The Four Seasons in Spanish

Definite Article Is Usually Used

Cancun beach
"Vamos a la playas de Cancún cada verano." (We go to Cancun beaches every summer.). Ricardo Diaz via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

In Spanish, the four seasons of the year are:

  • el invierno — winter
  • la primavera — spring
  • el verano — summer (Another word for summer, el estío, has mostly literary use.)
  • el otoño — autumn or fall

The definite article (el or la) is usually used with the names of the seasons. In many cases, it is used where it isn't in English:

  • La primavera es la época del año en que se manifiestan más evidentemente los procesos del nacimiento y el crecimiento. (Spring is the time of the year in which the processes of birth and growth are most evident.)
  • El otoño me parece abrumadoramente triste. (Autumn seems overwhelmingly sad to me.)
  • No me gustan los inviernos. (I don't like winters.)
  • El verano se acerca. (Summer is getting near.)
  • No tengo algo para hacer durante el invierno. (I don't have anything to do during winter.)

The definite article can be omitted (but doesn't have to be) after forms of the verb ser and the prepositions en and de:

  • En verano debemos cuidar el pelo con productos diseñados para esta estación. (In summer we should take care of our hair with products designed for this season.)
  • Los colores de primavera son muy llamativos y bonitos. (Spring colors are very intense and pretty.)
  • Ya era otoño en París. (It was already autumn in Paris.)

In some parts of the Spanish-speaking world, particularly in the tropics, two seasons are recognized:

  • la estación lluviosa — rainy season or wet season, which can also be called invierno
  • la estación seca — dry season, which can also be called verano

    Etymology of the Seasons' Names

    The main names of the four seasons all come from Latin.

    • Invierno comes from hibernum, which is also the source for "hibernate."
    • Primavera is related to primera (first) and ver (to see).
    • Verano comes from veranum, which in Latin could refer to either spring or summer.
    • Otoño comes from autumnus, the source of the English "autumn."

      Adjectival Forms

      Most of the time, the equivalent of adjectives such as "wintry" and "summery" can be translated by combining the name of the season with de to create a phrase such as de invierno and de verano. There are also separate adjectival forms that are sometimes used: invernal (wintry), primavernal (springlike), veraniego (summery) and otoñal (autumnal).

      Verano also has a verb form, veranear, which means to spend the summer away from home.

      Sample Sentences Referring to Seasons

      Cada primavera, las más de 200 especies de plantas con flores que hay en el parque crean una brillante exhibición. (Every spring, the 200-plus species of flowered plants in the park create a brilliant display.)

      El otoño es un buen momento para visitar México.) (Fall is a good time for visiting Mexico.)

      La estación lluviosa dura en el interior del país desde mayo hasta octubre. (The rainy season lasts in the country's interior from May until October.)

      ¿Cuánto costará esquiar en Chile este invierno? (How much will it cost to ski in Chile this winter?)

      Los días de verano son largos. (Summer days are long.)

      El riesgo de incendios forestales de la estación seca supera este año. (The risk of forest fires in the dry season will increase this year.)

      El otoño en Japón es el clima más agradable del año. (Autumn in Japan has the most pleasant weather of the year.)

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      Your Citation
      Erichsen, Gerald. "The Four Seasons in Spanish." ThoughtCo, Nov. 10, 2017, thoughtco.com/the-four-seasons-3079618. Erichsen, Gerald. (2017, November 10). The Four Seasons in Spanish. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-four-seasons-3079618 Erichsen, Gerald. "The Four Seasons in Spanish." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-four-seasons-3079618 (accessed January 19, 2018).