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Beyond Cansado/Enojado: Describing Feelings of Tiredness or Anger in Spanish

Unfortunately, we all have times when we feel tired (cansado) or angry (enojado). So, how can we describe these emotions in Spanish, beyond those basic terms? In this lesson, we will go over some more evocative expressions to explain how you feel, say, after a hard day at the office or when you are sick and tired of arguing with that certain someone once more.

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Feeling Tired

There are several adjectives and phrases to show that we have run out of energy, one of which is estar agotado/a (to be exhausted):

 

Yo también estoy agotada.

I am also exhausted.

Caption 27, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 5

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In addition, the girls on Muñeca Brava, who are always colorful in their vocabulary and ready to share their emotions, give us three expressions in a row!

 

Te juro, Mili, que estoy muerta. No doy más. Knockout.

I swear to you, Mili, that I'm dead tired. I'm exhausted. Knocked out.

Captions 2-3, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 2

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Sometimes we are so tired that we tend to get irritable, and, in this kind of limbo before anger itself, you might feel agobio or fastidio. Unlike the previous examples, feeling agobiado or fastidioso cannot result from physical activity since these terms are related to your emotions. 

 

de un tipo que está agobiado.

of a guy who is overwhelmed.

Caption 60, Bersuit Vergarabat EPK - Part 2

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Feeling Angry

On those other days when we are just plain mad, vocabulary like cabreado (annoyed), harto (sick and tired), and arrecho (angry) might come in handy. 

Bronca/rabia (annoyance)

 

It is worth mentioning that both bronca and rabia collocate, or tend to go along with, the same verbs: dar (in this case "to cause"), tener ("to be" or "feel" in these examples), and pasar (when that feeling has "passed," or "ended"):

 

Me da bronca/rabia.    It makes me angry/annoys me.

Tengo bronca/rabia.       I'm angry/furious.

Se me pasó la bronca/rabia.    I'm not angry anymore. 

 

me empezó a apretar y lo que más bronca me dio que me...

he started to squeeze me and what annoyed me the most [was] that...

Caption 14, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 7

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que una forma de manejar la rabia es aceptar que tengo rabia y por qué,

that a way to manage rage is to accept that I feel rage and why,

Captions 51-52, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 1

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Other useful adjectives are podrido/a (informal, colloquial), which is common in Argentina, or encabronado/a, which is common in Spain:

 

Mira, mi madre y vos me tienen podrido.

Look, I'm sick and tired of you and my mother.

Caption 30, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 3

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Sacar de quicio/sacar de las casillas  (to make someone lose their temper)

 

On an episode of El Aula Azul's La Doctora Consejos, we learn the expression sacar de quicio (to annoy someone) and recommend watching this video to hear several examples of this expression:

 

¿qué cosas te sacan de quicio?

what things do you find annoying?

Caption 65, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y sentimientos

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This same video contains another idiom with a similar meaning that also uses the verb sacar:

 

¡Eso sí que me saca de mis casillas!

That really drives me crazy!

Caption 77, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y sentimientos

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And when someone has lost his or her temper, you might hear others say "Está sacado/a" (He/she lost it).

 

 

Estar hasta la coronilla

 

This additional idiom can be useful if you feel you've had enough and are short of patience:

 

Muy bien, estaba hasta la coronilla. 

Just great, I was fed up.

Caption 16, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 4

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Additional Verbs Meaning "to Make Someone Mad" (or Worse!)

Some other common verbs that can be used when something or someone "makes you angry" (or perhaps the less polite "pisses you off") include joder, reventar, sacar, embolar, and cabrear. In Spain, joder is also used as an extremely common exclamation (meaning anything on the spectrum of curse words from "Damn!" to worse), and in many countries, it can also mean "to party, "joke around with," or "kid" someone. 

 

Me revienta que me digas "te lo dije."

I hate it when you say "I told you so."

Caption 35, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 10

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Keep in mind that, as all these verbs are informal and could potentially be perceived as rude outside the company of friends, it is always safer to go with more neutral verbs like enojar, irritar, molestar, or enfadar to express the idea that something has "made you mad." In doing so, you will also avoid regionalisms that could cause confusion across different Spanish dialects. 

 

Context Is Always Key

Some words can mean either angry or, of all things, horny! As a misunderstanding in this realm could be embarrassing, always analyze the context. In Argentina, for instance, the very informal calentarse or estar caliente can have either meaning. 

 

Bueno, Llamita, pero eso tiene solución; no te calentés.

Well, Llamita, but that has a solution; don't get mad.

