What does "Heather" sound like in Spanish?

A friend of mine says that she was given the name “Carmen” when she was studying in Spain, since apparently “Heather” sounded like something impolite. Any idea what?

My guess for most similar vulgarity is “joder” (to fuck), and used similarly to the word in English. It sounds a bit weird, though, that she was asked to go by another name. Did she by any chance worked with kids/teens?

Joder maybe? (which means “to fuck”)

So jeder and joder would sound enough alike?

How about adding “El” to the beginning of the name (like they do in movies when they can’t speak Spanish?)

Or maybe “O” at the end?

Or both?

“El Heathero”

Wait just a minute. That sounds like a guy telling someone else his sexual orientation, doesn’t it?

Why don’t I just turn this back over to y’all, then?



  1. You’re assuming people around would be familiar with how Heather is pronounced. Depending on where the person is, that may not be the case.

  2. They definitely sound similar if you’re anywhere from 6 to 18. :wink: You know kids can make puns out of vaguely similar-sounding words.

  3. Accents can be funny. Some people, saying “joder” really quickly and under their breath (as they would perhaps at work), would have that come out sounding similar to “Heather”. Or viceversa.

The soft Spanish D in words such as joder does sound quite like the voiced *th *in Heather, though. So the word would sound something like “hoh-there”.

I wondered that, but then thought of Meet the Fockers.

Hmmm. That could give a whole new meaning to “Keep your ‘ho there’. I will not be moved.”

Yes. Remember, there is no sound in Spanish like the “short” e in English “Heather”, so when a Spanish speaker hears the word “Heather” without seeing how it’s spelled, their choice of which Spanish vowel to use for that sound is not necessarily obvious. (But it’s true that “o” would probably not be the first choice, were it not for the allure which dirty words have.)

(The Spanish vowel sound spelled “e” is somewhere between English “short e” and English “ay”, of course without the extra little “ee” English speakers put on the end of “ay”).

It’s not even jeder, it’s jézer… :confused: the emphasis is all wrong. At least as pronounced by the Heathers I’ve known, but maybe this one pronounced it jeder.

Well, again, in most Latin American versions of Spanish, there is no sound like the English “th” in Heather, so most Spanish speakers would “hear” a different sound, one that IS in their version of Spanish. “D” is certainly the closest choice for many Spanish speakers – like the “th” in English “Heather”, it’s a voiced dental – and, in fact, as you (Nava) well know, the Spanish “d” is actually pronounced with the tongue closer to where it is for English voiced “th” than where the tongue goes for English “d”.

So, “jéder” would be the closest way to write out this name’s sound, for many Spanish speakers…but your kilometraje may vary.

Sorry for the double post…I understand now, Nava! In Spain, the “z” is indeed very close – basically the same – as the “th” in English “Heather”.

(In most of Latin America, of course, the “z” is pronounced just like “s”.)

Isn’t the Spanish “z” pronounced as an unvoiced “th”, like in “think”, rather than the voiced “th” in “Heather”?

True. But at least in Spain, they have *some *kind of “th” sound.