11 Stupendous Ways to Say ‘stupid’ in Spanish

Mastering a new language is all about learning a variety of ways to express similar but nuanced ideas. I mean, just think about all the different synonyms we have for most words / concepts in English (yep, the mind boggles!).

In Spanish, for example, calling someone ‘bobo’ is VERY different from calling them an ‘idiota’ … and, well, it’s pretty important to know the difference!

With that in mind, this list of 12 different ways to say ‘stupid’ in Spanish is sure to come in handy AND will hopefully help you navigate some tricky situations.

Let’s dive into it!

1 Estúpido / Estúpida – Stupid

The literal translation of ‘stupid’ in Spanish is ‘estúpido’ (or ‘estúpida’).

Stupid’ / ‘estúpido’ are good examples of words that share the same linguistic root. In this particular case, both derive from the Latin ‘stupidus’, which literally means ‘struck senseless’.

If you don’t take anything else from this article, at least you’ve learned a fun fact!

Lucio – ¡Qué estúpido! Dejé el celular en el restaurante.

Grecia – Oye, no te digas así; ahorita regresamos a buscarlo.

Lucio – I’m so stupid! I left my cell phone in the restaurant.

Grecia – Hey, don’t say that; we’ll go back and look for it.

2 Tonto / Tonta – Dumb / Silly

‘Tonto’ (or ‘tonta) translates as ‘silly’ or ‘dumb’, and it’s a somewhat gentler version of ‘estúpido’.

Madre – ¿Dónde está tu lonchera?

Hija – No sé…

Madre – No te hagas la tonta…cuéntame, ¿la perdiste?

Mother – Where’s your lunch box?

Daughter – I don’t know …

Mother – Don’t play dumb … tell me the truth, did you lose it?

3 Imbécil – Imbecile

‘Imbecile’ translates as ‘imbécil’ in Spanish, and it’s a very common (albeit hurtful) way of saying ‘stupid’ across the Spanish-speaking world.

Mira nada más, a ese imbécil pasándose la luz roja. ¡Casi atropella a un peatón!

Just look at that jerk running the red light. He almost hit a pedestrian!

4 Bobo / Boba – Silly

Looking for a cute alternative?

‘Bobo’ comes from the Latin ‘balbus’, which means ‘stammering’, and besides being a fun word to pronounce (‘boh-boh’), it’s also used to describe someone who’s acting in a ‘silly’ or ‘goofy’ way.

José – A ver, dime, ¿qué le dijo un gusano a otro?

Nadia – No sé, ¿qué le dijo?

José – ¡Me voy a dar la vuelta a la manzana!

Nadia – ¡Qué bobo eres de veras!

José – Hey, what did one worm say to the other?

Nadia – Dunno, what did it say?

José – I’m gonna take a walk around the apple*!

Nadia – Honestly, you’re so silly!

*Erika’s note – In Spanish, ‘manzana’ means both ‘apple’ and ‘street block’, and this is actually a great example of one of many popular Mexican jokes!

5 Baboso / Babosa – Silly

‘Baboso’ is an adjective used to describe someone ‘who drools a lot’, BUT it’s also another fun (and, for the most part, inoffensive) way to say ‘silly’ or ‘dumb’ (think ‘silly sausage’ or ‘dingbat’).

Un chico juega en el pasillo de la escuela, se tropieza y empuja a una chica

Mariana – ¡Baboso, fíjate por dónde caminas!

Fer – Jaja, así camino yo, ¿cómo ves?

A boy plays in the school hallway, trips and pushes a girl

Mariana – You dingbat, watch where you walk!

Fer – Haha, that’s how I walk, how about that?

6 Bruto / Bruta – Stupid

The literal translation of this word would be ‘brute’.

The Spanish version isn’t used quite in the same way though: ‘bruto’ normally refers to a ‘stupid’ person rather than someone who’s rough and violent (as it does in English)!

¡No seas bruto; esa puerta no se jala…la tienes que empujar!

Don’t be stupid; you can’t pull that door … you have to push it!

7 Güey / Wey (Mexico) – Idiot

Does this word sound familiar?

Yeah, you’ve probably heard it when chatting with your Mexican pals!

‘Güey’ (or ‘wey’) is an extremely popular way to say ‘dude’, ‘bro’ or ‘pal’ in Mexico … but you probably didn’t know that it´s actually derived from the word ‘buey’ (or ‘ox’ in English).

As such, ‘güey’ can also be used to mean ‘slow’, ‘clumsy’ and ‘dumb’!

¡Ay, estoy bien güey! Olvidé la tarea…

Oh, I’m such an idiot! I forgot my homework …

8 Burro / Burra – Dumb

Speaking of animals with a bad reputation, we have ‘burro’ (‘donkey’ or ‘ass’) which is another extremely common way of calling someone ‘dumb’.

It’s not particularly offensive, so don’t be surprised if you hear it used amongst children, friends, and relatives.

Niño – ¡Ya no quiero estudiar, mamá!

Madre – ¿Quieres que te salgan orejas de burro*?

Niño – ¡Nooo!

Madre – Entonces venga; ya casi acabas.

Boy – I don’t want to study anymore, mom!

Mother – So you wanna be a donkey?

Boy – Noooo!

Mother – Then get on with it; you’re almost done.

*Erika’s top tip – ‘que te salgan orejas de burro’ literally means ‘to grow donkey’s ears’ and the implication is that you’re gonna inherit the donkey’s intellect too.

9 Zoquete – Blockhead

A ‘zoquete’ is ‘a short, thick piece of wood left over from carving or using a log’, so quite literally a ‘blockhead’ in English!

Hugo – ¿Vas a invitar al zoquete aquel a la fiesta?

Lester – ¿Te refieres a Pablo? No es tan tonto como crees.

Hugo – Are you going to invite that blockhead to the party?

Lester – Do you mean Pablo? He’s not as dumb as you think.

10 Cabezón / Cabezona – Pighead

‘Cabezón’ (or ‘cabezona’) is used to describe someone who has a large head.

It’s kinda like the English expression ‘pighead’, and it shares both its connotations too (i.e., ‘stubborn’ and ‘foolish’).

Un par de amigos no encuentran la locación de una fiesta

¡No seas cabezón! Hazme caso y pregunta por la dirección.

A couple of friends can’t find the party they’re going to

Don’t be stubborn! Listen to me and ask for the address.

11 Menso / Mensa (Latin America) – Fool

Finally, an extremely popular way of calling someone a ‘fool’ or an ‘idiot’ in Latin America is ‘menso’ (masculine) and ‘mensa’ (feminine).

You’ll likely hear this one A LOT!

¡Ay, qué mensa! Dejé mis llaves adentro del coche.

Oh, I’m such an idiot! I left the keys inside the car.

Final thoughts

And there you have it! Of course, I recommend you use the words on this list with caution (you obviously don’t want to hurt anyone’s feeling!).

Oh, and if you wanna continue to level up your Spanish vocab, I suggest you take a look at the popular Mexican expression ‘hacerse wey’.

Spoiler: it’s related to the use of ‘wey’ or ‘güey’ as mentioned above.

¡Nos vemos allá!

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