Spanish Feelings: 50 Ways to Better Express Your Emotions
Are you sick of expressing all of your opinions through sí (yes) and no (no), smiles, and grunts when talking with Spanish speakers?
Or are you past the basics and looking for advanced ways to express how you feel?
Though Spanish is a wonderfully expressive language, trying to express your feelings as a beginner or intermediate learner can be nothing short of frustrating.
Here are phrases to express emotions, from happiness to sadness and anger to surprise, so you can talk about your feelings in Spanish with ease!
- How to Express Happiness in Spanish
- How to Express Approval in Spanish
- How to Express Indifference in Spanish
- How to Express Dislike in Spanish
- How to Express Anger in Spanish
- How to Express Surprise in Spanish
- How to Express Love in Spanish
- How to Express Sadness in Spanish
- How to Express Fear in Spanish
- How to Practice Expressing Your Feelings in Spanish
How to Express Happiness in Spanish
It’s always fun to be around somebody who is having a good time! Let’s start with some basic phrases and vocabulary words to let your Spanish friends know when you’re happy. With these basic phrases, you’ll be able to express your satisfaction perfectly fine in any social situation.
To spice up your speech, we’re also throwing in some colloquial phrases.
1. Estoy contento/a
Literally, “I am content.” You can use contento/a depending on your gender to express general happiness or satisfaction.
Estoy contento de haber encontrado mis llaves.
(I’m happy that I’ve found my keys.)
2. Estoy feliz
“I am happy.” Although contento and feliz have similar meanings, the latter implies more enthusiastic or joyful happiness and is less commonly used.
Estoy feliz de haber realizado mis sueños.
(I’m happy that I have accomplished all of my dreams.)
3. Me alegro
Me alegro comes from the reflexive verb alegrarse (to be happy). It means “I’m happy” or “I’m glad,” frequently used the way that English speakers would say, “I’m happy to hear that.”
Me siento mucho mejor.
(I feel so much better.)
Bien, me alegro.
(Good, I’m happy to hear that.)
4. Pasárselo pipa
This phrase, which invokes the pipas (sunflower seeds) so common in Spanish bars, means “to have a great time.”
¡Me lo estoy pasando pipa!
(I’m having a great time!)
It also works well in the past tense:
Me lo pasé pipa.
(I had a great time).
5. Flipé, flipé en, flipé con
This phrase is similar to the English “I flipped out,” expressing happiness, awe and enjoyment. Use the word alone, or get more specific using flipé en (I flipped out on/at/in) or flipé con (I freaked out with).
Flipé en el concierto anoche.
(I flipped out at the concert last night.)
You can also use the verb alucinar (to hallucinate) to a similar effect.
This expression, which is the command form of the verb tomar (to take), expresses excitement, happiness or triumph. Use this when your soccer team scores a goal, when you get a high grade on your Spanish exam or when you find out that the shoes you’ve been dreaming of are finally on sale.
Los zapatos finalmente están a la venta. ¡Toma!
(The shoes are finally on sale. Yes!)
How to Express Approval in Spanish
Living in Spain, I have met a ton of friendly people who are eager to show me all of the cultural, artistic and culinary wonders that their country has to offer. After every tapa (appetizer, finger food), every picturesque village and every new Spanish song, they ask me, “So? What do you think?”
If you get tired of the basic phrases, you can also mix it up with some advanced colloquial expressions later on in the list.
7. Me gusta/an
Me gusta (I like it) is incredibly useful for Spanish speakers. However, its grammatical function can be confusing for non-native speakers.
The verb gustar means “to be pleasing.”
With a few exceptions, the verb gustar will appear conjugated in either the “he/she/it” form me gusta for singular objects or the “they” form me gustan for plural objects.
Me gusta la película.
(I like the movie. / lit. The movie pleases me.)
Me gustan las películas.
(I like the movies. / lit. The movies please me.)
When you’re talking about the things that you like to do, use the infinitive form of verbs.
Me gusta ir al cine.
(I like to go to the movies.)
When talking about other people’s actions that please you, you must use this formula: me gusta que + verb in the subjunctive form.
Me gusta que estés aquí conmigo.
(I like that you’re here with me.)
8. Me encanta/an
The verb encantar is similar to the verb gustar. Although encantar directly translates to “to enchant,” it’s actually used to express strong like or love.
Like with gustar, use me encanta when talking about singular objects and me encantan when talking about multiple objects.
Me encanta esta canción.
(I love this song.)
Me encantan estas canciones.
(I love these songs.)
9. ¡Cómo mola!
The word mola comes from the verb molar (to be cool).
