If you’re learning Spanish at any level, you can never have enough adjectives. :smile:
Sure, you might already know some common Spanish adjectives, but a richer vocabulary and comprehensive understanding of various descriptive words can be incredibly useful – even at an advanced level!
So, if you really want to reach the next level in your conversations with native Spanish speakers, you have the fun task of refreshing your knowledge of Spanish adjectives ahead of you.
With that in mind, let’s first explore how Spanish adjectives are used before diving into our complete, comprehensive list.
How are Spanish adjectives used?
Spanish adjectives follow rules.
Not only do they come in a particular order in sentences or in speech, there are also certain rules relating to gender agreement as well as pluralising Spanish adjectives as well.
The first thing to know about Spanish adjectives is that, unlike English descriptive words, they generally follow the noun in a sentence or in speech.
Mi tío es un hombre alto.
While this is typical for the majority of cases, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For instance, in sentences where the essential qualities of the noun are being emphasised, the adjective can come before the noun.
El largo camino a Santiago de Compostela es muy duro.
Here the essential quality of the path is that it’s incredibly long, indicated by the adjective that comes before the noun – (largo).
The second rule to be aware of when using Spanish adjectives is that they must agree with the gender of the noun they are describing.
Although this doesn’t exist in English, Spanish nouns, determiners and adjectives are either classified as masculine or feminine and they must agree with each other in a sentence.
La mesa está rota.
In this example, ‘la mesa’, which is a feminine noun, is complemented by the feminine adjective ‘rota’ – and both the noun and the adjective end with the feminine suffix -a.
El edificio es alto.
But here, el edificio, which is a masculine noun, is complemented by the masculine adjective ‘alto’ – and both the noun and adjective end with the masculine suffix -o.
Another rule to consider is that when Spanish nouns are pluralised, their adjectives must also be pluralised.
Spanish adjectives should complement the noun in number, meaning that if a noun is singular the adjective describing it is also singular, and if a noun is plural the adjective should also be plural.
El pájaro tiene dos alas pequeñas.
Here, the wings (alas) are pluralised – there are two of them – so the adjective (pequeñas) is also pluralised, which is indicated by the suffix -s.
Now that we’ve established some of the rules for using Spanish descriptive words, let’s explore some examples of some commonly used and some less frequently used adjectives.
Spanish adjectives to describe objects, dimensions, size or distance 📏
If you want to describe a person’s size, or the size of an object that has captured your attention, or you’re looking for the best words to describe the breath-taking space surrounding you in Spanish, these are the adjectives you’ll need!
Below, you will find a mixture of descriptive words that can be used to describe individuals, outdoor locations/scenery.
Alto/a is a Spanish adjective meaning ‘tall’. It has a masculine and feminine form indicated by the suffix -o or -a and should complement the gender of the noun it refers to.
Mi padre es un hombre alto.
When describing people, the adjective bajo/a is used to describe a ‘short’ individual, or someone who is not very tall. In a different context, it also describes something that is ‘low’. Bajo/a has a masculine and feminine form indicated by the suffixes -o or -a.
Mi madre es una mujer muy baja.
Las ramas de los arboles son muy bajas.
Grande is an adjective meaning ‘big’. When used in front of the noun, however, its meaning changes. In this context, it can refer to the quality of the person it describes and often means ‘great’.
Ella es una chica grande.
Una gran chica.
The adjective pequeño/a is used to describe something that is small or has a small size. Pequeño/a _has a masculine and a feminine form, indicated by the suffix -_o or -a and should match the noun it describes.
El coche pequeño está aparcado aquí.
Estrecho/a describes something that is not very wide, or is ‘narrow’. This adjective has a masculine and a feminine form and should complement the noun it is describing.
Este es un camino estrecho.
Something described as minúsculo/a _has a tiny or miniscule form. In another context, this adjective is used to describe lowercase letters. It is a synonym of the descriptive word _pequeño and has a masculine and feminine form.
Ha comprado un piso minúsculo.
Ancho/a is an adjective used to describe something ‘wide’. It is an antonym of the descriptive word estrecho/a and also has a masculine and feminine form.
Esta es una calle muy ancha.
The adjective enorme is used to describe something that is bigger than usual, or very big. This descriptive word is a synonym of the adjective grande.
¡Las montañas de Galicia son enormes!
Amplio/a is a descriptive word used to describe the dimensions or size of something that is vast, wide or spacious. It is an antonym of the adjective estrecho/a and a synonym of the descriptive word ancho/a.
Estos asientos son muy amplios.
Used to describe the length or dimensions of an object, the adjective _largo/a _means ‘long’. In a different context, it can also be used to describe a period of time that might seem long from an individual’s perspective.
He trabajado aquí quince largos años.
