Sunday, 12 February 2012


Today's word is: Espalda

Clase: sustantivo (noun)
Género: femenino (feminine)
Origen: latín (Latin)

Related words
la espalda
el guardaespaldas
la guardaespaldas
the bodyguard
el espaldarazo*

In Spanish, the noun 'espalda' is a feminine noun of Latin origin, the main meaning of which is back or shoulder. The noun 'espalda' is often used in Spanish in its plural form 'espaldas'.

The noun 'espalda' is also often used in swimming to refer to backstroke.

A related Spanish word is 'guardaespaldas', a singular noun meaning bodyguard.

Also related is the is the masculine noun 'espaldarazo'* which means acceptance or recognition.

Some commonly used expressions containing the word 'espalda' are:
  • A espaldas de alguien (behind someone's back).
  • Ancho de espaldas (broad-shouldered).
  • Atacar por la espalda ( to attack from behind).
  • Caerse de espaldas (to fall flat on one's back).
  • Dar la espalda (to turn one's back).
  • De espaldas a algo/ alguien (with one's back turned towards something/ someone, ignoring it/ him/ her).
  • Echar algo sobre la espalda de alguien (to put someone in charge of something).
  • Espalda contra espalda (back to back in mutual support).
  • Espalda mojada (wetback/ illegal immigrant).
  • Guardar las espaldas (to protect someone else/ to take refuge for own protection).
  • Los 200** metros espalda (the 200 meters backstroke- swimming competition).
  • Nadar de espalda(s) (to swim backstroke).
  • Por la espalda (by treachery/ by treason/ betrayal).
  • Tenderse de espaldas (to lie down on one's back).
  • Tener buena espalda (to bring good luck-some parts of Latin America).
  • Tener buenas espaldas (to  have strength/ capability to work hard).
  • Tener cubiertas las espaldas (to have ones' back's covered/ to be well protected).
  • Tener guardadas las espaldas (to have ones' back's covered/ to be well protected).
  • Tumbarse de espaldas (to lie down on one's back).
  • Volverse de espaldas (to turn around).

*Literally, the noun 'espaldarazo' refers to the action of knighting someone which used to be accomplished by the making contact with the flat of a sword over the person's shoulder.

**Expression may be adapted for other competition distances. For example, replace 200 by 100 to refer to a 100 meters swimming competition.

Examples of the use of the word 'espalda' are:
  • No deberías hacer eso a espaldas de tus amigos (you shouldn't do that behind your friends' backs).
  • No creo ser tan ancho de espaldas (I don't believe I have such broad shoulders).
  • Me atacaron por la espalda (I was attacked from behind).
  • Lo mataron por la espalda (they killed him by treachery).
  • Me caí de espaldas (I fell on my back) .
  • Perdona que te dé la espalda (excuse my rudeness in turning my back to you).
  • Aquí estoy, de espaldas al mundo (here I am ignoring/ looking away from the world/ everything).
  • He tenido que echarme sobre la espalda ese trabajo (I had to take charge of that work).
  • Lucharon espalda contra espalda (they fought back to back).
  • ¿Qué opinas de los espaldas mojadas? (what is your opinion on wetbacks?).
  • A Pedro le gustaría que le guardasen las espaldas (Pedro would like someone to to protect him).
  • Ana ganó la medalla de oro en los cien metros espalda (Ana won a gold medal in the 100 meters backstroke).
  • A mi me gusta nadar de espaldas (I like swimming backstroke).
  • Tendámonos de espaldas y miremos al cielo (let us lie on our backs and look up at the sky).
  • Tumbémonos de espaldas y miremos al cielo (let us lie on our backs and look up at the sky).
  • Antonio tiene buena espalda (Antonio brings good luck).
  • Antonio tiene buenas espaldas (Antonio is capable of hard work).
  • Tenemos cubiertas las espaldas (we have our backs covered).
  • Tenemos guardadas las espaldas (we have our backs covered).
  • Vuélvete de espaldas, por favor (turn around, please). loves the word 'espalda' in the YouTube clip: Espaldas Mojadas - Tam Tam Go! (Videoclip, 1990)

For more on the word 'espalda', visit: Espalda

*NB 'Click' on the speaker icon next to the word “espalda”in the link to hear the word pronounced.

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