Meaning of “perder” in Spanish

The verb “perder” has many different uses in Spanish, they can go from losing an object, some cash or a match to wasting time, missing something and even a reference to rotten food. Confusing, huh?


Take a deep breath and calm down. Here at iAmigo School you will learn the most important uses of “perder” and how to create sentences with each one of these uses.


First thing you need to know is that “perder” is an irregular verb, this means that it is a verb that does not follow the common conjugation pattern. This verb is a stem-changing verb, so you will she the difference in the first letters of the word, as seen below:


Persona Perder
Yo Pierdo
Él/ Ella Pierde
Nosotros Perdemos
Ustedes/Ellos Pierden


Now, let’s talk about the uses it has. 


  • Perder  – To lose something

This way the verb is used just like in english. You can lose something like your keys or your phone, as you can lose a match or some weight, but you can also lose something abstract, like your will to live.



¡Siempre pierdo mi lápiz!

Mi equipo de fútbol favorito nunca pierde un partido.

¡Con estos niños voy a perder la cabeza!


  • Perder algo – To miss something

 Yes, “perder” also means missing, but not in the case of missing somebody. It is used to say “missing a chance”, “missing the train” or “missing an event”



Perdemos el bus ¡Corre!

Tú  perdiste tu oportunidad conmigo.

Me pierdo de toda la información.


But when you want to describe an event that you have missed like “I missed the beginning of the movie” you use the verb perder in it’s reflexive form “perderse”. 


Me perdí el principio de la película.

Te perdiste lo que hizo el perro.

Mi padre se perdió mi función por estar trabajando.


  1. Perderse – To get lost

With this meaning you will also need to use the reflexive form of the verb, usually, conjugated in the past.


Persona Presente//Pasado
Yo Me pierdo // Me perdí
Te pierdes // Te perdiste
Él/ Ella Se pierde // Se perdió
Nosotros Perdemos // Nos perdimos
Ustedes/Ellos Pierden // Se pierden




Soy muy mala para ver mapas. Siempre me pierdo.

Ella llegó tarde porque se perdió.

¿Sabes dónde está la casa? No, creo que nos perdimos.


  • Adjetivo “perdido”

Now, if you want to say “I´m lost” in the present moment, you need to use the adjective “perdido/perdida”. 




¡Ayuda! Estoy perdido, no sé a dónde ir.

¿Cómo llego al museo? Estoy perdido.

¿Has visto a mi gata? Está perdida.


  1. Perder el tiempo – To waste time

Have you ever watched Instagram, Youtube or Netflix for hours and hours? Yeah, I mean those afternoons that you feel guilty about it. Well, if you want to describe one of those days, you can also use “perder”.



Perdí mi tiempo viendo una serie muy mala.

¡No quiero perder más tiempo con esto!

Nosotros perdimos el tiempo con esa conferencia.


  1. Echarse a perder – To spoil, go bad

This is a phrase that works in combination with the verb “echar”. It is usually conjugated in the past “se echó a perder” or “se ha echado a perder”




Esa fruta se echó a perder, bótala.

¡Oh no! La carne que compramos se ha echado a perder.


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