What does transitive aventajar mean?

The answer seems to be very different based on the dictionary I use. (I could, though, just be interpretting RAE wrong.)


  1. tr. Adelantar, poner en mejor estado, conceder alguna ventaja o preeminencia. U. t. c. prnl.
  2. tr. Anteponer, preferir.
  3. tr. Mejorar o poner en mejor estado a alguien. U. t. c. prnl.
  4. intr. Llevar o sacar ventaja, superar o exceder a alguien en algo. U. t. c. tr.


  1. (rebasar) a. to overtake
  2. (estar por delante de) a. to be ahead of

Apple (not sure of the underlying source)

  1. to be ahead of
  2. to overtake, get ahead of

I could well be wrong, but I believe the RAE's transitive defintions mean to cede position to the object. SpanishDict and Apple, though, suggest that it means to overtake the object. These two senses seem to be opposite. Now, I don't really have a problem with words also meaning their opposites, if a dictionary provides both senses. Here, however, RAE provides one and SpanishDict and Apple provide another. (RAE's intransitive definition is closer to SD and Apple's transitive definition: to take advantage or surpass.)

  • 2
    I think you had missed the 4th definition on RAE, that is the same as the definitions on SpanishDict and Apple, and means overtake the lead position. While the other definitions means give the lead to someone else. So you aventajas a todos (lead) or aventajas a tu amigo (give-up the lead to someone else) Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 23:54
  • @fernando.reyes In my final note I mention that fourth definition; that definition though is intransitive whereas the Apple and SpanishDict are transitive.
    – Unrelated
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 23:55
  • I may be misled by SpanishDict's calling it a transitive verb. Perhaps SD is saying overtake is transitive, because it uses "aventajar a" in the example sentence.
    – Unrelated
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 0:00
  • 4
    @unrelated actually, the fourth definition is both transitive and intransitive. Notice the final bit U. t. c. tr. or Usado también como transitivo. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 0:37
  • @guifa Thanks. Obviously not familiar with Spanish dictionaries.
    – Unrelated
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


The definitions are not the opposite. Most of the uses of aventajar nowadays correspond to the fourth meaning, but the subjacent meaning is just "to be ahead of something or someone", or "to put something or someone ahead of other(s)". Both meaning imply something being ahead of other. Thus, using aventajar does not mean that you cede way to others, that could be ser aventajado.

Some examples:

El caballo en cabeza aventaja al segundo por medio cuerpo de distancia. (Intransitive use.)
El caballo en cabeza aventaja medio cuerpo al segundo. (Transitive use.)

Cada participante del concurso de patios de Córdoba trata de aventajar el suyo con respecto a los demás.

Alguien decidió aventajar a este candidato por ser familia suya.

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