March 22, 2022 by Luis F. Dominguez Spanish Vocabulary 0 comments
How do you say that someone is hot in Spanish? Or, that food is really hot? How about saying that your coffee or the day is hot?
Have you ever thought about the many meanings that the word “hot” has in English? It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.
That’s also the case in Spanish, except there are multiple words that mean “hot,” so learning how to use them will save you from more than a few embarrassing situations.
Keep reading to learn how to say “hot” in Spanish in 20 situations, including the spiciest ones!
Table of Contents:
- What Does ‘Hot’ Mean in Spanish?
- 20 Ways to Say ‘Hot’ in Spanish
- Get Fired Up to Learn Spanish Today
What Does ‘Hot’ Mean in Spanish?
In short, many things. Just like in English, but with several different words.
We use the English word “hot” to talk about the weather, food, temperature, and even people. It’s actually a super useful and interesting word in English.
However, the Spanish translation of the word isn’t as straightforward as new learners of the language would prefer. The different words used in Spanish to express the same idea as the English word “hot” can lead you to misunderstandings and tricky situations if you don’t apply them correctly.
20 Ways to Say ‘Hot’ in Spanish
Now, let’s learn 20 of the most common ways to say “hot” in Spanish!
One could argue that the main meaning of the word “hot” either in English or in its translation as caliente in Spanish is temperature-related. So, here you have two examples of these types of words.
Caliente is an adjective that means that something contains or produces heat. “Warm” is a good synonym for the meaning of caliente in this case.
El agua de la ducha está caliente.
The shower water is hot.
Ardiente refers to something that’s suffering from the action of fire. However, now people use it as a superlative of caliente, to describe something that’s really hot. You could translate it as “scorching” or use it to describe something that’s “on fire.”
El volcán expulsó una columna de lava ardiente.
The volcano erupted in a column of scorching hot lava.
At this point, we need to differentiate caliente vs calor—two words that convey similar ideas but are used in different contexts in Spanish. When you want to talk about something that’s hot, you have to use caliente. However, if you’re referring to hot weather, then you use calor or another of the following words.
Calor means “heat,” but only when talking about the weather. It usually comes preceded by the verb hacer (to do, to make), as in this example:
Hoy hace calor.
It’s hot today.
Caluroso is a word derived from calor and it means that something or someone feels heat or causes it. It’s frequently used to say that the day is hot or that someone is feeling too hot.
El día de ayer estuvo muy caluroso.
Yesterday was too hot.
Cálido is a synonym of caluroso and refers to the warm temperature of the day. It also has a symbolic meaning to express that someone or something is nice.
Fue una cálida mañana cuando salió de su casa para siempre.
It was a hot morning when he left his house forever.
Se dieron un cálido abrazo.
They embraced each other in a warm hug.
Acalorado is also a synonym of caluroso but in this case, it isn’t about the day that’s hot, but about the person who feels the heat. You also use it to talk about a “heated conversation” with the same meaning as in English.
Estoy muy acalorado, llevo todo el día bajo el sol.
I’m overheated; I’ve been in the sun all day.
Mis padres tuvieron una acalorada discusión.
My parents had a heated discussion.
Although in English the word “hot” is used in many ways to talk about food, that’s not the case in Spanish—unless it refers to the temperature of the food. Let’s study now how you can say hot in Spanish when talking about food.
Gather up some more food vocabulary: Traditional Ingredients in Spanish
In the food discussion between picante vs caliente, use picante if you’re talking about spicy food. Remember, if you say caliente referring to food, people will understand that you’re talking about its temperature.
La comida mexicana es muy picante.
Mexican food is really hot (spicy).
Picoso is just another way of saying picante and it means exactly the same thing.
El chile jalapeño es muy picoso para mí.
Jalapenos are too hot for me.
Chiloso is a synonym of both picante and picoso, and it simply means that some food is spicy.
En ese restaurante sirven unos platillos muy chilosos.
In this restaurant, they serve very hot dishes.
