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Words with Double Meaning

Words with Double Meaning



Words with Double Meaning

In Spanish there are plenty of words with multiple meanings, and often radically different ones! Here’s a list we compiled of some of the most commonly used words that can be used in different ways:

  • Banco: bank / bench / (banco de peces) shoal / school of fish.
    • El Banco de Inglaterra mantiene los tipos de interés en el 5,25% (bank). The Bank of England maintains the interest rate at 5.25%.
    • El anciano se sentó en un banco para descansar (bench). The old man sat in a bench to rest.
    • Al cruzar el puente los niños vieron un banco de peces (shoal of fish or school of fish). The children saw a school of fish (or shoal of fish) as they crossed the bridge.
  • Cabeza: head / (de familia) head of the family.
    • Pedro agachó la cabeza avergonzado. Peter bowed his head in shame.
    • Ella es la cabeza de familia. She is the head of the family.
  • Camello: camel/ (drug) pusher.
    • La esperanza media de vida de un camello es de 50 a 60 años. The average life expectancy of a camel is 50 to 60 years.
    • Hay muchos camellos en esa calle. There are a lot of drug dealers on that street
  • Caña: (de pescar) fishing rod, pole/ (de cerveza) glass of beer / (de azúcar) sugar cane.
    • Fueron a pescar y se les olvidó la caña. They went fishing and they forgot the pole.
    • Una caña, por favor. (beer). A beer, please.
    • La caña de azúcar se cultivaba y todavía se cultiva en grandes cantidades en el Caribe. Sugarcane was, and is still is, extensively grown in the Caribbean.
  • Capital: working/share capital / Capital.
    • El capital de la empresa ha sido superior al de cualquier otro año. The company's capital income from last year far exceeded any other year.
    • Madrid es la capital de España. Madrid is the capital of Spain.
  • Chorizo: highly-seasoned pork sausage/ Thief, pickpocket.
    • Anoche tomamos un chorizo delicioso. Last night we had delicious pork sausage.
    • Un chorizo me robó la cartera en el metro. A thief stole my wallet in the metro.
  • Coche: car/ (de caballos) carriage /(de bebé) buggy / (de choque) bumper cars.
    • María tuvo un accidente con su coche nuevo. María had an accident Wit her new car.
    • Dimos una vuelta por la ciudad en un carro de caballos. We had a tour of the city in a horse-drawn carriage.
    • Mi mujer y yo compramos un cochecito para nuestra hija. My wife and I bought a new buggy for our daughter.
    • Nos lo pasamos muy bien en los coches de choque. We had a great time on the bumper cars.
  • Cola: queue, line/ tail/ glue.
    • Hicimos cola durante una hora. We were queuing for an hour.
    • El caballo movía su cola para apartar a las moscas. The horse moved its tail to keep the flies away.
    • Creo que seria mejor usar tanto pegamento como clavos a la hora de montar los cajones. I think it would be better to use glue as well as nails when building the drawers.
  • Derecho: upright, straight/right/ law.
    • Sigue todo derecho y encontrarás el bar del que te hablo. Go straight ahead and you’ll find the pub I’m talking about.
    • Está usted en su derecho. You are within your rights.
    • Su hijo está estudiando Derecho. His son is studying Law.
  • Esperar: to wait / to hope / to expect.
    • La estuvo esperando durante dos horas. He was waiting for her for two hours.
    • Espero que puedan venir a la boda. I hope they can come to the wedding
    • Esperaba encontrarte en casa. I expected to find you at home.
  • Estación: Season/ (de autobuses) bus station, (de trenes) train station.
    • Normalmente no llueve en esta estación. Usually it doesn’t rain during this season.
    • Nos perdimos intentando encontrar la estación de autobuses. We got lost trying to find the bus station.
    • Llegamos justo a tiempo a la estación de trenes. We arrived just on time to the train station
  • Falda: skirt/ (de una montaña) slope, hillside, foot.
    • Ella siempre lleva falda. She always wears skirts.
    • El tiene un chalet en la falda de la montaña. He has a small cottage at the foot of the hill.
  • Gato: cat/ car jack
    • Los gatos a veces matan pequeños animales y pájaros. Cats sometimes kill small animals and birds.
    • No puedo cambiar la rueda de su coche porque no tenía un gato. He couldn’t change the wheel of his car because he didn’t have a car jack
  • Hoja: (de papel) sheet/ leaf.
    • ¿Tienes una hoja en blanco? Do you have a blank sheet of paper?
    • Vimos un arbusto floreciente con hojas largas y brillantes. We saw a flowering bush with large shiny leaves.
  • Justo: tight/ fair, right.
    • Esa camiseta se te ve muy ajustada. That t-shirt looks too tight on you.
    • No es justo que siempre hagas lo que quieras. It’s not fair, you always do whatever you want.
  • Leyenda: legend/ inscription, lettering.
    • Cuenta la leyenda que por la noche se convierte en lobo. According to legend, he/she turns into a wolf at night.
    • El mapa se mojó con la lluvia y la leyenda quedó ilegible. The map got wet from the rain making the legendillegible.
  • Lengua: tongue/ language.
    • ¡No saques la lengua a la gente!, es de mala educación. Don't stick your tongue out at people! It's bad manners!
    • Nunca había oido esa lengua antes. I've never heard that language spoken before!
