77 classic and unique ways to say hi in Spanish

Marco Monroy

Whether you’re planning a weekend trip to Mexico or thinking about fully committing, the best place to start is by learning how to say “hello” in Spanish.

Although learning how to say Hola won’t take long at all, there are many more specific and casual ways of saying hello in Spanish that will have you speaking like a pro in no time.

One of the most beautiful things about Spanish is its diversity and versatility. With over 360 million native speakers and over 20 countries using it as an official language, Spanish comes in many different flavors.

Let us walk you through 77 different ways to say “hello” in Spanish, from the formal to the informal, email, phone as well as casual greetings in Spanish.

Why is it important to know how to say hello in Spanish?

Learning a few ways to say hi in Spanish will take no time and will go a long way with Spanish speakers. Whether you’re planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking country or have just met some Spanish speakers in your hometown, being able to greet someone in Spanish will be greatly appreciated.

Florist holding a vase of flowers and learning how to say hello in Spanish

Moreover, taking the time to hammer out the pronunciation of a few basic greetings will allow you to pronounce other Spanish words more accurately. As you may know, Spanish vowels sound very different from English vowels. Having a few greetings under your belt will maximize your chances of pronouncing other Spanish words correctly—even if you’re unfamiliar.

Plus, if you decide to learn Spanish in the future, either online or by taking in-person classes, you will have a much easier time getting started with the curriculum. Learning a few basic greetings is a great way to dip your toes in the language before fully committing.

Firstly, how do you actually say “hello” and “hi” in Spanish?

Okay, you’ve probably already heard somewhere that Hola means “hello” in Spanish. But what is the proper pronunciation of “hello” in Spanish?

As mentioned, Spanish pronunciation is very different from English pronunciation. If you try to read Hola as if it were an English word, you’ll have a hard time convincing someone that you put in any effort into your Spanish.

You want to make sure that your greeting sounds authentic. Take a look at the first few seconds of the following video to see how former President Barack Obama greets the crowd in Peru.

Did you notice how the crowd went wild after a simple Hola Perú? That’s the power of a well-delivered greeting!

You should take some time to review the Spanish alphabet and the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to learn how to say hello in Spanish properly. Understanding the IPA will allow you to accurately pronounce any Spanish greeting without the need for memorizing pronunciations.

You can watch this short YouTube video that goes over every letter in the Spanish alphabet and its corresponding IPA.


77 other different ways to say hi in Spanish

In our guide below, we will list the English greeting followed by the equivalent Spanish greeting, followed up with the IPA. Now, let’s get into the greetings!

Common greetings in Spanish

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
HelloHolaˈola
How are you?¿Cómo estás?ˈkomo ɛsˈtas
GreetingsSaludossaˈluðos
Hello everyoneHola a todosˈola a ˈtoðos
Hi guysHola muchachosˈola muˈʧaʧos
Hi, nice to meet youHola, mucho gustoˈola ˈmuʧo ˈɣusto
Hi, how are you?Hola, ¿qué tal?ˈola ˈke ​​ˈtal
Hi, how’s it going?Hola, ¿cómo te va?ˈola ˈkomo te ˈβa
Hi, how’ve you been?Hola, ¿cómo has estado?ˈola ˈkomo ˈas ɛsˈtaðo


Casual and informal greetings in Spanish

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
HeyHeyˈei̯
Hi, there!¡Hola, hola!ˈola ˈola
Hi, my loveHola, mi amorˈola mj aˈmoɾ
Hey!¡Oye!ˈoʝe
What’s up?¿Qué onda?ˈke ˈõnda
What’s new?¿Qué hay de nuevo?ˈke ˈai̯ ðe ˈnweβo
What’s new?¿Qué hay?ˈke ˈai̯
What’s going on?¿Qué pasa?ˈke ˈpasa
Tell me what’s new¿Qué me cuentas?ˈke me ˈkwɛ̃ntas
How’s everything going?¿Cómo va todo?ˈkomo ˈba ˈtoðo
Hi, what a pleasure [seeing you]Hola, qué gustoˈola ˈke ˈɡusto
HiHoliˈoli


Formal greetings in Spanish

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
Hi, how are you?Hola, ¿cómo está?ˈola ˈkomo ɛsˈta
Hi, how have you been?Hola, ¿cómo le va?ˈola ˈkomo le ˈβa
Hi, it’s a pleasure [to meet you]Hola, un placerˈola ũm plaˈsɛɾ
Delighted [to meet you]Encantado/aɛ̃nkãntaˈðoa
Hi, it’s a pleasure [seeing you]Hola, un gusto de verlo/aˈola ũn ˈɡusto ðe βɛɾˈloa


Email greetings in Spanish

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
DearEstimado/aɛstimaˈðoa
BelovedQuerido/akɛɾiˈðoa
DistinguishedDistinguido/adistĩnɡiˈðoa
To whom it may concernA quién correspondaa ˈkjɛ̃n korɛsˈpõnda


Morning greetings in Spanish

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
Good morningBuenos díasˈbwenos̬ ˈðias
Good dayBuen díaˈbwen ˈðia
Morning!¡Buenos!ˈbwenos̬
Good morning, sunshineBuenos días, solecitoˈbwenos̬ ˈðias soleˈsito


Afternoon greetings in Spanish

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
Good afternoonBuenas tardesˈbwenas̬ ˈtaɾðes̬
Good day¡Buenas!ˈbwenas̬
Good eveningBuenas nochesˈbwenas̬ ˈnoʧes


How to answer the phone in Spanish

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
Hello?¿Hola?ˈola
Yes?¿Sí?ˈsi
Hello?¿Aló?aˈlo
Hello?¿Bueno?ˈbweno
Go ahead¿Diga?ˈdiɣa
Tell meDígameˈdiɣame

This happy woman is answering the phone in Spanish.


