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Quick answer
"Desvanecer" is a transitive verb which is often translated as "to dispel", and "desaparecer" is an intransitive verb which is often translated as "to disappear". Learn more about the difference between "desvanecer" and "desaparecer" below.
desvanecer(
dehs
-
bah
-
neh
-
sehr
)
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to make disappear)
a. to dispel (doubts or fears)
Su carta desvaneció todas mis dudas.His letter dispelled all my doubts.
b. to dissipate (smoke or fog)
El viento desvaneció el humo.The wind dissipated the smoke.
2. (to decolor)
a. to fade
El tiempo había desvanecido los colores de los tapices.Time had faded the colors of the tapestries.
3. (to make indistinct)
a. to blur
Una niebla densa desvanecía los contornos de los edificios.A dense fog blurred the outlines of the buildings.
desvanecerse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
4. (medicine)
a. to faint
Gabriela dijo que se sentía mal y de repente se desvaneció.Gabriela said she felt bad and suddenly fainted.
5. (to disappear)
a. to clear (smoke or fog)
Aparcamos a un lado de la carretera y esperamos hasta que la niebla se desvaneció.We parked on one side of the road and waited for the fog to clear.
b. to disperse (smoke or fog)
El humo tardó mucho en desvanecerse.It took a long time for the smoke to disperse.
c. to be dispelled (doubts or fears)
Mis dudas se desvanecieron en el momento en que lo vi entrar por la puerta.My doubts were dispelled the moment I saw him coming through the door.
d. to fade (memory or hope)
Con el paso del tiempo sus recuerdos empezaron a desvanecerse.His memories began to fade with the passing of time.
e. to vanish (suspicions or vision)
Nuestras sospechas se desvanecieron cuando lo conocimos mejor.Our suspicions vanished when we got to know him better.
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desaparecer(
dehs
-
ah
-
pah
-
reh
-
sehr
)
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to vanish)
a. to disappear
¡No lo perdí; desapareció!I didn't lose it; it disappeared!
b. to go missing
La policía encontró a un adolescente que desapareció el año pasado.The police found a teenager who went missing last year.
2. (to cease to exist)
a. to disappear
El tigre de Tasmania desapareció en los años treinta.The last Tasmanian tiger disappeared in the 1930s.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
3. (to kidnap)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. to disappear
Todavía no han arrestado a los soldados que desaparecieron a los alumnos.They still haven't arrested the soldiers who disappeared the students.
desaparecerse
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
4. (to vanish)
a. to disappear
¡Se desapareció mi pluma! - Amigo, la traes en la mano.My pen disappeared! - Buddy, you've got it in your hand.
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