Ese bar mola mucho.
(That bar is really cool.)
This phrase is just one of many colloquial ways to express the concept of “cool” in Spanish.
(It’s so cool! / How cool!)
Some others to work into your day-to-day conversations are genial, qué guay, qué chulo and qué guapo.
10. Es la leche
Literally “it’s the milk,” this fun phrase is used to describe something awesome.
¿Te gusta la guitarra española?
(Do you like the Spanish guitar?)
Sí, ¡es la leche!
(Yes, it’s awesome!)
11. Es una pasada
A step beyond es la leche, this phrase literally translates as “it’s a past” but means “it’s amazing” or “it’s incredible.”
¿Te lo pasaste bien en Barcelona?
(Did you have a good time in Barcelona?)
Sí, el Parque Güell es una pasada.
(Yes, Güell Park is incredible.)
12. Qué salado/a
Generally used to describe people rather than things, the adjective salado/a (salted) describes a person who is interesting, funny or generally enjoyable to be around.
If a Spanish-speaking friend makes a particularly funny joke, you might follow up your laughter with this phrase:
Qué salado eres.
(You’re so funny/cool.)
The word majo/a describes a nice, friendly or interesting person.
Es muy majo.
(He is a really nice person.)
Be careful, though—maja can also be interpreted as “physically attractive” in certain contexts.
Esa mujer es muy maja.
(That woman is really attractive.)
How to Express Indifference in Spanish
Sometimes, being able to express your indifference is just as important as being able to express a strong emotion!
Here are basic phrases to let people know when you just really don’t care, as well as some advanced ones to express varying degrees of disinterest.
14. No importa/an
The verb importar means “to matter” or “to be important.”
(It doesn’t matter.)
For a slightly more direct or aggressive effect, you can also say this:
No me importa.
(I don’t care.)
Of course, vocal tone is also a factor in how your words are interpreted.
The verb importar functions grammatically like the verb gustar, meaning that if you’re talking about multiple things that do not matter, you should say:
(They don’t matter.)
15. Me da igual
Literally translated, this phrase is “it gives me equal.” It actually means “I don’t care” or “it’s all the same to me.”
Me da igual can sound polite or aggressive, depending on vocal tone.
¿Quieres ir al restaurante chino o al restaurante italiano?
(Do you want to go to the Chinese restaurant or the Italian restaurant?)
Me da igual, a mí me gustan los dos.
(I don’t care, I like them both.)
16. Como quieras
This phrase means “whatever you want” or “as you wish.” It’s commonly used to express indifference about an idea or decision.
Voy a preparar la cena. ¿Quieres pescado o pollo?
(I’m going to make dinner. Do you want fish or chicken?)
Me da igual, como quieras.
(It doesn’t matter to me, whatever you want.)
17. Estoy aburrido/a
“I’m bored.” Simple as that!
Estoy aburrido de ese libro.
(I’m bored of that book.)
Be careful not to mix up ser and estar here. Soy aburrido means “I’m boring.”
However, when you want to describe things as boring rather than saying you’re bored, use the verb ser instead of estar.
Estos libros son aburridos.
(These books are boring.)
Esa película es aburrida.
(That movie is boring.)
18. Me importa tres pepinos
Literally, this one means “it matters three cucumbers to me.” This wonderful phrase can be used to express how much you really, really don’t care about something. While me da igual or no importa can be interpreted as either polite or impolite, this phrase is definitively dismissive in nature.
¿Qué quieres cenar?
(What do you want to eat for dinner?)
Me importa tres pepinos.
(I don’t care.)
If cucumbers aren’t your style, feel free to use one of these food-based variations:
Me importa un pimiento (lit. it matters one pepper to me)
Me importa un comino (lit. it matters one cumin to me)
19. Nada del otro mundo
This phrase translates to “nothing from the other world.” It’s roughly equivalent to the English phrase “nothing out of this world.” Use it to describe something that’s just okay or not particularly exciting.
¿Qué opinas de esta canción?
(What do you think of this song?)
Nada del otro mundo.
(It’s nothing special.)
This false friend does not mean the same as its English equivalent. Rather, the Spanish word regular is colloquially used to mean “just okay” or “not so great.”
For example, if you’re feeling under the weather, you might tell somebody:
Me siento regular.
(I don’t feel so great.)
In this case, regular expresses neither great enthusiasm nor great discomfort.
You can also use regular to express opinions. For example:
¿Cómo fue la película?
(How was the movie?)
(Eh, it was just okay.)
