50 Italian Words that Sound like Spanish

Spanish and Italian are Romance languages which means that share the same roots and developed out of the ancient Latin language. Along with French and Portuguese, these languages share much of the same lexicon.

However, in many cases, the meaning of these words can be different, so it’s important not to allow yourself to be misled by their apparent similarities. Here are 50 Spanish and Italian words that look and sound the same, or almost the same, but may or may not have the same meaning.

italian words that sound like spanish

Italian words that look and sound like Spanish

1. Vergogna vs Vergüenza 

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

These two words have the same meaning and in English can be translated as shame.

  • Non provi un po’ di vergogna per quello che hai fatto?
  • ¿No sientes vergüenza por lo que hiciste?
  • Don’t you feel any shame for what you did?

2. Vino

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

The divine beverage of Bacchus and the most loved drink in ancient Rome, wine can be translated with a single word in both Italian and Spanish.

  • Il vino è il nettare degli dei.
  • El vino es el néctar de los dioses.
  • Wine is the nectar of the gods.

3. Uva

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • L’uva matura viene trasformata in vino.
  • Las uvas maduras se transforman en vino.
  • Ripe grapes are transformed into wine.

4. Tè verde vs Té verde

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Mi piace bere il tè verde.
  • Me gusto tomar el té verde.
  • I like drinking green tea.

5. Caffè vs café

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Non bevo mai il caffè.
  • Nunca tomo café.
  • I never drink coffee.

6. Miele vs miel

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • A Gianni piace tanto il miele.
  • A John le gusta mucho la miel.
  • John likes honey a lot.

7. Pane vs pan

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Il costo del pane è aumentato tanto.
  • El precio del pan ha aumentado mucho.
  • The price of bread has increased a lot.

8. Cioccolato vs chocolate

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Il cioccolato fondente è molto buono.
  • El chocolate negro es muy bueno.
  • Dark chocolate is very good.

9. Pollo

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

In this case, although the word means the same thing, the double -ll is read differently in the two languages. Indeed, in Italian the double l is pronounced as a longer l whereas in Spanish the pronunciation of the same word is /’po ʎ o/. To better understand this, difference check out our article about the differences between Spanish and Italian.

  • Non mangio il pollo perché sono vegetariano.
  • No como pollo porque soy vegetariano.
  • I don’t eat chicken because I’m a vegetarian.

10. Salmone vs Salmón

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Il salmone nuota nel fiume.
  • El salmón nada en el río.
  • The salmon swims in the river.

11. Patata

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • La patata è un tubero.
  • La patata es un tubérculo.
  • The potato is a tuber.

12. Balena vs Ballena

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • La balena è l’animale più grande al mondo.
  • La ballena es el animal más grande del mundo.
  • The whale is the biggest animal in the world.

13. Elefante

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • L’elefante indiano è più piccolo di quello africano.
  • El elefante indio es más pequeño que el africano.
  • The Indian elephant is smaller than the African one.

14. Gallo

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Ho visto un gallo nel giardino di Enrico.
  • Vi un gallo en el jardín de Enrico.
  • I saw a rooster in Enrico’s garden.

15. Gallina

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • La gallina ha deposto un uovo.
  • La gallina puso un huevo.
  • The hen laid an egg.

16. Cavallo vs caballo

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Andare a cavallo può essere pericoloso.
  • Montar a caballo puede ser peligroso.
  • Riding a horse can be dangerous.

17. Toro

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • In Spagna il toro è un simbolo nazionale.
  • En España el toro es un símbolo nacional.
  • In Spain the bull is a national symbol.

18. Foca

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • La foca si riposa sulla spiaggia.
  • La foca descansa en la playa.
  • The seal rests on the beach.

19. Gatto vs gato

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Il gatto persiano è un animale stupendo.
  • El gato persa es un animal increíble.
  • The Persian cat is an amazing animal.

20. Vacca vs vaca

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Mia nonna aveva una vacca quando viveva in campagna.
  • Mi abuela tenía una vaca cuando vivía en el campo.
  • My grandmother had a cow when she lived in the country.

21. Fotografo vs Fotógrafo

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Dobbiamo trovare un buon fotografo per il matrimonio.
  • Debemos encontrar un buen fotógrafo para la boda.
  • We must find a good photographer for the wedding.

22. Cantante

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Il cantante dei Maneskin è proprio figo.
  • El cantante de Maneskin es realmente genial.
  • The singer of Maneskin is really cool.

23. Egoista vs Egoísta

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Quell’uomo è davvero egoista, pensa solo a sé stesso.
  • Ese hombre es tan egoísta que sólo piensa en sí mismo.
  • That man is such an egoist, he only thinks of himself.

24. Lento

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • La testuggine è un animale molto lento.
  • La tortuga es un animal muy lento.
  • The tortoise is a very slow animal.

25. Fresco

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • La mozzarella è fresca, l’ho comprata oggi stesso.
  • El queso mozzarella es fresco. Lo compré hoy.
  • The mozzarella cheese is fresh, I bought it today.

26. Duro

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Il dolce si è bruciato in forno ed è diventato duro come una pietra.
  • El pastel se quemó en el horno y se volvió tan duro como una roca.
  • The cake got burnt in the oven and became as hard as rock.

27. Triste

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • È così triste che Antonio abbia perso il lavoro.
  • Es muy triste que Antonio haya perdido su trabajo.
  • It’s so sad that Antonio lost his job.

28. Timido vs Tímido

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Quel bambino era veramente timido.
  • Ese chico era muy tímido.
  • That boy was really shy.

