Beyond Nice: 30 Precise Spanish Personality Adjectives to Really Describe People
Simple words like “nice,” “mean,” “fun,” “good” and “bad” are convenient to use and easy to learn, but they just don’t capture our full range of emotions and thoughts.
Sure, they’ll more or less get your point across, but with a broader Spanish vocabulary, you’ll be able to express yourself more accurately and authentically in Spanish.
Read on for 30 awesome, unique, intriguing and specific vocab words that you can use to describe people’s personalities.
- Gender, Number and Adjectives: A Quick Refresher
- Spanish Personality Adjectives: The Basics in One Minute
- Beyond Nice: 30 Precise Spanish Personality Adjectives to Really Describe People
- The Good
- The Neutral
- 11. Caprichoso/a — Capricious, whimsical, moody, fickle
- 12. Franco/a — Frank, outspoken
- 13. Hablador/a — Talkative
- 14. Humilde — Humble
- 15. Mimoso/a — Affectionate
- 16. Orgulloso/a — Prideful, arrogant
- 17. Reservado/a — Reserved
- 18. Sensible — Sensitive
- 19. Sensato/a — Sensible, rational, prudent
- 20. Tranquilo/a — Calm
- The Bad
Gender, Number and Adjectives: A Quick Refresher
When studying personality adjectives, it’s important to keep in mind a few key Spanish grammar concepts.
First, when you’re using an adjective to describe somebody, you must take into account the person’s gender. The general rule is that when describing a male, you should end the word in –o. When describing a female, end the word in -a.
Frequently, words that end in a consonant, in an -e or in the suffix -ista are the same whether you’re talking about a male or a female. For example, the words fiel (loyal), cobarde (cowardly) and egoísta (selfish) all stay the same regardless of the gender of the person you’re talking about.
Of course, there are many exceptions to this rule! Some of the words on this list end in a consonant when male, but require an added -a when female—such as encantador and encantadora (charming).
The best way to learn these exceptions is to study, study, study—and that definitely includes listening to native speakers to pick up their grammar patterns. For further practice, check out this post on mastering Spanish gender.
When using personality adjectives, make sure the adjective matches with the number of people you’re talking about. With few exceptions, adjectives must change when you’re talking about more than one person.
If the word ends in a vowel, merely add an -s. If it ends in a consonant, add an -es.
When you’re talking about a mixed-gender group of people, default to using the male form of the adjective—even if there’s only one male in the group! (Although some people may include both feminine and masculine forms in spoken Spanish to fairly represent both genders, in general it is still avoided and considered wordy and redundant.)
Now, on to our adjectives!
Spanish Personality Adjectives: The Basics in One Minute
I know, I know—we said we’re going to move beyond nice and mean.
But you have to know the basics before you can move beyond them, right? For your convenience, here are some of the most common personality adjectives you’ll encounter in Spanish.
If you’re unsure how to pronounce any of these words, Forvo can help. It’s a great crowd-sourced pronunciation guide for many different languages.
Bueno/a — Good
Simpático/a — Nice
Amistoso/a, Amable — Friendly
Divertido/a — Fun, funny
Agradable — Pleasant
Feliz, Alegre, Contento/a — Happy
Interesante — Interesting
Inteligente — Smart
Aburrido/a — Boring
Desagradable — Unpleasant
Triste — Sad
Antipático/a — Mean, Unfriendly
Malo/a — Bad
These words are all fine and good. But read on for some more interesting, unique and precise words for describing personalities.
Beyond Nice: 30 Precise Spanish Personality Adjectives to Really Describe People
Now we’re going to get a bit more advanced.
Each vocabulary word on this next list is accompanied by an example sentence to give you a sense of how these words can be used. However, if you require more examples, there are many great internet references that can help you get a sense of native speakers’ word use.
One resource is the forums at WordReference, where Spanish learners can ask native speakers and advanced learners about particular words and phrases. Another is the FluentU program, where you can watch authentic Spanish videos with interactive captions. You can create flashcards and take quizzes on FluentU, as well.
