Monday, February 9, 2009


I love bananas. They're probably my favorite fruit. Naturally I would want to know how to ask for them in Spanish. And until recently, I thought I did.

It turns out that things are a little trickier than you might think. I remember reading in my Spanish dictionary (or somewhere) a long time ago, and saw that the word for banana is plátano. I thought "Hey, that's pan comido", and I never gave it a second thought. Until today.

I was talking with Jorge, my Colombian amigo, asking him if he had eaten lunch already. He said "No, I'm going to need about 30 minutes to finish up a few things". So I said "Voy a comer mi plátano hasta entonces". And he says "you mean your banano". I immediately gave him the deer in headlights look. At this point he must think I was born with that expression.

So, the next question I asked was "is that Colombian slang?" Well, long story short, we looked in his encyclopedia and browsed around in WordReference, and we both learned that the word for banana depends on where you are.

In Colombia a banana is a banano, and banana (or bananita) is a piece of hard candy. A plátano is a plantain. To find out what what a banana is called in other countries, look at this thread in WordReference.

And just as an FYI, banano can also be a banana tree, and banana the fruit of the tree. Quite honestly, I was surprised to hear about the number of variations Spanish has for banana. Nonetheless, there's no sense in letting this stuff drive me bananas.

Finally, here's another post you might enjoy:

¿Tostones o los amarillos?


  1. And to think... I always thought that was pan comido. I never thought there could be so many words for banana... it could make ya go ape!

  2. Whenever I say banana to my Mexican friend, she corrects me and says "platano."

  3. I was just speaking about this with my friend who is Argentinian but lived in Spain for 9 years. The reason why "platano" is used for banana is because in Spain they use plantains for everything. Though, in the Caribbean especially, there are so many types of bananas(green bananas, yellow bananas, midget bananas, and plantains which are NOT the same as bananas) that they created a different word for banana which is "guineo." I JUST recently learned that South Americans say "banano" or "maduro." Banano I definitely consider slang and will feel funny saying it because it sounds like someone literally made that up from the English version. If I had a Mexican friend tell me a banana is called a "platano," I would tell them, "Sorry but a banana is not a plantain."

  4. yes banana is a kind or variation of a platano or plantain , a guineo in some places of Colombia like Antioquia is an specific kind of a plantain , is short thik and usualy is eaten green as a soup of guineo ....and you can added arracachas to make it really delicious hmmmmm ñamiyyyy ñamyyyyyyyyyyyyy .... !!!!

  5. En Panama el platano y el guineo no son la misma cosa. Un guineo es la fruta que tu comes cruda y el platano es mas grande y se hace patacones o tajadas para comerlo osea que se frie. Tambien hay platano verde o maduro.