Loanwords and Anglicisms in Spanish: Words you already know

Loanwords in Spanish

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In a recent BaseLang post we discussed the common phenomenon of Spanglish, whereby people switch fluidly between Spanish and English within the same conversation. While that habit is mostly observed among bilingual populations, the phenomenon of English loanwords in Spanish has a much greater reach.

Today we’ll look at a selection of English loanwords that are taking root across the Spanish-speaking world. We can also consider many of these to be anglicisms, or anglicismos in Spanish.

We’ll start our post by examining exactly what we mean by loanwords and anglicisms, and then we’ll get into our lists. We’ll see some English words that are used in their exact same forms in Spanish, and others that have undergone some changes to reach their Spanish forms.

And what’s the best news about all of this for Spanish learners? It’s that loanwords and anglicisms are words that you already know from English, so you can easily start using them in Spanish!

What are loanwords?

Loanwords are terms borrowed from one language and incorporated into another. Often, this can be attributed to the globalization of cultures, whether through music, politics, or business. It also happens organically within multilingual communities, where speakers use certain words from another language enough that their use becomes commonplace among that community.

However it happens, when foreign words are eventually adopted into another language’s lexicon they’re known as loanwords. As the use of new English loanwords becomes more widespread, these words are added to Spanish dictionaries and recognized by the Royal Spanish Academy as being part of the language.

Keep in mind that since both Spanish and English have been evolving for centuries and share a lot of common roots, a lot of words appear identical between the two languages, like “local” or “idea.” These are not considered loanwords in either language, but are known rather as perfect cognates. Because of their similarities, English speakers often have trouble pronouncing these correctly in Spanish!

Fortunately for learners, English loanwords in Spanish maintain their English pronunciation along with their spelling!

What are anglicisms?

Words that are taken from English and used in Spanish often undergo adjustments to align with Spanish pronunciation and grammatical structures. These words are still clearly of foreign origin, even though they’ve become more Spanish. When these modified words have been borrowed from English, they’re known as anglicisms, or anglicismos in Spanish.

There’s often a fine line between an English loanword and an anglicism. For our purposes here, we’ll consider that the anglicisms have undergone some clear evolution to become more Spanish, whereas the English loanwords we present are still very close to their original spellings and pronunciations. Let’s see some examples of each in the following sections.

Spanish anglicisms: list

Here we’ll present a selection of Spanish anglicisms. While all of them exhibit modifications that make them distinctly Spanish, you’ll still surely notice the resemblance to the original English words for each one.

Purists may insist on the use of the long-established Spanish words rather than condone this gradual anglicization of their language, but the reality is that most of these anglicisms are now solidly part of Spanish language and culture.

Anglicismo Original English word Standard Spanish word
Los biles Bills Las facturas, Los recibos
El bloque Block (of a city) La cuadra, La manzana
Brunchear To have brunch
Las bubis Boobs Los senos
La chance Chance, Opportunity La oportunidad, La ocasión
Chilear To chill, To relax Relajarse
Chatear To chat (online) Chatear
Los chores Shorts (piece of clothing) Los pantalones cortos, Los shorts
El confleis Corn flakes El cereal, Los cereales
Customizar To customize Personalizar
Esquipear, Skipear To skip Saltarse
El espóiler Spoiler El espóiler
Flirtear To flirt Coquetear
La gasetería Gas station La gasolinera, La estación de gasolina
Hanguear, Janguear To hang out Pasar el rato
El lonche Light lunch El almuerzo ligero
Lonchear To have a light lunch Comer un almuerzo ligero
La marqueta, La marketa The market El mercado
El parquin The parking lot El estacionamiento
Postear To post Publicar
La resignación The resignation La renuncia
Resetear To reset Reiniciar, Restablecer
Sanitizar To sanitize Desinfectar
Taguear To tag Etiquetar
Yonqui Junkie, Drug addict Drogadicto
Zapear Zapping (between stations) Zapeo

English loanwords in Spanish: list

Now we’ll look at a series of English words that are being increasingly used in Spanish. The only change that these English loanwords undergo is that the nouns take a gender!

In some cases, like “selfie” or “influencer,” the English word took hold before a unique Spanish word really gained traction. For others, it’s a combination of the reasons we discussed above that have led to their gradual assimilation into Spanish. Either way, these English loanwords in Spanish keep their original form and pronunciation.

English loanword Spanish alternative
El bacon El beicon, La tocineta
El coach, La coach El entrenador, La entrenadora
El email El correo electrónico
El foodie El comidista
Full Lleno, Llena
El gym El gimnasio
El hobby La afición, El pasatiempo
El influencer, La influencer
El jean, Los jeans El pantalón vaquero
El link El enlace
El mall El centro comercial
El marketing El mercadeo
El outfit El atuendo
El sandwich El emparedado
La selfie La autofoto
El show El espectáculo
El snack El refrigerio
El software

Conclusion: Loanwords and Anglicisms in Spanish

In today’s post we brought up the phenomenon of English words being adopted into the Spanish language.

Whether they’re used outright with their original English spelling and pronunciation as a loanword, or whether they’re modified a bit to become more Spanish as an anglicism, these borrowed words are a testament to the constant evolution of the Spanish language!


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