Let's learn some common expressions to talk about being hungry or thirsty in Spanish (or to say we're not)!
The most common way to talk about "being hungry" in Spanish is with an idiomatic expression with the verb tener, which is tener hambre (literally "to have hunger"). So, if you wanted to say "I'm hungry," in Spanish, you'd say "Tengo hambre."
Fede, tengo hambre. Tengo hambre, Fede.
Fede, I'm hungry. I'm hungry, Fede.
Captions 34-35, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 7Play Caption
Now, let's listen to this verb in question form, conjugated with tú (the single familiar "you"):
Are you hungry?Play Caption
An alternative way to talk about hunger in Spanish is with the verb estar (to be) plus the adjective hambriento/a(s). Remember that in the case of adjectives, they must agree in terms of both gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural) with the subject in question. Let's take a look at an example with a single, female speaker:
Y yo estoy hambrienta.
And I am hungry.
Caption 7, Cata y Cleer En el restaurantePlay Caption
Now, let's look at some more dramatic ways to say "I'm hungry" in Spanish (something more akin to "I'm starving").
Sí, ¿y viene la comida o no? Pues yo estoy muerto de hambre.
Yes, and is the food coming or not? I am dying of hunger.
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The adjective muerto/a(s) literally means "dead," of course, but the expression estar muerto/a(s) de hambre is roughly equivalent to the English "dying of hunger." Let's see a couple more:
¿por qué no me invita a desayunar algo que estoy que me muero de hambre?
why don't you serve me something for breakfast since I'm dying of hunger?
Captions 37-38, Tu Voz Estéreo Embalsamado - Part 5Play Caption
¿Pero será que podemos comer ya, por favor, que me estoy desmayando de hambre?
But could we please start eating since I'm passing out from hunger?
Caption 45, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 12 - Part 3Play Caption
Tener sed (literally "to have thirst") is probably the most common way to say "I'm thirsty" in Spanish. In the first person this would be: "Tengo sed" (I'm thirsty). Now, let's look at an example with tú:
Es muy útil si tienes sed y necesitas beber agua.
It's very useful if you're thirsty and need to drink water.
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And, in the same way you could say you are "dying with hunger," you could also use estar muerto/a(s) de sed to say you are "dying of thirst":
¡Estabas muerta de sed!
You were dying of thirst!
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Another way to say "to be thirsty" in Spanish is estar sediento/a(s):
y yo... yo estoy muy, muy sedienta.
and I... I'm very, very thirsty.
Caption 42, Kikirikí Agua - Part 3Play Caption
To ask you if you're thirsty, someone might say "¿Tiene(s) sed?" (Are you thirsty?) or simply ask:
¿Quieres tomar algo, Pablo?
Do you want something to drink, Pablo?Play Caption
Although this might initially sound like "Do you want to take something?" to a non-native speaker, remember that the verb tomar additionally means "to drink" in Spanish. The common expression "¿Quiere(s) tomar algo?" is thus used to ask someone in Spanish if he or she would "like something to drink."
So, what if you want to say you're not hungry in Spanish? You can simply use the verb tener hambre with the word "no" in front of it:
Pero igual no tengo hambre.
But anyway, I'm not hungry.
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Another option would be the verb llenarse (to be full). So, if someone asks you if you're hungry, you might use this verb in the preterite (simple past) tense to say:
No, gracias. Ya me llené.
No, thank you. I'm full (literally: "I already got full").
Now let's listen to this verb in the present:
Se infla, como que se llena,
You get bloated, like, you get full,Play Caption
An additional way to say you are full in Spanish is with the verb estar (to be) plus an adjective. Although you might hear satisfecho/a(s) (literally "satisfied") or, in some regions, repleto/a(s), lleno/a(s) is the most common adjective that means "full" in Spanish, as we see in the following example:
Estoy lleno. No puedo comer más.
I'm full. I can't eat any more.
This adjective might also be used with the verb sentirse (to feel):
y para mantenerte y sentirte lleno.
and to stay and feel full.
Caption 29, Natalia de Ecuador Alimentos para el desayunoPlay Caption
This brings us to a popular Spanish saying that is reminiscent of the English idiom "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach":
Barriga llena, corazón contento.
Full belly, happy heart.
Caption 36, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 2 - Part 1Play Caption
To learn a lot more fun Spanish phrases, check out this lesson on Yabla's Top 10 Spanish Idioms and Their (Very Different!) English equivalents.
We hope that this lesson has helped you to learn several ways to talk about hunger and thirst in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.