‘Besitos’ – Meaning / In English

Quick answer – ‘Besitos’ is another way of saying ‘besos’, the Spanish word for ‘kisses’, and you’ll likely hear it more often than you’d expect in Spanish-speaking countries, especially Mexico.

Don’t stop scrolling just yet, though, because this lil’ word can have more than one meaning depending on context!

From greeting your friends / family to learning how to properly drink mezcal, in this article I’m going to explore everything you need to know about ‘besitos’ and more!




Uses / Meanings of ‘besitos’ in Spanish

‘Besitos’ can be used in the following ways –

  • As a greeting or farewell

  • As a synoynm of a ‘sip

  • As a synonym for a ‘light or gentle bump

  • Name of a traditional Mexican candy



As a form of greeting or farewell

In many Hispanic (and some European) countries, kissing as a greeting is part and parcel of the culture. Its use can be traced all the way back to Ancient Rome, and – despite a brief disappearance during the plague, and under the recent COVID-19 restrictions – it remains popular in many countries to this day.

In Mexico, it’s pretty common to greet a friend or acquaintance with one kiss blown into the air while pressing cheek to cheek.*

So, if anyone tells you to give ‘besitos’ to your mom (or another family member) the next time you see her, they’re sending their regards.

You may also find ‘besitos’ at the end of a letter or e-mail, much in the same way you’d affectionately write ‘kisses’ when signing off a letter or text in English.

En un mensaje de audio

Nos vemos la próxima semana, ¿va? ¡Te mando besitos!



In a voice message

I’ll see you next week, ok? Lots of love!


Un youtuber al final de su video

¡Eso es todo por hoy! Suscríbete, y escríbeme en los comentarios. ¡Besitos!



A youtuber at the end of a video

That’s it for today! Please subscribe and comment below. See you next time!


*Erika’s note – if you´re a man, you’ll generally be better off greeting your ‘suegro’ (‘father-in-law’) or ‘amigos’ with a handshake or fist bump.

I also recommend that you check out our article on all the different ways to reply to ‘hola … trust me when I say that you’ll be a veritable greeting king/queen if you do!


As a synonym of a ‘sip

If you’re in the beautiful city of Oaxaca having a mezcal (a traditional Mexican alcoholic beverage) and you drink it as you would a shot, you might well be told to slow down and just ‘dale besitos’ (literally ‘give it small kisses’ in English).

Dale besitos’ is basically an instruction to take small sips so that you can properly taste whatever it is that you´re drinking.

Un oaxaqueño hablando del ritual del mezcal

El mezcal es un destilado que nos conecta con la tierra y la tradición de nuestros ancestros. Así que no vamos a tomarlo todo de un jalón; vamos a disfrutarlo a besitos.



A Oaxacan talking about the ritual of mezcal

Mezcal is a distilled beverage that connects us to the Earth and the traditions of our ancestors. So, we’re not gonna drink it all at once; we’re going to savour it.


As a synonym for a ‘light or gentle bump

If two things bump into each other gently, you can say in Spanish that ‘they gave each other a little kiss’ or ‘se dieron un besito’.

Después de un accidente automovilístico leve

Sara – ¿Te chocaron? ¿Estás bien?

Pedro – Sí, pero fue solo un besito…apenas tiene un raspón.



After a minor car accident

Sara – Did you get hit? Are you ok?

Pedro – Yeah, but it was just a small bump … there’s barely a scratch.


Name of a traditional Mexican candy

If you’re visiting the Mexican city of Puebla, you’ll find dozens of candy shops filled with traditional sweets, such as ‘besitos’; they’re basically small round treats made of ‘dulce de leche’ (a kind of milk caramel similar to toffee).

Other countries like Venezuela, Colombia and Cuba have their own coconut version.

En una tienda de dulces en Puebla

Mujer – Oye, ¿me das unos besitos?

Hombre – …¿Cómo?

Mujer – ¡Sí! ¡Esos dulces de allá!



At a candy shop in Puebla

Woman – Hey, can I have some ‘besitos’?

Man – Excuse me??

Woman – Yeah! Those candies over there!



Muchos besitos’ meaning

Remember ‘besitos’ as a greeting or farewell?

Well, there’s also ‘muchos besitos’, or ‘many little kisses’ in English; it´s just a snappier and more affectionate version of the original.

En una llamada telefónica

¡Bye, Susana! ¡Te mando muchos besitos!



During a phone call

Bye, Susan! Sending you lots of kisses!


Erika’s top tip – if you wanna learn more ways to bid farewell to someone in Spanish, be sure to check out our article on ALL the different ways to respond to ‘adiós.


Besitos’ Pronunciation

‘Besitos’ has three syllables: ‘be’ sounds like the first syllable of ‘better’, ‘si’ is pronounced like the word ‘see’, and ‘tos’ is said like ‘tohs’.

/ beh see tohs /


Similar expressions to ‘besitos

Abrazos

When saying farewell to someone, you can also send ‘abrazos’, which literally translates to ‘hugs’ in English.

¡Te mando abrazos!

Sending you hugs!

Saludos

This one’s the equivalent of the English words ‘greetings’ or ‘regards’.

It’s an extremely common way to sign off a message, and is obviously far less affectionate than ‘besitos’ or ‘abrazos’.

En un correo electrónico

Nos vemos en la junta del lunes. Saludos, Jorge.



In an e-mail

See you at the meeting on Monday. Regards, Jorge.

Besos y abrazos

Why choose between hugs and kisses when you can send both? This one’s very popular in much of Latin America.

¡Mándales besos y abrazos a tus papis!

Send hugs and kisses to your parents!


Final thoughts

Now you know that when someone says ‘besitos’ in Mexico and other Latin America countries, it’s usually not a romantic proposition, but instead just a friendly greeting – or maybe even a delicious candy (if you’re really lucky)!

It’s definitely one of those expressions that demonstrate the warmth of Hispanic culture!

Oh, and definitely check out our article on the pet name mi amor if you still haven’t got your fill of Spanish vocab!

¡Besitos!

Rupert's lived in Mexico for nearly a decade and has been working as a Spanish teacher for even longer (over 10 years now, wow!). He specializes in simple (yet effective) explanations and is a veritable grammar-whizz.

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