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Quick answer
"Palo" is a noun which is often translated as "stick", and "caña" is a noun which is often translated as "cane". Learn more about the difference between "palo" and "caña" below.
palo(
pah
-
loh
)
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
1. (piece of wood)
a. stick
A mi perro le gusta jugar con palos.My dog likes to play with sticks.
2. (rod)
a. post
La valla se cayó con el viento porque los palos no estaban anclados al suelo.The fence fell down in the wind because the posts weren't fixed into the ground.
b. pole
No pude clavar los palos de la tienda de campaña porque el suelo está congelado.I couldn't nail down the poles of the tent because the ground is frozen.
c. handle (of a tool)
Me clavé una astilla del palo del martillo.I got a splinter from the hammer handle.
3. (sports)
a. post
El jugador chutó el balón, pero le dio al palo.The player shot the ball, but it hit the post.
b. club (golf)
Dobla las rodillas y golpea la pelota con el palo.Bend your knees and hit the ball with the club.
c. stick (hockey)
El jugador golpeó la pastilla con el palo, pero el portero la paró.The player hit the puck with the stick, but the goalie stopped it.
4. (nautical)
a. mast
Un miembro de la tripulación subió al palo del barco.One of the crew members climbed the mast of the ship.
5. (material)
a. wooden
Usa una cuchara de palo para que no rayes la cacerola.Use a wooden spoon so you don't scratch the pan.
6. (cards)
a. suit
El palo de la carta que se vuelva será el triunfo.The suit of the card that is turned up will be trumps.
7. (botany)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. tree
En otoño, mi jardín está lleno de hojas de los palos.In fall, my garden is full of leaves from the trees.
8. (hit)
a. blow
Recibí un palo en la cabeza y cuando recobré el sentido, descubrí que me habían robado.I received a blow to the head, and when I came around, I discovered that somebody had robbed me.
9.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(bummer)
Regionalism used in Spain
(Spain)
a. blow
La pérdida de su trabajo fue un palo difícil de superar.The loss of his job was a hard blow to recover from.
10. (typography)
a. ascender
El palo de la be no debería inclinarse a la derecha.The ascender of the b shouldn't bend to the right.
b. descender
El palo de la pe minúscula tiene que ser más largo.The descender of the lowercase p needs to be longer.
11.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(beverage)
Regionalism used in Puerto Rico
(Puerto Rico)
Regionalism used in Venezuela
(Venezuela)
a. drink
Te invito a un palo para festejar mi cumpleaños.I'll buy you a drink to celebrate my birthday.
12.
A word or phrase that is crude, indecent, and generally rejected by society (e.g. fuck).
(vulgar)
(sex)
Regionalism used in Mexico
(Mexico)
a. screw
Él no te ama, solo quiere echar un palo.He doesn't love you; he just wants to have a screw.
13.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(colloquial)
(intensifier; used with "de")
Regionalism used in Colombia
(Colombia)
Regionalism used in Venezuela
(Venezuela)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Se compró un palo de carro con el dinero que ganó en la lotería.He bought the car of cars with the money he won from the lottery.
Cayó un palo de agua que inundó las calles.The pouring rain flooded the streets.
palos
A plural noun indicates that there is more than one person, place, thing, or idea.
plural noun
14. (riding)
a. rails (plural)
El jinete se cayó cuando el caballo golpeó los palos.The rider fell off when his horse hit the rails.
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caña(
kah
-
nyah
)
A feminine noun is almost always used with feminine articles and adjectives (e.g. la mujer bonita, la luna llena).
1. (hollow stem)
a. cane
El ron está hecho de los subproductos de la caña de azúcar.Rum is made from the byproducts of sugar cane.
b. reed
Me compré una canasta hecha de caña en el pueblito.I bought a basket made of reeds in the village.
2. (for fishing)
a. rod
No te olvides de tu caña de pescar cuando vayas al río.Don't forget your fishing rod when you go to the river.
3. (upper part of boot)
a. leg
Ella prefiere las botas con cañas largas porque son más abrigadas.She prefers boots with long legs because they're warmer.
4. (measure of draft beer)
Regionalism used in Spain
(Spain)
a. glass of beer
Con cada caña que usted pida, le daremos tapas gratuitas.With every small glass of beer that you order, we'll give you free tapas.
5. (liquor)
Regionalism used in Cuba
(Cuba)
a. rum
Vamos hombre, pásame la botella de caña.Come on man, pass me the bottle of rum.
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