Take the 2-minute tour ×
Spanish Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Spanish language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

First the context. There are two similar words that cannot be confused:

  1. Millar  →  Conjunto de mil unidades.  →  Set of one thousand elements.
  2. Millón  →  Mil millares.  →  One million.

I've seen a couple of times the word millar used when millón should be used, I think because the former is less used since there are other ways to express its meaning, e.g.:

Millares de personas salieron a las calles
Miles de personas salieron a las calles

both meaning:

Thousands of people marched on the streets.

My question is the following:

Is it advisable to use miles instead of millares to avoid confusion, or is their difference actually understood among Spanish speaking people?

share|improve this question
I changed the question to adjust the formatting. If you want to further change it, you can obviously. But I suggest not to use too much formatting with big titles, bold, emphasis everywhere... –  Alenanno Dec 7 '11 at 21:45
No problem at all with your edits. I think my question is now clearer :) –  Nicolás Dec 7 '11 at 21:53
I think for most native speakers "millares" and "miles" both mean approximately the same ... and I don't understand your question. –  belisarius Dec 7 '11 at 22:37

2 Answers 2

Native spanish speakers know the difference between a "millar" and a "millón"; it's a common word, so you shouldn't use one or another for fear of confusion (except perhaps if the chance of mishearing is high: in a factory with loud noise or when speaking through a mobile phone with poor reception). No problem at all in a written medium.

About what you should use, theoretically both could be used interchangeably. I would say, and please notice that this is a subjective opinion, that "millares" is a more learned, even a bit snobbish word; I wouldn't use it in everyday language, except if I wanted to give emphasis to the idea of a big number.

I'd say "millares" is more common in written media, but again, you could use both mostly interchangeably.

share|improve this answer

I think both mean the same: several thousands.

I think miles is more used because it is shorter and it cannot be confused with millones.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.