I’ve also found the translation dictionary Linguee super useful. In addition to giving you a definition and translation, Linguee also provides side-by-side English and Spanish sentences that can help you get a sense for the context in which a word is used.
How do you describe someone who you think is really great, without just using the same words over and over? These words will help you do just that.
1. Atrevido/a — Courageous
Mi hija sólo tiene seis años, pero le gusta patinar, escalar y bucear. ¡Es muy atrevida!
(My daughter is only six years old, but she likes skating, climbing and diving. She’s very brave!)
2. Culto/a — Cultured
Me gusta pasar tiempo con mis amigos cultos porque me muestran cosas interesantes de otras partes del mundo.
(I like spending time with my cultured friends because they show me interesting things from other parts of the world.)
3. Digno/a — Dignified
La reina de Inglaterra es una mujer realmente digna.
(The Queen of England is a truly dignified woman.)
4. Encantador/a — Charming
Nos ha gustado conocer a tu novio. ¡Es un chico encantador!
(We liked meeting your boyfriend. He’s a charming guy!)
5. Fiel — Loyal
En los libros de Harry Potter, Ron y Hermione son amigos muy fieles.
(In the Harry Potter books, Ron and Hermione are very loyal friends.)
6. Gracioso/a — Gracious, Funny
Gracioso/a is a multipurpose word. It can mean gracious and charming. It can also mean funny or entertaining. Plus, it can serve as a synonym for “nice” or “pleasant.” It does not, however, mean “graceful,” which is more properly translated as agraciado/a or elegante.
Los dos hermanos son muy graciosos. Siempre nos hacen reír mucho.
(The two brothers are very funny. They always make us laugh a lot.)
7. Listo/a — Clever
Perhaps you’ve heard the word listo before to mean “ready,” as in the phrase ¿estás listo? (are you ready?) However, when accompanied with the verb ser (to be) rather than estar (to be), listo is a personality trait meaning clever or quick.
Es una chica muy lista. Siempre saca buenas notas.
(She’s a clever girl. She always gets good grades.)
8. Seguro/a — Self-confident
When describing objects, situations or locales, seguro means “safe.” But when describing a person, it generally refers to somebody who’s self-assured or self-confident.
¡Se ve que él es muy seguro porque baila en público sin miedo!
(You can see that he is very confident because he dances in public without fear!)
9. Sincero/a — Sincere
Confío en mis amigos porque son muy sinceros y nunca me mienten.
(I trust my friends because they are very sincere and they never lie to me.)
10. Tenaz — Tenacious
Like other Spanish adjectives that end in z, if you want to use tenaz in a plural context, switch the z for a ces.
Son muy tenaces, y por eso suelen tener éxito.
(They are very tenacious, and that’s why they tend to be successful.)
Some of these words describe someone’s personality, without making a specifically positive or negative judgment. Others can be positive or negative, depending on the context.
11. Caprichoso/a — Capricious, whimsical, moody, fickle
This is one word that can have a positive or negative connotation depending on context. You might describe a happy-go-lucky person as caprichoso, but the word could just as easily refer to somebody flighty or somebody who doesn’t think before acting.
Él es un poco caprichoso. A veces parece muy feliz, pero se pone triste muy rápido.
(He’s a little capricious. Sometimes he seems very happy, but he gets sad very quickly.)
12. Franco/a — Frank, outspoken
Franco can also serve as a positive or negative descriptor, depending on context.
Es muy franco y siempre dice lo que piensa, pero a veces dice cosas ofensivas sin darse cuenta.
(He’s very frank and he always says what he’s thinking, but at times he says offensive things without realizing it.)
13. Hablador/a — Talkative
Mi madre es muy habladora. ¡Hace amigos por todas partes!
(My mom is very talkative. She makes friends everywhere!)
