Spanish Language Blog

Échame una mano, por favor. Posted by on Jun 11, 2009 in Spanish Culture, Spanish Vocabulary

My Brazilian students learning English give me such a hard time when they come across the verb ‘get’ because it has so many different meanings. Spanish is no slouch either, because it has the verb ‘echar’. Check out some of its meanings (there are tons!).

1. to throw, to toss, to cast.
Echa la pelota al perro. (Throw the ball to the dog.)
Se echaron al agua. (They jumped into the water.)
Echó la moneda al aire. (He tossed the coin.)
Echaron el ancla. (They cast the anchor.)

2. to move (your body or something) towards (something else).
Echó los brazos atrás. (He threw back his arms.)
Se echó hacia adelante. (He went forward.)
Échate para allá. (Move over.)

3. to drink
Se echó un trago de agua. (He drank a sip of water.)

4. to pour
Echó un poco de agua a las plantas. (He poured some water on the plants.)
Echaré un poco de sal al guiso. (I’ll sprinkle some salt in the stew.)
Se echó laca en el pelo. (She put some hairspray on.)

5. to put on (clothes)
Se echó un abrigo sobre los hombros. (He put a coat over his shoulders.)
Si tienes frío, échate una manta en la cama. (If you feel cold, put a blanket on the bed.)

6. to put in
Echa la carta al buzón.(Put the letter in the mailbox.)

7. to give off
El motor echaba humo. (The engine gave off smoke.)

8. to start to develop
El niño ya ha echado algunos dientes. (The boy has started teething.)
Con esta vida sedentaria, estoy echando barriga. (With this sedentary life, I’m growing a potbelly.)

9. to throw out
Echaron a Luis de la clase porque no se portaba bien. (Luis was thrown out of the classroom because he was misbehaving.)

10. to say, to utter
Echó un discurso y se fue. (He gave a speech and left.)
¡Vaya bronca que le ha echado el profesor! (The teacher really told him off.)

11. to present, to show
Hoy echan la nueva película de Tom Cruise. (They’re showing Tom Cruise’s new movie.)

12. to feed
Ya le eché comida al perro. (I have already fed the dog.)
Su compañero le echó de beber. (His friend gave him something to drink.)

13. to do math
Echó sus cuentas muy rápidamente. (He did his math very quickly.)

14. to lock
Échale llave. (Lock it.)
¿Echaste el cerrojo? (Did you bolt the door?)

15. to sprout
Ya está echando flores. (It’s flowering already.)

16. to put
Échale leña a la hoguera. (Put wood in the fire.)
¿Me echas un poco de azúcar al café? (Will you put some sugar in my coffee?)
No me eches la culpa, no tuve nada que ver con eso. (Don’t put the blame on me, I had nothing to do with it.)

17. echarse a – to start doing something abruptly
Se echó a llorar cuando supo que se había muerto su amiga. (She burst into crying when she found out her friend was dead.)
Se echó a correr cuando vio la policía. (He ran off when he saw the police.)

Nos vemos prontito.

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


  1. Ricardito:

    Y el dicho famoso:
    que quiere decir “to throw a wild party.”

  2. Traci:

    Wow this is very helpful. I always struggle with this when I have native speakers in my class. I’ll teach a phrase and they’ll raise their hand and tell me I’m wrong, because where they are from that particular phrase isn’t used that way. I might pull this up next time they tell me that to show them how many different meanings a single word can have. Thanks!