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What is the best Spanish translation of the English idiom "to play favorites" (as in favoring individuals in a group instead of treating everyone equally)?

4 Answers 4

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For children we use "Consentido" meaning your favorite one.

In general, use "Preferido" as Laura stated the Mexican slang is "Enchufado"

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  • I think your answer relates to "favorite", but I don't see clearly how does it relate to the original question idiom "to play favorites". Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 22:36
  • It is traditionally say that your "Consentido(a)" is your favorite child because you let them getaway with stuff. And "prferido" is a person hum you give all the easy jobs to when you have a choice.
    – Fortunato
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 1:58
  • I think these two words have potential and I've upvoted. However, I'm going to rework the two ideas in a separate answer, for more precise accuracy. (Hopefully.) Commented May 6, 2018 at 4:56
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I would say

favoritismo, favoritismos.

Here's the definition given in the DRAE:

favoritismo.

(De favorito).

  1. m. Preferencia dada al favor sobre el mérito o la equidad, especialmente cuando aquella es habitual o predominante.
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    Less formal "Estar enchufado" or "tener enchufe".
    – Laura
    Commented Jan 8, 2012 at 10:35
  • @Laura: that may be a regionalism, where have you heard it? Doesn't mean this in Argentina.
    – Petruza
    Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 2:23
  • @Petruza Sorry, I'm from Spain.
    – Laura
    Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 23:00
  • Sorry for the edit: I got confused with the comment by @Laura
    – fedorqui
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 14:14
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My answer will focus on verbs.

If you don't mind sounding a bit like a canned translation of an article, you can use "jugar favoritos."

In conversation, common ways of dealing with this are:

consentir (Collins: to spoil)

Mi mamá le consentía a mi hermano, pero era muy estricta conmigo. | My mother spoiled my brother but was very strict with me.

tener preferencia (Collins: tiene una clara preferencia por la hija mayor | he has a clear preference for his eldest daughter / his eldest daughter is his clear favourite)

Mi mamá tenia preferencia por mi hermano.

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To play favorites -> Jugar a favoritos -> Más jugados

He is favorite of the teacher -> Es el enchufado de la maestra

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  • I don't understand "más jugados." Commented May 6, 2018 at 16:54
  • @walen - I guess you understood "más jugados" because you had the confidence to do an edit -- can you help me understand what the author meant with that part? Commented May 6, 2018 at 19:45

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