Unraveling the Mystery: What Are the Spanish Words That Cause Funny Confusions?

“What are the Spanish words that cause some seriously funny confusions?” is the question a learner asked in a Facebook group I am part of. The answers were just hi-la-rious! 

You know, those moments when you say one thing, but your Spanish-speaking pals burst into laughter because you accidentally said something completely different? Yeah, we’ve all been there surely, even me! 

Even though these mistakes can cause laughter, they can also make us feel embarrassed. So, let’s find out what are the Spanish words that lead to some side-splitting comedy and how to prevent an embarrassing situation!

List of Spanish Words That Cause Confusion

1. Cucaracha and Cucurucho:

Imagine this: You walk into an ice cream shop and confidently order a “cucaracha de vainilla” instead of a “cucurucho de vainilla.” Hold up, what?! Turns out, “cucaracha” means cockroach, while “cucurucho” is actually an ice cream cone. 

Can you imagine the bewildered look on the server’s face when you ask for a vanilla cockroach? Trust me, it won’t be a flavor they have in stock! Instead of making this mistake, remember the correct phrase is: “Quiero un cucurucho de vainilla.”

2. Un Rato and Un Ratón:

Now, picture this: you’re bidding farewell to your friends, saying “see you in a little while,” but oh boy, you mistakenly blurt out “un ratón” (a mouse) instead of “un rato” (a little while). Brace yourself for the laughter that ensues as your buddies either crack up or sprint away, thinking a furry friend just made an unexpected appearance! 

That’s one unforgettable and downright hilarious mix-up! If you want to avoid it, remember the Spanish phrase for “see you in a little while” is: Nos vemos en un rato.  

3. Maquillaje and Mantequilla:

Moving on, let’s imagine this epic breakfast fail. You go to a fancy café and are excited to get some delicious breakfast. However, instead of ordering “mantequilla” (butter) for your toast, you order “maquillaje” (makeup). Your taste buds won’t appreciate the makeover, but hey, at least your toast will be looking fabulous!

In order to avoid this confusing situation, remember that to get some butter you must say “Quiero mantequilla, por favor.”

4. Cocina and Cochina:

This one always cracks me up! So, you’re complimenting your friend’s Pinterest-looking kitchen, saying, “¡Qué cochina hermosa!” Wait a sec, that’s not right! 

Instead of praising their kitchen (“cocina”), you just called it “dirty” or “filthy” (“cochina”). Prepare for the roars of laughter as your pals wonder why you’re praising a pigsty instead of the gorgeous kitchen!

In short, the right phrase would be “¡Qué cocina hermosa!”

5. Encantado and Me Encantas:

Oh boy, this one’s a beginner’s classic. You meet someone new and, in a formal introduction, you accidentally say, “¡Me encantas!” instead of “¡Encantado!” 

What is the difference? “Encantado” means pleased or delighted, while “me encantas” means “I like you” or “I’m attracted to you.” What an awkward moment! 

When your intention isn’t to express your love for a new acquaintance right off the bat, hear me out. Say “encantado” or “encantada”, don’t say “me encantas.”


In summary, what are the Spanish words that cause funny confusions? Cucaracha, cucurucho, rato, ratón, maquillaje, mantequilla, cocina, cochina, me encantas, and encantado. 

Embrace the funny side of language learning and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself when these confusions happen. Remember, it’s all part of the adventure! However, if you are traveling to a Spanish speaking country for business, keep reading. 

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¡Hola! Soy Melany

yo melany

I’m so happy you’re here! My name is Melany and I help language learners speak Argentine Spanish. I primarily teach Argentine slang and idioms, how to sound more natural and to speak Spanish with confidence.

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