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I just stumbled upon "diario" and "periódico" while extending my vocabulary. Both mean newspaper in English.

Is there any context in which just one fits? Can they be used interchangeably?

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  • Periódico means periodic, that is, periodic, regular, recurring.

  • Diario means daily.

Hence, diario is something more strict that periódico because the first refers to a daily periodic.

However, currently both are used almost interchangeably and so DRAE states:

periódico, ca

Del lat. periodĭcus, y este del gr. περιοδικός periodikós.

  1. adj. Que guarda período determinado.

  2. adj. Que se repite con frecuencia a intervalos determinados.

  3. adj. Dicho de un impreso: Que se publica con determinados intervalos de tiempo. U. m. c. s. m.

...

  1. m. Publicación que sale diariamente.

diario, ria

Del lat. diarium.

  1. adj. Correspondiente a todos los días. Rutina, comida diaria.

  2. m. Relato de lo que ha sucedido día por día. Escribe un diario íntimo. Los diarios de Jovellanos.

  3. m. Libro o cuaderno donde se lleva un diario.

  4. m. Periódico que se publica todos los días.

I cannot think in any periódico that is not diario. You can find semanarios, etc, but nowadays I haven't heard of the use of periódico to refer to something that is not a diario.

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Periódico is a newspaper published periodically, with the period not specified. But also can be used as diario. According to RAE:

3 adj. Dicho de un impreso: Que se publica con determinados intervalos de tiempo. U. m. c. s. m. 6 m. Publicación que sale diariamente.

Diario is a newspaper published daily. According to RAE:

  1. m. Periódico que se publica todos los días.

Therefore, a diario is a periódico, and both can be used to refer to a newspaper published on a daily basis.

You also have the word semanario to specify a publication published every week.

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You can use both of them as they mean almost the same, but I would suggest you to use periódico because any periódico is a diario but there are other type of diarios that are not periódicos like a little girl's diary.

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