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How To Say "Smallpox" In Spanish

Smallpox is a devastating disease that plagued humanity for centuries, but thanks to vaccination efforts, it has been eradicated since 1980. As language learners and global citizens, it is essential to understand how to communicate about this historical illness in different languages. In this article, we will explore the Spanish translation of "smallpox" and delve into its meaning, pronunciation, and regional variations.

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What is "Smallpox" in Spanish?

The Spanish translation for "smallpox" is viruela (IPA: /biˈɾ It refers specifically to the infectious disease caused by the Variola virus, characterized by a rash and fever.

Meaning of "Smallpox" in Spanish

In addition to the primary translation of "viruela," it is interesting to note the regional variations and nuances associated with the term "smallpox" in different Spanish-speaking countries. Here are some notable examples:

  • México: In Mexico, "smallpox" can also be referred to as bubas (IPA: /ˈbuβas/) or viruela mayor (IPA: /biˈɾ maˈjoɾ/). These terms are mainly used in historical or colloquial contexts.
  • Spain: In Spain, the term "viruela" is the most common way to refer to smallpox, reflecting the general Spanish translation.
  • Argentina: In Argentina, "smallpox" is commonly referred to as viruela loca (IPA: /biˈɾ ˈloka/), which translates to "crazy smallpox." This colloquial term adds a unique touch to the language used in the country.
  • Colombia: In Colombia, the term sarampión negro (IPA: /saɾamˈpjon ˈneɣɾo/) is used to describe smallpox. This translates to "black measles" and highlights the similarity of the rash to that of measles.
  • Peru: In Peru, smallpox is known as tifoidea (IPA: /ti.foˈi.ðea/) or fiebre de bola (IPA: /ˈfje.bɾe ðe ˈ These terms emphasize the feverish symptoms associated with the disease.

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How to Say "Smallpox" in Spanish: Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences you can use to say "smallpox" in Spanish:

  • La viruela fue una enfermedad devastadora que afectó a millones de personas en el pasado.

(Smallpox was a devastating disease that affected millions of people in the past.)

  • ¿Qué es la viruela y cómo se transmitía?

(What is smallpox, and how was it transmitted?)

  • El término 'viruela mayor' se utiliza para referirse a la variante más grave de la enfermedad.

(The term 'viruela mayor' is used to refer to the most severe variant of the disease.)

  • En algunas regiones de México, las personas también la conocen como 'bubas'. 

  • (In some regions of Mexico, people also know it as 'bubas'.)

  • La viruela fue erradicada gracias a los programas de vacunación masiva en todo el mundo.

  • (Smallpox was eradicated thanks to mass vaccination programs worldwide.)

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Understanding how to say "smallpox" in Spanish is not only important from a linguistic perspective but also allows us to delve into the historical and cultural context of the disease. While "viruela" is the general term used to refer to smallpox, regional variations such as "bubas" in Mexico or "viruela loca" in Argentina add unique dimensions to the language. By expanding our knowledge of these variations, we can better communicate and appreciate the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world. Remember, while smallpox is no longer a threat, its history and impact remain significant, reminding us of the importance of vaccinations in combating diseases.

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