20 Spanglish examples to improve your vocabulary

20 Spanglish examples to improve your vocabulary

by Alison Maciejewski Cortez
November 10, 2021

There is no official Spanglish language nor is there an official Spanglish definition. Spanglish is a widely-used mixture of Spanish and English vocabulary in daily Spanish conversation. Especially popular in the U.S.-Mexican border states, Spanglish examples are easy for English-speakers to learn quickly. Here are 20 Spanglish examples common in Mexico and Latin America that you can learn to improve your vocabulary.

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What is Spanglish?

Growing up in California as a Spanish-speaker, I heard and used Spanglish often. It is most commonly used by Mexican-Americans particularly in California, Texas, and northern Mexico. Spanglish is also used in Latin America. It’s not common in Spain because Mexican Spanish and Spain Spanish have major differences.

There is no official Spanglish definition. The term Spanglish is a slang combination of Spanish + English: Span-glish. Spanglish examples range from common English words to adapting English words to sound Spanish, including spelling changes. It’s easier than learning Mexican Slang, because English speakers will be able to hear and recognize the English used in Spanglish instantly.

20 Spanglish Examples

Spanglish is not a language, however. You need to study the actual Spanish language to have full conversations. Knowing some Spanglish examples can help increase your vocabulary easily, though. Here are 20 useful examples:

  • Spanglish for everyday life
  • Spanglish at work
  • Spanglish for working out

Spanglish for everyday life

Here are some Spanglish terms created for everyday situations.

Por las flies (from the Spanish phrase por si las moscas, meaning “just in case”)
Lleva el paraguas por las flies. (Bring the umbrella just in case)

Pero like (but, like)
Quiero ir al restaurante, pero like, no tengo dinero. (I want to go to the restaurant, but like, I don’t have money)

Hacer pipi/pis (to go pee/use the bathroom)
Tengo que hacer pipi. (I have to go pee)

Pari (party)
Vamos al pari. (Let’s go to the party)

Un Show (a show)
Ví un show. (I saw a show)

El Parking (parking lot)
¿Dondé está el parking? (Where is the parking lot?)

Parquear (to park) 
Tuve que parquear muy lejos. (I had to park far away)
This word started as Spanglish and has now been entered into the official Spanish dictionary, the Real Academia Española (RAE).

Chequear (to check something) 
Tengo que chequear mi email. (I have to check my email)
This word and the bonus word (email) are both Spanglish words now officially in the RAE.

Chatear (to chat) 
No me gusta chatear tanto. (I don’t like to chat that much)
Again, a Spanglish word now in the official dictionary.

Frizar (to freeze)
Nunca friza una cerveza. (Never freeze a beer)

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Spanglish at work

A lot of Spanglish will be used at the office in work vocabulary. It’s common to hear these Spanglish examples used in a Spanish sentence. 

Mitin
Hoy tuvimos un mitin. (Today we had a meeting)
Email

¿Me enviaste el email? (Did you send me the email?)
Link
Por favor envíame el link. (Please send me the link)

Mouse (computer mouse)
¿Quién me robó el mouse? (Who stole my mouse?)
Lap/laptop

Ocupo el laptop de la empresa. (I use a company laptop)
Master (Master’s degree)
Ella tiene un master. (She has a master’s degree)

Burnout
Ella padecía de burnout y dejó de trabajar. (She suffered from burnout and quit working)

Spanglish for working out

When I spent some months in Sayulita in Mexico, I took pilates classes in Spanish. I was surprised to find I understood the instructions without too much experience with sports in Spanish. Here are some common Spanglish examples for working out that I learned from my pilates instructor Monse. 

Training
Nunca dejar de hacer tu training. (Never stop your training)

Workout
Este workout fue difícil. (This workout was hard)

AC (air conditioning)
Prende el AC por favor. (Turn on the AC please)

False cognates: Not to be confused with Spanglish

Don’t let all the Spanglish examples and talk of “Spanglish language” throw you off your official Spanish studies. There are words that sound like Spanglish but have a completely different meaning in Spanish. Words that sound similar between two languages but have different meanings are called false cognates. If used incorrectly, they can lead to serious miscommunication. 

Discutir (to argue)
Voy a discutir con mi gerente. (I’m going to argue with my boss)
Sounds like “discuss” in English, but it’s not.

Asistir (to attend)
¿Vas a asistir a la boda? (Are you going to attend the wedding?)
Sounds like “assist” in English, but it’s not.

Sopa (soup)
Quiero comer sopa. (I want to eat soup)
Sounds like “soap” in English.


Boost your vocabulary with Spanglish

These Spanglish examples can help boost your vocabulary instantly without too much extra work. There is no Spanglish language, but Spanglish is a good tool to help you communicate in normal, everyday situations. Keep working on your Spanish studies and watching TV and movies in Spanish. You need a good Spanish foundation to have full conversations.

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Alison Maciejewski Cortez is Chilean-American, born and raised in California. She studied abroad in Spain, has lived in multiple countries, and now calls Mexico home. She believes that learning how to order a beer in a new language reveals a lot about local culture. Alison speaks English, Spanish, and Thai fluently and studies Czech and Turkish. Her tech copywriting business takes her around the world and she is excited to share language tips as part of the Lingoda team. Follow her culinary and cultural experiences on Twitter.