When learning Spanish, one of the most overlooked vocabulary topics is adjectives to describe someone. Since this is one of the first lessons that beginners learn, people assume that Spanish adjectives to describe a person are just the means by which to practice conjugations.
And that’s partially true: as a beginner, this is a great way to practice conjugations and acquire vocabulary. However, in the long run, this information is really useful since you’ll need to describe someone in Spanish more often than you think.
For that reason, in this article, I’ve compiled a list of common Spanish words to describe people.
To make things easier I’ve divided them into adjectives of personality and physical appearance. I’ve also included examples, phrase structures, and rules that will help you apply these words properly.
By the end of this, you’ll be able to perfectly describe someone in Spanish.
Adjectives to Describe a Person Physically
Here are some of the most common adjectives to describe someone physically in Spanish. This set of adjectives is meant to talk about a person’s general appearance.
|Atlético||Buff / Toned|
|Blanco/a||White / Light-skinned|
|Guapo/a||Good-looking / Handsome|
|Menudo/a||Petite / Small|
|Moreno/a||Dark-skinned / Brunette|
|Pelirrojo/a||Redhead / Red-haired|
|Pequeño/a||Small / Tiny|
Since these Spanish adjectives describe physical characteristics, they work with the verb ‘ser’. Here is how you use these words to describe people.
[Subject] + [‘ser’ conjugated’] + (adv/adj) + [adjective]
Saúl es pequeño y musculoso.
Saul is short and muscular.
El novia de Georgina es muy guapo.
Georgina’s boyfriend is very handsome.
Mis compañeras son altas, delgadas y bonitas.
My classmates are tall, skinny, and pretty.
Tus primas no son pelirrojas.
Your cousins are not red-haired.
Kelly es un poco gordita.
Kelly is a bit chubby.
Notice that you can add adverbs or more adjectives to emphasize or soften the qualities that you’re describing (examples #2 and #4). Additionally, you could also use a diminutive as a way to soften the adjective that you’re using.
Take Note: In the context of describing people, it’s also very common to share your opinion about a person’s appearance. To do this, you can use verbs like hacer and parecer which in this context mean ‘to seem’ or ‘to look’.
[Indirect object pronoun] + [verb conjugated] + [adjetive]
Luisa me parece bastante guapa.
Luisa seems very pretty to me.
Joe se me hizo muy alto.
Joe looks very tall to me.
Adjectives to describe your body in Spanish
There is another set of adjectives that you can use to describe body parts in Spanish. Here are some of the most common words that you can use in this context. If you want to give more accurate descriptions, you should also learn some Spanish colors.
|Castaño||Brown / Chestnut|
|Chino / Rizado||Curly|
|Espeso/a||Thick / Dense|
|Fino/a||Fine / Thin|
|Pequeño/a||Small / Tiny|
|Torcida||Crooked / Bend|
When describing your body in Spanish, you’ll use the verb tener. Below are some phrase structures that you can use in this situation.
[Subject] + [‘tener’ conjugated] + [body part] + [adjective]
Kim tiene ojos grandes y negros.
Kim has big black eyes.
Sammy y Patty tiene manos pequeñas.
Sammy and Patty have small hands.
El muchacho tenía cabello largo y lacio.
The boy had long and straight hair.
As a second option, you could also use the verb ser with Spanish adjectives to describe someone’s body. But, notice that, in this situation, your structure will need to use possessive adjectives or prepositions to express possession.
[Determiner] + [body part(s)] + [‘ser’ conjugated] + [adjective]
Mis piernas son cortas y delgadas.
My legs are short and thin.
Las manos de Oliver no son suaves.
Oliver’s hands aren’t soft.
Su cabello es chino y pelirrojo.
Her hair is curly and red.
Of course, if you want to provide a more detailed description of yourself or others in Spanish, you can combine all previous structures.
Matt es bajito y musculoso. Tiene ojos azules y cabello güero.
Matt is short and beefed. He has blue eyes and blond hair.
Anna es morena. Su cabello es corto y ondulado.
Anna is brunette. Her hair is short and wavy.
Spanish Adjectives to Describe Someone’s Personality
When describing someone in Spanish you can also talk about the different characteristics of their personality. For that reason, in the following tables, you’ll find common Spanish words that you can use to describe someone’s personality.
Make sure you check the examples and the phrase structures so you know how to apply these adjectives correctly.
