Spanish Vocabulary And Phrases For Military Personnel

  • Jada Lòpez
    Written byJada Lòpez
    Jada LòpezSpanish teacher, translator
    🎓 B.A., Translation and Interpreting English and Spanish, Universidad de Granada
    🎓 M.A., Formación de Profesores de Español como Lengua Extranjera (ELE), Universidad Pablo de Olavide

    Passionate language teacher and translator. Wife, mother of 3 and amateur surfer.
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Spanish Vocabulary And Phrases For Military Personnel

Spanish uses specific terminology and expressions for the military, and understanding these is necessary for active personnel serving in Spanish-speaking regions.

In this guide, I’ll go through the essential Spanish vocabulary and expressions for personnel, including ranks, vocabulary related to war and weaponry, and terms related to security.

Whether you’re serving or just interested in wartime literature or documentaries, this is for you.

Let’s get started.


NOTE: If you need info on the salary perks in the military for learning Spanish, see our guide on DLAB and DLPT.


Military ranks and roles in Spanish

Check the list below to find key Spanish vocabulary related to military ranks.

Depending on the gender of the person who assumes the role, we can either use the article el or la and a masculine or feminine noun to identify them.

Use el when referring to a male and la when referring to a female.

EnglishSpanishPronunciation
AdmiralEl/la almiranteAl-mih-ran-te
CaptainEl capitán/ La capitanaCah-pih-tAn/ Cah-pih-tahn-ah
ColonelEl/la coronelCoh-roh-nel
CorporalEl/la caboCah-bo
CommanderEl/la comandanteCo-man-dahn-te
GeneralEl/la generalGeh-neh-ral
LieutenantEl/la tenienteTehni-yente
MajorEl/la mayorMa-yohr
MarshalEl/la mariscalMarih-scal
SergeantEl/la sargentoSar-ghento
AirmanEl aviador/ La aviadoraAvih-ah-dor/ avih-a-dor-ah
RecruitEl/la reclutaReh-clu-tah

Weapon names in Spanish

In the table below, I have listed weaponry-related vocabulary in Spanish.

If you’ve heard a weaponry-related term in the news but are unsure what it means, check the list to find out its definition.

EnglishSpanishPronunciation
BombLa bombaBohm-bah
GrenadeLa granadaGra-na-dah
BulletLa balaBa-lah
DroneEl dronDr-on
GunLa pistolaPis-tOh-lah
LandmineLa mina terrestreMi-nah terr-est-reh
MissileEl misilMis-il
WeaponLa armaArm-ah
Machine gunLa ametralladoraAmeh-traya-dorah

Spanish commands used in the military

When reading about the military, you may encounter Spanish imperatives or commands that commanding officers use to tell others to do something.

Here are some examples of the most common military imperatives in Spanish.

EnglishSpanish
Go¡Ve!
Get up¡Levántese!
Silence¡Cállese!
Listen¡Escuche!
Hands up¡Manos arriba!
Surrender¡Ríndase!
Don’t move¡No se mueva!
Stop¡Para!
Move¡Muevese!
Hurry¡Apure!
Calm yourself¡Cálmase!
Give that to me¡Dame eso a mí!
Lower your hands¡Baje sus manos!

Division names

In the Spanish military, there are three main types of military divisions.

I’ve covered the main three divisions in the list below.

EnglishSpanishPronunciation
ArmyEl ejércitoEh-her-thito
NavyLa marina/La armadaMah-ree-nah/ahr-ma-dah
Air forceLa fuerza aéreaFouer-tha aee-reah

Army terms

From armoured vehicles to troops, there are many terms and Spanish nouns you’ll hear related to the army.

Here are some Spanish terms and vocabulary related to the army you should know.

EnglishSpanish
InfantryLa infantería
PatrolLa patrulla
TankEl tanque
TroopsLos tropas
Armoured vehicleEl vehículo blindado
PostEl puesto
Base La base del ejercito

Spanish military phrases

Below, you will find examples of common Spanish military phrases that often overlap with political discussions and contexts.

EnglishSpanish
CeasefireEl cese al fuego
Military defenceDefensa militar
CombatEl combate
Prisioners of warPrisioneros de guerra
Declaration of warDeclaración de guerra
The allyEl aliado
PeaceLa paz

Spanish political and military sentence examples

Let’s now look at a few examples of Spanish military sentences that use the phrases from the above section.

You may hear these sentences in political discussions and war-related scenarios.

Listen to audio

Queríamos negociar el cese de hostilidades.

We want to negotiate a ceasefire.
Listen to audio

La defensa militar es una cuestión nacional.

Military defence is a national issue.
Listen to audio

Las tropas están listas para el combate.

The troops are ready for combat.
Listen to audio

¿Dónde está su identificación?

Where is your identification?
Listen to audio

Hay prisioneros de guerra.

There are prisoners of war.
Listen to audio

Queríamos evitar la declaración de guerra.

We want to avoid the declaration of war.
Listen to audio

Ellos son nuestros aliados.

They are our allies.
Listen to audio

Es una cuestion de la seguridad nacional.

It's a question of national security.
Listen to audio

Nosotros queremos paz.

We want peace.

Wartime vocabulary in Spanish

Military vocabulary and war-related vocabulary are linked and, paradoxically, separate topics.

Not every country with an army is involved in a war.

For this reason, I have listed some Spanish vocabulary related to war in this section.

Learn the Spanish words for “battlefield” and “injured” here.

EnglishSpanish
BattlefieldEl campo de batalla
EnemyEl enemigo
ArtilleryLa artillería
AmmunitionLa munición
InvasionLa invasión
RetreatLa retirada
WarLa guerra
War criminalEl criminal de guerra
CivilianEl civil
Surrender/give upRendirse/ la rendición
War strategyLa estrategia de guerra
The wounded/the woundLos heridos/La herida

Other war-related sentence examples

To see how to use the vocabulary in the section above and how Spanish speakers use the vocabulary in conversations or the news, check the example sentences in this section.

Listen to audio

Muchos soldados han muerto en el campo de batalla.

Many soldiers have died on the battlefield.
Listen to audio

Queremos negociar con el enemigo.

We want to negotiate with the enemy.
Listen to audio

El ejército no tiene mucha artillería.

The army doesn't have much artillery.
Listen to audio

El ejército necesita mas munición.

The army needs more ammunition.
Listen to audio

La invasion ocurrió in 1621.

The invasion happened in 1621.
Listen to audio

El ejército se retiró y formó una línea de defensa.

The army retreated and formed a line of defence.
Listen to audio

La guerra es terrible.

War is terrible.
Listen to audio

Deben evitarse bajas civiles.

Civilian casualties must be avoided.
Listen to audio

Proteger a los heridos es importante.

Protecting the wounded is important.

The guide above is a useful starting point for active servicemen who need to learn to speak Spanish (or anyone interested in reading Spanish wartime literature).

While there’s a lot more I could cover, the examples given above are the most important and high frequency occurrences.

Get in touch if I’ve missed anything crucial.

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