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Quick answer
"Chico" is an adjective which is often translated as "small", and "niño" is a noun which is often translated as "child". Learn more about the difference between "chico" and "niño" below.
chico(
chee
-
koh
)
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (size)
a. small
Compramos un auto chico.We bought a small car.
b. little
Hay una cabaña chica en el bosque.There is a little cabin in the woods.
2. (related to age)
a. young
Sus hijos aún son chicos.Her children are still young.
This means that the noun can be masculine or feminine, depending on the gender of person it refers to (e.g. el doctor, la doctora).
3. (young person)
a. kid
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
¡Qué chico más cómico!What a funny kid!
b. boy (masculine)
Es un chico muy perseverante.He's a very determined boy.
c. girl (feminine)
Es una chica muy inteligente.She's a very intelligent girl.
4. (romantic partner)
a. boyfriend (masculine)
Este es mi chico, Darío.This is my boyfriend, Dario.
b. girlfriend (feminine)
¿Sabías que Óscar tiene una chica nueva?Did you know Oscar has a new girlfriend?
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
5.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(form of address)
a. man
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
Chico, no tienes idea.Man, you have no idea.
b. dude
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
¡Ya vámonos de aquí, chico!Let's get out of here, dude!
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el niño, la niña(
nee
-
nyoh
)
This means that the noun can be masculine or feminine, depending on the gender of person it refers to (e.g. el doctor, la doctora).
1. (youngster)
a. child
Un niño necesita dormir más horas que un adulto.A child needs to sleep more hours than an adult.
b. kid
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
Las novelas de Harry Potter son para niños, pero les encantan también a los mayores.Harry Potter novels are for kids, but grown-ups also love them.
c. boy (masculine)
¿Quién es ese niño en la foto?Who's that boy in the picture?
d. girl (feminine)
Mi sobrina es una niña muy inteligente que saca muy buenas notas en la escuela.My niece is a very intelligent girl who does very well in school.
e. baby
Charlotte espera un niño para abril.Charlotte is expecting a baby in April.
2. (offspring)
a. child
Si tienes un niño, pagas menos impuestos.If you have a child, you pay fewer taxes.
b. son (masculine)
Después del colegio, tengo que llevar al niño de mi hermano a una fiesta de cumpleaños.After school, I have to take my brother's son to a birthday party.
c. daughter (feminine)
Mi niña está entusiasmada por su primera fiesta de pijamas con sus amigas.My daughter is excited about her first slumber party with her friends.
3. (youth)
a. young boy (masculine)
Le di una propina al niño que me ayudó a llevar la compra a casa.I gave a tip to the young boy who helped me carry my groceries home.
b. young girl (feminine)
No puedes casarte con él; todavía eres una niña.You can't marry him; you are still a young girl.
4.
A word or phrase that is seldom used in contemporary language and is recognized as being from another decade, (e.g. cat, groovy).
(old-fashioned)
(form of address)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. master
A word or phrase that is seldom used in contemporary language and is recognized as being from another decade, (e.g. cat, groovy).
(old-fashioned)
(masculine)
El sirviente preparó el equipaje con la ropa de invierno del niño Peter.The servant packed the luggage with Master Peter's winter clothing.
b. lady
A word or phrase that is seldom used in contemporary language and is recognized as being from another decade, (e.g. cat, groovy).
(old-fashioned)
(feminine)
La niña Margarita tocó la campana y apareció el mayordomo con el té.Lady Margarita rang the bell, and the butler appeared with the tea.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
5. (not aged)
a. young
Eres muy niña para irte a vivir sola.You are too young to live on your own.
6. (immature)
a. childish
¡No seas niña! ¿Qué haces mirando los Pequeños Ponies?Don't be childish! How can you be watching My Little Ponies?
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