¡Guau! 35 Spanish Interjections That Will Make Your Day

Oh my! For goodness sake! Holy cow!

You’ve learned so much Spanish, but there’s still a little something missing from your vocabulary. Psst—that something is interjections.

You’ll use them for greetings. You’ll need them to chat online. Indeed, any conversation would be incomplete without them. These short, impactful words and phrases are essential for your Spanish-language survival itself.

Looking to learn more about interjections? Bingo. You’re in the right place.

What Are Interjections?

Interjections are words or brief phrases that express emotions or feelings. These are often exclamations, but not always. Their isolation is usually what sets them apart since they can often stand alone as sentences. Even simple commands can be considered interjections. The key is that the word or phrase “interjects” or “interrupts” the rest of the phrase. Wow! Who knew?

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.

And to make interjections even more fun, you can learn them by watching silly videos! Check out FluentU for authentic ways to learn with videos.

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35 Great Spanish Interjections You Should Know

—Excitement and Approval—

1. Guay

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

2. 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.”

3. Órale

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

4. Guau

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

5. Arriba

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

6. Bravo

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

7. 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.”

8. Menos mal

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

9. Cáspita

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

10. Dale

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

11. Claro

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

12. Hurra

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

13. Che

This interjection from Argentina and Uruguay is used like “bro” or “dude.” However, it can also be a greeting like “hey” or even as a phrase to question understanding such as “right?”.

14. Buen provecho

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

15. Buena suerte

Buena suerte simply means “good luck.”

—Disgust, Disapproval, Discomfort—

16. Huy

Huy often indicates pain, like “ow” or “ouch.” But because the world is a strange and confusing place, it can also be used as “oops,” “jeez” or even “wow.”

17. Híjole

Used primarily in Mexico and Central America, this term indicates exasperation. It’s similar to “jeez” or “wow.”

18. Uf

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

19. Qué horror

Qué horror literally means “what horror.” It’s similar to the English phrase “how awful.”

20. Qué lástima

Qué lástima means “what a pity.” If you want to change it up, you can also try qué pena which means “what a shame.”

21. Bah

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

22. Újule

This expression of surprise can either express disapproval or admiration. It’s most common in Mexico.

23. Por Dios

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

24. Ay de mí

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

25. Porfis / Porfi / Porfa

Porfis, profi and porfa are all cutesy ways to abbreviate por favor (please). Think of them as the Spanish-language versions of “pretty 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. Porfa seems a little less juvenile, but it’s casual, so don’t try it on your boss.

26. Ándale

If you’ve seen Speedy Gonzales, you’ve certainly heard this one before. It comes from the word andar meaning “to go/walk/take/work/be/act.”

But what does it mean as an interjection? Well, given how many definitions the verb has, it should come as no surprise that it can mean pretty much anything.

Depending on context, it can mean “hurry up,” “come on” or “alright.” That may seem simple enough, but the thing is, it can indicate approval, disapproval or pretty much anything in between. Sometimes, you might even hear “ándale pues” which often means “okay, then.” This is another interjection where you really need to judge the context to figure out the meaning.

27. Ojo / Cuidado

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

28. Ojalá

Ojalá is used like “I hope so.”

29. Ajá

Ajá can mean “aha” or “uh-huh.” It’s used to denote understanding or to reply to a question in the affirmative. It can also, however, indicate surprise or acknowledgement sort of like “oh.”

30. Qué bárbaro

Qué bárbaro literally means “how barbaric,” so you think this would express disapproval. Sometimes, it’s used to mean “how awful.” However, it’s often used to mean “how cool” or “how terrific,” particularly in Argentina.

31. Caramba

Fans of “The Simpsons,” take note: 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.

32. Caracoles

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

33. Córcholis / Recórcholis

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

34. Vaya

You may know it as a conjugation of the verb ir (to go), but as an interjection it usually indicates surprise, like “wow.” It can also mean”what a…” in phrases like “what a helpful word vaya is.”

To complicate things further, it can also mean “oh no.” This is an important reminder to always pay attention to context.

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

 

Phew. That sure was a lot of interjections.

But now you’ll be ready with great new vocabulary to use in any conversation.

¡Hurra!

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