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The basic meaning of them all as I understand it is:

To throw

Disparar seems to pertain exclusively to shooting or throwing something for the sole purpose of harming (maybe to shoot is the best translation?). But the difference between the others stump me.

What are the general differences between them?

4
  • 1
    In places in Central America they use the word botar for to throw in at least some common senses. I think I picked it up from roadsigns telling us not to throw rubbish from vehicles. Jan 24 '12 at 10:43
  • 1
    @hippietrail: botar, as I understand it, is strictly "to throw out (as garbage)" or "to dump (garbage)" as opposed to a general word for "to throw".
    – jrdioko
    Jan 24 '12 at 17:41
  • 1
    @jrdioko: Could be but most of the words probably have some restrictions as well. I only knew botar as a word for to bounce before seeing such signs. Jan 24 '12 at 17:51
  • disparar is not throw. I have no idea where you got that.
    – Lambie
    May 29 at 18:21
8

All of them have numerous meanings in the Diccionario de la lengua española (DLE), but just looking at the first ones listed can tell you some of the differences.

In general, I would say:

  • echar is to let something go with a little impulse and can also mean to fire someone.

  • tirar/lanzar with some subtle differences means to throw something with intention and strength or even violence. (Please be aware that the reflexive tirarse in Spain is slang and can be said as "tirarse a alguien" (having sexual intercourse with someone/no serious relationship implied) or "tirarse el rollo" (to talk highly about oneself).

  • arrojar is kind of regional and is, generally, a synonym of both echar and tirar.

  • disparar is to shoot.

I think I"m letting the RAE meanings represent the main differences between the verbs, but I recommend you consult it for a complete definition.

  • echar (Del lat. iactāre).
  1. tr. Hacer que algo vaya a parar a alguna parte, dándole impulso. Echar mercancías al mar Echar basura a la calle (from RAE.es)
  2. tr. Despedir de sí algo. Echar olor, sangre, chispas
  3. tr. Hacer que algo caiga en sitio determinado. Echar dinero en un saco Echar una carta al buzón
  4. tr. Hacer salir a alguien de algún lugar, apartarle con violencia, por desprecio, castigo, etc.
  5. tr. Deponer a alguien de su empleo o dignidad, impidiéndole el ejercicio de ella.
  • tirar (De or. inc.).
  1. tr. Dejar caer intencionadamente algo.
  2. tr. Arrojar, lanzar en dirección determinada. Juan tiraba piedras a Diego
  3. tr. Derribar a alguien.
  4. tr. Echar abajo, demoler y trastornar, poner lo de arriba, abajo. Tirar una casa, un árbol
  5. tr. Desechar algo, deshacerse de ello. Esta camisa está para tirarla
  6. tr. Disparar la carga de un arma de fuego, o un artificio explosivo. Tirar un cañonazo, un cohete. U. t. c. intr. Tirar al alto, al blanco, a un venado
  7. tr. Estirar o extender
  • lanzar (Del lat. lanceāre).
  1. tr. arrojar. U. t. c. prnl.
  2. tr. Soltar, dejar libre. U. m. en la volatería, referido a las aves.
  3. tr. Promover la rápida difusión de algo nuevo.
  4. tr. Dar, proferir, exhalar.
  • Arrojar: a synonym of both lanzar and echar (see RAE.es)
  • Disparar: to shoot

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