35 Perfect Cognates in Spanish [Words You Already Know!]
Perfect cognates in Spanish make language learning even more fascinating and amusing!
Cognates or cognados are words that exist in two languages. These words share similarities when it comes to roots and meaning.
There are different types of Spanish cognates and my intention behind this grammar guide is to provide you with support to identify them and use them accurately.
Keep reading for a helpful breakdown of 35 perfect cognates in Spanish.
Table of Contents
- True and False Cognates in Spanish
- Near-Perfect Cognates in Spanish
- 35 Perfect Cognates in Spanish
- Memorize Other Spanish Cognates
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True and False Cognates in Spanish
Cognados perfectos are words that are spelled exactly the same and share the same meaning in both English and Spanish.
The spelling of perfect cognates in Spanish only varies due to the use of accents over one letter.
Perfect cognates in Spanish are not complex to master because as an English speaker, you already identify and know plenty of these words.
Both English and Spanish have Latin roots, as a result, the similarity between such words is uncanny.
The pronunciation certainly varies, but as you advance in your Spanish learning, you’ll notice that dominating Spanish cognates comes naturally to you.
Elevate your critical thinking as you read more about Brain Benefits to Learning a Second Language.
Near-Perfect Cognates in Spanish
Near-perfect cognates in Spanish are those words that are spelled similarly and follow a certain pattern—however these vary in spelling with up to 3 letters.
They also vary in meaning. These cognate words in Spanish are also known as “false friends.” False friends often lead to confusion and miscommunication.
Learn to identify false friends with this list of the 55 False Cognates in Spanish That Will Kill Your Conversation.
35 Perfect Cognates in Spanish
Let’s dive deep into the world of perfect cognates in Spanish with a detailed list of cognate words with the same meaning, spelling and examples.
After going through each item, you’ll notice how you’re already familiarized with a few perfect cognates in Spanish.
1. Agenda —
The English word agenda is used to refer to a list of topics and matters to discuss in a meeting or workflow.
In Spanish, the meaning of agenda is the same. It also means a notebook or journal where you write your schedule and plans.
La agenda de hoy tiene cuatro temas importantes.
Today’s agenda has four important topics.
Es importante que discutamos todo lo de la agenda de mañana.
It’s important we discuss everything in tomorrow’s agenda.
2. Animal — animal
In both languages, the word animal stands for a living organism that responds to stimuli and feeds of organic matter.
The Spanish word animal is used in English also to refer to anything pertaining or related to animals.
El instinto animal hace que las leonas protejan a sus cachorros.
Animal instinct makes lionesses protect their cubs.
Mi animal favorito es el perro.
My favorite animal is the dog.
3. Artificial — artificial
Artificial and artificial are perfect cognates in Spanish used to reference anything made exclusively by human intervention.
An object or man-made artifacts for example, are considered artificial.
La laguna es artificial.
The lagoon is artificial.
Esa manzana no es natural, es plástica y artificial.
That apple isn’t natural, it’s plastic and artificial.
4. Balance — balance
The perfect cognates balance and balance are used to refer to equilibrium or an equal distribution of weight.
When used for comparison, the words represent a condition where elements are equal.
Necesito encontrar un balance entre el trabajo y la escuela.
I need to find a balance between work and school.
Perdí el balance y me caí.
I lost balance and fell.
5. Bar — bar
Un bar and a bar are both in English and Spanish an establishment where alcoholic drinks and meals are served.
Voy a celebrar mi cumpleaños en el bar junto a mi casa.
I’m celebrating my birthday in the bar next to my house.
Nos vemos a las siete en el bar.
I’ll see you in the bar at seven.
6. Base — base
The perfect cognates base and base are used in English and Spanish to refer to the bottom part, or resting edge of an object. It’s the portion that supports any object on top of a surface.
La base de la columna necesita pintura.
The base of the column needs a paint job.
Se rompió la base de la mesa.
The base of the table was broken.
7. Cancer — cáncer
The perfect cognates in Spanish cáncer and cancer only differ by the accent.
In both languages, the word stands for a disease caused by abnormal cell growth in the human body.
They also apply to an astrological and zodiac sign of the same name.
Nací en junio, entonces mi signo zodiacal es cáncer.
I was born in June, so my zodiac sign is cancer.
Mi amigo tiene cáncer, sin embargo ya está recibiendo tratamiento.
My friend has cancer, however he’s already getting treatment.
8. Cereal — cereal
Cereal and cereal are used in English and Spanish to refer to breakfast grains such as oats, corn or wheats.
Yo como cereal en el desayuno.
I eat cereal for breakfast.
Mi cereal favorito son las zucaritas.
