The Many Ways to Use Spanish "Bajo" in a Sentence

Word Conveys Ideas of 'Low' and 'Under'

blood pressure cuff on an arm
La presión sanguínea baja puede ser un signo de enfermedad. (Low blood pressure can be a sign of sickness.).

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr/ CC by SA 2.0

Bajo is a common Spanish preposition, adjective, and adverb that means being low in some way, either figuratively or literally or under something. Also, bajo is used in common idioms usually as a preposition.

Bajo Used as an Adjective

As an adjective, common translations include "low" or "short," and bajo can also be used to indicate contemptibility or lack of intensity.

Spanish Sentence English Translation
Mi prima es baja para su edad. My cousin is short for her age.
No es necesario tratar esta enfermedad de bajo riesgo con quimioterapia. It is not necessary to treat this low-risk illness with chemotherapy.
El valle bajo es rico en historia. The low valley is rich in history.
Tenemos problemas de baja calidad de la señal inalámbrica. We have problems with poor quality of the wireless signal.
Alberto cayó en los más bajos pecados durante los dos años. Alberto fell into the basest sins during the two years.
La clase baja sufre las consecuencias de su reforma política. The lower class is suffering the consequences of his political reform.
Son capaces de los más bajos actos de violencia. They are capable of the vilest acts of violence.
La presión sanguínea baja puede ser un signo de enfermedad. Low blood pressure can be a sign of sickness.

Bajo as an Adverb

Although more commonly used as an adjective, bajo can be used as an adverb that means "quietly" or "softly." For example, Si habla bajo, es necesario elevar volumen del micrófono, which means, "If you speak softly, you need to turn up the microphone volume."

Another way bajo can be used as an adverb is when describing something falling or flying "low" as in "low to the ground." For example, El pájaro volaba muy bajo, which means, "The bird was flying very low."

Bajo as a Preposition

Bajo can serve as a preposition and can almost always be translated as "under."

Spanish Sentence English Sentence
El gato está bajo la cama. The cat is under the bed.
La vida bajo el mar es muy difícil. Life undersea is very difficult.
Un barco mercante encalló bajo un puente. The merchant ship ran aground under a bridge.
Los compresores principales están bajo el coche. The main compressors are under the car.
Correr bajo la lluvia es más gratificante que hacerlo en seco. Running in the rain is more rewarding than doing it when it's dry.

Bajo Used in Idioms or Borrowed Phrases

Bajo can also be a preposition with an indefinite meaning when it is used as an idiom or expression. Many of these figurative expressions correspond to similar ones in English, some of which are likely calques. A calque or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word translation.

Spanish Expression English Translation
bajo arresto under arrest
bajo circunstancias normales under normal circumstances
bajo condición de que under condition that
bajo construcción under construction
bajo control under control
bajo cubierto undercover
bajo fianza on bail
bajo la influencia under the influence
bajo investigación under investigation
bajo juramento under oath
bajo la mesa under the table
bajo ningún concepto in no conceivable way
bajo palabra on parole
bajo peso underweight
bajo presión under pressure
bajo protesta under protest

Words Related to Bajo

Bajar, is a related verb to bajo, which often means "to lower" or "to get down." Related adverbs are abajo and debajo, which often mean "underneath," or "down there." 

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Erichsen, Gerald. "The Many Ways to Use Spanish "Bajo" in a Sentence." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Erichsen, Gerald. (2020, August 27). The Many Ways to Use Spanish "Bajo" in a Sentence. Retrieved from Erichsen, Gerald. "The Many Ways to Use Spanish "Bajo" in a Sentence." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 5, 2023).