What is cold and hot in Spain?

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What is cold and hot in Spain?

Leer en español

Let’s talk about the weather, which has no special word in Spanish (tiempo also stands for time). People talk about the weather everywhere – in the elevator, in the park, at work – so we need to do it correctly.

The Spanish calor begins only after + 25°C, and once reaching + 35°C, it is mucho calor. Everything below + 15°C is called frío, and below + 5°C – mucho frío.

So how do you say “It’s warm today, twelve degrees!”, which can often be the case in the USA or Britain? The best way for the Spanish is to say...

It’s warm today, twelve degrees = Hoy no hace frío, hace 12 grados / Hoy hace fresco

The body temperature naturally does not follow these rules: if you’re cold, you’re cold and that’s it. In Spanish, the notion “I’m cold/hot” is expressed with the verb tener:

Tengo frío = I’m cold
Tengo calor = I’m hot

Again, “I’m warm/OK” you have to say in a different way:

No tengo frío / Estoy bien = I’m warm / I’m OK

If you’re a cold-sensitive person, you can say soy friolero(a), and vice versa – soy caluroso(a).

Speaking of the temperature of objects, there are the following levels of temperature:

hot – caliente
warm – (with climate and food) templado
room temperature – del tiempo
lukewarm – tibio
cold – frío
freezing – helado

The word tibio is hardly used. In fact, it refers to the lack of warmth, and is used only with objects, as in:

¡Este café está tibio! = The coffee is not enough hot!

Anyway, never use it referring to weather.

The word caliente referring to people usually means “cross, angry”:

Vengo caliente del trabajo = I came from work very angry

In a certain context it can mean 'sexually active’, ‘hot-blooded’:

Los latinos son muy calientes – Latinos are very hot/passionate

In addition, we can say that “warm clothes” can be translated as ropa calentita, but more often it is translated as abrigado or que abriga:

Este jersey abriga mucho = This sweater is very warm

Abrígate bien, que hace frío = Warm up, because it's cold

Ponte algo abrigadito, que hace frío = Put on something warm, because it's cold

Speaking of the climate, the word templado can mean “moderate/mild”. “Hot” climate should be translated as clima cálido. The word cálido should be used when referring to weather, but it can be used metaphorically:

un encuentro cálido = a warm encounter

un ambiente cálido = a warm atmosphere

The more colloquial synonym of this word – caluroso means that something makes you hot: un verano caluroso, un pueblo caluroso, un tiempo caluroso...

Finally, the word fresco is the most curious. Used with weather it means "that makes you a little bit cold". However, with food, means "recently made", and with people, "be shameless".


weather, summer
hot (formal)
hot (informal)
little bit cold
lukewarm, not enough hot
recently made
moderate / mild
little bit cold
warm, emotional
cross, angry
who feel hot

Autor/a Георгий Нуждин, Анна Школьник

  • 1. ¿Correcto o incorrecto?
  • habitación templada
    chico caliente
    chica calurosa
    café templado
    día caluroso
    tiempo tibio
    clima templado
    café cálido
    persona fresca
    clima caliente
    leche fresca

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  • 2. Selecciona la palabra adecuada:
  • Mi hermana es muy , pasa frío incluso en verano. Mi madre, en cambio, es muy .

    ¿Cómo quiere el café? ¿Con leche fría, caliente o ?

    Hoy hace , el termómetro marca 18 grados y hace mucho viento.

    Se espera un verano en Andalucía y en Cantabria.

    ¡Siempre me traes la sopa , aunque sabes muy bien que me gusta .

    El alcalde dio una bienvenida a los invitados.

    Este chico es un , siempre pretende conseguir algo a costa de los demás.

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