Captions 65-66, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 5

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The same thing happens across countries with the word arrecho. While arrecho means "angry" in Venezuela, in Colombia it can either mean "cool" or, once again, "horny." A bit confusing, right?

 

Yabla's video Curso de español Expresiones de sentimientos elaborates on this and other expressions of emotion:

 

Entonces, "arrecho" en Venezuela significa enojado, pero en otros países significa otra cosa diferente

So, "arrecho" in Venezuela means mad, but in other countries it means different things

Captions 49-50, Curso de español Expresiones de sentimientos

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The word arrecho is also used by the Colombian band ChocQuib Town, with its alternative meaning:

 

Y si sos chocoano, sos arrecho por cultura, ¡ey!

And if you are from Chocó, you are horny by culture, ay!

Caption 20, ChocQuibTown Somos Pacifico

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That's all for now. We hope that you have found these alternative manners of talking about tiredness and anger useful (and that you don´t need to use them too often)! And don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments

 

That Fancy Spanish...

If you have spent some time learning and listening Spanish, you have probably noticed that many common Spanish words have cognates in the fancy English vocabulary. This happens because Spanish is a romance language, that is, a language that directly evolved from vulgar Latin (and was even later enriched with classic Latin during the Middle ages when Spanish became a written language), while approximately only 29% of the English vocabulary comes from Latinate sources.

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That's the reason why it's very common for a Spanish speaker to use verbs like estrangular (to choke) or canícula(dog days, midsummer heat) in everyday speech. In fact, similar words exist in English (to strangulate and canicule) but they are cultisms that are way too fancy to be used in everyday situations. On the other hand, and quite surprisingly, very often using these words is the only alternative you have to express something in Spanish. That's the case for estrangular (to strangulate, to choke) and canícula (doy days); really, there is no better, more common way to express such ideas in Spanish than using those words.

Words that are used to describe diseases and medical terms in Spanish are also great examples. In Spanish it's common to say (and make the distinction between) el oculista (oculist) and el optometrista (optometrist), while an expression like "el doctor de ojos" (the Eye doctor) may be understood, but sounds very much like toddler talking to Spanish speakers. And there are even stranger examples, some of which may sound like tongue twisters for you. Take for example the common otorrinolaringólogo (ear nose and throat doctor, otorhinolaryngologist). But let's try to find examples from our catalog.

In Spanish, the verb aliviar means either "to get better" or "to cure," or "to alleviate" and it's just as common as the verb curar (to cure). In English the verb to alleviate is much more fancy, and it's only used in certain contexts, usually very formal or written speech:
 

Estoy enfermo, espérense a que me alivie.

I'm sick; wait until I get better.

Caption 19, El Ausente - Acto 1 - Part 2

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The nouns cicatriz (scar) and cicatrización (scar healing) as well as the verb cicatrizar (to heal a scar) are common in Spanish, while "cicatrix," "to cicatrize" or "cicatrization" are less common in English:
 

Tiene la cicatriz, vivió en Misiones y tiene la misma sonrisa de Franco.

He has the scar, he lived in Misiones and he has the same smile as Franco.

Caption 16, Yago - 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 4

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The adjetives primordial  and esencial are both commonly used in Spanish, usually as synonyms. English, on its part, does have the word "primordial," but the use of "essential" is more common in everyday speech:
 

Es importante, primordial, muy necesario.

It's important, essential, very necessary.

Caption 3, Bersuit Vergarabat - EPK - Part 2

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Another example is the word subterráneo ("subterranean", but most commonly "underground"):
 

Contaminación de las aguas superficiales o subterráneas

Pollution of surface and underground waters

Caption 7, 3R - Campaña de reciclaje - Part 2

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In Spanish the word docente is both an adjective meaning "teacher-related" and a noun that is synonymous with maestro (teacher). It's a common word in and it's used in many Spanish expressions. In contrast, the English word docent is far less common and, it has a slightly different meaning
 

Es más, es que no se entiende la labor docente de otra manera.

Moreover, the thing is that the teaching job should not be understood in any other way.

Caption 13, Club de las ideas - La motivación

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The list goes on and on. Let's see one more example. In Spanish it's common to use the noun equilibrio (balance) and the verb equilibrar (to balance), both words are just as common as balance (balance) and balancear ("to balance", but also "to swing"). In contrast, English reserves the use of "equilibrium" and "to equilibrate" for scientific or highbrow language.  

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Tú eres todo lo que me equilibra.

You're everything that balances me.

Caption 28, Calle 13 - Un Beso De Desayuno

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Vocabulary

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