Friday, 28 March 2014


Today's WOTD is: "cuenta" = bill/ cheque

1. In Spanish, “cuenta” is a feminine noun of Latin origin, the main meaning of which is bill, as in:
  • La cuenta, por favor (the bill/ cheque please);

2. The noun “cuenta” is also used often to refer to an account, for example a bank account, as in:
  • ¿Es usted el titular de la cuenta? (are you the account holder?);

3. The noun “cuenta” is also used often to refer to an arithmetic sum or calculation, as in:
  • Cuentas de multiplicar con dos cifras (double digit multiplication calculations);

4. The noun “cuenta” is also often used to refer to a counting bead, as in:
  • Las cuentas del ábaco (the abacus' beads);

5. A related word is the action word/ verb “contar”. This verb is often used in different contexts as follows:
  • Meaning to count, as in:
    • Hay que contar hasta diez, ¿no? (a count to ten is needed, isn't it);
  • Meaning to tell/ to narrate/ to relate, as in:
    • De pequeño, siempre me contaban un cuento* antes de dormir (as a child, I was always told a story/ tale before going to sleep);
  • Followed by “con”, meaning to have, as in:
    • El apartamento cuenta con tres dormitorios (the apartment has three bedrooms);
    • Contamos con fondos suficientes para el viaje (we have sufficient funds for the trip);
  • Followed by “con”, meaning to count on, as in:
    • No cuentes con Pedro (don't count on Pedro);
*NB Please note that the word “cuento” is very similar to “cuenta”, but has a very different meaning (tale/ story -fiction) -see more on the word "cuento"

6. Some expressions in Spanish with the word “cuenta” are:
  • A cuenta (as a down payment/ as a deposit);
    • Hay que dejar 100€ a cuenta (a down payment/ deposit of 100 Euros is required)
  • A cuenta de (on account of);
    • Se quedaron con mis cosas a cuenta de lo que les debía (they kept my things on account of what I owed them);
  • A fin de cuentas (after all/ at the end of the day/ all said and done);
  • Abono a cuenta (payment on account);
    • Efectuamos un abono a cuenta (we made a payment on account);
  • Abono en cuenta (deposit/ account credit transaction);
    • Gracias a ese abono en cuenta tenemos saldo positivo (thanks to that deposit we have a positive balance);
  • Abrir una cuenta (to open an account);
  • Abrir una cuenta bancaria (to open a bank account);
  • Ajustar cuentas (to settle a score/ to exact revenge or vengeance);
  • Ajustar las cuentas (to settle a score/ to exact revenge or vengeance);
  • Ajuste de cuentas (the settling of a score/ exacting of revenge or vengeance);
  • Anotación en cuenta (an account ledger entry);
  • Cada uno por su cuenta (each one to his/ her own);
    • Cenaron juntos, pero cada uno pagó por su cuenta (they dined together, but each one paid his/ her own bill);
  • Caer en la cuenta (to realise/ to become aware);
    • Aacabo de caer en la cuenta (I have just realised/ the penny has just dropped);
  • Cerrar la cuenta (to close the account -clearing the balance);
  • Cuenta atrás (count down);
  • Cuenta bancaria (a bank account);
  • Cuenta corriente (a current account);
  • Cuenta de ahorros (a savings account);
  • Cuenta de correo electrónico (an e-mail account);
  • Cuenta de crédito (a credit account);
  • Cuenta la leyenda que (according to legend);
    • Cuenta la leyenda que había una vez un bosque encantado (according to legend, once upon a time there was an enchanted forest);
  • Cuenta personal (personal account);
  • Dar alguien buena cuenta de algo (to make short work of something);
    • Nos pusieron la cena y dimos buena cuenta de ella (they served us dinner and we made short work of it);
  • Dar cuenta de algo (to give an account of something);
  • Darse cuenta de (to realise/ to become aware);
    • No me dí cuenta de que me habían robado (I did not realise that I had been robbed);
  • Echar cuentas (to do the sums/ to weigh up pros and cons);
  • En resumidas cuentas (to summarise/ in short/ in summary);
    • En resumidas cuentas, tenemos que irnos a casa (to summarise, we must go home);
  • Gerente de cuenta (account manager);
  • Hacer las cuentas (to do the sums/ sort out the finances);
  • La cuenta de la vieja (colloquially, a calculation/ analysis of a situation in a very simplistic way);
    • Eres un ingenuo, eso es la cuenta de la vieja (you are very naïve, that is much more complex);
  • La intención es lo que cuenta (it is the thought that matters/ counts);
  • Las cuentas del Gran Capitán (an exorbitant account of expenditure);
    • Esa hoja de gastos se parece a las cuentas del Gran Capitán (that expenses report includes exorbitant and incredible items of expenditure);
  • Habida cuenta de algo (having considered something/ given something/ on account of something);
    • Habida cuenta de la urgencia, salimos de inmediato (on account of the urgency, we left immediately);
  • Llevar la cuenta (to keep track/ to keep account);
    • Llevo la cuenta de la compra (I am keeping track of the shopping);
  • Mas de la cuenta (a rate higher than/ above what it should be);
    • El problema es que gastamos más de la cuenta (the problem is that we spend money at a rate higher than what it should be);
  • Menos de la cuenta (a rate lower than/ below what it should be);
    • El problema es que ganamos menos de la cuenta (the problem is that we earn money at a rate lower than what it should be);
  • No querer cuentas con alguien (to want nothing to do with someone);
    • No quiero cuentas contigo (I want nothing to do with you);
  • No salirle a alguien la cuenta (to get things wrong);
  • Número de cuenta (account number);
  • Número de cuenta bancaria (bank account number);
  • Pago a cuenta (payment on account);
  • Pasar la cuenta (to give the bill);
    • Cuando puedas pásame la cuenta (when you are ready, give me the bill);
  • Perder la cuenta (to lose count/ to forget);
  • Por mi* cuenta (on my own/ by myself -not counting on anybody else);
    • Esto lo hago por mi cuenta (I do this on my own -without counting on anybody else);
  • Por mi* cuenta y riesgo (on my own/ by myself -emphasising that that I am not counting on anybody else);
    • Esto lo hago por mi cuenta y riesgo (I do this on my own -without counting on anybody else);
  • Rendir cuentas (to account for one's expenditure/ one's actions);
    • En algún momento tendrás que rendir cuentas (you will have to account for your actions at some point);
  • Tener en cuenta (to keep in mind/ to bear in mind);
    • Ten en cuenta que mañana tienes que trabajar (bear in mind that tomorrow you have to work);
  • Tomar en cuenta (to keep in mind/ to bear in mind);
    • Toma en cuenta que mañana tienes que trabajar (bear in mind that tomorrow you have to work);
  • Trabajador por cuenta ajena (an employed worker/ employee);
  • Trabajar por cuenta ajena (to work for an employer);
  • Trabajador por cuenta propia (a self-employed worker);
  • Trabajar por cuenta propia (to work as self-employed);

*NB Replace the posessive “mi” with “tu”, “su”, “nuestra” or “vuestra” to alter the meaning accordingly. loves the word "cuenta" in the YouTube clip: LaOreja de Van Gogh - Cuentame como te ha ido

For more on the word "cuenta", visit: Cuenta

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

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