of course.”

¿Puedo hacerte una pregunta?
(Can I ask you a question?)

Sí, claro.
(Yes, of course.) 

¡Claro que sí! Definitivamente voy.
(Of course! I’m definitely going.) 

24. ¡Hurra!

This is used like “hurrah” or “hurray.”

¡Hurra! ¡Acaban de anunciar que nuestro equipo ganó el primer lugar!
(Hurray! They just announced our team won first place!)

25. ¡Che!

This interjection from Argentina and Uruguay is used like “bro” or “dude”:

¡Nos vemos luego, che!
(See you later, dude!)

However, it can also be a greeting like “hey” or even as a phrase to question understanding such as “right?”

¡Che! ¡Qué onda!
(Hey! What’s up?)

26. ¡Buen provecho!

This literally means “good benefit,” but it’s used to mean “bon appetit.”

Ahora que todos están aquí, podemos empezar a comer. ¡Buen provecho!
(Now that everyone’s here, we can start eating. Enjoy the food!)

27. ¡Buena suerte!

Buena suerte simply means “good luck.”

¡Buena suerte! Estoy seguro de que te irá bien en tu examen de conducir.
(Good luck! I’m sure you’ll do well on your driving exam.) 

28. ¡Huy!

Huy often indicates pain, like “ow” or “ouch.”

¡Huy! ¡Acabas de pisarme el pie!
(Ouch! You just stepped on my foot!)

But because the world is a strange and confusing place, it can also be used as “oops,” “jeez” or even “wow.”

29. ¡Híjole!

Used primarily in Mexico and Central America, this term indicates shock and surprise.

It’s similar to “jeez” or “wow.”

¡Híjole! No me di cuenta de que había gastado todo mi dinero.
(Geez! I didn’t realize I’d spent all my money.) 

30. ¡Uf!

This interjection indicates exhaustion.

It’s much like the English word “oof” or the Upper Midwestern phrase “uff da.”

¡Uf! Estoy tan exhausta que no puedo levantarme de la cama.
(Oof! I’m so exhausted I can’t get out of bed.)

31. ¡Qué horror!

Qué horror literally means “what horror.”

It’s similar to the English phrase “how awful.”

¡Qué horror! Me encontré una una rata en el baño.
(What horror! I saw a rat in the bathroom.)

32. ¡Qué lástima!

Qué lástima means “What a pity” or “What a shame”:

Mi hermano no vendrá a la fiesta. ¡Qué lástima!
(My brother won’t come to the party. What a shame!

If you want to change it up, you can also try qué pena which means pretty much the same. 

33. ¡Bah!

In both Spanish and English, “bah” denotes disapproval or contempt.

¡Bah! No me importa si mis padres no lo aprueban.
(Bah! I don’t care if my parents disapprove of it.) 

34. ¡Újule!

This expression of surprise can either express disapproval or admiration.

¡Újule! No esperaba que este restaurante estuviera tan lleno incluso a las 3 de la tarde.
(Oh wow! I didn’t expect this restaurant would be so crowded even at 3 PM.) 

It’s most common in Mexico.

35. ¡Por Dios!

This can mean “for God’s sake” or “God, help me.”

¡Por dios, esto es tan complicado!
(For God’s sake, this is so complicated!) 

36. ¡Ay de mí!

Ay de mí means approximately “oh my” or “poor me.”

¡Ay de mí! Acabo de enterarme de que tengo que trabajar este fin de semana.
(Poor me! I just found out that I have to work this weekend.)

37. ¡Porfis! / ¡Porfi! / ¡Porfa!

Porfis, profi and porfa are all cutesy ways to abbreviate por favor (please), similar to “pretty please” in English. 

¿Podemos quedarnos con el cachorro, mamá? ¡Porfis!
(Can we keep the puppy, Mom? Please!

To keep your pride intact, you might want to avoid using porfis and porfi in conversation since it’ll make you seem a bit desperate, unless you want to sound a bit baby-like or sound jokingly silly. 

38. ¡Ándale!

It comes from the word andar meaning “to go/walk/take/work/be/act.”

You really need to judge the context because it can mean “hurry up,” “come on” or “all right” depending on the situation. 

¡Ándale, ya casi llegas! No te rindas.
(Come on, you’re almost there! Don’t give up.) 