Adjectives to describe a good person in Spanish
|Agradable||Agreeable / Kind|
|Alegre||Happy / Cheerful|
|Atrevido/a||Bold / Daring|
|Bueno/a||Good / Nice|
|Chistoso/a||Funny / Amusing|
|Confiable||Reliable / Trustworthy|
|Gracioso/a||Amusing / Funny|
|Inteligente||Smart / Intelligent|
|Listo/a||Clever / Smart|
|Práctico/a||Practical / Realistic|
|Ocurrente||Witty / Clever|
|Simpático/a||Agreeable / Likeable|
|Tierno/a||Affectionate / Tender|
Adjectives to describe unattractive or negative qualities about a person in Spanish
|Aprovechado/a||Freeloading / Opportunist|
|Celoso/a||Jealous / Possessive|
|Coqueto/a||Flirty / Flirtatious|
|Descuidado/a||Sloppy / Careless|
|Enojón/a||Grumpy / Grouchy|
|Exigente||Demanding / Strict|
|Grosero/a||Rude / Mean|
|Malo/a||Bad / Wicked / Mean|
|Presumido/a||Boastful / Arrogant|
|Rebelde||Rebellious / Rebel|
|Serio/a||Stiff / Serious|
When using Spanish adjectives to describe personality, you can use the verb ser and the words that you need to describe that person. Here is how you do it:
[Subject] + [‘ser’ conjugated] + (adv) + [adjective]
El chico nuevo es tímido, pero muy amable.
The new kid is shy but very nice.
La neta, tus amigos son muy pesados.
To be honest, your friends are too annoying.
Este personaje es muy ocurrente y divertido.
This character is very witty and funny.
In this context, you can also provide your opinion or perception about someone’s personality. This is very useful if you’re still knowing this person. Here are some examples of how to do it. Notice that, in this case, the verb is conjugated based on the person that you’re referring to.
[Person] + [indirect object pronoun] + [‘parecer’ conjugated] + [adjective]
Ryan Reyndols me parece muy gracioso.
To me, Ryan Reynolds seems very funny.
Tu novio nos parece arrogante y grosero.
To us, your boyfriend seems arrogant and rude.
Las chicas nuevas me parecieron muy simpáticas.
The new girls seemed very nice to me.
How to Use Descriptive Adjectives in Spanish
In Spanish, descriptive adjectives need to agree in gender and number with the person that they are describing. Additionally, when talking about personality traits or general appearance, these words work with the verb ‘ser’. ‘Tener’ is used when describing body parts.
As you may already know, adjectives need to reflect the gender and number (feminine, masculine, plural, or singular) of the person that you’re describing. So, for example:
Claudia y Patty son muy aburridas.
Claudia and Patty are so boring.
John no es aburrido, de hecho, es muy ocurrente.
John is not boring, in fact, he’s very funny.
Notice that with adjectives that end with an ‘-e’, ‘-ista’ or a consonant, you don’t need to change the gender.
A veces, Pam es cruel y poco paciente.
Sometimes, Pam is cruel and not patient at all.
Este maestro es muy exigente.
This teacher is very strict.
Now that you know how these words work and what adjectives can you use to describe both physical appearance and personality, you can combine this vocabulary to provide a detailed description of yourself or others. Here is a small example:
Sally es baja, delgada y muy simpática. Tiene cabello largo y ondulado.
Sally is short, thin and very nice. She has long and wavy hair.
Notice that just like in English, if you want to use more than one Spanish adjective, you only need to conjugate the verb once. Then, you just need to list as many adjectives as you need.
Although it might seem like a small part of a conversation, learning adjectives to describe people in Spanish is really useful. Trust me, you want to learn this vocabulary! Otherwise, how are you going to describe your crush or the funny character on the TV show that you’re watching? We need details!
Jokes aside, there are many situations where you need to be able to describe people. For that reason, in this article, I’ve included some of the most common Spanish adjectives that you need to describe someone. Here are some key points to remember:
- Ser is used to describe someone’s general appearance and personality.
- Tener describes body parts. In this context, you can use ‘ser’ but your sentence needs to express possession.
- Parecer is used to provide your opinion or perspective about someone’s personality or physical appearance.
- Spanish adjectives need to match the gender and number of the person described.
- Adjectives that end with ‘-e’, ‘-ista’ or a consonant don’t have a gender. Some examples include optimista, cruel, noble, etc.
Now, you’re ready to use adjectives to describe people in Spanish! ¡Buena suerte!