Grammar Guide
Miscellaneous
How to Talk about Dimensions in Spanish

How to Talk about Dimensions in Spanish

Quick Answer

Whether it’s calculating the measurements of a wall or reading the instructions for building your new dresser, knowing how to read and understand measurements in Spanish is fundamental.

In this article, we’ll show you the primary vocabulary associated with calculating dimensions, or las dimensiones , and we’ll also explain the major differences in the way dimensions are measured in the U.S. and the Spanish-speaking world.

Length, Width, and Height

Before you are able to calculate the dimensions of anything, there’s a lot of fundamental vocabulary to learn. Below, take a gander at a list of the most essential words you should learn to calculate something’s dimensions.

SpanishEnglish
largo
 
length
longitud
 
length
ancho
 
width
anchura
 
width
altura
 
height
estatura
 
height (of a person)
punto
 
point
línea
 
line
ángulo
 
angle
ángulo recto
 
right angle
perímetro
 
perimeter
circunferencia
 
circumference
área
 
area
volumen
 
volume
bidimensional
 
two-dimensional
tridimensional
 
three-dimensional
medida
 
measurement
trazar
 
to draw (such as a line between two points)
medir
 
to measure
regla
 
ruler
cinta métrica
 
tape measure

Now that you have a list of fundamental vocabulary at your fingertips, let’s take a look at a couple of examples for how we might use this vocabulary.

Pásame la cinta métrica, por favor. Necesito medir la longitud de la mesa antes de comprar el mantel.
Pass me the tape measure, please. I need to measure the length of the table before buying the tablecloth.
 
Usa la regla para trazar una línea en la pared después de haber calculado su largo y ancho.
Use the ruler to draw a line on the wall after having calculated its length and width.
 

Three-Dimensional Notation

When calculating the area or volume of any espacio tridimensional , or three-dimensional space, you’ll need to know how to translate the notation for expressing square or cubic measurements. Make sure to use cuadrado  when referring to area and cúbico  when referring to volume.

SpanishEnglishShorthand notation

cuarenta y dos metros cuadrados

 

forty-two square meters42m2, 42m²

cuarenta y dos metros cúbicos

 

forty-two cubic meters42m3, 42m³

Inches to Meters

The United States uses a very specific system of measurements (called the American System) different from el sístema métrico , or the Metric System, which is used by the rest of the world, including Spanish-speaking countries. That means that when calculating the dimensions of any object in the Spanish-speaking world, you’ll want to look at the other side of your ruler, the side that shows you milímetros  and centímetros , millimeters and centimeters. Check out the tables below to help you with all of your conversions!

Metric System

SpanishEnglishConverts to
milímetro
 
millimeter1/1,000th of a meter or .039 inches
centímetro
 
centimeter1/100th of a meter or .39 inches
metro
 
meter39 inches or 3.2 feet
kilómetro
 
kilometer1,000 meters or .62 miles

American System

SpanishEnglishConverts to
pulgada
 
inch2.54 centimeters
pie
 
foot.3 meters or 12 inches
yarda
 
yard.91 meters or 3 feet
milla
 
mile1.6 kilometers or 5,280 feet

1x1, 2x2, 3x3...

When talking about the dimensions in length, width, or height of any object or space, we usually use the word by as the verbal substitution for the x between units of measurement. In Spanish, one would use the word por  instead of by as the verbal substitution for x.

SpanishEnglishNotation

cuatro por cuatro

 

four by four4x4

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