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What is the difference between 'oreja' and 'oído'?

Both mean ear, no?

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Oído: the whole organ or organs of hearing
Oreja: just the "external ear".

This is the definition of ear according to the Webster dictionary:

ear noun \ˈir\
Definition of EAR
1 a : the characteristic vertebrate organ of hearing and equilibrium consisting in the typical mammal of a sound-collecting outer ear separated by the tympanic membrane from a sound-transmitting middle ear that in turn is > separated from a sensory inner ear by membranous fenestrae
b : any of various organs (as of a fish) capable of detecting vibratory motion

2: the external ear of humans and most mammals
[...]

According to this, oído refers to definition 1, and oreja to definition 2.

  • 4
    "oído" can also be the sense of hearing. – Javi Feb 8 '12 at 8:26
  • @Javi: Yes, and it's also the participle of oír, and something about firearms and explosives. But regarding the difference between oído and oreja, I think the anatomical meanings are just enough. By the way, oreja also means "sentido de la audición", so in that meaning they're just the same. – MikMik Feb 8 '12 at 8:53
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    RAE can say they are the same, but at least in Spain people uses only "oído" for that meaning. "Los cinco sentidos son vista, olfato, gusto, tacto y oído". – Javi Feb 8 '12 at 9:05
  • I'm not a native speaker, but it feels weird to me to use "oreja" meaning the sense of hearing... – Alenanno Mar 12 '12 at 23:20
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The oído is related to hearing and the inner ear (mis oídos te escuchan); the oreja is the external ear (la oreja de Van Gogh).

  • ¡Hola! Lo que explicas en esta respuesta ya está presente en otras respuestas anteriores. Si lo que quieres es respaldar cierto contenido puedes votar esa respuesta. Si quieres ampliar ¿podrías proporcionar algún tipo de explicación o motivos de uso que mejoren la comprensión? Suele ayudar decir qué forma se usa en tu zona, dar elementos históricos que lo expliquen, etc. Más info en How to Answer. ¡Saludos! – walen Aug 24 '19 at 21:47
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    Welcome, David. This answer is a bit minimalist and redundant, I suppose, but I think the mnemonic, la oreja de Van Gogh, could be helpful for people. – aparente001 Aug 25 '19 at 0:21

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