I have translated "tar" into Spanish. There are three translations there: "alquitrán, brea, zopisa".

tar = "a dark, thick flammable liquid distilled from wood or coal, consisting of a mixture of hydrocarbons, resins, alcohols, and other compounds. It is used in road-making and for coating and preserving timber." - Google definition

I am studying the difference between them.

alquitrán = "Líquido viscoso, de color muy oscuro y fuerte olor, que se obtiene de la destilación de maderas resinosas, carbones, petróleo, pizarras y otros materiales." or "Composición de pez, sebo, grasa, resina y aceite, muy inflamable, que se usó como arma incendiaria." - RAE

brea = "Sustancia viscosa de color rojo oscuro que se obtiene haciendo destilar al fuego la madera de varios árboles de la clase de las coníferas, y que se emplea en medicina como pectoral y antiséptico." or "Especie de lienzo muy basto y embreado con que se suelen cubrir y forrar los fardos de ropa y cajones, para su resguardo en los transportes." - RAE

zopisa = "brea" or "Resina de pino." - RAE

What is the difference?

Thank you.

  • 1
    I'm sure an expert in the topic will be able to spot the difference, but in common language "alquitrán" and "brea" are indistinguishable. "Pez" is the same but maybe older looking. Can you explai. the difference in English between "tar" and "pitch"?
    – rodrigo
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


I can't get into technical differences about these substances, but I can tell you that the translation of tar is alquitrán. At least the Wikipedia pages of alquitrán and tar are linked together (when you change the language). And about the brea, it translates as "pitch".

Apparently there are different types of pitch, one of which is derived from tar.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.