The other questions about "wind" got me thinking about it's normal verb use. To "wind" something is to wrap it in circles, either around an object or simply making a coil. For this use, it looks like Spanish has several words: ovillar, devanar, enroscar, or enrollar. What are the differences between these words, and how is each used?

1 Answer 1

  • Ovillar is when you make a ball with the material you're winding (?) for example a ball of yarn in spanish is "ovillo de lana". It's also used with persons and animals when they curl themselves up.

  • Devanar is the general verb and means (from RAE) 1. tr. Ir dando vueltas sucesivas a un hilo, alambre, cuerda, etc., alrededor de un eje, carrete, etc.etc.

  • Enroscar is to put something in form of a thread or, again, to curl up.

  • Enrollar has a lot of meanings so I'mpasting the RAE definition:
    1. tr. Dar a algo forma de rollo.
    2. tr. Empedrar con rollos (‖ cantos).
    3. tr. coloq. Convencer a alguien para que haga algo, liar. Enrolló a su padre para que le comprara la moto
    4. tr. coloq. Encandilar, sugestionar. El concierto de anoche me enrolló muchísimo
    5. prnl. coloq. Extenderse demasiado de palabra o por escrito. En el examen me enrollé llenando dos folios
    6. prnl. coloq. Dejarse absorber por una actividad. Me enrollé CON la novela hasta las tres de la mañana Se enrolla CON la política
    7. prnl. coloq. Ser sociable. Se enrolla muy bien CON sus compañeros
    8. prnl. coloq. Tener relaciones amorosas, normalmente pasajeras. Se ha enrollado CON una mujer mayor que él
    9. prnl. El Salv. Adular a alguien interesadamente.
  • 2
    Bobinar is another one, which means basically "devanar". And arrollar, too.
    – MikMik
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 12:27

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