My favorite cereal is frosted flakes.
9. Combustion — combustión
The perfect cognates combustion and combustión represent the chemical reaction of igniting on fire, or burning something.
La combustión de la gasolina causa contaminación.
The combustion of gasoline causes pollution.
La combustión de químicos es muy peligrosa.
The combustion of chemicals is highly dangerous.
10. Conclusion — conclusión
Una conclusión or a conclusion is the outcome of an investigation or research.
This perfect cognate also means the ending of a procedure or event.
La conclusión del estudio es muy interesante.
The conclusion of the study is highly interesting.
La conclusión de la guerra trajo paz entre naciones.
The conclusion of the war brought peace among nations.
11. Debate — debate
The perfect cognates debate and debate represent a public discussion where two or more people share opinions and arguments against or in favor of a specific topic.
El debate presidencial estuvo interesante.
The presidential debate was interesting.
¿Vamos a tener un debate sobre qué es mejor?
Are we having a debate of what’s better?
12. Decision — decisión
The words decision and decisión are perfect cognates in Spanish and English. They are used for referencing a final resolution or choice made after careful consideration. They differ in spelling only by an accent.
Estoy segura de que tomé la decisión correcta.
I’m sure I made the right decision.
¿Cuál es tu decisión al respecto?
What is your decision about it?
13. Division — división
The English word division means comes from the action of separating one from another.
In Spanish, división means exactly the same. Also, both reference the disagreement between two or more subjects.
La división de tareas no es equitativa entre ustedes.
The division of assignments isn’t equal between you.
Hay división entre los ciudadanos.
There’s division between the citizens.
14. Error — error
The perfect cognates error and error are used for expressing a mistake, wrongful opinion, or a circumstance that causes inconvenience both in English and Spanish.
Fue un error decirte.
It was an error to tell you.
Cometí un error, disculpa.
I made an error, I apologize.
15. Explosion — explosión
An explosion and una explosión are perfect cognates in Spanish that mean in a violent and destructive event caused by a bomb or blast.
Both also mean a sudden outburst of a mood or feelings.
Tengo una explosión de sentimientos cada vez que te veo.
I get an explosion of feelings everytime I see you.
La explosión destruyó el edificio entero.
The explosion destroyed the whole building.
16. Exterior — exterior
The words exterior and exterior both mean outside or reference something located in an outside area.
El exterior es más bonito por la vegetación.
The exterior is nicer because of the vegetation.
El frasco tiene una etiqueta en su exterior.
The jar has a label on its exterior.
17. Fatal — fatal
The cognate words fatal and fatal are used as adjectives for any situation or object that is considered life-threatening.
Fatal in Spanish also means terrible.
Hoy hubo un accidente automovilístico fatal.
There was a fatal car accident today.
El accidente que vimos ayer en la carretera tuvo consecuencias fatales.
The accident we saw yesterday on the road had fatal consequences.
18. Frontal — frontal
The words frontal and frontal are adjectives used in Spanish and English to indicate that someone, somewhere, or something is located in the front.
Los venados tienen cuernos en la parte frontal de su cabeza.
Deer have antlers in the frontal part of their head.
No es ahí, tienes que ir a la oficina frontal.
It’s not there, you have to go to the frontal office.
19. Funeral — funeral
The English word funeral and Spanish word funeral both mean the ceremony or the rites honoring a deceased person.
Tengo que asistir a un funeral.
I have to attend a funeral.
Voy tarde al funeral pero voy a llegar al entierro.
I’m late for the funeral but I’ll make it to the burial.
20. Global — global
Global stands both in Spanish and English to anything that relates or pertains to the whole globe or world.
In Spanish, global is also used for referencing anything that goes altogether.
La pandemia es un asunto global.
The pandemic is a global affair.
El mundial de fútbol es un evento global.
The soccer world cup is a global event.
21. Honor — honor
Honor and its perfect cognate in Spanish represent a quality that makes a person act respectfully and by morality.
Both are adjectives that represent the integrity and dignity of a person. The perfect cognates are also used to describe a person worthy of recognition and high esteem.
Mi padre es un hombre de honor.
My father is a man of honor.
¿Quieres ser mi dama de honor?
Will you be my maid of honor?
22. Hospital — hospital
These two perfect cognates mean exactly the same in both Spanish and English.
Un hospital is an institution that provides medical and surgical care to injured or sick people.
Me operaron en el hospital de la ciudad de Guatemala.
I had surgery in the hospital of Guatemala City.
Mi hermana trabaja como enfermera en el hospital público.
My sister works as a nurse in the public hospital.
