How to Say “Sick” in Spanish – A Comprehensive Guide

Hola! If you’re looking to expand your Spanish vocabulary and want to know how to express the word “sick,” you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner, this guide will provide you with formal and informal ways to express “sick” in Spanish. We’ll also touch upon regional variations when necessary to enhance your understanding. Let’s get started!

Formal Ways to Say “Sick” in Spanish

In formal settings, such as professional environments or when talking to people you don’t know well, it’s essential to use a more polite and respectful tone. The following phrases can help you convey the idea of being “sick” formally:

  1. Enfermo: This is the most common and neutral word for “sick” in Spanish. For example, “Estoy enfermo” means “I am sick.” Remember to change the ending of the adjective to match your gender if necessary. If you are female, you would say “Estoy enferma.”
  2. Indispuesto(a): This is another formal way to say “sick” in Spanish. It can be used to describe a generic feeling of being unwell or indisposed. For instance, “Me siento indispuesto” means “I feel sick.” Like with “enfermo,” you should modify the ending based on your gender.
  3. Afectado(a): Although less common, “afectado” is a formal way to express you’re “sick” in a more serious sense, as if you’re affected by a specific condition. It’s often used in medical or technical contexts. For example, “El paciente está afectado” means “The patient is sick.”

Informal Ways to Say “Sick” in Spanish

When you’re in a casual setting or talking to your friends or family, you can opt for less formal ways to say “sick” in Spanish. Here are some informal expressions:

  1. Malito(a): This is a diminutive form of “mal” (meaning “bad”) and is widely used among friends or family. For instance, “Me siento malito” translates to “I feel sick.”
  2. Pachucho(a): This colloquial term, typically used in Spain, is similar to “malito(a).” It denotes a feeling of being unwell. You might say, “Estoy pachucho” to mean “I’m feeling sick.”
  3. Empachado(a): This term is used to describe feeling sick after overeating or having an upset stomach due to excessive consumption. For example, “Ay, comí demasiado. Estoy empachado” means “Oh, I ate too much. I feel sick.”

Regional Variations

Throughout the Spanish-speaking world, variations in vocabulary and expressions can be observed. While the previously mentioned terms are widely understood, it’s important to note that some regions might have their own unique way of expressing “sick.” Here are a few regional variations:

Argentina: In Argentina, the term “enfermo” is commonly replaced with “enfermito(a)” to convey a more casual and friendly feeling of being sick. For instance, “Hoy no puedo ir, me siento enfermita” translates to “I can’t go today, I feel sick.”

Mexico: In Mexico, you might hear the word “chueco(a)” to describe feeling sick, mainly in colloquial and informal contexts. For example, “No puedo salir hoy, me siento chueca” means “I can’t go out today, I feel sick.”

Colombia: In some parts of Colombia, people might use the word “descosido(a)” to express feeling sick or unwell. For instance, “No me encuentro bien, me siento descosida” translates to “I don’t feel good, I feel sick.”

Tips and Examples

Now that you know the different ways to say “sick” in Spanish, here are some additional tips and examples to help you use these expressions effectively:

  • Pay attention to context: Always adapt your choice of term based on the formality of the situation. The appropriate word varies depending on the context and the relationship with the person you’re talking to.
  • Use body language: When expressing that you’re sick, consider using non-verbal cues such as holding your stomach or head or making pained facial expressions. This can help convey your discomfort effectively, even if your Spanish is still a work in progress.
  • Practice pronunciation: To be understood more easily, listen to native Spanish speakers pronounce these words. Pay attention to the accent and intonation to improve your fluency in expressing the concept of feeling sick.
  • Combine phrases with verbs: To be more precise, you can combine the phrases mentioned earlier with verbs such as “sentir” (to feel) or “estar” (to be). For instance, “Me siento enfermo” means “I feel sick,” and “Estoy indispuesto” means “I am sick.”

With these tips and examples, you’re well on your way to effectively expressing “sick” in Spanish!

¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)

Written by Chelsea Kristina

¡Hola! I'm Chelsea, your go-to for all things Spanish language. With a love for linguistics and a passion for teaching, I've been helping those around me navigate Spanish's formal and informal phrases. I have an unusual hobby of finding the diverse ways to say things like "blort" and "boop" or even"zoomies"! Balancing my language obsession is cooking, with garlic paste and cranberries being my favourite ingredients. When I'm not busy teaching or cooking up a culinary storm, I have my nose buried in a history book or pampering my pet horse with delicious hay. ¡Hasta Luego!

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