Spanish Vocabulary Quiz

By: Beth Hendricks

Spanish Vocabulary Quiz
Image: BraunS / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

We grasp the basics of other languages as early as elementary school, making a game of learning to count to 10: Uno, dos, tres ... all the way to "diez." Later, as we approach high school and college, we make a serious attempt at learning a foreign language. Not only does it help us to interact in an increasingly global society, but science says it's great for other reasons, too. Experts agree that people who spend time learning a second (or third or fourth) language have better memories and can multi-task more efficiently and do a better job solving problems and thinking critically. It's all because you started learning how to count to 10 in Spanish (or French or German) in elementary school!

This quiz is all about the Spanish language, a language that is natively spoken by roughly 400 million people on the planet today – even more than native English speakers. That means it's popular and growing more so every day. 

So, let's brush up on your Spanish vocabulary! Would you know how to find a shopping mall in Mexico? How would you ask for a glass of tea in Spain? What type of insect is crawling up your leg? (We hope it's not an araña!) Fix your foreign language skills on this quiz and test your "capacidad" (that's ability) for recognizing these common everyday things. Vamonos ... let's go!

Q 04 Tools He asked me to pass him "la cinta métrica." What did he want?
Pliers
Screwdriver
Tape measure
The word "métrica" in "la cinta métrica" may have more easily given away the right answer here since it sounds like our English word, "metric," a system of measuring things. "Cinta" in Spanish means "tape," "ribbon" or "string."
Hammer

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Q 08 Purse Let me grab "la bolsa," and we'll get out of here. What am I reaching for?
Coat
Purse
"La bolsa" is Spanish for "the bag," or a purse, an item most women carry wherever they go. Spanish purse designs mimic Spanish interior design with lots of bright colors and interesting patterns.
Gloves
Keys

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Q 14 Stolen Food He stole one of my "papas fritas." Now he's in trouble! But what did he grab?
Peanut butter sandwiches
French fries
"Las papas fritas" is Spanish for french fries and, in some circles, may also be used to indicate potato chips. "Papas" means "potatoes" in Spanish while "frita" means fried. That's covering all our bases!
Hot dogs
Napkins

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Q 18 Movies I only go to the movies for "las palomitas de maíz." What do I look forward to?
Darkness
Actors and actresses
Previews
Popcorn
"Las palomitas de maíz," or popcorn in English, is the highlight of going to the movies, in our opinion. If you look closely, you'll see "maíz" in that word, which translates to corn in English.

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Q 11 Butterfly The beautiful butterfly first begins as a crawly caterpillar. Which word is Spanish for butterfly?
El colmillo
La mariposa
"La mariposa" is Spanish for the insect we know as the butterfly. The origin of the word is likely a mash-up of the words "María," for the Virgin Mary, and "posar" which means to "come down or settle."
El mono
El perro

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Q 16 Colors Barney the dinosaur is a fan of this color, which is "morado" in Spanish. What color is it?
Green
Blue
Red
Purple
Of course, Barney is a fan of "morado," which means purple in English! He's a big purple dinosaur! Some people believe the word "morado" comes from a type of purple berry found in Latin America.

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Q 15 Shower If you've been at the beach all day, you'll want to take a shower and wash your hair. Which of these will help?
La cañería
El excusado
El champú
"El champú" sort of looks like its English interpretation, "shampoo," doesn't it? Both likely are derived from the Hindi word "chāmpo." Regardless, be sure to lather, rinse and repeat.
La tina

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Q 23 Cake Shop The first stop on my trip will be to a cake shop. What word can I use for "cake shop" when asking for directions?
La carnicería
La mesa
La pastelería
If your first stop is a cake shop or bakery, ask a local for the nearest "pastelería." Here you'll find desserts, pastries and confections of all varieties. Sounds like a good first stop to us!
La maleta

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Q 28 Oferta I took advantage of "la oferta" at the mall today. What does "la oferta" mean?
The parking
The sale
Trust us when we say, there's nothing we love more than a good "oferta," or "sale," no matter where it's happening. It doesn't get much better than reduced prices on something we were considering buying anyway.
The air
The prices

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Q 26 Beisbol Ugh! He threw the "béisbol" over the fence. What did he throw?
Basketball
Baseball
"Béisbol" in Spanish and baseball in English are pretty similar, aren't they? Major League Baseball has had some pretty spectacular Hispanic baseball players in its history, including Roberto Clemente, Albert Pujols and Mariano Rivera.
Football
Soccer ball

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Q 07 Bee Ouch! I just got stung by a bee. Which word is "bee" in Spanish?
La abeja
Darn "la abejas!" It doesn't matter whether you get stung by a bee in the United States or stung by a bee in Mexico, that sucker is still going to hurt. At least now you know what to call it.
El búho
La lagartija
La mosca

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Q 06 Dishwasher Don't buy a house without "un lavaplatos." Which of these appliances is a deal-breaker?
Microwave
Dishwasher
Sure, you most likely need a refrigerator, stove and microwave, too, but "un lavaplatos" (or dishwasher) is a critical appliance if you don't want to spend every evening hand-washing your dinner plates.
Stove
Refrigerator

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Q 30 Picnic "Hormigas" can ruin a perfectly good picnic. What are "hormigas" in Spanish?
Bees
Rain
Birds
Ants
Watch out for "hormigas" – that's ants for the English-speaking among us. Did you ever have an ant farm as a kid? In Spanish, that would be "granja de hormigas." Sounds more impressive, doesn't it?