How to Express Dislike in Spanish
What gets under your skin? It’s important to know how to tell people when you disapprove of something. Use these easy phrases to let others know that you’re feeling frustrated, dissatisfied or annoyed.
And since Spanish is a colorful and passionate language, with a number of fascinating ways to express dislike, we’re also including some expressions beyond the basics.
21. No me gusta
This, of course, is merely the opposite of me gusta. No me gusta means “it doesn’t please me” or “I don’t like it.” As with me gusta, you will generally only see this verb conjugated in the “he/she/it” or “they” forms for singular or plural objects, respectively.
No me gusta el libro.
(I don’t like the book.)
No me gustan estos libros.
(I don’t like these books.)
For describing your own actions, use the infinitive:
No me gusta jugar al tenis.
(I don’t like playing tennis.)
Use the subjunctive to describe the actions of others:
No me gusta que me hables así.
(I don’t like that you talk to me like that.)
22. Me molesta
This false friend means “it bothers me.” Again, it functions like gustar, so use me molesta for singular objects and me molestan for plural objects.
Me molesta el viento.
(The wind is bothering me.)
Me molestan las moscas.
(The flies are bothering me.)
Looking for other ways to talk about things that bother you? You can also use these:
Me fastidia (It upsets me)
Me agobia (It overwhelms me)
Me preocupa (It worries me)
23. Es un rollo
“It’s a roll!” you exclaim in exasperation. But this phrase has nothing to do with bread or wheels. Un rollo is something annoying, complicated or frustrating. English equivalents include “it’s a mess” or “it’s a pain in the neck.”
For example, if you spent all morning cleaning your house after a party, you might later complain to a friend like this:
Fue un rollo.
(It was a pain in the neck.)
Literally “heavy,” this adjective is commonly used to describe annoying people and things. To express that you’ve been having a long or difficult day, you could say:
El día ha sido muy pesado.
(It’s been a long day.)
25. Me da la lata
What does it mean for someone to “give me the can?” Colloquially, it means that someone is getting on your nerves. If one of my ESL students was acting out or talking during class, I could later say:
Él me está dando la lata hoy.
(He’s getting on my nerves today.)
How to Express Anger in Spanish
Sometimes you just have to let it all out. Feeling angry? These adjectives will help you make yourself understood.
And when the basics just don’t suffice to express the extent of your anger, blow off some steam with the advanced phrases.
26. Enfadado/a, Enojado/a
These two adjectives both mean “angry.” In my experience, enfadado/a is more common in Spain, while enojado/a is generally used in Latin America.
Estoy enfadada porque perdí en los videojuegos.
(I am angry because I lost the video game.)
Both words also have a reflexive verb form: enfadarse and enojarse (to get angry). Use the forms me enfada or me enoja (it makes me angry).
Me enojo cuando pierdo en los videojuegos.
(I get angry when I lose video games.)
Me enfada perder en los videojuegos.
(It makes me angry to lose video games.)
27. Me da rabia
A step beyond simple anger, this phrase directly translates to “it gives me rage” or “it enrages me.” Use this for particularly strong or serious opinions.
Me da rabia el gobierno de este país.
(The government of this country enrages me.)
28. ¡Me cago en el mar!
Spain has some truly expressive phrases, and this is one of my favorites. The next time you’re feeling enraged, use this phrase:
¡Me cago en el mar!
(I take a crap in the sea!)
Despite the shocking visual imagery, this phrase is not vulgar and can be said by children or in front of children.
Spain has many fun phrases that begin with me cago en.
Me cago en la leche (lit. I take a crap in the milk)
Me cago en diez (lit. I take a crap in ten)
There are several others but they’re too shocking to print here.
This exclamation expresses shock and anger, like the English “darn!” or “oh, come on!” Use it when you stub your toe, when you crack your cell phone screen, when it starts raining the moment you leave the house or in any other unexpected and frustrating situation.
¡Jolín! Olvidé mi paraguas!
(Darn! I forgot my umbrella.)
How to Express Surprise in Spanish
Unfortunately, there are no real “basics” here. Beginning Spanish learners, and even advanced speakers, frequently forget their Spanish when surprised or caught off guard. After more than a decade of learning Spanish, I still generally express surprise by yelling “ahh!” or “woah!” or even occasionally, “oh my God!” Whoops!
However, if you really want to blend in and sound like a native speaker, you might want to try out some of these interjections of surprise. Keep practicing—eventually, they will work their way into your everyday vocabulary.
The command form of the verb andar (to walk), this exclamation expresses subdued, mild or pleasant surprise. It’s like the English phrases “how about that!” or “huh!” but it can also mean “wow!”
