Worldly Translations

Learn 10 Spanish words with more than one meaning

Learn 10 Spanish words with more than one meaning.

Just as we studied on our article about English words with more than one meaning, words with different meanings can be very confusing, while learning languages and even when interpreting, drafting or translating a text. As we usually remind you on this blog, context -the reality that surrounds a text and, in many occasions, becomes present in it- is a determining factor for the comprehension of the text and the terms that conform it. Even more, for words that have more than one meaning.

Same as the English language, Spanish has its own commonly used words that can create some confusion and mistakes by having several meanings. Words as common as “plant”, “bank” or “general” have completely different meanings that depend on context. So, a professional translation is the main tool that we use to preserve the sense and meanings of a text.


Because of that, at Worldly Translations we invite you to learn these 10 words with more than one meaning that are very commonly used in the Spanish language.

1.       Alianza

The word “alianza” (alliance) has two very different meanings. This word can either refer to an alliance with another entity, or the noun assigned to a wedding ring.

2.       Banco

In Spanish, the word “banco” (bank) which are cognates, can refer, just as in English to the institutions or companies dedicates to financial operations. However, it can also mean a seat with or without backrest, a bench.

3.       Capital

Just like in English, the word “capital” has two very common meanings in Spanish. The capital of a country or province is where governmental agencies are located, while its second meaning refers to a company’s or person’s wealth.

4.       Derecho

This word has countless meanings in Spanish. However, the most commonly used ones as two: first of all, the word “derecho” as an adjective means straight, second “derechos” are those principles that are recognized or concede to a subject within a specific society, “rights”. Related to this last meaning, the word “derecho” can also refer to the discipline that studies the legal system for its just enforcement, “law”.

5.       Estación

One of this word’s meanings is a cognate of the English word “station”: the place where buses or trains stop. However, in Spanish, the word “estación” or “estaciones” also refers to the four seasons of the year.

6.       General

This is another word with greatly different meanings. On one hand, the adjective “general” means common, frequent or common to all individuals. On the other hand, the word “General” also refers to a rank of Army officials.

7.       Lengua

Even though it has two very different meanings, both nouns are bound by belonging to the same idea. The tongue (“lengua”) is the organ located inside of the mouth that is used to taste, swallow and modulate sounds; but it can also be a synonym of language with its own vocabulary and grammar, like “mother tongue”.

8.       Muñeca

Is this a toy or a body part? In Spanish the word “muñeca” means both things. It can refer to a plastic, rag or rubber human figure (doll); or the joint connecting the forearm and arm (wrist).

9.       Planta

In Spanish, just as the word “plant” in English, the word “planta” refers to a vegetal living being. However, a “planta” can also refer to the inferior area of the foot, the “sole”.

10.   Sierra

This is another word that usually confuse those who are learning the Spanish language. The “sierra” is a tool used to cut through tough materials like wood and rock: “saw”. However, it can also refer to a geographical accident characterized by a group of mountains inside another, bigger one, like a mountain range.

     We hope you have enjoyed learning these words that have more than one meaning that are commonly used in the Spanish language. Until next time!