I would like to know what the difference is between the Spanish words "rumbo" and "dirección."

What is the difference in each one's usage?

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    Hello Berserker and welcome to Spanish Language. What have you researched on this so far? We expect people to ask showing their efforts to help us make a clear view on what your problem is. Some examples would help also.
    – fedorqui
    Oct 17, 2016 at 8:52

2 Answers 2


Unless you say otherwise, I'm assuming both words in the sense of "path being followed" as in physics. In that sense, we have:


  1. m. Dirección considerada o trazada en el plano del horizonte, y principalmente cualquiera de las comprendidas en la rosa náutica.

On the other hand:


  1. f. Camino o rumbo que un cuerpo sigue en su movimiento.

It is quite funny to note that both words use each other in their definitions. So both words can be considered synonyms. There are some minor details nonetheless:

  • "Rumbo" is more used in literary and nautical contexts, while "dirección" is more used in mathematical and physics contexts.
  • "Rumbo" can be seen as a direction in 2D (from the definition: traced along the horizon surface), while "dirección" is any path in 3D (including the paths considered as "rumbo").

"Rumbo" is, generally speaking, is the direction you take to get to a certain place. There may be variation based on the context, but the common use (at least here in Argentina) is that.

"Rumbo" es, en términos generales, la dirección que tomás para llegar a un determinado lugar. Puede que haya variaciones basadas en el contexto, pero el uso común de la palabra es ese (al menos acá en Argentina).

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