¡Anda! Hace tiempo que no nos vemos.
(Wow! Long time no see.)
What better way to express surprise than by making a reference to holy communion bread? That is the literal meaning of the word hostia, one of Spain’s most common slang words. Although the word has a variety of different meanings depending on its context, it’s an exclamation of surprise on its own, similar to “Jesus!” or “damn it!”
Depending on vocal tone and nonverbal communication, it can be positive or negative. So, feel free to shout it when your favorite soccer player scores a near-impossible goal, or when you realize you locked your keys in the car.
¡Hostia! ¿Dónde ha ido el tiempo?
(Jesus! Where has the time gone?)
A more polite (and less sacrilegious) version of hostia, ostras is Spain’s version of “oh my gosh!” or “jeez!”
¡Ostras! Esa es una gran comida.
(Jeez! That’s a big meal.)
33. ¡Madre mía!
I hear this versatile phrase all the time, used to express varying degrees of shock. It can be used for both positive and negative surprises, and it directly translates as “my mother!” but is closer to the meaning “oh dear!”
¡Madre mía! Llego tarde al trabajo.
(Oh dear! I’m late for work.)
How to Express Love in Spanish
If you’re lucky enough to get hit with Cupid’s arrow, don’t let your lack of Spanish hold you back. These phrases to express love and affection in Spanish will help your relationships flourish!
34. Te quiero
While this phrase literally translates to “I want you” (and is used as such in some situations), it’s more commonly used as “I love you” when speaking to family and friends.
There is actually a debate over who te quiero should really be used with, and sometimes it’s dependent on the country.
Te quiero mucho.
(I love you so much.)
35. Te amo
Te amo is another way of saying “I love you,” and there’s no doubt that this is the more intense way of saying it. It’s more romantic and affectionate, mostly reserved for very serious relationships.
In saying this, family members do say this to each other in some parts of the Spanish-speaking world.
Te amo más que a nada en este mundo.
(I love you more than anything in this world.)
36. Estoy enamorado/a
It’s not every day that you get to say, “I’m in love.” If that moment ever arises, you’ll be prepared!
Estoy enamorado de ti.
(I’m in love with you.)
37. Estoy loco/a por ti
This phrase means “I’m crazy about you” but in a good way.
Nunca me he sentido así antes. ¡Estoy loca por ti!
(I’ve never felt this way before. I’m crazy about you!)
38. Eres mi media naranja
This translates to “you’re my half orange.” Any guesses as to what it might be?
While in English we’re content with saying, “you’re my other half,” they take it a step further in Spain and get oranges involved. It’s pretty cute!
Claro que te amo. Eres mi media naranja.
(Of course I love you. You’re my person/other half.)
39. Eres el amor de mi vida
“You’re the love of my life.”
This beautiful phrase is reserved for when you know you’ve found the one. Be careful using this—it may cause irreversible infatuation.
Eres el amor de mi vida. ¿Te casas conmigo?
(You’re the love of my life. Will you marry me?)
How to Express Sadness in Spanish
Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life that we’re going to experience sadness at some point. Some of us get more than our fair share of it, and even the happiest people get down in the dumps at times. Prepare for these inevitable situations with the following Spanish phrases.
40. Estoy triste
Triste is the key word here, which means “sad.” When you pair it with estoy, you’ve got “I’m sad.”
This is a nice basic phrase that’ll definitely come in useful at some point, especially when you’re unhappy and looking to garner some attention (which never hurts!).
Estoy triste porque las vacaciones han terminado.
(I’m sad because the vacation is over.)
41. Me da pena
The word pena means a feeling of sadness and is often paired with the verb dar (to give) to express empathy, pity and sadness. You can also swap out the object pronoun me and change the conjugation of dar depending on who you’re talking about. For example:
La situación me da mucha pena.
(The situation makes me really sad.)
Me das pena.
(I feel sorry for you.)
Le da pena verte así.
(It makes her sad to see you like that.)
42. ¡Qué pena!
Qué pena is more than just a catchy reggaeton song—this useful phrase translates as “what a shame” to express sorrow and empathy. However, it can also be used to express regret, meaning “too bad,” “pity” and in some countries, even “sorry.”
You can use it on its own, or with the conjunction que. Note the use of the subjunctive after qué pena que… (what a shame that…).
Qué pena que haya muerto tu abuelo.
(What a shame that your grandfather has died.)
¿Perdieron el partido? ¡Qué pena!
(They lost the game? Too bad!)
43. Me siento derrotado/a
For times when you’re feeling really over it and estoy triste doesn’t seem to cover it, keep this next phrase in your arsenal.
