Measurements in Spanish: The Complete Guide

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Whether you want to talk about the dimensions of an object, the temperature outside, the distance that you need to travel from one place to another, or simply follow a cooking recipe, you will need to understand how to refer to measurements in Spanish.

The fundamental detail to keep in mind is that Spanish speakers generally use the metric system – sistema métrico, in contrast to the imperial system used in the US. In this complete guide to using measurements in Spanish, we’ll cover the important vocabulary you’ll need for each type of measurement, including Spanish measurement vocabulary for both the metric system and the imperial system.

Before we dive into units, we’ll start with some of the basic terminologies for talking about measurement in Spanish. Then we’ll dive in with temperature vocab, we’ll continue with lengths and distances and dimensions, we’ll move on to weights and volumes, and we’ll even include a section on kitchen measurements in Spanish.

We’ll round out our post with some exercises to let you practice what you’ve learned. Now let’s get started!

Measurement terminology in Spanish

Before we get into units, let’s just cover some of the essential vocabulary for talking about measurements in Spanish. We’ll start with the basic nouns, and then get into the Spanish verbs of measurement.

Spanish English
La medida Measurement
El largo, La longitud Length
El ancho Width
El alto, La altura Height (of an inanimate object)
La estatura Height (of a person)
La dimension Dimension
La distancia Distance
El peso Weight
El volumen Volume
La temperatura Temperature
  • The length of the table is 180 centimeters. – El largo de la mesa es de 180 centímetros.
  • The dimensions of the mattress are 2×2 meters. – Las dimensiones del colchón son 2×2 metros.
  • We must cover a distance of 25 kilometers to get to the next town. – Debemos recorrer una distancia de 25 kilómetros hasta el próximo pueblo.

Now that you know the Spanish measurement nouns, it’s time to learn the most important verbs we use for talking about measurements:

Spanish English
Medir To measure
Ser To be
Estar a To be
Pesar To weigh
Alargar To enlarge
Encoger To shrink, To reduce
Añadir, Agregar To add
Calentar a To heat to
Enfriar a To cool to
  • My brother measures 1.8 m in height. – Mi hermano mide 1,80 m de altura
  • Heat the milk to 65°C. – Caliente la leche a 65°C.
  • The cinema is 2 km from the city hall. – El cine está a 2 km del ayuntamiento.

Finally, keep in mind that when writing numbers in Spanish using a decimal point, we usually use a comma instead of a period. For a full review of Spanish numbers, check out our post on counting in Spanish.

Temperature in Spanish

When speaking about the temperature in Spanish the scale for measuring temperature is degrees celsius – grados centígrados or grados celsius. It is represented by the symbol °C.

  • Water boils at 100°C. – El agua hierve a 100°C.
  • Water freezes at 0 degrees celsius – El agua se congela a 0 grados centígrados.

In case we need to use the imperial system we use degrees Fahrenheit in English and grados Fahrenheit in Spanish. The abbreviation is °F.

  • The temperature in New York is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. – La temperatura en Nueva York es 75 grados Fahrenheit.
Spanish English
Grados (°) Degrees
Grados centígrados, Grados celsius (°C) Degrees celcius
Grados Fahrenheit (°F) Degrees Fahrenheit

Length, distance, and area measurements in Spanish

Whenever we need to refer to length – largo, height – alto, and distance – distancia we use the following metric units:

Spanish English
Kilómetro (km) Kilometer
Metro (m) Meter
Centímetro (cm) Centimeter
Milímetro (mm) Millimeter

All these units of measurement in Spanish are masculine in gender.

  • The hotel is 800 meters from the airport. – El hotel está a 800 metros del aeropuerto.
  • The window is 58 centimeters wide. – La ventana tiene 58 centímetros de largo.
  • The mall is 3 kilometers from home. – El centro comercial está a 3 kilómetros de casa.

When talking about lengths and distances with the imperial system in the US, here’s the Spanish measurement vocabulary:

Spanish English
La pulgada Inch
El pie Foot
La yarda Yard
La milla Mile
  • The door is about 80 inches. – La puerta tiene alrededor de 80 pulgadas.
  • The lagoon is 83 square miles. – La laguna tiene 83 millas cuadradas.