¡Ándale, pues! Te puedo prestar mi libro hasta la próxima semana.
(All right, then! I can lend you my book until next week.)

39. ¡Ojo! / ¡Cuidado!

Ojo literally means “eye” while cuidado means “careful,” but both words are used to urge caution like the English phrases “Watch out!” and “Look out!”

¡Ojo, no te distraigas!
(Watch out, don’t get distracted!)

¡Cuidado! El piso está mojado.
(Look out! The floor is wet.)

40. ¡Ojalá!

Ojalá is used like “I hope so”:

Creo que lloverá mañana.
(I think it will rain tomorrow.)

(I hope so.)

41. ¡Ajá!

Ajá can mean “aha” or “uh-huh.” It’s used to denote understanding or to reply to a question in the affirmative:

Ajá, te entiendo.
(Uh-huh, I understand you.) 

It can also, however, indicate surprise or acknowledgment sort of like “oh”:

¡Ajá! Por eso me pareces familiar: nos conocimos en la fiesta de la semana pasada.
(Aha! That’s why you look familiar to me—we met at the party last week.)

42. ¡Qué bárbaro!

Qué bárbaro literally means “how barbaric,” so you think this would express disapproval.

However, it’s often used to mean “how cool” or “how terrific,” particularly in Argentina:

¡Qué bárbaro! Tocas el piano muy bien.
(How cool! You play the piano very well.) 

43. ¡Caramba!

Sometimes used in the spoken phrase “ay, caramba,” caramba usually indicates a positive surprise, though it can be negative.

It can mean “wow” or “darn” depending on the context.

¡Caramba! ¡Estas pinturas son increíbles!
(Wow! These paintings are incredible!)

44. ¡Caracoles!

Caracoles literally mean “snails” or “shells,” but when used as an interjection, it’s an expression of surprise like “good heavens.”

¡Caracoles! ¿De dónde sacaste todo ese pastel?
(Good heavens! Where did you get all that cake?)

45. Córcholis! / ¡Recórcholis!

Córcholis and recórcholis denote surprise and sometimes annoyance or anger like the English phrases “gee whiz” and “good Lord.”

¡Recórcholis! Definitivamente estás enfermo, estás tosiendo muy fuerte.
(Gee whiz! You’re definitely sick, you’re coughing so hard.) 

46. ¡Vaya!

You may know it as a conjugation of the verb ir (to go), but as an interjection, it usually indicates surprise, like “wow,or even “oh no.” 

¡Vaya! No puedo creer lo que veo.
(Wow! I can’t believe my eyes.) 

It can also mean “what a…”

¡Vaya lío! Hay pintura por todo el sofá.
(What a mess! There’s paint all over the sofa.) 

47. ¡Ave María!

Ave María references the Virgin Mary, but it’s usually used to express excitement or stress, as is its sister phrase Ave María purísima.

¡Ave María purísima! Me olvidé de pagar mi factura del teléfono.
(Holy cow! I forgot to pay my phone bill.) 

Though technically part of a prayer, these phrases are now commonly used as interjections.

Why Learn Spanish Interjections?

Well. There are several reasons to learn interjections.

First, they’re key conversational tools. Whether you notice or not, you probably use several interjections in any conversation you have in English. You may even notice them liberally littered throughout this article. If you don’t also have these key tools in your Spanish vocabulary, your conversations will be sorely lacking.

Furthermore, they’re a quick and easy way to show emotions. One simple word or phrase can express an emotion that would normally take many more words to clarify. Take, for instance, the English-language interjection “Ugh.” It’s a much more concise way of expressing “I am not pleased with this.”

Finally, they’re fun. After all, you might not be up for a full-length conversation in Spanish, but shouting Spanish when you stubbed your toe seems much less intimidating. These interjections will add a lot of color to your daily vocabulary.


There are many exclamations and interjections in Spanish, and each Spanish-speaking region of the world will have different ones that they use most often. 

You can delve into a great telenovela (full of emotional moments as we all know), or a video-based immersion program like FluentU to absorb how natives use exclamations and interjections.

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Listen out for the above phrases and don’t be shy about adding them to your day-to-day use of Spanish.

Native speakers probably won’t even notice that you’re using them, but subconsciously they’ll use them to recognize that you’re a fluent Spanish speaker.

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