How to Say Stop in Spanish: A Detailed Guide

Ellison Clapton8 min
Created: Apr 23, 2024Last updated: May 1, 2024
Stop in Spanish

Imagine you’re walking in the streets of Madrid or Barcelona. At once, a need arises to stop someone or something. But what is the word stop in Spanish? You can say it in many ways, each with its distinct situation. Hence, learning the right word matters a lot. This guide teaches different methods to say ‘stop’ in Spanish and gives clear examples to learn them easier.

Basic Ways to Say Stop in Spanish

Like saying ‘no’ in Spanish, how you express ‘stop’ varies. It is not only about the word – context also matters. We will explore the terms below:

  • Parar [paˈɾaɾ] – Stop. The most common way to express the action of stopping.

Por favor, para el coche ahora. [poɾ faˈβoɾ ˈpaɾa el ˈkoʧe aˈoɾa] (Please, stop the car now.)

  • Detener [deˈteneɾ] – Halt. Indicates stopping someone forcibly.

Por favor, detener el carro. [por faß̞oɾ d̪e’teneɾ‿el ‘karro] (Please stop the car.)

  • Alto [ˈalto] – Halt/Stop. Stop in English. Used mostly for traffic stop signs and regulations.

Veo un letrero de alto en la distancia. [’beo un let’eɾno ðe ‘alto endis’tanθja] (I see a stop sign in the distance.) 

  • Frenar [fɾeˈnaɾ] – Brake/Slow Down. This Spanish word for stop specifically refers to slowing a vehicle.

Frena un poco, el semáforo está en rojo. [ˈfɾena un ˈpoko el semaˈfoɾo ˈesta en ˈroxo] (Slow down, the traffic light is red.)

  • Interrumpir [inteˈrumpiɾ] – Interrupt. It can be used to stop someone in the middle of an action.

No interrumpas la reunión sin una buena razón. [no inteˈrumpas la reuˈnjon sin ˈuna ˈβwena raˈθon] (Do not interrupt the meeting without a good reason.)

  • Cortar [korˈtaɾ] – Cut off. It can be used to suggest stopping something abruptly or cutting off a process.

Corta el suministro de agua ahora. [ˈkoɾta el sumiˈnistɾo ðe ˈaɣwa aˈoɾa] (Cut off the water supply now.)

Formal Settings: Using the Stop Command in Spanish

It’s necessary understand the context and situation gravity to choose the right term in formal settings. Such expressions are used in written communications, official directives, or speeches. Precision and clarity have great value. Let’s look at what is stop in Spanish formal setting:

  • Cesar [θeˈsaɾ] – Cease. It is a formal way to indicate that an action should come to a stop. It’s often used in legal or formal business contexts.

Debemos cesar esta actividad inmediatamente. [deˈβemos θeˈsaɾ ˈesta aktiβiˈðað inmeˈdjatamente] (We must cease this activity immediately.)

  • Suspender [susˈpen.deɾ] – Suspend. Used often in formal decrees or official suspensions of activities.

Se ha decidido suspender las operaciones temporalmente. [se a deˈθiðo susˈpenðeɾ las opeɾaˈθjones tempoˈɾalmente] (It has been decided to suspend operations temporarily.)

  • Prohibir [pɾoˈiβiɾ] – Prohibit. Utilized in legal contexts.

Está prohibido fumar en esta área. [esˈta pɾoˈiβiðo fu’mar en ˈesta ˈaɾea] (Smoking is prohibited in this area.)

  • Finalizar [ˈθaɾ] – Finalize/End. Often used to formally end meetings or projects.

Vamos a finalizar la sesión por hoy. [ˈβamos aˈθaɾ la seˈsjon poɾ ˈoj] (We are going to end the session for today.)

  • Clausurar [klaw.suˈɾaɾ] – Close/Conclude. It is often used to formally indicate the end of an event.

La ceremonia se clausurará con un concierto. [la seɾeˈmonja se klawsuˈɾaɾa kon un konˈθjeɾto] (The ceremony will conclude with a concert.)

  • Interceptar [in.teɾ.θepˈtaɾ] – Intercept. Appropriate for contexts where an action or communication needs to be stopped.

