The Meaning of Esperanza: What It Is and How To Use It

This guide will give you all of the information you need on the Spanish word esperanza, including its definition, usage, origin, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word esperanza mean?

Esperanza is a Spanish word that means hope or expectation, according to Spanish Dict. This is a feminine noun, which means that one uses the article la, or la esperanza. 

Esperanza is used in many common expressions in Spanish, including the below, listed next to their translations.

  • Dar esperanzas a – To encourage, literally “to give hope to”
  • Mantengo la esperanza – To hold out hope, literally “to maintain hope”
  • Perder la esperanza – To lose hope
  • Esperanza de vida – Life expectancy
  • La última esperanza – Last hope, only hope
  • Vivir de esperanzas – To live on hopes
  • ¡Qué esperanza! – Not on your life! Literally, “some hope!”
  • La esperanza es lo último que se pierde – There’s always hope

The name Esperanza is fairly popular as baby names go, according to Baby Center. Esperanza is the main character in The House on Mango Street, a novel written by Sandra Cisneros according to Sparknotes. This may contribute to its popularity, along with it being the name of John Wayne’s second wife, who according to Amomoma, was a Mexican actress named Esperanza Baur Diza aka Chata. Esperanza Spalding is also a famous American Jazz musician.

Geni states that Esperanza was also the name of the First Lady of The Philippines, wife to President of The Philippines, Sergio Osmeña. This Filipino icon may have increased the name’s popularity as well, along with Esperanza Aguirre y Gil de Biedma, who is the president of the Partido Popular in Madrid, says the Centre for Policy Studies.

What is the origin of the word esperanza?

According to Behind The Name, the name Esperanza is the Spanish form of the Late Latin Sperantia. This name came from the Latin word sperare, which means “to hope.” Esperar, the Spanish word meaning “to hope” or “to wait for” also comes from the same Latin origin. Other romance languages have very similar words for “hope,” all stemming from the Latin sperare. In French, “esperance” means “hope.” In Italian, “speranza” means “hope.” In Portuguese, “esperança” means “hope.” All of these languages that derive from Latin use the same root word to create their own words for “hope.”

What are synonyms and antonyms to the word esperanza?

There are many English synonyms and antonyms to the noun “hope,” which is the direct translation of the word esperanza from Spanish. These synonyms and antonyms are listed below from Thesaurus.

SYNONYMS:

  • Dream
  • Aspiration
  • Ambition
  • Desire
  • Feith
  • Goal
  • Optimism
  • Wish
  • Prospect
  • Reverie
  • Longing

ANTONYMS:

  • Despair
  • Hopelessness
  • Desperation
  • Depression
  • Anguish
  • Unhappiness
  • Dejection
  • Gloom
  • Melancholy
  • Misery
  • Painb
  • Sorrow
  • Disheartenment

In Spanish, there are also synonyms and antonyms to the word esperanza. These are listed below from Interglot, alongside their translations.

SINÓNIMAS:

  • La expectación – Expectation
  • La expectativa – Expectation
  • La anticipación – Anticipation
  • La previsión – Forecast
  • La perspectiva – Prospect
  • La espera – Wait
  • El futuro – Future
  • La posibilidad – Possibility
  • La salida – Outcome
  • El fe – Faith
  • La certeza – Certainty
  • El certidumbre – Certitude
  • La seguridad – Assuredness
  • La convicción – Conviction
  • El convencimiento – Conviction

ANTÓNIMOS:

  • La desesperación – Desperation
  • El desespero – Despair
  • La tristeza – Sadness
  • La oscuridad – Darkness
  • La desolación – Desolation
  • La pena – Sadness
  • La depresión – Depression
  • La melancolía – Melancholy
  • El desaliento – Discouragement
  • La aflicción – Affliction
  • El abatimiento – Dejection
  • Sombrió – Gloomy
  • El cansancio – Tiredness

How can esperanza be used in a sentence?

Esperanza can be used in Spanish the same way the word hope can be used in English, whether someone is being urged to have hope, or someone hopes for their own future.

In this first example, Janie has just completed her callback for the leading role in her school play. Her sister Allie calms her nerves.

Allie: No te preocupes, Janie. Cualquiera que sea el resultado, tú eres una buena actriz.

(English: Don’t worry about it, Janie. No matter the outcome, you are a good actress.)

Janie: Gracias, Allie. ¡Pero estoy tan nerviosa! Quiero este papel más que nada. 

(English: Thanks, Allie. But I’m so nervous! I want this role more than anything.)

Allie: Ten esperanza, Janie. Todo va a estar bien.

(Have hope, Janie. Everything will be fine.)

Here, Allie uses the word esperanza to urge her sister to remain hopeful for the outcome of the cast list. In this next example, Nadia and Larry are discussing their plans for the future.

Larry: Pienso que voy a ser un contador.

(English: I think I will be an accountant.)

Nadia: Quiero ser una cantante famosa.

(English: I want to be a famous singer.)

Larry: Sí, porque eso es realista…

(English, sarcastic: Yes, because that’s realistic…)

Nadia: ¡No lo sabes! Tengo esperanza. Tu eres un cínico.

(English: You don’t know! I have hope. You’re a cynic.)

Larry: Soy realista.

(English: I’m realistic.)

Here, Nadia uses the word esperanza to show Larry that she has hope for her future, in contrast to Larry’s attitude, which she views as cynical, but he views as realistic. The word esperanza is used interchangeably with the word hope in English sentences.

Overall, esperanza is a common Spanish word that means hope or expectation. Many people use esperanza as a girl’s name, and there are many celebrities with the first name Esperanza. One can use this feminine noun to discuss hope for the future, or to encourage others. The word is used interchangeably with the English word hope.

Sources:

  1. https://www.babycenter.com/baby-names-esperanza-1598.htm
  2. https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/mangostreet/character/esperanza/
  3. https://news.amomama.com/162895-john-wayne-his-second-wife-esperanza-bau.html
  4. https://www.cps.org.uk/liberty/speakers/esperanza–aguirre-gil-de-biedma/
  5. https://www.geni.com/people/Esperanza-Limjap/6000000011484756749
  6. http://www.esperanzaspalding.com/#new-page-1
  7. https://www.spanishdict.com/translate/esperanza
  8. https://www.behindthename.com/name/esperanza
  9. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/hope
  10. https://www.interglot.com/dictionary/es/es/search?q=esperanza
  11. https://www.interglot.com/dictionary/es/es/search?q=desesperaci%C3%B3n&m=click