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.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos topics, as you can see here:
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Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
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35 Great Spanish Interjections You Should Know
—Excitement and Approval—
This word is used mostly in Spain. When used as an interjection, this expresses approval like “cool” or “terrific.”
While this can also be a conjugation of valer (to be worth/to cost), in Spain, vale is used as an interjection meaning “okay.”
This word is used in Mexican-American slang and in parts of Mexico. It means “sure” or “okay.”
This word can mean “wow” or “woof” (as in the noise a dog makes) depending on the context.
Arriba often means “up,” but as an interjection, it can also indicate approval or excitement.
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.”
Though it has no direct translation, it’s used to denote admiration like the English word “wonderful.”
Dale can mean “go for it,” but it can also mean “okay” depending on the context.
Claro and its sister phrase claro que sí are both used to mean “of course.”
This is used like “hurrah” or “hurray.”
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—
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.”
Used primarily in Mexico and Central America, this term indicates exasperation. It’s similar to “jeez” or “wow.”
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.”
In both Spanish and English, “bah” denotes disapproval or contempt.
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.
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!”
Ojalá is used like “I hope so.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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