Lleno/a _can be used to describe an object or capacity that is completely full. In a separate context, the word _lleno can also be used when you are completely stuffed with food!
Vacío/a is the antonym of lleno/_a _and has various meanings when used in different contexts. It typically refers to a lack of content or substance within an object, but it can also refer to a psychological feeling of emptiness.
Este vaso es vacío.
Spanish adjectives to describe personality, qualities and appearance 👧
You might be stumped when trying to remember the perfect phrase to describe a person’s appearance, physical attributes, status or build. Or maybe you’re preparing for a date and you need to accurately describe yourself in Spanish to that special someone before you meet for the first time… Don’t panic! Take a look at some of these adjectives to help you describe yourself, people you’ve met and people you would like to meet.
The adjective bonito/a _is used to describe the beautiful scenery or landscape surrounding you. In other contexts, we can use the adjective _bonita to describe a girl who is beautiful. But be careful as normally, when we describe males, we use the adjective guapo.
Lucía es una chica bonita.
We use the adjective lindo/a when describing how sweet, cute or pleasing to the eye a person is. _Lindo/a _has a masculine and a feminine form and should match the gender of the noun when writing or holding a conversation.
Era una chica linda.
When we describe someone as gracioso/a, we mean they make us laugh. But while it means an individual is funny or humorous, it can also be used in a colloquial or ironic way to suggest that someone is not actually that funny.
¡Que gracioso eres!
Calvo/a is used to describe a person who has lost their hair. In other contexts, this adjective can refer to the ‘barrenness’ of a patch of earth, or a place which has no vegetation.
Antes, tenía mucho pelo. Ahora es calvo.
The adjective delgado/a _describes the physical appearance of a person – particularly their build. Specifically, if a person is described as _delgado/a, we mean they have a slim build or are quite thin.
Ha perdido mucho peso. Es muy delgada.
Gordo/a _is the antonym of _delgado/a. This adjective is also used to describe a person’s physical appearance, but specifically means they have a larger build or are quite fat.
Ha ganado mucho peso. Es gordo.
If a person is rico/_a _we mean they are wealthy. This adjective, in other contexts, can also refer to a patch of land that is fertile, and can also be used to describe mouth-watering food that tastes really good!
Se casó con un hombre rico.
Este pollo es muy rico.
Pudiente (wealthy, powerful)
The adjective pudiente is used to describe an individual who is very wealthy powerful. This descriptive word is a synonym of the adjective rico/a and can be used to describe the elite social classes.
Este hombre es el más pudiente del pueblo.
When we describe someone using the adjective pobre, we mean they have a shortage of money or sustenance and have a scarce number of resources to live.
Algunos refugiados no tienen muchos recursos. Son muy pobres.
To describe someone who has blonde hair, we use the adjective rubio/a. This adjective has a masculine form and a feminine form and should match the gender of the noun it describes.
Ella es rubia y tiene ojos azules.
El es rubio y tiene ojos azules
Moreno/morena (tanned, brown-haired)
As well are referring to the brown colour of an individual’s hair, the adjective moreno/a can be used to describe a tanned person in other contexts.
Soy morena y tengo ojos marrones.
¡Mira qué morena me he puesto!
Combining the Spanish noun for hair and the adjective for red, pelirrojo/a is an adjective used to describe an individual with red hair.
Esta mujer es pelirroja.
When we describe an individual as joven, we typically mean they are quite young.
Ambos eran jóvenes cuando se conocieron.
We use the word vago/a to describe a person who works very little and wastes a lot of time. In other words, una persona vaga is a lazy person.
Era muy vaga. Ahora es trabajador.
The adjective perezoso/a is used to describe an individual who fails to take the required amount of time and proper care to do something efficiently. This adjective is a synonym of the descriptive word vago/a.
Era muy responsable. Ahora es perezoso
When we describe an individual using the word holgazán, we mean they are idle, don’t work hard and don’t worry about having a job. Holgazán is another synonym of the adjective vago/a.
¡Ayúdame limpiar la casa! No seas holgazán.
Describing someone as being trabajador/a means they are hardworking and always put a lot of effort into all of their tasks.
Mi jefe es muy trabajador
Spanish adjectives to describe food and flavours 🌮
If the adjective is on the tip of your tongue, but you can’t quite remember how to describe your plate of food, take a quick look at some of the following descriptive words!
This list will give you some handy adjectives to let the waiter know how rico (delicious!) your food was.
Dulce is the Spanish adjective used to describe sweet food that contains a lot of sugar. This include tasty tartas (tarts) and galletas (biscuits)!
Este turrón es muy dulce. ¡Que rico!
Agrio/a is an adjective typically used to describe acidic foods that have a sour taste.
El limón tiene un sabor muy agrio
The adjective picante is used to describe spicy food. From salsas to sopas, there are a range of foods that can be described as picante!
