Understanding the Spanish Idiom: "hacer carrera" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: Spanish

In the world of idioms, every language has its own unique expressions that reflect cultural values and beliefs. One such idiom in the Spanish language is hacer carrera, which translates to “make a career” in English. This phrase is commonly used to describe someone who is ambitious, hardworking, and dedicated to their profession or field of study.

The concept of making a career is an important one in many cultures around the world, but it holds a special significance in Spanish-speaking countries. In these societies, education and professional success are highly valued, and individuals are encouraged to pursue their goals with passion and determination.

To truly understand the meaning behind this idiom, it’s important to delve deeper into its origins and cultural context. By exploring its history and usage over time, we can gain a better appreciation for how hacer carrera has become such an integral part of Spanish language and culture.

Origins and Historical Context of the Spanish Idiom “hacer carrera”

The phrase hacer carrera is a common idiom in the Spanish language that refers to building a successful career. However, the origins of this expression are not clear, and its historical context can provide insight into its meaning.

Throughout history, Spain has undergone significant social and economic changes that have influenced the way people view work and success. The concept of carrera or career was not always a priority for individuals or society as a whole. In fact, for many years, social status was determined by birth rather than merit.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that Spain began to experience industrialization and modernization, which led to an increase in opportunities for education and employment. As a result, more people began to pursue careers based on their skills and abilities rather than their family background.

The phrase hacer carrera likely emerged during this time period as a way to describe someone who was actively working towards achieving professional success. It became associated with ambition, hard work, and dedication – qualities that were highly valued in this new era of progress.

Today, the idiom hacer carrera remains an important part of Spanish culture and language. It reflects the country’s ongoing commitment to personal achievement through hard work and perseverance.

Usage and Variations of the Spanish Idiom “hacer carrera”

The idiom hacer carrera is a commonly used expression in the Spanish language. It refers to the act of pursuing a career or professional path, often with ambition and determination. This idiom can be used in various contexts, including personal aspirations, academic pursuits, and work-related goals.

One variation of this idiom is hacer una carrera universitaria, which specifically refers to pursuing a university degree. Another variation is “hacer carrera política,” which refers to pursuing a political career. The phrase can also be modified by adding adjectives such as “exitosa” (successful) or “frustrada” (unsuccessful), depending on the outcome of one’s career pursuit.

In some cases, this idiom may have negative connotations when used in reference to someone who prioritizes their career over other aspects of their life. However, it can also represent hard work and dedication towards achieving one’s goals.

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Spanish Idiom “hacer carrera”


There are several synonyms for hacer carrera in Spanish that convey similar ideas. For example, “desarrollarse profesionalmente” means to develop professionally or advance in one’s career. Another synonym is “progresar laboralmente,” which refers to making progress or advancing in one’s job or profession.


On the other hand, there are also antonyms for hacer carrera that express opposite concepts. One such antonym is “estancarse,” which means to stagnate or remain at a standstill in terms of career growth. Another antonym is “retroceder,” which refers to moving backward or regressing instead of advancing.

Cultural Insights:

In Spanish-speaking cultures, building a successful career is often seen as an important aspect of personal fulfillment and social status. Therefore, expressions like hacer carrera carry significant weight and may be used frequently in conversations about work and professional aspirations.

However, it’s worth noting that attitudes towards careers may vary across different regions and demographics within these cultures. Some individuals may prioritize stability over advancement while others may value entrepreneurship over traditional corporate paths.

Understanding these cultural nuances can help you communicate effectively with native speakers when discussing topics related to careers and professional development using idiomatic expressions like Hacer Carrera.

Practical Exercises for the Spanish Idiom “hacer carrera”

Firstly, try using hacer carrera in a sentence about your own career aspirations. For example, “Quiero hacer carrera en la industria de la tecnología” (I want to make a career in the technology industry). This exercise will not only help you remember the meaning of the phrase but also allow you to personalize it.

Next, practice using hacer carrera in different tenses. Try saying phrases such as “Estoy haciendo carrera como abogado/a” (I am making a career as a lawyer) or “Había hecho carrera en el mundo empresarial antes de cambiar de profesión” (I had made a career in the business world before changing professions).

Finally, challenge yourself by incorporating synonyms of hacer carrera into your vocabulary. Some examples include: desarrollar una trayectoria profesional (developing a professional trajectory), progresar en el ámbito laboral (progressing in the work environment), and avanzar en su campo profesional (advancing in one’s professional field).

By practicing these exercises regularly, you’ll be able to confidently use the Spanish idiom hacer carrera in various contexts and impress native speakers with your fluency!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Spanish Idiom “hacer carrera”

When it comes to using idiomatic expressions in a foreign language, it’s easy to make mistakes. The Spanish idiom hacer carrera is no exception. This expression is commonly used in Spain and Latin America to refer to someone who has achieved success in their career or profession.

However, there are some common mistakes that non-native speakers of Spanish make when using this expression. One mistake is using it too early in one’s career, as hacer carrera implies a certain level of achievement and experience. Another mistake is assuming that the expression only refers to traditional careers such as medicine or law, when it can also apply to creative professions like writing or music.

Another common mistake is using hacer carrera interchangeably with other similar expressions such as “buscar trabajo” (looking for work) or “empezar en una empresa” (starting at a company). While these expressions may be related, they do not carry the same connotation of long-term success and advancement that “hacer carrera” does.

To avoid making these mistakes, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what hacer carrera means and how it is used in context. It’s also helpful to listen carefully for how native speakers use this expression and take note of any nuances or variations based on regional dialects.

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