Ready to keep learning about polysemic words In Spanish? If you want to deepen your knowledge on this topic, take a look at this post!

After the post published last week on polysemic words, our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem provide all its students with its second part.

Firstly, we remind you that polysemy refers to existence of various meaning in a single word.
A polysemic word express a certain meaning, depending on the context and the situation it refers to.

Furthermore, grammatically speaking, a polysemic word can work as a noun, an adjective and a verb at the same time, thus referring to very different concepts.
As Spanish has many of them, we offer here an overview of the ones you will most llikely hear from Spanish speakers.

Let’s go there!


Meanings = can / bore (colloquial)


Las latas de cervezas están en la nevera = The cans of beer are in the fridge
Pasear el perro a las 6 de la mañana es una lata = Bringin the dog for a walk at 6 am. is a bore.

With reference to this last meaning, you can also find some other colloquial expressions.
The most commonly used are:

dar la lata meaning “annoying, bothering”.

Examples: Mi hermana estuvo dando la lata todo el día = My sister has been annoying me all day.

!Qué lata! meaning “What a drag!”

Examples: El vecino ha tocado la trompeta toda la tarde !Qué lata! = The neighbor has been playing the trumpet all the afternoon. What a drag!


Meanings = tongue / language


Me quemé la lengua bebiendo un caldo = I burnt my tongue while drinking broth
Esta lengua es muy difícil de aprender = This language is hard to learn


Meanings = smart / ready


¿Estás lista para salir? = Are you ready to go out?
María es una chica muy lista; aprende todo muy rápido = María is very smart; she learn very quickly

Besides, you may also hear someone saying “Listo!” That means that the person is ready or he/she has just finished doing something.


Meanings = monkey / overalls / cute (coll.) / craving (coll.)


Ayer vi un documental sobre monos = Yesterday I watched a documentary on monkeys
Los mecánicos suelen usan monos cuando trabajan = Mechanics use to wear overalls at work
Lucas es un chico muy mono; tiene ojos bonitos y siempre está sonriendo = Luca is a really cute guy; he has pretty eyes and he always smiles.
La semana dejé de fumar y por suerte no tuve mono = Last week I quit smoking and luckly I didn’t have any craving.


Meanings = writs / doll


Me caí de la escalera y me rompí la muñeca = I fell from a ladder and I broke my wrist
La muñeca de mi sobrina está hecha de tela y algodón = My niece’s doll is made from fabric and cotton.


Meanings = earring / pending / slope


En esta tienda venden pendientes de platas = This shop sells silver earrings
Tengo una tarea pendiente en el trabajo = I have a pending task at work
Al final de esta pendiente encuentras la plaza = At the end of this slope you will find the square.


Meanings = plant / floor / the bottom of the foot


Hay muchas plantas aromáticas en el jardín = There are many aromatic plants in the garden
La consulta del doctor está en la primera planta = The doctor’s examination room in on the frist floor.
Pisé un clavo oxidado y me hice daño en la planta del pié = I stepped on a rusty nail and I hurt the bottom of my foot.


Meanings = rule, ruler, period


Saludar a las personas es una regla de buenos modales = Greeting people is a rule of good manners.
Necesito una regla para trazar estas líneas = I need a ruler to trace these lines
La ausencia de la regla puede ser síntoma de embarazo = A missed period can be symptom of pregnancy.


Meanings = salt / spark (figurative) / leave/get out! (2nd person singular of the imperative)


Esta sopa tiene demasiada sal = There too much salt in this soup
Cuenta los chistes con mucha sal. Es muy graciosa! = She tells joke with such a spark. She is really funny!
¡Sal de aquí ahora mismo! = Get out of here now!


Meanings = storm / temporary / temporal bone


La inundación fue causada por el temporal = The storm caused the flood
Las medidas aplicadas son temporales = The taken measures are temporary
Mi hermano se fracturó el temporal y tuvieron que ingresarlo en el hospital = Mi brother broke his temporal bone and he was hospitalized.


Meanings = suit / I brought (1st person singular of past simple)


Compré un traje muy elegante para la fiesta de tu cumpleaños = I bought a very elegant suit for your birthday party
Traje una tarta recién hecha = I brought a freshly baked cake.


Meanings = yolk / fingertip


Para preparar el postre utiliza solo la yema = To prepare the dessert, use only the yolk.
Los niños pintaron con las yemas de los dedos = The kids painted using their fingertips

In addition, you can also find sentences containing twice a polysemic word. These sentences can be very funny and sometimes lead Spanish learners to misunderstanding.

So, let’s see some examples:

Te espero sentada en el banco al lado del banco = I am waiting for you on the bench next to the bank.
Estás muy mono con el mono = You look so cute with the overalls
Traje tu traje de boda = I brought your wedding suit
El cura hizo una cura de reposo = The priest took a rest cure.

We hope you enjoyed this post and it helped you learn new things about Spanish language.
Weekly, our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem publishes post on Spanish grammar and language to make your learning process easier 🙂

Till the next blog!