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Increase Your Vocabulary: More Spanish Words in English

Updated: Nov 24

Spanish man in cowboy hat watching horse at rodeo.

Introduction - Increase your vocabulary

As I mentioned in my articles on French words found in English, I explained that as a global language, English often borrows from other languages. So, there are quite a few words in English that originate from the Spanish language. As you will discover in this article, the spelling in many cases differs very little, if at all from the original Spanish.

Here, then, are fifteen words (together with their original spelling and meaning in Spanish) that are worthwhile becoming familiar with to increase your vocabulary of English words.

1 Bonanza – the Spanish word for prosperity. Pronounced: /bəˈnænzə/

2 Cargo – from the Spanish word cargar meaning ‘to load’. A ship or a truck has cargo.


3 Hacienda – house in Spanish. Don't replace 'house' for this word, it's to be used sparingly. "I suppose you'd like to see our new hacienda!" /ˌhæsiˈendə/

4 Nachos – corn chips topped with melted cheese or other savory items such as peppers or refried beans or simply eaten with savory dips. Named after Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Anaya who invented the dish in 1943. /ˈnɑːtʃəʊz/ or /ˈnætʃəʊz/

5 Taco – the Spanish word for plug. A crispy or soft corn or wheat tortilla /tɔː(r)ˈtiːə/ (another Spanish word in English) that is folded in half and stuffed with a mixture of seasoned meat, cheese, and lettuce.

6 Rodeo – from rodear, meaning ‘to go around’. An event where wild horses (mustangs) and bulls are used to test riders’ skills in staying on their backs as the animals try to dislodge them. /rəʊˈdeɪəʊ/ or /ˈrəʊdiəʊ/

7 Mesa – meaning ‘table’ the term is applied to steep-sided, flat-topped mountains usually found in deserts in the US or Mexico. /ˈmeɪsə/

8 Tornado – from tronada meaning thunderstorm. A wild spinning, moving wind that usually causes damage to buildings in its path. /tɔː(r)ˈn eɪdəʊ/

9 Canyon – from canon – a pipe, tube, or gorge, it is the name for a deep narrow valley with steep sides, often the result of a river's erosion over a long time. The Grand Canyon is an example. /ˈkænjən/

10 Mosquito – literally, ‘little fly’. Mosquitoes often carry diseases. /mɒˈskiːtəʊ/

11 Vigilante – the Spanish word for watchman. Vigilantes take the law into their own hands to combat crime. /ˌvɪdʒɪˈlænti/

12 Renegade – from renegado meaning traitor or turncoat.


13 Suave – meaning smooth or ‘cool’. James Bond/007 could be described as suave and sophisticated. /swɑːv/

14 Fiesta – the Spanish word for party, especially those (often religious) celebrations held in the street, in public places. /fɪˈestə/

15 Siesta – the Spanish word for an afternoon nap. /siˈestə/


In this article, I have introduced to you fifteen (or sixteen) Spanish words that are used often in English. They are well-worth learning to expand your English vocabulary. You can read about more Spanish words in an earlier blog article.

Thanks for reading. I hope you found it informative and useful.

Finally, if you enjoyed this article, please share it on your socials with your friends. It's easy: just copy the URL and post.

(c) Apex English Tutoring Oct 2022 - Updated Nov 2023

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About the Author

Michael Finemore, MA (Research) CQU, TEFL/TESOL Certificate, an experienced English Teacher, is the Owner-Operator of Apex English Tutoring.

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