29. Serio

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

  • Il padre di John crede che questo sia un problema piuttosto serio.
  • El padre de John cree que esto es un problema bastante serio.
  • John’s father believes this to be quite a serious problem.

Spanish and Italian False Friends

30. Burro

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

This word can trip you up, especially at mealtime. In Italy, when you are sitting at the table, you can ask for some butter by saying: Posso avere del burro per favore? (May I have some butter please?). However, in Spain, burro means donkey, so keep that in mind if you don’t want the waiter to think you’ve lost your mind.


31. Caldo

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

This word in Spanish means broth, as in the kind of soup eaten during the cold season. In Italian, on the other hand, it is an adjective used to describe something warm or hot.


32. Camino

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

This is the Italian word for chimney, which in Spanish is chimenea. In Spain, camino means path, way, little street, direction or track. Both have the same spelling but refer to pretty different things.


33. Carta

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

Another cognate word is carta, which in Italian refers to a material derived from trees: paper, or just a sheet of paper. In Spanish, on the other hand, this term is used for both the mail and a menu. A curiosity for tourists: in Spain the daily menu in restaurants is called the same as in English, menu. But the fixed one is the carta.


34. Cura

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

The difference in meaning of this word is huge. While in Italy it indicates a treatment or a remedy to help one heal from a virus or a sickness, in Spain, cura means priest, the clergyman who performs religious ceremonies.


35. Largo

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

This word is pretty misleading, especially for native speakers who use this term daily. Largo in Italian means wide or large, which in Spanish translates as ancho. In Spain, largo means long which in Italian is lungo.


36. Pelo

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

This term means hair in Spanish while in Italian it refers to body hair. For this reason, if you want to have your hair cut in Italy, remember to say capelli and not peli. Otherwise, they will wax your body hair.


37. Pronto

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

This is the word used in Spain to say soon or early. It means ready for Italians and it’s also used to express the readiness of a service, as in the word pronto soccorso (emergency room).


38. Topo

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

This word in both languages indicates an animal. But in Italy it refers to a mouse, while in Spain it means mole.


39. Rata

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

Although the word is written the same way in the two languages, this term in Italy is a noun that means instalment. On the other hand, rata in Spanish is rat, the filthy rodent that lives in city.


40. Vaso

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

Vaso in Spanish means glass. You can ask for a glass of water saying: un vaso de agua por favor! In Italy however it indicates a vase or a pot in which you keep plants or flowers.


41. Ciao

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

In this case, the meaning is the same. What varies between the two languages is that in Spanish you use it only to say goodbye. In Italy, by comparison, ciao is the universal way to say hello and goodbye.


Spanish and Italian words that look similar, but have a different meaning

Lastly, we have a list of Italian and Spanish words that, unlike the previous terms, show some variation in spelling, but phonetically sound nearly identical.

42. Aceto vs Aceite

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

These two words may look alike, but the first one is the Italian term for vinegar, while in Spanish, aceite is oil, such as olive oil: aceite de oliva. Vinagre is the Spanish word for vinegar.


43. Camera vs Cámara 

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

Although these words may seem identical, given that the spelling is the same except for the vowel in the second syllable and the accent on the a, one shouldn’t assume they have the same meaning in both languages. The Italian word camera indicates a room. It can be any kind of room such as a hotel room (camera d’albergo) but also a bathroom or bedroom: camera da bagno and camera da letto. In Spanish, cámara means camera, as in the photographic device.


44. Contestare vs Contestar

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

The Italian word, contestare, means to challenge or to contest. This is a verb in Spanish too, but in the Iberic peninsula it indicates the act of answering to something. Mostly, it is used to say that you answer an email (contestar a la carta), the phone (contestar al teléfono) or the intercom (contestar al intercomunicador).


45. Equipaggio vs Equipaje

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

Equipaggio in Italian means a crew of professionals that work on a ship or the cabin crew (equipaggio di bordo) on an airplane. Equipaje in Spanish indicates a suitcase, baggage or luggage.


46. Guardare vs Guardar

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

In Spain, guardar means to secure and to put something in a safe place. While guardare in Italian indicates the action of seeing or looking at someone or something. 


47. Imbarazzata vs Embarazada

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

Some years ago, a very famous Italian singer, Laura Pausini, fell into this trap while taking part in an interview in Spanish. She used the word embarazada, which in Spain means pregnant, trying to say what in Italian is to be embarrassedimbarazzata. You can imagine what a huge stir it generated at the moment. Afterwards she was told about the mistake and had to clear up the confusion.


48. Officina vs Oficina

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

This is a common mistake among native speakers. In Italian officina is a workshop or a garage, generally related to the automotive industry. In Spanish, oficina is a work office.


49. Salire vs Salir

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

These two words are similar in pronunciation yet very different in meaning. Salire in Italian means to go up or to climb to the top of a mountain or staircase. In Spanish salir means to go out to do something.


50. Subire vs Subir

Spanish audio:

Italian audio:

Finally, let’s end this massive list with these two words. The first one, subire, in Italian means to suffer, to undergo, to experience something unpleasant. By contrast, subir in Spanish means to go up or to climb, like the verb salire in Italian.

About the author: Fabio Guarino

As a Linguist and Language Specialist, working as a Freelance Content Writer and SEO Marketer allows me to combine my passions and interests with my career. My favourite thing about working with languages is playing with words. And this is something I’ve always dreamed about since I started to wander the globe and study languages.


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