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Quick answer
"Escalera" is a noun which is often translated as "stairs", and "escalón" is a noun which is often translated as "step". Learn more about the difference between "escalera" and "escalón" below.
escalera(
ehs
-
kah
-
leh
-
rah
)
A feminine noun is almost always used with feminine articles and adjectives (e.g. la mujer bonita, la luna llena).
1. (in a building)
a. stairs
Tuvimos que subir por las escaleras.We had to go up the stairs.
b. stairway
La escalera da al mar.The stairway leads to the ocean.
c. staircase
Las escaleras están oscuras de noche.The staircase is dark at night.
2. (portable)
a. ladder
Los bomberos siempre llevan una escalera en su camión.The firefighters always carry a ladder on their truck.
3. (cards)
a. straight
Su full le ganó a mi escalera.Her full house beat my straight.
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escalón(
ehs
-
kah
-
lohn
)
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
1. (stair)
a. step
Los escalones de madera de la escalera crujían cuando los pisaba.The wooden steps of the stairway creaked as I stepped on them.
b. rung (on a ladder)
Los escalones de la escalera de metal que lleva al techo están resbaladizos debido al rocío.The rungs on the metal ladder that leads to the roof are slippery because of the dew.
2.
A phrase used as a figure of speech or a word that is symbolic in meaning; metaphorical (e.g. carrot, bean).
(figurative)
(rank)
a. stage
El tenista checo avanza otro escalón en el torneo.The Czech tennis player moves to the next stage of the competition.
b. level
En el próximo escalón del torneo de póquer, cada jugador recibe cien mil dólares.In the next level of the poker tournament, each player receives a hundred thousand dollars.
c. stepping stone
A phrase used as a figure of speech or a word that is symbolic in meaning; metaphorical (e.g. carrot, bean).
(figurative)
La residencia es un escalón necesario para convertirse en médico.The residency is a stepping stone to becoming a doctor.
d. echelon (in society or an organization)
Macedo obtuvo un puesto en los escalones más altos de la empresa.Macedo landed a position in the upper echelons of the company.
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