Being able to communicate that you’re hungry in any language is essential, but since it can be done in many ways, it’s necessary to understand how to express it depending on the situation. Because of this, I will show you 6 common ways to say ‘I’m hungry in Spanish’.
There are different expressions you can use to say that you are hungry in Spanish:
- Tengo hambre
- Me muero de hambre
- Estoy hambriento
- Quiero comer algo
- Me rugen las tripas
- Me comería una vaca entera
Notice that some of these phrases are standard and others are suitable for informal settings.
Mastering how to say that you’re hungry in Spanish will save you a lot of trouble. So, in the sections below, you’ll find information about how and when to use these expressions, with the help of phrase structures and more in-depth explanations.
1. Tengo hambre – I’m hungry
The standard way of saying that you’re hungry in Spanish is tengo hambre, which translates as “I’m hungry”. As you can see, in this context, we don’t use the verb ‘ser’ or ‘to be’ like in English. Instead, we use ‘tener’.
Consider that while this phrase is standard, it may be too straightforward. So, it’s better if you only use it with people that are close to you, otherwise it might come off as rude.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can add adverbs like ‘poco’ and ‘mucho’ to indicate how hungry a person is.
(Noun) + ‘tener’ conjugated + (adverb) + hambre
Mamá, tengo mucha hambre.
Mom, I’m very hungry.
¿Tienes hambre? Podemos pedir pizza.
Are you hungry? We can order pizza.
Pásame ese biberón, creo que Emma tiene hambre.
Pass me that bottle, I think Emma is hungry.
Ayer tenía tanta hambre que casi me desmayo.
Yesterday I was so hungry I almost passed out.
Take Note: Many people think that tener hambre is an idiomatic expression with ‘tener’. However, talking about emotions and physical conditions is just a standard use of this verb. So, don’t be surprised if you hear phrases like ‘tener’ sueño’ and ‘tener frío’.
2. Me muero de hambre – I’m starving
If you want to express that you’re so hungry you’re about to die, you can use the expression me muero de hambre, which means “I’m starving”. This is an informal expression that you can use if you want to sound a bit dramatic.
(Noun + [reflexive pronoun] + ‘morir’ conjugated’ + de hambre
Nos morimos de hambre.
No he comido en 7 horas, me muero de hambre.
I haven’t eaten in 7 hours, I’m starving.
Laura se muere de hambre, ¿tienes algo en el refri?
Laura is starving, do you have anything in the fridge?
3. Estoy hambriento – I’m famished
Technically, the literal translation of estoy hambriento would be “I’m hungry”. However, ‘estar hambriento’ is more intense in Spanish, so it’s closer in meaning to “I’m famished”. Since this is a formal expression, you may hear it in more formal environments.
Keep in mind that ‘hambriento’ is an adjective, so it has to match the number and gender of the people you’re talking about.
(Noun) + ‘estar’ conjugated + (adverb) + hambriento
¿Están hambrientos? Tomen lo que quieras
Are you hungry? Take whatever you want.
Estoy muy hambriento, necesito comer algo.
I’m very hungry, I need to eat something.
La niña está hambrienta, le voy a hacer un sándwich.
The child is hungry. I’m going to make her a sandwich.
A more formal variation for this expression would be estoy famélico, which is the direct translation of “I’m famished”. Consider that ‘estoy famélico’ sounds extremely formal and sophisticated, so it’s not common in daily conversations.
4. Quiero comer algo – I want something to eat
Another casual way to say that you’re hungry in Spanish is quiero comer algo. Notice that this phrase can be used if you’re not hungry, so you can say it even if you’re just craving something tasty. As a result, you can add adjectives after ‘algo’ to specify what kind of food you want.
‘Querer’ conjugated + comer algo + (complement)
¿Quieres comer algo? Tengo pasta.
Do you want something to eat? I have pasta.
Desde ayer quiero comer algo dulce.
I’ve been wanting to eat something sweet since yesterday
No desayuné bien, quiero comer algo.
I didn’t have a good breakfast, I want to eat something.
5. Me rugen las tripas – My stomach is growling
Me rugen las tripas is a very informal way of expressing that you’re starving. It’s a funny and dramatic way of saying that your stomach is starting to make sounds because of how hungry you are. It can be translated as ‘my stomach is growling’.
[Indirect object pronoun] + ‘rugir’ conjugated + las tripas + [complement]
Me rugen las tripas, vamos a comer.
My stomach is growling, let’s go eat.
Se nota que tienes hambre, te rugen las tripas.
It seems that you are hungry, your guts are roaring.
Nos rugen las tripas, hay que pedir algo.
Our stomachs are growling, let’s order something to eat.
6. Me comería una vaca entera – I could eat a whole cow
Another phrase that you can use to communicate that you’re really hungry in a funny way is me comería una vaca entera which means ‘I could eat a whole cow’. You can apply this phrase in informal settings and it can also be used as a response when someone asks you if you’re hungry.
Another option is the full expression tengo tanta hambre que me comería una vaca or ‘I’m so hungry I could eat a whole cow’.
[Reflexive pronoun] + ‘comer’ in conditional tense + una vaca entera
Si pudiéramos, nos comeríamos una vaca entera.
If we could, we would eat a whole cow.
Nunca había tenido tanta hambre. Me comería una vaca entera.
I’ve never been so hungry. I could eat a whole cow.
En estos momentos podría comer cualquier cosa, me comería una vaca entera.
Right now I could eat anything, I could eat a whole cow.
You could also use the variation me comería un caballo or ‘I could eat a horse’.
Estoy tan hambrienta que me comería un caballo.
I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.
In this article, we learned 6 different ways of expressing that you’re hungry in Spanish. Now, you know standard phrases that you can use anywhere, no matter if you’re in a formal or informal setting, but we also learned some expressions that sound funny and you can use with your friends or family.
So, if you’re ever hungry in a Spanish-speaking country, don’t worry, with this new set of phrases, you’ll be able to get yourself something delicious.