60 Nationalities in Spanish

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In Spanish, most of the words for the people who hail from particular countries around the world look or sound very similar to the word for the country in English. For example, colombiano is the word for a male hailing from Colombia and boliviana is the word for a female from Bolivia.

An interesting distinction that varies from English to Spanish is that words used for nationalities are not capitalized in Spanish.

Nationalities Can Be Nouns or Adjectives

As in English, the words for nationalities can be used in Spanish as either adjectives or nouns. An example of the adjective form is "I want a French coffee" or "Yo quiero un café francés." An example of the noun form is "He is an Italian" or "Él es italiano."

Who You Are Addressing Usually Matters

In Spanish, nouns, and adjectives usually, have a masculine form and a feminine form depending if the person being referenced is male or female. The masculine form is usually used to refer to more than one person of unknown gender. For example, "They are American" would be translated as Ellos son americanos," which is the masculine plural form.

A majority of nationalities end in -o.The feminine form for nationalities ending in -o is made by changing the -o to an -a. For example, the word griego, for a person from Greece, changes to griega when referencing a female.

Another common ending for nationalities is -és. Words ending in -és can be made feminine by changing the ending to -esa. Thus the feminine form of inglés, for someone or something from England, is inglesa.

A Few Nationalities Do Not Change with Gender

There are some nationalities that do not change form with gender. Nationalities that have irregular endings, such as -ense, as in the word costarricense, used for Costa Rican, do not have a separate masculine or feminine form. The word remains the same when describing either gender. The same can be said for nationalities that end in -a. These do not change, such as croata for "Croatian," or belga for "Belgian."

The following sampling of 60 countries is listed with the masculine form of the nationality. Use the masculine and feminine rules to change the word depending on the person being addressed and the endings of the nationalities that are given.

Related Grammar Rules

Plural nouns and adjectives for nationalities follow the regular rules for plurals., typically by adding an -s or -es.

The names of most countries as well as provinces, states, and regions is masculine. The main exceptions are those whose names end in an unstressed -a, such as Francia, Argentina, and Gran Bretaña.

Canadá, which ends in a stressed , is masculine.

A few country names, the biggest of them being la India, can't stand alone and need the definite article. For some countries, such as (los) Estados Unidos, the definite article is optional.,

List of Nations and Nationalities

Alemania (Germany) — alemán
Argentina — argentino
Australia — australiano
Austria — austriaco
Bélgica (Belgium) — belga
Belice (Belize) — beliceño
Bolivia — boliviano
Brasil — brasileño
Canadá — canadiense
Chile — chileno
China — chino
Colombia — colombiano
Corea del Norte (North Korea) — nortecoreano, norcoreano
Corea del Sur (South Korea) — sudcoreano
Costa Rica — costarricense, costarriqueño (uncommon)
Cuba — cubano
Croata (Croatia) — croata
Dinamarca (Denmark) — dané
Ecuador — ecuatoriano
Egipto (Egypt) — egipcio
El Salvador — salvadoreño
Escocia (Scotland) — escocés
España (Spain) — español
Estados Unidos (United States) — estadounidense, norteamericano, americano
Filipinas (Philippines) — filipino
Francia (France)— francés
Gales (Wales) — galés
Gran Bretaña (Great Britain) — británico
Grecia (Greece) — griego
Guatemala — guatemalteco
Haití — haitiano
Honduras — hondureño
Hungría — húngaro
la India — indio, hindú
Inglaterra (England) — inglés
Irak, Iraq — irakí, iraquí
Irán — iraní
Irlanda (Ireland) — irlandés
Israel — israelí
Italia (Italy) — italiano
Japón (Japan) — japonés
Marruecos (Morocco) — marroquí (Moro is sometimes used but can be considered offensive.)
México, Méjico — mexicano, mejicano (the first spelling is used in Mexico, while usage varies elsewhere)
Myanmar/Birlandia (Myanmar/Burma) — myanma/birmano
Nicaragua — nicaragüense
Noruega (Norway) — noruego
Nueva Zelanda (New Zealand) — neozelandés
Países Bajos (Netherlands) — holandés
Palestina (Palestine) — palestino
Panamá — panameño
Paraguay — paraguayo
Perú — peruano
Polonia (Poland) — polaco
Portugal — portugués
Puerto Rico — puertorriqueño
la República Dominicana (Dominican Republic) — dominicano
Rusia — ruso
Sudáfrica (South Africa) — sudafricano
Suecia (Sweden) — sueco
Suiza (Switzerland) — suizo
Taiwan — taiwanés
Uruguay — uruguayo
Venezuela — venezolano

Notes on Americano

Estadounidense is understood everywhere to refer to U.S. residents, but in some areas it can seem overly formal. In parts of Latin America, norteamericano is preferred with speaking of the U.S., although in some places that term is understood include persons or things Canadian (but not Mexican). Americano can be understood to mean Latin American in some areas, but American in the U.S. sense in others.

Quick Takeaways

  • As in English, noun and adjective forms of nationalities in Spanish use the same words.
  • Although names of countries are capitalized in Spanish, names of nationalities are not (except at the beginning of a sentence.)
  • The most common endings for nationality names are -o and -es.
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Erichsen, Gerald. "60 Nationalities in Spanish." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/names-of-nationalities-3078098. Erichsen, Gerald. (2020, August 27). 60 Nationalities in Spanish. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/names-of-nationalities-3078098 Erichsen, Gerald. "60 Nationalities in Spanish." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/names-of-nationalities-3078098 (accessed March 27, 2023).