I heard the verb rotar and rotarlo in contexts where neither rotate nor turn nor roll seems to make sense. return possibly, but I do not understand spanish well enough. I believe they where talking about people and their possibly dangerous actions.

I could not find additional meanings for this verb on the web.

Is there another use of rotar or rotarlo is Latin America besides what suggests mechanical circular motion? like something abstract? Or did I mishear or misunderstood some similar sounding word?

  • 1
    From bogotalogo.com/wiki/index.php?title=Rotar, "En la jerga de los beodos, circular una botella para que el licor sea libado de manera equitativa entre la concurrencia". Also, rotar can sometimes mean in Spain (don't know if in other countries) "to wish" in a colloquial way. Example: "Si me rota, lo mismo me pongo a tocar el piano".
    – fedorqui
    May 20, 2015 at 11:27
  • @fedorqui "to wish" is likely what I am looking for, thanks
    – foo
    May 20, 2015 at 11:36
  • OK! I am adding this as an answer, so that you can mark as accepted if it solves your question.
    – fedorqui
    May 20, 2015 at 12:59
  • @foo You should have given us an example of the use you are looking for. Anyway, if fedorqui has already found out what you wanted, that's OK.
    – Gorpik
    May 20, 2015 at 16:09

6 Answers 6


In Perú we use it colloquial to express the desire for sharing something.

Rota el vaso.
Pass the glass (among a group of people using the same glass)


In a colloquial context you can also listen to rotar meaning "to wish", at least in Spanish from Spain.

For example:

Si me rota, lo mismo me pongo a tocar el piano


If I wish, I may start playing the piano

Apparently, it comes from the Catalan rodar, "2. Donar la gana" -> "Dar la gana" -> "to wish".

  • Never heard here (Argentina)
    – leonbloy
    May 20, 2015 at 16:44
  • Never heard and I'm from Spain, I guess its use is regional
    – JesusS
    May 21, 2015 at 7:55
  • @JesusS I found out it comes from Catalan: diccionari.cat/lexicx.jsp?GECART=0120153 "2. Donar la gana" -> "Dar la gana" -> "to wish".
    – fedorqui
    May 21, 2015 at 8:36

Speaking of Mexico, the word rotar can also be used when players in a Volleyball team switch positions during the match.

The other expressions listed here are not very common, but might come out in a creative, alcohol-driven night...

  • 1
    Also used in soccer.
    – luisluix
    May 26, 2015 at 15:00
  • 1
    Yes, in fact it is the second meaning in RAE: 2. intr. Seguir un turno en cargos, comisiones, etc.
    – fedorqui
    May 26, 2015 at 15:24

It has to so with circular motion, but also applies to the following examples:

rota el cuaderno.

rota la tapa de la botella.

debes rotarlo para que funcione.

Basically, rotar stands also in spanish for giro (turn), so there's no exceptional way to use these verbs whenever you want.


The verb rotar is always related to the movement which is regularly to roll around one axis. For example rotate an image clockwise or counterwise.

According to our Royal Spanish Academy dictionnary it also means to burp but it's not common.

There is another sense for rotar in Latin America. It also means to shift work places or to swap tires in the same car or another. It's like exchange.

Example 1: Yo roto las llantas de mi auto. (I swap the tires of my car) In this case could be that I change places of each tire in order to avoid wastage from just one side of the tire.

Example 2: En nuestra compañía rotamos horarios (In our company we shift turns) In this case could be used as a work shifts. I work 4 hours on the same task then I rest 4 hours while a co-worker replaces me on the same task. This is also used in mining when people works 15 days and rest 15 days with their families. They have a rotation schedule.

In case of rotarlo according to your context could be change its(something) position or replace it.

Maybe it would be useful if you can add the whole context for your word in order to give more suggestions.


After hearing it in several conversations I figured out that it must mean "beat" or "defeat", hence it was "derrotar".

  • So the question is totally wrong with word you are currently using. Anyway, "derrotar" is as you said to defeat. May 20, 2015 at 23:40

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