Quick answer
"Despenar" is a form of "despenar", a transitive verb which is often translated as "to put down". "Despeñarse" is a pronominal verb which is often translated as "to yield". Learn more about the difference between "despenar" and "despeñarse" below.
despenar
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (general)
Regionalism used in Paraguay
(Paraguay)
(River Plate)
a. to put down
Tuvimos que despenar al pobre caballo para que no sufriera.We had to put the poor horse down so that it wouldn't suffer.
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despeñarse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
1. (to succumb to)
a. to yield
Samanta se despeñó por la lujuria y engañó a su esposo.Samanta yielded to lust and cheated on her husband.
2. (to fall from a height)
a. to fall over a cliff
Una de las mulas se despeñó.One of the mules fell over a cliff.
b. to go over a cliff (vehicle)
El coche se despeñó, y los cuatro ocupantes fallecieron.The car went over a cliff, and the four people inside died.
despeñar
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
3. (to throw off a height)
a. to throw over a cliff
El general nos ordenó despeñáramos a los traidores.The general ordered us to throw the traitors over a cliff.
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