Spanish Word Lists for Memorable Passphrases

Using words from a language that you don't understand defeats some of the strategies you could employ to remember a passphrase. Ideally, everyone would have access to word lists in the language of their choice.


Design Goals

From higher to lower priority.

  1. Usability

    I want the experience of inputting my passphrase to be as familiar as possible, no matter the situation.

  2. Memorability

    As much as possible, I want to avoid situations of doubt when recalling my passphrase.

  3. Inclusiveness

    Everybody should have access to passphrases they can feel are theirs to use when they need them.

  4. Brevity

    I want to do as little as necessary to input my passphrase.

In order to achieve these goals, some design guidelines are specifically defined for the Spanish word lists.

Example: corrector caballo pila grapa tiempo cielo

I thought good passwords should be hard to remember!

Good passwords are random, but that doesn't mean they must be hard to remember.

This project is inspired by the excellent work of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), whose English word lists changed the way I think about passwords.

If you want to learn to generate random passphrases using a word list, the EFF Dice-Generated Passphrases guide contains step-by-step directions to generate them using a simple set of dice.

If you want to learn more about the security characteristics of passphrases generated using dice and word lists, I recommend you read the EFF's deep dive about passphrase security.

Inspired by: EFF's English Wordlists for Random Passphrases

EFF's Logo

Pease note that Memorable Words is an independent project, that is not endorsed by the EFF.

Design Guidelines

The current thinking with regards to achieving the design goals with the Spanish word lists.

  1. Only words that don't contain any letter with diacritical marks:
    • á
    • é
    • í
    • ó
    • ú
    • ü
    • ñ
    • usability goal: reduce the impact of different keyboard layouts on the experience of typing my passphrase
    • brevity goal: diacritics often require additional keystrokes
  2. Only lowercase, meaningful words—no symbols, no digits.
    • usability goal: lowercase letter keys are usually among the easier to access
    • memorability goal: meaning and connotation make words easier to distinguish than numbers or series of symbols
    • brevity goal: mixed-case letters usually require additional keystrokes
  3. As much as possible, no profane, insulting, sensitive, or emotionally-charged words.
    • inclusiveness goal: not including words with meanings, common uses, or connotations that no one would miss in their passphrases makes for a tool that more people could feel happy to use.
  4. As much as possible, words recognized by many people—at the very least words that can be found in an average dictionary.
    • memorability goal: I am doing my best to select words that are usually recognized by different groups of people (whether they use them or not) while embracing the fact that Spanish is a diverse language used by a diverse group of people.
    • inclusiveness goal: I am taking into account that we all have biases and that the CORPES XXI data set does indeed reflect some of the most common.
  5. As much as possible words with concrete meanings.
    • memorability goal: I assume memorability is why the author of EFF's word lists ranked the candidates by "concreteness". I am keeping this in mind, but haven't yet decided concretely how to integrate this criteria in the list design process.
  6. Words as short as reasonable.
    • brevity goal: the length of the words won't affect the strength of the passphrase, so there is no point in making it longer to input.
  7. Nice to have: minimal edit distance between words, unique word prefixes…

Want to use Spanish word lists?

Memorable Words is currently a slow-moving project, but let's talk.