  • Listo: smart / ready.
    • Su hermano es muy listo, siempre saca buenas notas. Her brother is very smart, he always gets good grades.
    • ¿Estás listo? Si no salimos ya llegaremos tarde. Are you ready? If we don't leave now we will be late.
  • Vela: sail/ candle/ wakefulness.
    • Tienen un yate muy bonito con velas blancas. They have a very nice yacht with white sails.
    • Le encantan las velas perfumadas. She loves scented candles.
    • Se pasó la noche en vela. He had a sleepless night.
  • Masa: mass / dough, pastry.
    • Había una masa de gente a la entrada del club. There was a mass of people around the club entrance.
    • No pudieron hacer la masa porque no tenían harina. They couldn’t make the dough/pastry because they didn’t have flour.
  • Mesa: table / desk.
    • He reservado una mesa para dos a las ocho. I've booked a table for two for 8 o'clock.
    • Marie estaba sentada en su mesa. Marie was sitting at her desk.
  • Mono: cute/monkey.
    • ¡Ese bebé es muy mono! That baby is so cute!
    • Los monos fueron devueltos a la selva donde nacieron. The monkeys were taken back to the jungle where they were born.
  • Muñeca: doll/ wrist.
    • La niña estaba loca de contenta con su muñeca nueva. The little girl was very happy with her new doll.
    • El tenista se hizo daño en la muñeca. The tennis player hurt his wrist.
  • Nada: nothing / from the verb "nadar" to.
    • Prometí no decir nada a nadie. I promised to say nothing about it to anyone.
    • Vamos a nadar esta tarde. Let's go swimming this afternoon.
  • Ojo: keyhole/eye.
    • Me asomé por el ojo de la cerradura y los observé. I peeped through the keyhole and watched them.
    • ¡Ay! ¡Se me ha metido algo en el ojo! Ow! I've got something in my eye!
  • Padre: father/ priest.
    • Él ha sido como un padre para mí. He's been like a father to me.
    • Su hermano es cura. Her brother is a priest.
  • Pasa: raisin / from the verb to pass (pasar).
    • A ella le encanta echar pasas a las ensaladas. She loves to put raisins in salads.
    • La multitud se apartó para dejar pasar al camión. The crowd parted to let the truck pass.
  • Perder: (un objeto) to lose/ (medio de transporte) to miss/ (el tiempo) to waste/ (agua, aceite) to leak.
    • He perdido mis llaves. I have lost my keys.
    • Tuve que llevar a mi hermana al aeropuerto porque perdió el autobús. I had to take my sister to the airport because she missed the bus.
    • No pierdas el tiempo con él, no va a cambiar de opinión. Don’t waste your time; he is not going to change his mind.
    • La rueda delantera de tu bici esta perdiendo aire. There's a leak in the front tire of your bike.
  • Pico: peak (geography) /(de ave) beak / (de una mesa) corner.
    • Desde el avión podíamos ver el pico de la montaña. We could see the mountain's peak from the aeroplane.
    • Los loros usan sus picos agudos para cáscara frutas y nueces. Parrots use their sharp beaks to break open fruit and nuts.
    • Ana se ha dado un golpe en el pie con el pico de la mesa. Ana banged her foot on the corner of the table.
  • Pie: foot/ base (from a lamp).
    • Me duele el pie. My foot hurts.
    • Me di en el dedo con el pie de la lámpara. I stubbed my toe on the base of the lamp.
  • Piso: flat, apartment/floor.
    • Podéis dormir en mi piso, tengo sitio de sobra. You can stay over at my flat/apartment; I have more than enough room.
    • Vive en el tercer piso. He lives on the third floor.
  • Ratón: mouse (animal) / mouse (computer).
    • Mi gato mató un ratón. My cat killed a mouse
    • Me he comprado un ratón y un teclado. I bought a new mouse and keyboard.
  • Rico: wealthy, rich / delicious / rich (food) / lovely, adorable.
    • Ella sólo piensa en casarse con un hombre rico. She just wants to marry a man who is wealthy.
    • Esa tarta estaba deliciosa. That cake was delicious.
    • Es un alimento rico en proteínas. It's a high-protein food.
    • ¡Pero qué niño más rico! He is such a adorable baby!
  • Sensación: feeling / sensation.
    • Es una sensación muy desagradable. It's a very unpleasant feeling.
    • La noticia ha causado sensación. The news has caused a sensation.
  • Tambor: drum (music) / drum (washermachine).
    • Mil personas marchaban tocando los tambores y llevando banderas. A thousand people marched, beating drums and carrying flags.
    • Su lavadora no funciona y creo que es por el tambor. Their washermachine doesn’t work and I think that it’s because of the drum.
  • Tronco: trunk / trunk, torso / log (wood).
    • El tronco de ese árbol es enorme. The trunk of that tree is huge.
    • Gira el tronco un poco mas a la derecha si quieres golpear bien a la pelota. Twist your torso a little bit more to the right if you want to hit the ball properly.
    • Necesitamos unos troncos para encender la chimenea. We need some logs to light the chimney.
  • Vaquero: cowboy/ jeans.
    • A Pablo le encantan las películas de indios y vaqueros. Paul loves cowboys and Indians movies.
    • ¿Has visto dónde he puesto mis vaqueros? Have you seen where I put my jeans?
  • Yema: fingertip/ yolk.
    • Le tocó las mejillas suavemente con la yema de los dedos. She touched his cheek gently with her fingertips.
    • My parte fevorita de un huevo duro es la yema. My favorite part of a hard boiled egg is the yolk.

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