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Q: Spanish Question - throw and catch ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Spanish Question - throw and catch
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: patrice29-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 23 Mar 2005 14:53 PST
Expires: 22 Apr 2005 15:53 PDT
Question ID: 499387
There are two different definitions for 'throw' in the Oxford dictionary.
tirar and lanzar. My question is which is the most common in Latin
America. For example, toss and hurl are also words that give different
connotations to the word 'throw', but throw is definately the primary

Additionally I'd just like to verify, coger is the primary word for 'catch'.
The primary use of course would be to catch a ball or similar object,
although we commonly use 'catch' for getting a train or a cold.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Subject: Re: Spanish Question - throw and catch
Answered By: guillermo-ga on 23 Mar 2005 15:48 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Patrice,

I?m glad for being able to help you again.

The words ?tirar? and ?lanzar?, none would be more common in Latin
America. In many cases, they would be used indistinctly: ?tirar la
pelota? = ?lanzar la pelota? (?to throw the ball?). But some contexts
would make you choose one or the other. For example, if you ?throw
away?, in the sense of discarding something, you would say ?tirar?, as
in ?tirar a la basura?, ?throw to the garbage?. In the athletics?
context, you wouldn?t ?tirar el disco?, but ?lanzar el disco? (?throw
the disk?). When meaning ?throw up? (to vomit) you can use the word
?lanzar?, but not tirar. Tirar also means ?to shoot? ?with a gun, but
not with a camera- but lanzar doesn?t mean so. In some countries,
especially in the north of South America and around the Caribbean Sea,
the word ?tirar? ?without loosing its original meanings in regular
conversation- is also vulgarly used in the sense of ?having sex? in
certain contexts.

What leads me to the verb ?coger?. Be very careful with this word.
While it?s definitely the primary word for catch and even for take in
Spain, that original meaning has completely been displaced by ?again-
the rude word for ?having sex? in some countries, specially in the
Southern Cone (Argentina, Uruguay, in a less degree Chile), and this
significance has extended ?although not so powerfully- to the north,
including Mexico. Cautiously, you?d better use in Latin America the
words ?agarrar? (grab), ?tomar? (take, which is also used as a synonym
of ?beber? ??to drink?): ?tomar un tren? (?to catch a train?),
?agarrar la pelota? (?to catch the ball?). Curiously, if you catch a
cold, you?d probably use the word ?pescar? (?to fish?): ?pescó un
resfriado? (or ?resfrío?). A frequent joke is: ?fue a pescar y lo
único que pescó fue un resfrío? (?he went fishing and all he ?fished?
<catched> was a cold?).

I hope this answer meets your expectations. For any doubt, please just ask.

Best regards,


Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 23 Mar 2005 15:54 PST
However, where the use of the word ?coger? has not become vulgar
?typically Spain- you can also use it for: ?coger un tren? (?to catch
a train?) or ?coger un resfriado? (?to catch a cold?).

Request for Answer Clarification by patrice29-ga on 24 Mar 2005 05:50 PST
Really clear and helpful answer!
Just one further point to wrap it up for me. What is the noun version
of the words throw and catch.   ie.  a good throw.   a good catch.


Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 24 Mar 2005 11:01 PST
Glad for being helpful.

?A good throw?: ?un buen lanzamiento? You can also say ?un buen tiro?,
especially in soccer or javelin throw, but typically, it would mean ?a
good (gun) shot?

A good catch: you can say ?una buena agarrada? (especially in
Argentina or Uruguay), but in the rest of Latin America, ?una buena
*atrapada*? would sound better. In a sense, ?atrapar? is more
literally ?to catch? than ?agarrar?, because it also has the
connotation of ?to capture?, as in ?catch me if you can...? =
?atrápame si puedes...? Conversely, it doesn?t sound so well to say
?atrapar el tren?, or ?atrapar un resfrío?.

Another interesting word is ?atajar?, meaning ?to catch? but with the
intention of intercepting the throw, as the soccer goalkeeper does.
Now you?d say, ?Buena atajada?. Again, you wouldn?t use it for a train
or a cold, that would sound just funny.

Hope this helps.

Clarification of Answer by guillermo-ga on 24 Mar 2005 15:25 PST
Thanks a lot for the generous tip and rating!!

As to the ending ?-miento?, it?s an interesting point. According to
María Moliner?s ?Diccionario de Uso del Español? (Dictionary for the
Usage of Spanish), ?Sufijo con el que, lo mismo que con ?mento?, se
forman nombres de estado, acción o efecto (...)?: ?Suffix with which,
the same as with ?mento?, nouns of state, action or effect are made.?
Typically out of verbs. It has its correspondence in English; I?ll
show you a few examples that have exact matches: ?enrolar ->
enrolamiento? = ?enroll -> enrolment?; ?encantar -> encantamiento? =
?enchant -> enchantment?; ?mover -> movimiento? = ?move -> movement?.

Another Spanish suffix used similarly is ?ción, as in ?cantar ->
canción? (to sing -> song); ?actuar -> actuación?. Interestingly, also
this usage has its English correspondences: ?meditar -> meditación? =
?meditate -> meditation? (where the ?c? of the suffix is replaced by a
?t?)); ?rotar -> rotación? = ?rotate -> rotation?.

Hope this helps.

¡Mil gracias! Hasta pronto.

patrice29-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
I wonder why 'throw  -n' has a 'miento' ending. This is rather unique correct?
Thanks for the really clear answer guillermo!

Subject: Re: Spanish Question - throw and catch
From: zaskie-ga on 23 Mar 2005 19:20 PST
as a rule of thumb use as following:
tirar - most of the time is to dispose of something
in the dictionary it defines it as tho throw something from the hand,
to bring down or demolish. to lay down

lanzar - to throw at speed
Subject: Re: Spanish Question - throw and catch
From: qtron-ga on 30 Mar 2005 01:28 PST
Tirar in Brasil(Portuguese) is used to not only shoot a gun but also
to shoot a camera but more often means "to take." lancar (cedilla on
the 'c') is used as the verb to throw or launch while jogar related to
jugar in spanish not only means "to play" but "to throw."  There is
also the portuguese verb atirar which also means "to throw/shoot" but
never to take.  One can also 'tirar graca de...somebody/thing' which
is to make fun of.  lest we forget that Brasil is also part of latin

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