I have heard many different translations for bowl (the dish) in different Spanish-speaking countries. What words are normally used to translate "bowl"? Which is most universally understood? What regional variants are there?


From the top of my head, I use here in Spain, quite interchangeably:

  • bol: a generic hemispheric vessel (any size).
  • ponchera: a large bowl (e.g. a punch-bowl)
  • cuenco: also generic, but smaller ones
  • tazón: the below kind of bowl (with a "foot"):

enter image description here

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  • +1 bol and cuenco are news to me :) – Icarus Jan 13 '12 at 19:52
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    Ponchera is another possible translation. – Gonzalo Medina Jan 16 '12 at 0:48
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    bol is the most familiar to me – leonbloy Jan 16 '12 at 16:32
  • @leonbloy where are you from / what dialect of Spanish do you speak/know? – theforestecologist Aug 7 '17 at 16:14
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    @theforestecologist Argentina (Buenos Aires) – leonbloy Aug 7 '17 at 16:41

I think that "at least when I grew up" we called bowls by their function.

  • "Plato de sopa" (soup plate)
  • "Plato de cereal" (cereal plate)
  • "Plato hondo" (deep plate)
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  • 2
    please try to spell words correctly both in English and Spanish – Javi Jan 13 '12 at 10:27
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    Believe me I tray – Fortunato Jan 13 '12 at 20:46
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    @Fortunato: I tray? sigh – Flimzy May 18 '14 at 2:24

I learn confusing vocabulary best visually, so I want to try to clarify this a bit using pictures.

Cuenco o Bol:

enter image description here enter image description here

[Bol more often used for larger bowls]


enter image description here [has a "foot"]

Plato hondo:

enter image description here [literally "deep plate"]

The above seem to be the most distinct uses of these various words that I have picked up on. However, it seems many people/dialects use each of these words more broadly (or synonymously) or even not at all.

  • As pointed out in another answer, some dialects seem to just use Plato with certain context words to refer to bowls.

(Note: I am a native English speaker trying to relearn Spanish, so if you disagree, have further input, better pictures, etc., please update or comment. Thanks!)

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  • Native speakers, please feel free to agree or disagree with my generalizations as you see fit. But please mention your dialect and what you use instead (if not already stated in another answer). – theforestecologist Aug 7 '17 at 21:27

I am Cuban for me the correct answer is Plato Hondo (deep plate).

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    That's a good option, actually, the best. But somebody has already answer that. So, if you agree, you should upvote that answer, but not add a new answer repeating information. – c.p. May 18 '14 at 10:48
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    @c.p. The OP asked about regional differences. The other answer doesn't say anything about that. – user2117 May 25 '14 at 10:23

Bowl is translated as pana in my country. I'm from Nicaragua 😁

Quoting from the Diccionary of Americanisms

V. 1. f. Gu, Ho, Ni. Vasija circular de metal o plástico para usos domésticos.

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  • Hola, Betsy, bienvenida a Spanish Exchange. Si te fijas, he editado bastante tu post. Procura incluir alguna referencia a diccionarios u otros textos donde se respalden o puedan corroborarse tus afirmaciones. – RubioRic Mar 11 at 7:21

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