Derived from the word diablo which means “devil,” endiablado is yet another way to refer to spicy food.
¡Este jamón está muy endiablado!
This ham is really hot!
This word comes from chile, and you use it to say that some food is hot or that your mouth is on fire from the spicy food you just ate.
¿Me traes unos cacahuates enchilados?
Can you bring me some spicy nuts?
Me comí unos tacos al pastor y ahora estoy muy enchilado.
I ate a few pork tacos and my mouth is too hot right now.
Several famous dishes have the word “hot” in their English names. Let’s find out what to call these dishes in Spanish.
12. Perro Caliente
“Hot dogs” are known in Spanish as perros calientes, although in many countries you can order them by their English name, too.
Me da dos perros calientes y una orden de papas a la francesa.
Give me two hot dogs and one order of french fries.
13. Chocolate Caliente
Chocolate caliente is the popular hot cocoa that kids love so much, especially during the winter season.
Vamos a mi casa a comer donas y beber chocolate caliente.
We’re going to my place to eat donuts and drink hot cocoa.
In Spanish, panqueques are the same as the English pancakes, also known as hot cakes.
Yo como mis panqueques con mermelada de fresa.
I eat my hot cakes with strawberry jam.
This is a tricky subject in Spanish, so it’s important to know what you’re talking about to avoid putting yourself in embarrassing situations. “Hot people” in Spanish doesn’t translate as gente caliente. You have to use different adjectives to talk about a good-looking (hot) person.
Atractivo/a is perhaps the best translation of “hot” when talking about a person. It means the same as “attractive” in English.
Brad Pitt es el actor más atractivo de su generación.
Brad Pitt is the hottest actor of his generation.
Guapo means handsome or hot, while guapa translates to beautiful or hot.
¡Mi papá es el más guapo del mundo!
My dad is the hottest dad in the world!
Tu amiga está muy guapa.
Your friend is very hot.
Although bueno literally means “good,” when you talk about looks you can use it to say that someone is hot. In this context, it’s considered a slang word, but everyone in the Spanish world will know what you’re talking about.
Desde que va al gimnasio, ¡tu hermano se está poniendo muy bueno!
Since he started going to the gym, your brother is getting hot!
The English word “sexy” has been adopted in Spanish and its use is extended in Spanish-speaking countries. Use it in the same sense as in English to talk about attractiveness.
¡Te ves muy sexy!
You look hot!
¡Qué sexy era Madonna!
Madonna was really hot!
‘Hot’ Topics of Controversy
If you’re talking about an extremely popular or controversial topic, sometimes you say in English that it’s a hot topic. In Spanish there’s a word for that.
When a topic or an argument is controversial, you say in Spanish that it’s candente. This word literally means “glowing,” which keeps a connection with “hot.”
El escándalo del hijo del presidente está candente.
The scandal about the president’s son is hot!
Tuvieron una discusión candente.
They had a heated argument.
Use this word to talk about a “hot item” that was stolen.
Robado literally translates as “stolen.” In this case, the slang word comes from English, as “hot” in this context is considered slang.
Ese coche es robado.
That car is hot.
En ese mercado solo venden mercancía robada.
In that market they only sell hot merchandise.
Get Fired Up to Learn Spanish Today
It’s amazing how languages evolve and how a single word like “hot” can have so many meanings. In this case, the translation into Spanish gets tricky because of the diversity of ideas that the word conveys.
Learning Spanish offers plenty of benefits, among them the possibility of getting better jobs and earning more money. That’s why it’s so important that you learn the language well. You don’t want to embarrass yourself by using the wrong translation of “hot” in Spanish.
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Luis F. Dominguez
Freelance Writer at Homeschool Spanish Academy
Luis F. Domínguez is a freelance writer and independent journalist interested in travel, languages, art, books, history, philosophy, politics and sports. He has written for Fodor’s, Yahoo!, Sports Illustrated, Telemundo, and Villa Experience, among other brands of print and digital media in Europe and North America.
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