Es necesario interceptar esos documentos antes de que salgan. [es neˈθesaɾjo in.teɾ.θepˈtaɾ ˈesos do.kuˈmen.tos ˈantes de ke ˈsal.ɣan] (It is necessary to intercept those documents before they go out.)

  • Anular [aˈnu.laɾ] – Annul/Cancel. Used when formally nullifying or canceling agreements or events.

El contrato ha sido anulado por mutuo acuerdo. [el konˈtɾ a ˈsiðo aˈnu.laðo poɾ ˈmutwo aˈkweɾðo] (The contract has been annulled by mutual agreement.)

  • Impedir [imˈpe.ðiɾ] – Prevent/Stop. A formal way to prevent or stop an action from happening. 

No permitas que nada impida tu éxito. [no peɾ’mitas ke ‘naða im’piða tu eksi’to] (Do not let anything prevent your success.)

How to Say Stop in Spanish Informal Situations

The word ‘stop’ has a laid-back feel in casual Spanish conversations. It fits in many situations. You can stop a friend on the road or put a hold on a family event, so these phrases are widely understood. Here’s how you say stop in Spanish slang:

  • Para ya [ˈpa.ɾa ˈʝa] – Stop already. Expresses impatience or urgency.

Espera un momento. Para ya ese ruido, me duele la cabeza. [esˈpeɾat‿un moˈmento ˈpara ˈʝa ˈese ˈrwið̞o me ˈdwele la kaˈβeθa] (Wait a moment. Stop that noise already, my head hurts.)

  • Basta [ˈbas.ta] – Enough. Used to indicate that one has had enough of something.

Basta, no quiero escuchar más. [ˈbas.ta, no ˈkje.ɾo es.kuˈtʃaɾ ˈmas] (Enough, I don’t want to hear anymore.)

  • Ya está [ˈʝa esˈta] – That’s it. This stop command in Spanish is used to halt an action decisively.

Ya está, dejemos de discutir. [ˈʝa esˈta, deˈxe.mos de disˈku.tiɾ] (That’s it, let’s stop arguing.)

  • Corta [ˈkor.ta] – Cut it out. A direct way to tell someone to stop doing something immediately.

Corta el juego, es hora de cenar. [ˈkor.ta el ˈxwe.go, es ˈo.ɾa de seˈnaɾ] (Cut it out, it’s time for dinner.)

  • No más [no ˈmas] – No more. Used to express a limit has been reached.

No más dulces para ti hoy. [no ˈmas ˈdul.θes paˈɾa ti oj] (No more sweets for you today.)

  • Déjalo [ˈde.xa.lo] – Drop it. Often used when asking someone to stop talking about a specific topic.

Déjalo, no vale la pena seguir con eso. [ˈde.xa.lo, no ˈβa.le la ˈ seˈɣiɾ kon ˈ] (Drop it, it’s not worth continuing with that.)

  • Chao [ˈtʃao] – Stop/Enough. While primarily known as a way to say goodbye, in some contexts, it can indicate stopping.

Chao con la música, necesito concentrarme. [ˈtʃao kon la ˈ, ne.seˈ kon.θenˈtɾaɾ.me] (Stop the music, I need to concentrate.)

  • Para el carro [pa’ra el ˈ] – Hold your horses. It is used when someone needs to stop and think.

Para el carro antes de tomar una mala decisión. [pa’ra el ˈ an’tes de to’mar u’na ma’la desi’sion] (Hold your horses before you make a bad decision.) 


Other Terms Related to Stop in Spanish You Might Need

A few other words for beginners can help in different cases. They give more details than just describing the act of stopping. These words tell a person to end an action, warn to prevent continuation, or request to pause. Here’s how to say stop in Spanish:

  • Pausar [pawˈsaɾ] – Pause. Used when temporarily halting an activity, particularly in media or conversation.

Vamos a pausar el vídeo aquí. [ˈba.mos a pawˈsaɾ el ˈbi.ðe.o aˈki] (Let’s pause the video here.)

  • Esperar [es.peˈɾaɾ] – Wait. A request to halt an action temporarily until further notice.

Espera fuera de la oficina, por favor. [esˈpe.ɾa ˈfwɛ.ɾa ðe la oˈ, poɾ faˈβoɾ] (Wait outside the office, please.)

