14 Common Spanish Words for the Dearly Departed, Condolences & Sickness (Real Latin America Spanish!)

Common Spanish WordsI prefer to publish lessons that cover common Spanish words about life and  other cheerful things.

But since death  and dying are two things that are  certain in life (and most Spanish courses  do not cover such vocabulary), at the risk  of sounding “mórbido” (morbid) I thought  that I should include the Spanish  vocabulary words that I have heard used  in Latin America that cover this topic.

Here they are:

1. funeral = funeral

Yes, it is the same word in both  English and Spanish:

 Ayer ella fue al funeral de Miguel, la familia estaba  destrozada.
Yesterday, she went to Miguel’s funeral,  the family was greatly saddened.

2. entierro = burial 

Cuando el tío de Paola murió, fuimos al entierro  para acompañarla. 
When Paola’s uncle died, we went to the burial  to accompany her.

3. cementerio = cemetery   

Las tumbas de mis antepasados están en el  cementerio del pueblo. 
The graves of my ancestors are in the town’s  cemetery.

4. ataúd = coffin, casket 

El ataúd era de madera con un crucifijo de plata en  la tapa.
The casket was made of wood with a silver crucifix  on top.

“Ataúd” is a somewhat formal word for casket. A less  formal word for casket that you will hear used  throughout Latin America is “cajón.” “Cajón” also  means ‘crate.’

5. cadáver = corpse, dead body

Hace dos días que un cadáver apareció flotando  sobre el río.
Two days ago a dead body appeared  floating on top of the river.

6. difunto = late, deceased

Esta es una foto de mi difunta esposa, de cuando  éramos novios.
This is a picture of my late wife from when we  were engaged.

7.  fallecer = to pass away, to die

El cáncer que ella tiene está muy avanzado y,  según el médico, podría fallecer en cualquier  momento.
The cancer that she has is very advanced and, according to the doctor, she can pass away at  any moment.

8. funeraria  = funeral parlor, funeral home

Los parientes del difunto se quedaron en  la funeraria toda la noche.
The relatives  of the deceased remained at the funeral  parlor all night.

9. luto = mourning

En tiempos de mi abuelita la gente se vestía de negro  durante un año en señal de luto. 
During my grandmother’s times, the people dressed  in black for a year as a sign of mourning.

10. velorio = wake

Anoche estuvimos en el velorio del abuelo de una  amiga, ella está muy triste.
Last night we were at the wake for a friend’s  grandfather, she is very sad.

One thing that I found strange about Colombia is  that when a family is very “pobre” (poor) it is not  unheard of for the family to have a “velorio”  (wake) in one’s home. I have an “amiga” from  a “pueblito” (small town) in Colombia. I visited  her “pueblito” with her once and she attended  a “velorio” (wake) while I was there.

And she  said that the “velorio” took place in a person’s  home because the deceased did not have “seguro”  (insurance) or “plata” (money) to pay a “funeraria”  (funeral parlor).

However, she did say that sometimes  “velorios” take place in “iglesias” (churches). By the way, in Colombia they use the word  “plata” instead of “dinero” in order to say  money.

This Spanish lesson about some common Spanish words & phrases is
courtesy of  Patrick Jackson – LearningSpanishLikeCrazy

Common Spanish Words to Say “My Deepest Condolences”…

most common Spanish wordsWhat are the most common Spanish words to say when someone dies?

I know this is not the most pleasant topic to talk about, but a time may come when you need to know how to express condolences in Spanish. In fact, I once received an email from a customer who wrote:

“Hola Patrick,
My next door neighbor’s grandfather passed away last night. My next door neighbor and his family are from Mexico and they know that I am trying to learn Spanish so we always only speak to each other in Spanish. How would I say ‘accept my condolences’in Spanish? I have a ton of learning-Spanish books but not one of them teaches this useful phrase.”

Most Common Spanish Words to say “Accept My Condolences…

There are a couple of ways to say “accept my condolences” in Spanish if speaking directly to the person who suffered the loss in his or her family.  You can say:

Mi más sentido pésame.
Accept my condolences.
(Not a literal translation but close enough.)

“Mi más sentido pésame” sounds somewhat formal. If you prefer to sound a little less formal you can just say:

Lo siento mucho.
I am very sorry.
(Literally, “I feel it a lot.”)

If you are not speaking directly to the person who suffered the loss in his or her family and want to say “give him/her my condolences” you can say:

Dale mi más sentido pésame.
Dale mis condolencias.

A common Spanish mistake: “enferma” instead of “enfermera”

🍇 common Spanish mistakeI have a common Spanish mistake that I want to share with you. I also have a couple of useful Spanish words that I want to cover.

A couple of weeks ago, here in Medellin, Colombia, a friend came to visit me from the States and I heard him make a mistake with Spanish that I never heard anyone make before.

This short lesson is courtesy of Patrick Jackson – LearningSpanishLikeCrazy

But I would imagine that many people make the same mistake because the words are so easy to confuse.

Let’s say my friend’s name is Mike (not his real name). One evening, I introduced Mike to a Colombian friend. At first he was doing very well with his Spanish. He asked her in Spanish where did she work. She responded that she worked in a hospital and he understood her. Then I heard him ask her:

¿Usted es enferma o doctora?

Why this is a common Spanish mistake?

First of all: do you recognize the common Spanish mistake that Mike made?

The word “enfermero/a” means “nurse.” But the word “enfermo/a” means “patient” or “sick person.” So instead of asking her is she a nurse or a doctor, he actually asked her is she a patient or a doctor.

He should have asked her:

¿Usted es enfermera o doctora?

While we are on the topic of medicine, here are a couple of useful words that I have heard used in Latin America:

1. Aguja – needle

Ella prefiere que la pinchen con una aguja a tragar esa pastilla.
She’d rather they stick a needle in her than have to swallow one of those pills.

2. Ampolla – syringe

El médico sacó una ampolla de antibiótico para administrárselo al enfermo.
The doctor took out a syringe of antibiotic to administer to the sick person.

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