1 Vote

My dictionary does not indicae the difference. These are two words used in Rosetta Stone. From the fotos it appears la bateria is stand alone (flashlights etc) and can not be charged where as la pila is rechargable (cameras etc)? Of course there are rechargable batteries for just about everything now. Thanks for any help.

  • Good question, I changed the 'el' to 'la' because it is feminine. - martha-sd Mar 4, 2012 flag
  • Martha, thank you for your response although I am not sure how this relates as both words are feminine - mlmckay Mar 4, 2012 flag

5 Answers

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Welcome to the forum.

As I understand it batería refers to large batteries ie cars, flashlights etc and pila refers to small batteries ie watches, cameras etc.

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Like a lot of words, they´re used imprecisely (and thus often interchanged in everyday speech) but technically, bateria is always correct for both types - but most often used for non rechargables, and pila has been adopted by most for rechargables. I haven´t seen the aforementioned distinction for small vs large (especially since the small most often are NOT rechargable) but it may exist.

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My experience of this is that pila is used a lot in Spain, certainly for large batteries charged up by generators. The word seemed to be used much more than batería but either will be understood and I don't think it has much to do with re-charging.

I don't know about Latin america. The usage may be more precise.

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In Latin America, specifically in Cuba, we used batería for the car's battery, and pila for smaller AA, AAA, etc., batteries. Here in Mexico, though, they use pila or batería for the same devices.

  • Estoy de acuerdo. En Mexico se usa ambos así mismo. - gringojrf Mar 4, 2012 flag
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mlmkay--You have it flipped.

Batería refers to larger batteries like electronic batteries: cell phones, computers, cars, etc.

Pila refers to batteries you buy that are disposable, like AAA or AA, for remotes or toys or GameBoys.

annierats--I disagree. In Spain, I have heard Batería to refer to larger batteries only, and pilas refer to only the small batteries that you throw away. A great example is those little jars in people's houses that they use to properly dispose of small batteries; they are always labeled "PILAS."

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