  • Detente [deˈten.te] – Stop yourself. A direct command for someone to stop their actions immediately.

Detente, eso no está permitido. [deˈten.te, ˈ no esˈta peɾmiˈti.ðo] (Stop, that’s not allowed.)

  • Congelar [kon.xeˈlaɾ] – Freeze. Often used metaphorically to describe stopping something in its current state.

Congela todos los gastos hasta nuevo aviso. [kon.xeˈlaɾ ˈto.ðos los ˈɣas.tos ˈas.ta ˈnwe.βo aˈβ] (Freeze all expenses until further notice.)

  • Callar [kaˈʝaɾ] – Silence. Used to request someone to stop talking or making noise.

Por favor, calla un momento durante la película. [poɾ faˈβoɾ, kaˈʝa un moˈ duˈɾan.te la peˈ] (Please, be quiet for a moment during the movie.)

  • Contener [kon.teˈneɾ] – Contain. Implies holding back or restraining from continuing an action.

Debemos contener la expansión hasta que estemos preparados. [deˈβe.mos kon.teˈneɾ la eks.panˈsjon ˈas.ta ke esˈte.mos pɾe.paˈɾa.ðos] (We must contain the expansion until we are ready.)

  • Bloquear [bloˈkeaɾ] – Block. To physically or metaphorically stop something from moving forward.

Bloquea esos emails no deseados. [bloˈkea ˈe.sos eˈmajs no ðe.seˈa.ðos] (Block those unwanted emails.)

  • Reprimir [re.pɾiˈmiɾ] – Repress. Often used in emotional contexts to imply stopping or controlling feelings.

No reprimas tus emociones, es saludable expresarlas. [no re.pɾiˈmiɾ tus e.moˈθjo.nes, es saluˈða.βle eks.pɾeˈsaɾ.las] (Don’t repress your emotions; it’s healthy to express them.)

  • Obstruir [obs.tɾuˈiɾ] – Obstruct. To physically stop or block the progress of something.

Obstruye menos el tráfico con tu coche. [obs.tɾuˈiɾ ˈme.nos el ˈtɾ kon tu ˈko.tʃe] (Obstruct the traffic less with your car.)

  • Restringir [res.tɾinˈxiɾ] – Restrict. To limit or confine something within set boundaries.

Vamos a restringir el acceso a esta área. [ˈba.mos a res.tɾinˈxiɾ el akˈθ a ˈes.ta ˈa.ɾea] (We will restrict access to this area.)

  • Silencio [siˈlen.sjo] – Silence. A command for quietness.

¡Silencio, por favor! [siˈlenθjo poɾ faˈβoɾ] (Silence, please!)

  • Hasta Aquí [ˈas.ta a’ki] - Enough. This phrase marks the end of an action.

Está bien, hasta aquí con la música. [es.ta ˈbjen, ˈas.ta a’ki kon la mu’si.ka] (Alright, enough with the music.)

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Learning how to tell someone to stop in Spanish involves more than memorizing words. You need to understand the context and choose the right term. For a beginner, this guide should be a helpful first step. Remember to practice these words and phrases regularly. Soon enough, you’ll be confident to use them.


What does body language play when telling someone to stop?

Body language is important. Hand gestures emphasize the seriousness of the stop it in Spanish. One of the signals is a raised hand for the command to halt.

Which mistakes do non-native speakers make when using ‘stop’ expressions?

Learners often confuse formal and informal words, may use wrong verb forms, or misunderstand how strong the phrases should be in specific contexts. The key is to understand those subtle differences in the language.

Can regional dialects affect the use of ‘stop’ in Spanish?

How you say stop in Spanish depends on the region. You might hear para ya [ˈpa.ɾa ˈʝa] in Spain. The phrase ya basta [ʝa ˈβasta] is frequently used in Mexico. It conveys a similar urgency but has a slightly different tone.

Where can I learn other Spanish vocabulary?

WordReference is a good source. It offers a forum for learners to ask questions and clear doubts. Also, the Collins Dictionary offers translations and thematic word lists. The Spanish language learning app by Promova teaches in an entertaining, efficient way using interactive tasks.