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Q 27 Elevator He took the elevator to the penthouse on the 42nd floor. What is the Spanish term for "elevator"?
El basurero
El recibidor
El ascensor
It's fitting that the Spanish word for elevator, "el ascensor," is pretty close to our English word, "ascend," which means to go up. Of course, elevators also go down ... at least we hope they do if you're on the 42nd floor.
La neblina

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Q 12 Scared Eek! An "araña!" What did we just spot?
A snake
A mouse
A spider
If you have arachnophobia, you won't be too pleased by this visitor — or perhaps even this question! In Spanish, an eight-legged creature we know as a spider is called an "araña." Come to think of it, "araña" and the start of the word "arachnophobia" (a fear of spiders) are pretty similar.
A rat

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Q 29 Mona Lisa Mona Lisa is a famous painting. What is the word for "painting" in Spanish?
Pintura
"Pintura" means painting in Spanish. The Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo da Vinci, but there are plenty of famous Spanish painters, including one of the most popular of all-time – Pablo Picasso. Pintura in some circles also means paint.
Pared
Mesita
Aspiradora

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Q 22 Seafood You'll find "el pescado" in a seafood restaurant. What does "pescado" mean?
Crab
Shrimp
Fish
The term "pescado" is a general term in Spanish that translates to fish in English, though no specific type. If someone tells you they're eating "pescado frito," they're having fried fish. Why didn't they invite us over?
Mussels

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Q 32 Cucaracha Did you ever sing the song, "La Cucaracha"? What is that song about?
A church
A cockroach
Would you have ever knowingly sung a song about cockroaches? Well, you might have, if you ever sung along with the song, "La Cucaracha." In Spanish, the song is about a cockroach that's unable to walk ... seriously.
A cardinal
A charity

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Q 24 Errands She spent the weekend running errands with her "abuela." Who was it?
Her mother
Her grandma
It was her grandma, "su abuela," who occupied her weekend errand-running. "Abuela" is quite close to another important family member in Spanish, "abuelo," which is "grandpa."
Her grandpa
Her sister

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Q 31 Schools Kids in the U.S. go to school. What is a school called in Spanish-speaking countries?
Escarabajo
Escuela
The Spanish word for school is "escuela" and sometimes "colegio," which we might more closely associate with the word college in the United States. To make matters more confusing, university in English is "universidad" in Spanish. Phew!
Carrito
Secadora

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Q 13 Hungry Baby You might offer one of these to a hungry baby. Which of these would you pick?
La cuna
La cuna mecedora
El carrito
El biberón
If you want to stifle the cries of a hungry baby, you'd want to pick "el biberón" – the Spanish word for baby bottle. If you offer any of the other choices (a crib, cradle and stroller, respectively), you're probably going to have an even more unhappy tot.

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Q 40 Into the fire As the saying goes, "Out of 'la sartén,' into the fire." What is "la sartén" in Spanish?
Water
Frying pan
The popular phrase, "Out of the frying pan, into the fire," sounds a bit different if you insert the Spanish word for pan, "la sartén," in the mix, doesn't it? Either way, be careful you don't get burned!
Stock pot
Microwave

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Q 09 Eagle Fly, eagles, fly! Which of these birds is the national bird of the United States?
El oso
La libélula
El águila
The national bird of the United States is the bald eagle, but that doesn't mean that's the only place you can find them. If you spot an "águila" in another country, surprise! You found an eagle.
La cebra

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Q 01 Restrooms If you're in need of a bathroom in Spain, which of these should you look for?
La cañería
El lavaplatos
El baño
This is probably one of the first words you need to learn if you're traveling outside the United States in a Spanish-speaking country. Memorize this one, and you're guaranteed to at least be, um, comfortable.
La cuna

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Q 34 Bañera I want to enjoy a long soak in "la bañera." What am I talking about?
Ocean
Hot tub
Swimming pool
Bathtub
After a long week, there's nothing more relaxing than a long soak in the bathtub, or "la bañera," if you were traveling in a Spanish-speaking country. You can find la bañera in el baño. It makes sense, right?