Area in Spanish

When referring to area measurements we state the unit of measurement and then say cuadrado, which translates as squared. Since cuadrado is an adjective, it needs to match the gender and number the unit of measurement:

  • 1 square meter – 1 metro cuadrado
  • 15 square yards – 15 yardas cuadradas

Dimensions in Spanish

Whenever we are talking about measuring two or three dimensions (height, width, length) in English and in Spanish we say by – por, or we use x for shorthand:

  • 1x2x3 m – One by two by three meters – Uno por dos por tres metros
  • The window’s dimensions are 40×60 cm. – Las dimensiones de la ventana son 40×60 cm.

Speed in Spanish

In Spanish, we also use kilómetros to refer to speed but we need to add per hour – por hora. Its shorthand in Spanish is km/h. In the US, we say miles per hour – millas por hora.

  • We traveled to Buenos Aires at 100 kilometers per hour. – Viajamos a Buenos Aires a 100 kilómetros por hora.

Weight and liquid volume in Spanish

The metric units of measurement in Spanish for weight are based on the kilogram, while for liquid we use liters:

Spanish English
El kilogramo, El kilo (kg) Kilogram
El gramo (g) Gram
El miligramo (mg) Miligram
La tonelada Ton
El litro (l) Liter
El mililitro (ml) Milliliter
  • My dog weighs 5 kilograms. – Mi perro pesa 5 kilogramos.
  • We drank 2 liters of beer each. – Bebimos 2 litros de cerveza cada uno.

If we need to use the American units of measurement in Spanish, here’s the vocab for weights and liquid volumes.

Spanish English
La onza Ounce
La libra Pound
El galón Gallon
La pinta Pint
  • My car needs at least 12 gallons of gas. – Mi auto necesita por lo menos 12 galónes de combustible.
  • One serving equals 6 ounces of meat. – Una porción equivale a 6 onzas de carne.

Kitchen Measurements in Spanish

Most recipes in Spanish will refer to ingredient volumes by gramos, litros and mililitros that we’ve already seen above, so it’s useful to have a scale and some graduated measuring cups in the kitchen. When following American recipes though, you’ll need some specific Spanish kitchen vocabulary. Here are the associated units of measurement in Spanish:

Spanish English
La pizca Pinch
La cucharadita Teaspoon
La cucharada Tablespoon
La taza Cup
  • Add a pinch of salt. – Agregue una pizca de sal.
  • 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of butter are necessary for baking this cake. – Dos tazas de harina, una taza de azúcar, y dos cucharadas de mantequilla se necesitan para hacer este pastel.


So far so good! Today we covered everything you need to know to talk about measurements in Spanish. We included both the metric system used throughout the Spanish-speaking world, and the imperial system used in the United States. Now you should have the basic vocab to talk about measuring in general, as well as all the units for each type of measurement.

So whether you need to talk about temperature, distance, area, weight, or volumes of ingredients in the kitchen, you now have a good reference for talking about measurements in Spanish!

Measurements in Spanish: Exercises

Now that your Spanish measurement vocab is fresh in your mind, why don’t you put your knowledge to the test and give it a try with a few exercises? We bet you’ll do great!

Pick the right option from among the choices. The answers and translations are below.

1. Mi amigo ______ 1,80 m. (es – calienta – mide)

2. Compramos dos _____ de harina. (litros – kilos – centímetros)

3. La ______ entre Buenos Aires y Mar del Plata es de 415 km. (largo – distancia – peso)

4. Añade 1 _____ de azúcar al café. (kilogramo – taza – cucharadita)

5. La ______ en Río de Janeiro es de 38°C. (altura – longitud – temperatura)


1. Mi amigo mide 1,80 m. – My friend is 1.8 m tall.

2. Compramos dos kilos de harina. – We bought 2 kilograms of flour.

3. La distancia entre Buenos Aires y Mar del Plata es de 415 km. – The distance between Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata is 415 km.

4. Añade 1 cucharadita de azúcar al café. – Add 1 teaspoon of sugar to the coffee.

5. La temperatura en Río de Janeiro es de 38°C. – The temperature in Rio de Janeiro is 38°C.


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