Country-specific greetings


Spain:

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
Hi dudeHola, tíoˈola ˈtio
How’s it going?¿Cómo andas?ˈkomo ˈãndas
How have you been?¿Qué es de tu vida?ˈke ˈɛs̬ ðe tu ˈβiða
How’s it going?¿Cómo va la cosa?ˈkomo ˈba la ˈkosa
What’s new?¿Qué te cuentas?ˈke te ˈkwɛ̃ntas


Mexico:

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
What’s up, dude?¿Qué onda, güey?ˈke ˈõnda ˈɡwei̯
What’s up?¿Qué hubo?ˈke ˈuβo
What’s up?Quiúboleˈkjuβole
What’s up?¿Qué rollo?ˈke ˈroʝo
What’s up?¿Qué pex?ˈke ˈpeks
¡Friend!¡Amigo/a!aˈmiɣo/a
What’s going on?¿Qué tranza?ˈke ˈtɾãnsa
What’s going on?¿Qué pasión?ˈke paˈsjõn


Argentina:

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
¡Good day!¡Buenas y santas!ˈbwenas̬ i ˈsãntas
Purest Virgin Mary!¡Ave María Purísima!ˈaβe maˈɾia puˈɾisima


Colombia:

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
What’s up?¿Quiubo?ˈkjuβo
What else is new?¿Qué más pues?ˈke ˈmas ˈpwes
Good, or what?Bien, ¿o qué?ˈbjɛn o ˈke
Good, or no?Bien, ¿o no?ˈbjɛn o ‘no
What’s new with you?¿Y tú de qué?i tu ðe ˈke


Chile:

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
How are you?¿Cómo estái?ˈkomo ɛsˈtaj
Good dayWenaˈwena
Hey, dudeHola, weónˈola weˈõn


Venezuela:

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
Hello!¡Épale!ˈepale
What’s up, dad?¿Qué pasó, papá?ˈke paˈso paˈpa
What’s up, comrade?¿Qué hubo, compadre?ˈke ˈuβo kõmˈpaðɾe
Talk to meHáblameˈaβlame


Peru:

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
What’s up?Hola causaˈola ˈkau̯sa
What’s up?Habla causaˈaβla ˈkau̯sa
What’s up dude?Qué tal weoˈke ˈtal ˈweo


Dominican Republic:

EnglishSpanishIPA pronunciation
Hi, broHola, maninˈola ˈmanĩn
Tell me!¡Dímelo!ˈdimelo
Sing to me, tiger!¡Dímelo cantando, tigre!ˈdimelo kãnˈtãndo ˈtiɣɾe
What is what?¿Qué es lo que es?ˈke ˈɛs̬ lo ˈke ˈɛs̬


FAQs for Spanish greetings

Happy family sharing Spanish greetings amongst lunch and dinner

What’s the difference between greeting a friend versus a colleague or professional acquaintance in Spanish?

If you’re visiting a Spanish-speaking country or made friends with Spanish speakers, you’ll notice that people tend to be a lot more comfortable greeting their friends. Whereas nicknames are generally not okay in a formal setting, calling your friend a nickname is almost a must if you’re close.

Nicknames and pronouns are commonly used as terms of endearment. In an informal setting, you can expect to be greeted by your friends with a hola, güey, hola weón, or hola tío, depending on the culture. You can learn more informal, colloquial and Spanish slang words in this article.

In a formal setting, you may see the formal usted construction being used. Hola, ¿cómo estás? becomes hola, ¿cómo está?. Nicknames are best left out of these situations.

What are some Spanish greeting faux-pas?

The most common Spanish greeting faux-pas is not being formal enough or being overly formal. If you’re addressing a formal supervisor, you will want to stick with the formal usted until they explicitly ask you to not use formal pronouns with them.

In some cultures, you may also be expected to address anyone older than you with the formal usted. This is highly regional and dependent on cultural contexts, so your best bet is to ask a close friend ahead of time what the expectations are. When in doubt, always go with the formal usted as being overly formal is usually less of a problem.

You’ve mastered saying hi in Spanish - what next?

As you can see, Spanish as a language is as diverse as the cultures that speak it. However, you can master many ways to say hello in Spanish with perfect fluency with a bit of practice. And if you're looking learn more about actual conversation? Read about conversational Spanish here.

Consider this the first step in an exciting journey that will allow you to communicate with hundreds of millions of people all around the world. Though it may seem challenging now, we promise you will grow to appreciate and love all the different ways to say hi in Spanish!

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