23. Industrial — industrial
The English word industrial and it’s perfect cognate in Spanish are both used to talk about something that is mass-produced and commercialized.
Use it as an adjective for anything that is related to an economic activity that is considered an industry.
Los materiales industriales tienen menor costo.
Industrial materials have a lower cost.
La comida del evento es industrial, no usa ingredientes frescos.
The food in the event is industrial, it doesn’t use fresh ingredients.
24. Invasion — invasión
An invasion in Spanish and English is the consequence of occupying a territory by force. It’s when a specific group or person seizes control or appropriation of a place.
Espero que nunca haya una invasión alienígena.
I hope there never is an alien invasion.
La invasión árabe de España tuvo influencia cultural.
The Arab invasion in Spain had cultural influence.
25. Lateral — lateral
Lateral and its perfect Spanish cognate are used as adjectives to describe a noun that is on the side or sides of something else.
Puedes salir por la puerta lateral.
You can exit through the lateral door.
¿Puedes abrir la ventana lateral?
Can you open the lateral window?
26. Manual — manual
These perfect cognates in Spanish are adjectives that describe something handmade or that is done with your hands.
Manual and el manual are also booklets with instructions of use for learning something new, how to use an object, or how to operate a machine.
¿Ya leíste el manual de instrucciones?
Have you read the instruction manual?
Tengo buena habilidad manual.
I have good manual skills.
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27. Menu — menú
These perfect cognates in Spanish and English only differ by the accent.
Both nouns represent the list of platters and dishes served in a restaurant or event.
Quiero un menú sencillo para la boda.
I want a simple menu for the wedding.
No encontré ese plato en el menú del restaurante.
I didn’t find that plate in the restaurant’s menu.
28. Multiple — múltiple
Multiple and múltiple are both adjectives used to describe a noun that involves or is made from several elements.
It also describes something that’s happened or occurs on several occasions.
Tengo múltiples dudas.
I have multiple doubts.
Esto ha pasado en múltiples ocasiones.
This has happened on multiple occasions.
29. Normal — normal
These two perfect cognates are both adjectives used to describe a noun that follows expected or typical standards.
Use it for subjects that aren’t out of the ordinary.
Es normal que estés asustado.
It’s normal that you’re scared.
Necesito un lapicero normal, no algo extravagante.
I need a normal pen, not something extravagant.
30. Original — original
In both Spanish and English, the word original is used to describe something that existed before any similar copies.
It can also work for something or someone that stands out for not being a copy and having authenticity.
Está mejor la película original que la nueva.
The original movie is better than the new one.
Necesito una cartera original, no de imitación.
I need an original wallet, not an imitation.
31. Personal — personal
These perfect cognate words are adjectives. They indicate when something pertains or belongs to a particular person instead of others.
We also use them to indicate that a matter in question belongs to a person’s private life.
Tu pasaporte es personal.
Your passport is personal.
No quiero contarte, es un asunto personal.
I don’t want to tell you, it’s a personal matter.
You use cognates and adjectives naturally in your day-to-day without noticing. Combine them with a personal story thanks to this article on How to Tell Your Stories in Spanish Using the Preterite and Imperfect Tense
32. Reunion — reunión
Reunion and reunión are perfect cognates in Spanish and English that mean the meeting or gathering of two or more people.
Nos vemos en la reunión de la secundaria.
I’ll see you at the high school reunion.
Tengo una reunión con mis colegas.
I have a reunion with my colleagues.
33. Sentimental — sentimental
These two cognate words both describe when a person feels or does something that evokes feelings of nostalgia, tenderness, or sadness.
Me siento sentimental después de ver esa película.
I feel sentimental after watching that movie.
Mi canción favorita es muy sentimental.
My favorite song is highly sentimental.
34. Usual — usual
Usual and its perfect cognate in Spanish are adjectives that indicate when something is part of a habit or occurs often. Whenever something is usual, it means it’s customary.
Es usual utilizar corbata en las bodas.
It’s usual to wear ties at weddings.
Nada ha cambiado, tengo mi rutina usual.
Nothing has changed, I have my usual routine.
35. Vulnerable — vulnerable
In both languages, the word vulnerable is an adjective used to describe something or someone that is susceptible to physical or emotional damage.
Me siento en una posición vulnerable.
I feel in a vulnerable position.
Mi abuela es vulnerable al Covid porque es diabética.
My grandma is vulnerable to covid because she’s diabetic.
Memorize Other Spanish Cognates
Perfect cognates in Spanish are proven to make language learning more practical and helpful for students. When you’re already familiar with an English word, using it in Spanish comes smoothly, especially when the spelling or meaning don’t change.
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