What Spanish words can be used to describe a cap, cover, lid, or top (in other words, something placed on top of something, usually to close an opening)? What is the difference between tapa and tapón? What other words describe this concept?

2 Answers 2


Let's see what RAE says:

1. f. Pieza que cierra por la parte superior cajas o recipientes.

1. m. Pieza con que se tapan las vasijas, introduciéndola en el orificio por donde sale el líquido.

So tapa is a generic cover, whereas a tapón is usually introduced in, or screwed on the hole it covers. Of course, it is not only used for vessels.

The word "cover" can be translated as cubierta, but I would say that a cubierta covers the whole object it protects.

  • As the definition you posted for tapon it goes in the hole where the liquid comes out. Not screwed on the bottle.
    – Fortunato
    Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 8:28
  • Yes, but the dictionary doesn't always include all uses of a word. By the way, when I wrote screwed on, I meant "enroscado", but I'm not sure it's the best choice. These are called "tapones" in Spain, and are certainly not inserted on the bottle.
    – MikMik
    Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 8:38

Tapa Is a lid or cover it basically goes on the outside or top of the container. Where Tapon goes on the inside of the top of container. "Los vinos buenos tinen un tapon de corcho y los baratos tinen una tapa."

  • 1
    "Tapón" is also used for the screw-on caps (for example the one in a plastic bottle of coke), an it doesn't go on the inside of the container.
    – Javi
    Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 9:01
  • @Javi: not everywhere; at least not in Colombia. For the caps on a bottle of coke we never use tapón but tapa. Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 14:30

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