Quick answer
"Deshacer" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to undo", and "arruinar" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to ruin". Learn more about the difference between "deshacer" and "arruinar" below.
deshacer(
dehs
-
ah
-
sehr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to take apart)
a. to undo
¿Me puedes ayudar a deshacer las trenzas que me hicieron en la playa?Can you help me undo the braids I got done on the beach?
b. to untie
Hay que deshacer las cuerdas antes de descargar.We must untie the ropes before unloading.
c. to strip (bed)
Por favor deshaz la cama para que pueda lavar las sábanas.Please strip the bed so I can wash the sheets.
d. to unpick
No vas a poder deshacer esos nudos sin alguna herramienta.You're not going to be able to undo those knots without some kind of tool.
e. to unwrap
La abuela ayudó a su nieta a deshacer los regalos.The grandmother helped her granddaughter unwrap the gifts.
f. to break up
Puedes deshacer la tierra con los dedos antes de poner las semillas.You can break up the soil with your fingers before putting in the seeds.
g. to cut up (meat)
El carnicero deshizo el bistec.The butcher cut up the beefsteak.
h. to unpack
Voy a deshacer la maleta mañana porque estoy bien cansada hoy.I'm going to unpack my suitcase tomorrow because I'm really tired today.
2. (to change form)
a. to melt
El calentamiento global está deshaciendo los casquetes polares.Global warming is melting the polar ice caps.
b. to dissolve
El agua deshará esta tableta.Water will dissolve this tablet.
3. (to defeat)
a. to rout
Las tropas alemanas deshicieron a los belgas en Liege.German troops routed the Belgians at Liege.
4. (to harm)
a. to ruin
¿Por qué tuviste que deshacer la fuerte de almohadas que hice?Why did you have to ruin the pillow fort that I made?
b. to mess up
Si lavo los trastes en este momento, desharé mi manicura.If I wash the dishes right now, I'll mess up my manicure.
c. to destroy
Los adolescentes deshicieron el castillo de arena de los niñitos.The teenagers destroyed the little kids' sandcastle.
d. to wear away
La brisa salada del mar deshizo la pintura de las casas.The salty sea breeze wore away the paint on the houses.
5. (to upset)
a. to devastate
Las noticias del choque deshicieron a las familias de las víctimas.News of the crash devastated the victims' families.
b. to shatter
La tormenta eléctrica deshizo sus ilusiones de tener la boda perfecta.The thunderstorm shattered her dreams of having the perfect wedding.
c. to tear apart
"¡Me están deshaciendo!" gritó el adolescente."You're tearing me apart!" screamed the teenage boy.
6. (to annul)
a. to break
Deshicieron el contrato porque su abogado dijo que los términos eran injustos.They broke the contract because their lawyer said the terms were unfair.
b. to dissolve
Los socios deshicieron la asociación después del escándalo.The partners dissolved the association after the scandal.
deshacerse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
7. (to come apart)
a. to come undone
Mi peinado se deshizo con el viento.My hair came undone because of the wind.
b. to come untied
Tus agujetas se han deshecho. Your shoes have come untied.
c. to mess up
Mi cabello se deshace con este viento. My hair is getting messed up because of this wind.
8. (to change form)
a. to dissolve
Este polvo se deshará en alcohol. This powder will dissolve in alcohol.
b. to melt
La mantequilla se deshace en la cazuela. The butter melts in the pan.
9. (to become upset)
a. to go to pieces
Se deshizo Tony cuando se separaron. Tony went to pieces when they broke up.
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arruinar(
ah
-
rrwee
-
nahr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to mess up)
a. to ruin
Cristina me arruinó el libro contándome el final.Cristina ruined the book for me by telling me the ending.
b. to destroy
Su ex novia se presentó y arruinó nuestra boda.His ex-girlfriend showed up and destroyed our wedding.
c. to wreck
Tania arruinó mi lavadora con su ropa cubierta de arena.Tania wrecked my washing machine with her sand-covered clothes.
d. to spoil
Bety le dijo a María que planeábamos una fiesta y arruinó la sorpresa de cumpleaños.Bety told Maria we were planning a party and spoiled the birthday surprise.
2. (to impoverish)
a. to ruin
Pablo arruinó el negocio de su papá con sus gastos excesivos.Pablo ruined his father's business with his excessive spending.
b. to bankrupt
Uno de los socios hizo una mala inversión y arruinó la compañía.One of the partners made a bad investment and bankrupted the company.
arruinarse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
3. (to mess up)
a. to be ruined
Nuestros planes para un pícnic se arruinaron con la tormenta.Our plans for a picnic this afternoon were ruined by the storm.
b. to be destroyed
La casa se arruinó con el incendio.The house was destroyed by the fire.
4. (to impoverish)
a. to be ruined
Espero que mi negocio no se arruine con la crisis económica.I hope my business is not ruined by the economic crisis.
b. to go bankrupt
La compañía de calzado se arruinó en 1985 y deja de operar.The footwear company went bankrupt in 1985 and is no longer in business.
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