Me siento derrotado.
(I feel defeated.)
44. Estoy deprimido/a
I hope you never have to use this phrase, but sometimes we need to be honest about how we’re feeling! It’s always better out than in.
This is how you say that you’re depressed. You could mean this literally—like you actually have depression—or when you’re just stretching the truth a bit.
Estoy deprimido. Rompió conmigo.
(I’m depressed. He broke up with me.)
45. Estoy sin ganas de hacer nada
This translates as “I don’t feel like doing anything.”
While you don’t necessarily need to be sad to say this, it’s a pretty common way to feel when you’re glum. So whether you’re sad or just feeling lazy, it’s still a useful phrase to know!
Está lloviendo hoy. Estoy sin ganas de hacer nada.
(It’s raining today. I don’t feel like doing anything.)
How to Express Fear in Spanish
Fear is another inevitable emotion that we experience in life—it’s all part of being human! And after all, what’s life without a bit of unpredictability? Let’s have a look at some ways that we can express fear or shock in Spanish.
46. Estoy asustado/a
This is a nice, straightforward phrase that’ll come in handy when you least expect it!
Es mi primera vez en un avión. Estoy asustado.
(It’s my first time on a plane. I’m scared.)
47. Tengo miedo
Tener miedo means, literally, “to have fear,” and is used to express that you’re scared or afraid. I use it much more often than estoy asustado because tengo miedo (I’m afraid) is more versatile. It can be used on its own or as part of a phrase to express that you’re worried about or scared of something in particular.
Note that if you’re referring to something, you’ll need to use a preposition—like a (to) or de que (that)—and sometimes the subjunctive after the phrase.
Tiene miedo a los tiburones.
(He is afraid of sharks.)
Tengo miedo de que me dejes.
(I’m scared that you’ll leave me.)
48. ¡Qué susto!
This phrase is used on its own as an exclamation. You can use it to express shock or fight on behalf of yourself. You can also use it to empathize with someone else if they’re telling you about a frightening experience they had—great for rapport building!
Qué susto actually means “what a scare” which might sound a bit insincere to English speakers. But don’t worry, it’s perfectly polite and common among Spanish speakers.
¿De dónde saliste? ¡Qué susto!
(Where did you come from? What a scare!)
49. ¡Qué miedo!
In the same vein as qué susto, we have qué miedo.
However, this interjection would be used less to express shock and more for a fright or when you find something scary.
¡Qué miedo da esa casa encantada!
(How scary is that haunted house!)
50. Cagado/a de miedo
Lastly, we have cagado/a de miedo. In keeping with an earlier phrase pertaining to taking a crap in the ocean, this gem translates to “scared sh*tless.”
Estaba cagada de miedo cuando vi su cara.
(I was scared sh*tless when I saw his face.)
How to Practice Expressing Your Feelings in Spanish
Now that we’ve learned a whole bunch of words and phrases for showing the world how we truly feel, let’s take a look at some ways we can retain them all.
- Listen to Spanish songs. We all know that songs are full of emotion—I mean, it’s pretty much a prerequisite for musicians to have their hearts broken before they can write their first song. There are endless Spanish tunes that speak not only of love and heartbreak, but also anger, happiness and everything in between.
Have the lyrics on hand as you sing along, and you’ll memorize these new words and phrases before you know it.
- Watch Spanish-language videos. Use subtitles with different Spanish-language videos to practice hearing these Spanish feelings in different situations. Authentic videos in particular are ideal since it can be hard to identify exactly when colloquial expressions should be used.
With FluentU, you can hear real Spanish being used by native speakers in context, meaning you’ll be able to pick up the small nuances of the colloquialisms. The language learning program teaches natural Spanish, primarily through native video clips which come with interactive subtitles and a contextual dictionary. You can also track your progress with personalized quizzes that test all language skills, including speaking.
- Challenge yourself when using Spanish. Instead of replying bien (okay) when someone asks you how you are, spice up your Spanish with some of the phrases we’ve seen today. Start off with the basic words from this list that will be most useful to you personally, and focus on those when speaking or writing in Spanish. When you’re ready to take it to the next level, start using the advanced phrases
- Read Spanish-language stories. This is similar to the first two points, but with a difference: it’s much easier to identify vocabulary words when you’re reading! Stories also use different, more descriptive language than what you’ll find in videos or audio clips because there are no clues from body language or tone—only words.
Being able to express your feelings accurately is one of the signs that you’re fluent in a second language. It’s no easy task, but keep practicing and soon you’ll feel like you can truly be yourself in Spanish!