Cuidado. ¡Algunos pimientos de Padrón son picantes!
Food that is described with the Spanish adjective salado/a typically has a salty flavour.
El bacalao que comimos ayer era muy salado
We use the Spanish adjective armargo/a _to describe food that has a bitter taste. _Café (coffee) and pomelos (grapefruits) are some examples of food that can be described as armargo/a.
Este café es muy fuerte y muy amargo
Agridulce (sweet and sour)
Food described as being _agridulce _usually contains a mixture of bitter and sweet ingredients, making the dish taste ‘bittersweet’.
A mí me gusta la piña porque tiene un sabor agridulce
The Spanish adjective asquerso/a is used to describe foods that taste awful! It translates to English as ‘disgusting’, or ‘gross’.
El pulpo que comimos hace un mes era asqueroso
Spanish adjectives for the weather ⛅
Whether you’re headed to the beach in the glorious summer sun or staying indoors while it pours with rain outside, no sweat – there’s a perfect Spanish adjectival phrase to describe any type of weather!
Take a look at some of these descriptive Spanish phrases to help you describe the weather wherever you are in the world.
Hace calor (it’s hot)
Hace calor literally translates as ‘it makes heat’. This descriptive phrase refers to summer days where it’s very hot outside.
Hoy, no hay nubes. Hace mucho calor fuera.
Hace frío (it’s cold)
The phrase hace frío is typically used to describe autumnal or wintery weather where it’s cold and you might need a coat to stay warm.
Ayer, hacía mucho frío.
Está nublado/nublada (it’s cloudy)
We use the phrase está nublado/a to describe the weather when the sky is cloudy. Nublado/a is an adjective made from the Spanish noun nubes, which means ‘clouds.’
Está nublado, pero no creo que lloverá.
Está tormentoso/tormentosa (it’s stormy)
The phrase está tormentoso/a is used to describe stormy weather on days where there might even be truenos (thunder) and relámpagos (lightning). It is also used figuratively to describe tense moments or relationships between people.
El invierno pasado estaba tormentoso.
Tenían una relación muy tormentosa. Ahora ha terminado.
Hay chubascos (there are rain showers)
The word chubascos translates to ‘rain showers’ in English. When there are chubascos, we mean there is a downpour.
En otoño, siempre hay muchos chubascos.
Está despejado (it’s clear)
When we describe the weather as being despejado, we mean the sky is clear and there are no clouds.
Ahora, está despejado. No hay nubes.
Spanish adjectives for describing colours 🎨
There is a range of descriptive Spanish words for colours.
Whether you want to describe the detailed cuadro (painting) you might have seen in the art gallery in Spanish or the colours of the flowers you may have received for your birthday last week, some of these descriptive adjectives can assist you.
Rojo/roja is an adjective meaning ‘red’. It has a masculine form, indicated by the suffix -o, and a feminine form, indicated by the suffix -a.
Este bolígrafo tiene tinta roja.
Amarillo/amarilla is an adjective meaning ‘yellow’. This adjective has a masculine and a feminine form, indicated by the suffixes -o or -a.
Tengo un gorro amarillo.
Rosa is a Spanish adjective that means ‘pink’.
Este jersey tiene dos manchas rosas.
Verde is a Spanish adjective with two meanings. When used with the verb ‘ser’, this adjective refers to the colour of an object, but when used with the verb estar it can refer to the ripeness of a fruit.
Esta manzana es verde.
Esta manzana está verde.
Naranja is an adjective meaning ‘orange’. As a noun, it also refers to the fruit.
El coche es naranja.
The adjective azul in Spanish describes something that is blue in colour.
El mar es azul oscuro.
Negro is an adjective used to describe something black in colour. It has a masculine and a feminine form indicated by the suffixes -o or -a.
El sofá está hecho de cuero. Es negro.
The adjective blanco in Spanish is used to describe something white in colour. This adjective has a masculine form and a feminine form indicated by the suffixes -o or -a.
Las nubes en el cielo son blancas.
Marrón is an adjective used to describe things that are brown in colour.
La mesa está hecha de madera. Es marrón.
How can you put your Spanish adjectives into practice?
Memorising Spanish adjectives is not always simple, but there are a few special tricks you can use to speed up the process.
Learning your cognates, which are Spanish words that are similar in sound and meaning to English words, is a good way to begin as they are easier to learn. But when using this approach, be wary of false friends – which are words that might seem to be cognates, but have different meanings altogether.
You might then try to learn the antonyms and synonyms of your adjectives at the same time – a process through which you’ll soon find yourself remembering more words in a shorter space of time!
Finally, not only should you learn your Spanish adjectives within the context they are intended for, always try to consult your lists to constantly revise and improve your vocabulary.
The key is to constantly use your Spanish adjectives. The more you use them, the faster you’ll learn.