Category: Sustantivos

Vuelta (II)

This week’s post is a continuation of our exploration of the uses of vuelta, one of the most ubiquitous words in the Spanish language. Today I’ll offer a few idiomatic uses of this word which you may encounter in conversation. 1) a la vuelta: This phrase has two meanings which depend upon context. It can mean […]

Vuelta (I)

The word vuelta is so ubiquitous in the Spanish language, it’s worth learning it early in your journey to fluency. Over the years, I’ve collected a large number of examples as to how its used and I thought I’d share these in a two-part series. The word translates roughly as “a turn” or “a rotation”, […]

La casa fue construida vs. La casa estaba construida

One of the most difficult aspects of Spanish for an English speaker is when to use ser and estar, and it’s even more challenging when a participle is attached. The following two phrases translate into English as “The house was built,” but there is a difference between them: La casa fue construida La casa estaba construida Let’s take […]

Mochar / Mocho

A seemingly-innocuous word, mochar technically translates as “to cut off” and a mocho is someone who is missing a limb or body part. For most Spanish speakers, and certainly for beginning students, this is the best and most common definition. There are, however, a large number of colloquial uses of this word, not of all […]


Last week, I explained how the word “mitote” is sometimes used as a synonym of “pleito” or, perhaps more frequently, “bulla” or “alboroto”. It essentially refers to any situation of conflict, confusion or chaos. Its origin is shrouded in the myths and legends of Mexico’s ancient peoples and, even today, it’s associated with Aztec war […]

Las chapas

Here’s one of those common but troublesome words that seems to have a zillion unrelated meanings. The dictionary defines “chapa” as a sheet of metal, but depending upon what country you’re in, it can mean “padlock”, “license plate”, “auto body” or “police officer”. Even within some countries, it can carry multiple meanings which vary by […]