Try out your Basque

17 words and expressions to get by in Basque

Basque is a very ancient language which is like no other. You’ll love finding out some words and being able to use them on your trip:

Ongi etorri

Ongi etorri

Ongi etorri means “welcome”. In the Basque Country we’re always delighted to see you.

Kaixo

Kaixo

This is “hello” in Basque, a strange-sounding word you’ll hear everywhere. Try saying it in a cheerful way to greet anybody you meet on your trip.

Egun on, arratsalde on, gabon

Egun on, arratsalde on, gabon_ Buenos días, buenas tardes, buenas noches

“Good morning”, “good afternoon”, “good evening” - in Basque we also have a greeting for each time of day. We even have one specially for midday, “Eguerdion”, which means something like “good midday”.

Ondo pasa!

Ondo pasa

This means “Have a good time!” We want you to have a wonderful time in the Basque Country, not just enjoying our landscape, our coastline, our mountains and our towns, but also meeting us and experiencing our culture, festivities and traditions at first hand.

On egin

On egin

This is “Enjoy your meal” in Basque. As you know, a fine table is a key part of our culture. in the Basque Country, whether you’re at one of the colourful pintxo bars or in any of the restaurants which use top-quality ingredients... On Egin!!!, you’re sure to “Enjoy your meal.”

Zorionak

Zorionak

This means “congratulations”, and it’s what we say to people on their birthday or for any celebration. The famous song “Happy Birthday” is called “Zorionak zuri” on Basque.

Urte askotarako

Urte askotarako

Literally, this means “For many years” and it’s what you say when you’re introduced to or meet someone new, so it’s like saying “Pleased to meet you”. It’s also used after congratulations: “Zorionak, urte askotarako” means you want their happiness to last many years.

Eskerrik asko

Eskerrik asko

“Thank you very much”. If you’ve chosen us as your next destination and are even making the effort to learn a few words in Basque, then eskerrik asko, we really appreciate it.

Beste bat

Beste bat

This means “Another” and is often used at the end of a concert you liked, to ask the musicians to play an encore. You can also use it to ask for another pintxo or txikito at any bar!

Mesedez

Mesedez

This is “please”, and you can use it to ask for anything politely.

Bai, noski

Bai, noski

“Yes, of course”, is what “bai, noski” means. We’re a positive, enterprising people, but if what you need to say is “no”, we also have a word - “no” is “ez”.

Lagun

Lagun

This means “friend”, an important word in a country where personal relations are valued and experienced in a special way.

Itsaso

Itsaso

This is what we call the sea, which plays a starring role in our landscape and our history. It’s a word we like very much and, as in some other languages, it’s used as a girl’s name.

Jai

Jai

This is “fiesta” in Basque. Many of our customs and traditions are filled with it. Have you ever heard of “Marijaia”, the star of Semana Grande in Bilbao? Well, literally her name means “Party Mary”.

Txapeldun

Txapeldun

This means “champion”, literally “the one with the beret”. As you know, here the beret, or “txapela”, is a sign of distinction and the winner, whether in a game of pelota, a competition for bertsolaris of a food competition, gets the txapela.

Bat, bi, hiru, lau, bost, sei, zazpi, zortzi, bederatzi, hamar

Bat, bi, hiru, lau, bost, sei, zazpi, zortzi, bederatzi, hamar

These are the numbers in Basque: one, to, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten… days or more, that’s how long we want you to stay in the Basque Country.

Agur

Agur

This is a greeting you can use to say both hello and goodbye, but it’s mostly used to say goodbye. When you dome to the end of your stay in the Basque Country: Agur! We hope you’ll come back very soon.