How many Spanish words do you know that start with the letter K? Probably not many since there are few Spanish words that start with K, and most of them are not native to Spanish. Having said that, let's find out a bit more about the letter K in Spanish as well as learning some Spanish words that begin with it.
The name for the Spanish letter K is ka, which sounds a bit like the English word "caw." Let's hear it pronounced:
hache, i, jota, ka,
h, i, j, k,
Caption 7, Graciela Alfabeto y formación de sílabasPlay Caption
Although the letter K is indeed a letter in the Spanish alphabet, it was only used rarely in the Latin language from which Spanish evolved. For that reason, the equivalent of the K sound in Spanish is more commonly made with the letters C or Q, as in the following examples:
I broke up with her!
Caption 4, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 7Play Caption
queso y aceitunas.
cheese and olives.
Caption 6, Ariana Cena especialPlay Caption
That said, like Spanish words that start with W, most Spanish words that start with K are extranjerismos, or words that come from other languages. Today, we'll highlight 20... then mention a few more!
Below, you'll find 20 Spanish words that start with K. You will note that many of them are spelled exactly the same as or very similarly to their English counterparts.
Note that this word can have all of the meanings of the English noun (e.g. a suicidal pilot or driver or a kamikaze aircraft) but can also informally refer to a "speed demon." As an adjective, kamikaze can additionally be used to describe someone "reckless."
While both are valid, the accented version of the word for this Japanese martial art in Spanish is used more frequently in Spain, while the spelling/pronunciation without an accent, which we hear in the following clip, is heard more in Latin America.
Estoy haciendo unas tomas de karate.
I'm doing some karate kicks.
Caption 59, Disputas La Extraña Dama - Part 9Play Caption
Ten cuidado con el karma
Be careful with karma
Caption 17, Yátu Tú la quieres aplicarPlay Caption
Una tarde de karaoke con amigos
An afternoon of karaoke with friends
Caption 33, Ana Carolina Mejorando la pronunciaciónPlay Caption
El kayak in Spanish might refer to the boat or the sport. Let's see an example where it means the latter:
deportes como el velero, el kayak
sports such as sailing, kayaking,
Caption 27, Otavalo Un día en la ciudad de los lagosPlay Caption
You will note that many Spanish measurement terms start with K since they are equivalents of words from other languages from the metric system, which the vast majority of the world uses. In the metric system, weight is measured with kilograms, and, for reference, one kilogram is equal to two point two pounds. While the official name for kilograms in Spanish is kilogramos, in everyday speech, many people say simply kilos. Let's hear both versions:
lo que equivale a dos kilogramos diarios por persona y día.
which is equivalent to two kilograms daily per person per day.
Caption 17, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 1Play Caption
pero puede pesar hasta cuatrocientos cincuenta kilos.
but it can weigh up to four hundred and fifty kilos.
Caption 11, El Aula Azul Adivinanzas de animales - Part 1Play Caption
The metric system measures distance in kilometers. One kilometer is just over half a mile, or 0.62 miles, to be exact. Let's hear how the word for "kilometer" is pronounced in Spanish:
ya que hubiera destruido más de un kilómetro de franja dunar.
since it would have destroyed more than a kilometer of the stretch of dunes.
Caption 13, Viajando con Fermín Asociación ProDunas MarbellaPlay Caption
Kilometraje would be the distance traveled... in kilometers, of course!
aunque con muy poco kilometraje,
although with very low mileage,
Caption 27, Raquel y Marisa Agente del concesionarioPlay Caption
In addition to this word, several related Spanish words start with K, such as the nouns el/la kinesiólogo/a (kinesiologist) and la kinesioterapia (kinesiotherapy) and the adjectives kinesiológico/a (pertaining to kinesiology) and kinesioterápico (related to kinesiotherapy).
Like kamikaze, the word kimono was adopted from Japanese by both Spanish and English.
While the alternative spelling quiosco is preferable in more formal circles, the spelling that maintains its K etymology is also accepted, as we see here:
Ya está por allí en la calle en ocho estados en su kiosco favorito.
It's already out there on the street in eight states at your favorite magazine stand.
Caption 90, En la radio Falcón TotalPlay Caption
By the way, a person who works in a kiosk can sometimes be called un/a kiosquero/a... yet another Spanish word that can start with K!
Like the English term, el kit in Spanish can refer to a set of items, for example, un kit de maquillaje (a makeup kit) or un kit de útiles escolares (a school supply set).
Nosotros tenemos una escuela de kitesurf,
We have a kitesurfing school,
Caption 46, Adícora, Venezuela La Posada Sea Club - Part 2Play Caption
Although it's obvious what el kiwi means, be sure to check out our lesson on the names of fruits in Spanish in order to learn other Spanish fruit names that are totally different from their names in English.
While the name of this furry creature is also the same in Spanish and English, we highly recommend learning some of the other names for animals in Spanish
You may have noticed that most of the 20 words that we have mentioned are nouns, with just one verb and a couple of adjectives. There are, however, quite a few more Spanish adjectives that start with K, most of which are related to either specific historical figures or regions. As a bonus, let's take a look at several of these. While we have provided their masculine forms, remember that Spanish adjectives must always agree in terms of number and gender with the nouns they modify.
kafkiano: related to or supporting the novelist Kafka
kantiano: related to or supporting the philosopher Kant
kárstico: karstic, related to karst, or a type of limestone landscape
kawaití: Kawaiti (from or pertaining to Kawait)
kazajo: Kazakh (from or pertaining to Kazakhstan)
keniano: Kenyan (from or pertaining to Kenya)
kieveño: from or pertaining to Kiev, Ukraine
kirguís: Kyrgyz (from or pertaining to Kyrgyzstan)
kiribatiano: from or pertaining to Kiribati
kurdo: Kurdish (pertaining to Kurds or their language)
Interestingly, all of these adjectives above except kárstico can also function as nouns, for example, los kenianos can mean "the Kenyans" or "the Kenyan people."
That's all for today. Can you think of any more Spanish words that begin with K? Write us with your suggestions and comments!