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Common Spanish words that are different in South America and Spain?

In South America you generally don't use the "vosotros" form.

But there are also differences in the vocabulary, which I would like to know.

What I know so far:

apartamento (spain) = departamento (SA)

ordenador (Spain) = computadora (SA)

can you come up with any more examples of words? And yes I know that it's very general and there are many differences between the south american countries but anything would help!



Movil (Spain) - Celular (South America)

Coche; automovil (Spain) - Auto; carro (South America)


Hay más pero estas son de las que me acuerdo ahora mismo. La verdad que hay bastantes diferencias, tanto en vocabulario como en pronunciación pero no influye demasiado en la comunicación.

Coche(Spain)=carro(SA), although coche is understood in SA also.

Well, there are tons of them actually, but as said up there, it's not something that really bothers when communicating, so I couldn't really make a list of them because I'm not really aware! There's also a lot of differences because of the slang used in both places, but I don't think you are refering to that?


- In Argentina (and uruguay) instead of saying "tú" we say "vos", so from there most second person conjugation changes ( "tú tienes" - "vos tenés" and so on).

- In Argentina (not sure if rest of SA is the same) we say "vereda" instead of "acera"

Googling for ideas I found this and i think it would be useful!

As ElfaNocturna said above, there are many examples, but not only between Spanish and South Americans. You can also find different ways of saying the same thing in different locations in Spain.


For instance, in Andalucía we say "botines" meaning "sport shoes", while in Madrid they say "playeras". It's curious because none of them is an accurate word. The word "Botín" in this context is a kind of "bootie" –shoes you couldn't practice any sport with– but also means "booty" or "plunder". Regarding to the word "playeras", it remembers something having to do with the beach. And curiously again, the word "playeras" is used in Mexico and Costa Rica meaning "t-shirt".


Also in Canary Islands instead of "autobús" –which means "bus"– they use the word "guagua", as they do, for instance, in Puerto Rico and Cuba. On the other hand, in Chile, Ecuador or Argentina, "guagua" means a "baby".


When words are different, you just need time to get used to them, but those which are written in the same way but mean anything else can lead misunderstandings or weird and funny situations.


That's the richness of Languages.

Como dijo ElfaNocturna anteriormente hay muchos ejemplos, pero no sólo entre españoles y sudamericanos. También se pueden encontrar diferentes maneras de decir lo mismo en diferentes lugares de España.


Por ejemplo, en Andalucía decimos "botines", que significa "sport shoes", mientras que en Madrid se dice "Playeras". Es curioso, porque ninguna de ellas es una palabra precisa. La palabra "Botín" en este contexto es una especie de "bootie" –zapatos con los que no se podría practicar ningún deporte– pero también significa "booty" o "plunder". En cuanto a la palabra "Playeras", recuerda a algo relacionado con la playa. Y curiosamente, una vez más, la palabra "Playeras" se utiliza en México y Costa Rica queriendo decir "t-shirt".


También en las Islas Canarias en lugar de "autobús" –que significa "bus"– utilizan la palabra "guagua", como lo hacen, por ejemplo, en Puerto Rico y Cuba. Por otro lado, en Chile, Ecuador y Argentina, "guagua" se refiere a un "bebé".


Cuando las palabras son diferentes, sólo necesitas tiempo para acostumbrarte a ellas, pero las que están escritas de la misma forma pero quieren decir otra, pueden provocar malentendidos o situaciones extrañas y divertidas.


Esa es la riqueza de las Lenguas.

conducir (Spain) manejar (Mexico)

carnet de conducir (Spain) licencia de manejar (Mexico)


Barbabecca, I believe there are a few differences between spain's spanish and latinoamerican's spanish but they aren't pretty significant. For example: if you say "coche" rather than "auto" in Chile nobody will be surprised, everybody will understand it, without doubts. Another example: as much "apartamento" as "departamento" are synomymous. Identical case occurs with the words "ordenador" and "computador".


As far as I'm concerned the aspects of spanish that you have to worry are grammar and accent. In fact you will have to learn grammar and accent from one of the several alternatives. Where there are a lot of differences is regarding argot, but it's not important to me.



I think I have seen the word "carro" in use in New Jersey, USA (on a sign), meaning "car". I think in Spain and southern Latin America at least they say "un coche (m)".

This is irrelevant to your question but I would not be surprised if there are other things unique about North American Spanish, or even between different Hispanic cultures here.


Hay muchos "españoles" y todos son igualmente correctos. Las normas académicas deben ser respetadas, pero con un carácter panhispánico: mantiendo la corrección pero admitiendo las variedades. No solo hay dos españoles, el de España y el de Hispanoamérica. Hay muchas variantes en América y también en España. Sin olvidar a Filipinas o el sefardí (el judeo-español).

De hecho, España solo representa el 10% de los hablantes de español. El primer país en número de hablantes de español no es España. Curiosamente es EE.UU, seguido de México.




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