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Q 21 Flight Ticket Boarding an airplane? You'll need one of these. What are we referencing?
El boleto
Be sure you have "el boleto," or a ticket, if you're trying to board a plane in a Spanish-speaking country. If you're planning ahead, you might tell someone, "Compré los boletos para volar a Fénix," or "I bought my tickets to fly to Phoenix." Comprende?
Los alicates
La cuenta
El porta ropa

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Q 17 Can Opener You won't be able to get into a can without one of these. What is it?
Tenedor
Candil
Jarra
Abrelata
You better grab an "abrelata," or can opener, if you want to get into those green beans to go with dinner. The first U.S. can opener was invented by a Connecticut man and was integral in helping soldiers eat during the Civil War.

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Q 36 Zapatos They aren't just any zapatos, they're "los zapatos de tacón alto." What does it mean?
Cowboy boots
Sandals
High heel shoes
It's a long phrase – "los zapatos de tacón alto" – but it means high heel shoes in English. "Zapatos" are shoes, "tacón" means heel and "alto" means high. We think ballet flats are more comfy.
Flip-flops

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Q 10 Margarita You've probably had a margarita (or two), but the word means something unusual in Spanish. What is it?
Truck
Coat rack
Daisy
Did you know when you ask for a "margarita" in a restaurant that it means "daisy" in Spanish? We're not sure why. But margaritas are delicious ... er, we mean really beautiful.
Iguana

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Q 19 Alarm Clock I love the weekends because you don't have to set one of these. What is it?
La aspiradora
El despertador
Is there anything better than a weekend when you don't have to set an "el despertador?" (That's an alarm clock, in case you hadn't figured it out.) We're amused that the word for alarm clock also looks like "desperate," which is exactly how we feel on Monday mornings.
La cama
El armario

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Q 02 Kid Building The kids spent a long time building "el castillo de arena." What are we referencing?
Tree house
Pillow fort
Sand castle
In Spanish, "el castillo de arena" references a sand castle, where "castillo" is castle and "arena" is sand; therefore, "el castillo de arena" is "the sand castle." We're already thinking about our next beach trip.
House of blocks

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Q 38 NY Yankees The "gorra" had the New York Yankees' logo on it. What is "gorra"?
Watch
Cap
The word "gorra" in Spanish translates to cap — or hat — in English, an article of clothing you'll see men and women wearing. Among the most popular types of caps are those with team logos on them, such as the Yankees.
Shirt
Jacket

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Q 39 Tree Arbor Day is all about planting trees. What is the Spanish word for "tree"?
Arbusto
Arbol
If you're observing Arbor Day in a Spanish-speaking nation, you'll be honoring "el árbol," the tree. The holiday began in the 1970s as a tree-planting program of the Arbor Day Foundation.
Flor
Arbor

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Q 35 Monkey Monkeys are famous for their love of bananas. What does the word "monkey" translate to in Spanish?
El perro
El mono
Monkeys and "monos" are the same. They don't care whether you speak Spanish or English ... or both! But their love of bananas is real, although the ones they encounter in the wild are a bit different than those we find at the grocery store.
La mantis
El caballo

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Q 33 Pitcher Sweet Tea She made a pitcher of sweet tea for us to enjoy. What is "pitcher" in Spanish?
Jarra
A pitcher in Spanish is referred to as a "jarra," similar to our English word for "jar." Another word in the answer choices that's related to a pitcher is "vaso," or cup, which you'll need to enjoy that delicious tea.
Vaso
Latería
Servilleta

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Q 20 Drums My cousin asked me to join his band on "los tambores." What is he asking me to play?
Drums
Yeah, baby, rock on! My cousin is asking me to play the drums, "los tambores," in his new band. The word "tambor" has long been used to represent the concept of the drum, dating back to ancient Persia.
Trombone
Tambourine
Guitar

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Q 37 Undershorts If you're wearing undershorts, you're wearing undershorts regardless of the language! But, what are they called in Spanish?
Camisas
Sombreros
Calzoncillos
Do you need new underpants while traveling in Mexico? You better ask for "calzoncillos" so somebody knows what you're talking about. "Calzoncillos" specifically refer to men's underpants, just in case you were wondering.
Guantes

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Q 25 Steering Wheel Grip the steering wheel at 10 and 2 when you're driving. What's the Spanish word for "steering wheel"?
El acelerador
La cajuela
El volante
All of these answer options are car parts, but only "el volante" represents the crucial steering necessary for guiding the car. The other choices represent the gas pedal, the trunk and the tire, respectively.
La llanta

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Q 05 Socks Let's do things in the right order. You'll need which of these before you put on shoes?
Los guantes
Los calcetines
"Los calcetines" is Spanish for "socks," which is perfect for the male gender, but women have a few more words to remember, including "medias," which can mean tights, and "la pantimedia," which represents pantyhose.
Los pantalones
Los zapatos

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Q 03 Abrigo Brrrr! It's chilly outside, so which of these should you grab?
Un abrigo
Choose "el abrigo" and you'll find yourself shielded from inclement weather. Why? Because this word translated into English means "coat," a perfect garment to grab if the temperatures take a dip.
Una corbata
Un sombrero
Una gorra

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