14. Humilde — Humble
Like in English, humilde can refer to somebody modest, or to somebody who lives without much luxury.
A pesar de su inteligencia, su dinero y su éxito, es una mujer humilde.
Despite her intelligence, money and success, she is a humble woman.
15. Mimoso/a — Affectionate
Mimoso should not be confused with the similar-sounding adjective mimado (spoiled), which is definitely negative.
La niña pequeña es muy mimosa y siempre quiere dar abrazos a su madre.
(The little girl is very affectionate and she always wants to hug her mother.)
16. Orgulloso/a — Prideful, arrogant
At times, orgulloso/a is positive and means to feel pride for something. However, in other contexts, the same word can take on a more negative connotation, referring to a person who’s perhaps a little too proud and verges on being arrogant.
Mi colega es tan orgulloso que nunca me pide ayuda.
(My coworker is so prideful that he never asks for my help.)
17. Reservado/a — Reserved
A ella no le gustan mucho las fiestas porque siempre ha sido reservada.
(The girl does not like parties very much because she has always been reserved.)
18. Sensible — Sensitive
False cognate alert: Sensible does not mean “sensible”!
Lloro cada vez que veo “Bambi” porque soy una persona muy sensible.
(I cry every time I watch “Bambi” because I’m a very sensitive person.)
19. Sensato/a — Sensible, rational, prudent
Sensible doesn’t mean “sensible”—but sensato does!
Él no gana mucho dinero, pero ahorra mucho porque es muy sensato.
(He doesn’t make very much money, but he saves a lot because he is very sensible.)
20. Tranquilo/a — Calm
A él no le molesta nada. Siempre parece super tranquilo.
(Nothing bothers him. He always seems super calm.)
Sometimes you meet someone who’s simply unpleasant. Express your distaste in more nuanced ways with these vocab words.
21. Cobarde — Cowardly
El león es grande y fuerte, pero también es muy cobarde.
(The lion is big and strong, but he’s also very cowardly.)
22. Crédulo/a — Gullible
Los personajes en las películas de terror son siempre muy crédulos.
(Characters in horror movies are always really gullible.)
23. Despistado/a — Scatterbrained, absentminded
Ella dice que hoy está cansada, pero la verdad es que es una persona despistada.
(She says that she is tired today, but the truth is that she is an absent-minded person.)
24. Egoísta — Selfish
They may sound similar, but egoísta doesn’t exactly mean “egotistical.” Also, be careful: egoísta ends in an “a” whether you’re talking about a man or a woman.
La niña egoísta no comparte sus juguetes con su hermana.
(The selfish girl does not share her toys with her sister.)
25. Engañoso/a — Deceitful
Nunca volveré a confiar en un hombre tan engañoso.
I will never trust such a deceitful man again.
26. Exigente — Picky, demanding
Es muy difícil cenar con él. Es muy exigente y sólo come hamburguesas y pizza.
(It’s very difficult to have dinner with him. He’s very picky and only eats hamburgers and pizza.)
27. Malcriado/a — Rude, naughty
Malcriado literally translated means “poorly raised”—but it can serve as a catch-all word for somebody who’s rude or badly behaved, especially a child.
Un estudiante malcriado puede estropear toda la clase.
(One rude student can ruin the entire class.)
28. Mimado/a — Spoiled
La niña mimada se queja si sus padres no le compran juguetes caros.
(The spoiled girl complains if her parents don’t buy her expensive toys.)
29. Presumido/a — Smug
Es verdad que es guapo, ¡pero no tiene que ser tan presumido!
(It’s true that he’s handsome, but he doesn’t have to be so smug!)
30. Torpe — Clumsy
¡Qué torpe eres! ¡Has roto mi vaso favorito!
(You’re so clumsy! You broke my favorite vase!)
Be sure to practice these words with a good set of flashcards or try to drop them into your Spanish conversations whenever possible.
You’ll have 30 powerful words to help you describe just about anyone you come into contact with—whether you enjoy their company or not!