Polysemic words are those words that have multiple meanings and Spanish language has plenty of them.

In a previous post of our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem, we analyzed a list of Spanish words with no equivalent in English.

Likewise, today we keep exploring the Spanish vocabulary and its richness, by talking about polysemic words in Spanish. We selected for you a list of the most commonly used ones.

So, let’s go there!


Meanings = bank/ bench/ shoal of fish


El banco abre de 10.00 a 14.00 = The bank is open from 10 am to 2 pm.
Pablo te estaba esperando sentando en un banco del parque = Pablo was waiting for you, sitting on a park bench
El pescador vio un banco de peces en el rio = The fisherman saw a shoal of fish in the river.

In additon, the word banco, generally meaning a “seat”, can have different translations in English according to the context.

For example, banco, is “pew” when referring to a seat of a church. Or, banco is a “workbench”, when referring to a seat in a workshop.


Meanings = bag/ stock market / circle under tired eyes


!No olvides coger la bolsa de la compra! = Don’t forget to take the shopping bag.
Algunas falsas noticias hicieron que la bolsa se desplomara = Some fake news lead to values plummeting on the stock market.
Jose estaba muy cansado; tenía bolsas debajo los ojos = Jose was very tired; he had bags under his eyes.


Meanings = bomb / pump


Encontraron restos de bombas de la II Guerra Mundial = Some remnants of the II World War bombs were found
El mecanico reparó la bomba de agua de mi coche en un par de día = The mechanic repared my car’s pump in a couple of day.


Meanings = head / head of a family


Ana agachó la cabeza para no mirarme a los ojos = Ana bowed her head to not look me in the eyes.
El abuela es la cabeza de la familia = The grandmother is the head of the family.


Meanings = sugar cane / fishing rod / small draft beer


Se cultiva mucha caña de azúcar en esta zona = In this area, the sugar cane is exstensively grown.
¡Coge tu caña y vamos a pescar! = Take your rod and let’s go fishing!
Me traes una caña, ¿por favor? = Could you please bring me a small beer?


Meanings = capital / resources (money) / primary


Roma es la capital de Italia = Rome is the capital of Italy.
La empresa invirtió capital en este proyecto = The enterprise invested capital in this project
Este experimento es de importancia capital para la ciencia = This experiment is of primary importance for the science.


Meanings = tail / queue / glue


Mi gato mueve la cola cuando está molesto = My cat wags his tail when he is annoyed
Había una cola muy larga en la oficina de correos = There was a very long queue at the post office
Necesito papel, tijeras y cola = I need paper, scissors and glue


Meanings = priest / treatment


Él es el nuevo cura de la parroquia = He is the new priest of the parish
El médico me dio una cura para la dermatitis = The doctor prescribed a treatment for my dermatitis.


Meanings = destination / destiny


El tren con destino Madrid a sale a las 17.00 = The train with a final destination of Madrid leaves at 5 pm.
El destino de Maria era ser una gran escritora = Maria’s destiny was to become a great writer.


Meanings = to wait / to expect / to hope


Tu madre te espera en casa = Your mother is waiting for you at home
Esperaba más apoyo de tu parte = I expected more support from you
Espero que lo disfrutes mucho = I hope you enjoy it a lot.


Meanings = cat / jack


El gato de mi vecina se ha perdido = My neighbour’ cat got lost
Necesito un gato para cambiar la rueda del coche = I need a jack to change the tire.


Meanings = sheet /leaf


Escribe tu mensaje en una hoja = Write your message on a blank sheet of paper
Las hojas de los árboles se vuelven amarillas en otoño = The trees leaves turn yellow in autumn.


Meanings = magnet / imam


Me gusta comprar imanes de los sitios que he visitado = I like to buy magnets of the places I have been to
El imán hizo un discurso sobre la paz y el respeto = The imam gave a speech on peace and respect.

We hope this post help you enrich your vocabulary and use it properly!

Weekly, our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem publishes articles on Spanish grammar and language. Furthermore, on Friday you will also find some plans for the weekend in our blog.

So, stay tuned!