pequeña vs chiquita

pequeña vs chiquita


I went to the local senior citizens book sale today. The books are always super cheap (.50cents) and often they will have random spanish books which I like to pick up. I happened to stumble across my old high school spanish language books they used to teach us with(long, long ago smile ) at the sale. But, to my surprise, it was the teachers edition! I was very happy to find it, now if I could only find a time machine and use it to go back and get better grades....

Anyways sorry for the pointless story. At the sale I also picked up an old spanish course book from the 1960's. I was reading through it, and there are a lot of words I believe to be "outdated" or not in as much use anymore. I know in english this is quite common for words to become outdated and not used as much, and my question is, is it the same for spanish? For instance, the word for small, everything I've ever read has led me to believe it is most common to use the word pequeño, but this books says chiquito.

I know they both mean the same thing basically, but could a native spanish speaker pipe in and let me know which word they more commonly use, pequeño or chiquito? Or am I mistaken in my assumption altogether, or is pequeño used more to describe people and not things, or is it based on the region your from as to what word you'd use??

Example sentences from the book:

El canario es chiquito.

El botón es chiquito.

Sorry for the long-winded thread just to ask a simple question smile

updated OCT 10, 2010
posted by cheeseisyummy

4 Answers


I understand what you mean... pequeño and chiquito mean exactly the same and they are both used nowadays.

The fact is that they have different collocation. I'd say that chiquito has a more familiar use and especially with kids.

Ex. Mirá qué chiquito que es el bebé!!! or

¿Me das un beso chiquito? (or chiquitito) or

"Encontré un botón re chiquito en el cajón de mi escritorio" (meaning very small).


On the other hand "pequeño" doesn't sound that familiar, but perfectly used, usually in narratives...

Ex Somos un pequeño grupo de personas que quieren aprender Español.

El niño es muy pequeño para estar solo en la casa.

Also as noun: El pequeño llamó a su madre con todas sus fuerzas (sounds quite formal)


The safest word:

chico (meaning small)

Esta remera me queda chica. Necesito una nueva

Encontré un cuaderno de cuando era chica. (o pequeña)

Esta billetera es muy chica. No entra mi licencia de conducir.

Qué chico es el mundo!! Somos miles de personas de todos lados unidos por un mismo fin: aprender un idioma!!


Hope it helps!!

updated OCT 10, 2010
edited by Benz
posted by Benz
I love your answers Benz...they are so helpful :) - Izanoni1, FEB 20, 2010
Thank you Izanonni1!!! :) - Benz, FEB 21, 2010
thanks, that clears it up alot :) - cheeseisyummy, FEB 21, 2010

Hi squelched Packer fan!

I am not a native speaker, but I do know that I have a few mexican friends in their 20's and they all say chiquito and pequeño interchangeably. It does seem that chiquito is used more often as an endearing form when describing someone....but what would I know!

updated FEB 21, 2010
posted by renaerules

I tend to hear chico and chiquito said more in Latin America and pequeno in Spain... but not sure if that's representative?? Anyone know?

updated FEB 21, 2010
posted by ruperttebb

El canario es chiquito.

El botón es chiquito

Nothing is wrong with these sentences. Most Spanish speaking persons woul understand them.

updated FEB 20, 2010
posted by 00769608
I know this. But my question is in 2010 is it still most common to use chiquito or is it more common to use pequeno? - cheeseisyummy, FEB 20, 2010
As in, would you catch a teenager using this word, or is it more uesd by 'older' generations? - cheeseisyummy, FEB 20, 2010
or are they both still completely interchangeable? - cheeseisyummy, FEB 20, 2010
Kind of like in the 50s people would say they aer litening to their HiFi, where as in 2010 they'd say they are listening to their stereo - although that is not a good example... - cheeseisyummy, FEB 20, 2010
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