In the Internet I've often come across to internationalized websites where they have things like:

Remove file / Remover archivo

I always thought this translation may be done by someone who is not a native speaker, because at least in Spain the typical verbs for translating "to remove a file" are "borrar" or "eliminar". So at least something like "remueve ese fichero" sounds very weird.

But RAE says this about remover:

No hay por qué censurar su empleo con los sentidos de ‘quitar [algo] de un lugar’ y ‘apartar [a alguien] de su cargo’, suponiendo, erróneamente, que se trata de un calco del inglés to remove: «Librar a este país de ese hombre, eso era lo principal. Removido ese obstáculo [...], se abriría una puerta» (VLlosa Fiesta [Perú 2000]); «Sus jefes tendrían la facultad de designar o remover coroneles y capitanes» (Otero Temporada [Cuba 1983]). Son acepciones tradicionales en español, ya presentes en el étimo latino: «Tales deven ser removidos de la aministraçión fasta que fagan buena penitençia» (Cuéllar Catecismo [Esp. 1325]).

I just want to know if in any country "remover" is the usual way of saying "to remove" when it means "to eliminate". Is it generally widely used or quite uncommon?

  • 3
    IMHO "Remover archivo" is Spanglish, not Spanish.
    – vartec
    Mar 29, 2012 at 13:38

3 Answers 3


"Remover", meaning to eliminate something, is not uncommon and I don't think it's necessarily a calque or Spanglish.

Off the top of my head, "remueve hasta las manchas más difíciles" (literally, "removes even the hardest stains") is the slogan of a stain remover here in Argentina and sounds quite natural. "Removido de sus funciones" is a common euphemism to say someone has been fired (especially from a public office).

Having said that, "remover un archivo", although perfectly understandable (and probably correct), sounds a tad odd to me (or at least, not very colloquial). I would use "eliminar" or "borrar".

  • Other options: eliminar/borrar/suprimir (erase/delete), sacar/quitar (take away/out).
    – thunsaker
    Apr 13, 2012 at 18:32

En España, "remover" nunca significa "to remove". Aquí decimos "borrar", o "eliminar". Para nosotros, "remover" significa dar vueltas, con ayuda de algún utensilio, a un líquido o una mezcla, para homogeneizarla.

  • 1
    I think you're looking for the word "stir."
    – neizan
    Aug 6, 2013 at 17:17

Regarding Juan Pablo Califano's answer, 'remover' doesn't mean 'eliminar' by any means. It means separation, to move something (primarily speaking).

The translation 'Remover archivo', would mean to move away the file from the system, but not necesarily delete it. The majority of people has accepted that as a correct translation due to the incorrect one being used since the beginnings of personal computers being more available at homes and workplaces.

The correct translation, as already said, is 'borrar/suprimir/eliminar/destruir 'el archivo`.

Check the the verb meaning given by the DLE:

Del lat. removēre.

Conjug. c. mover.

  1. tr. Pasar o mudar algo de un lugar a otro. U. t. c. prnl.

  2. tr. Mover algo, agitándolo o dándole vueltas, generalmente para que sus distintos elementos se mezclen.

  3. tr. Quitar, apartar u obviar un inconveniente.

  4. tr. Conmover, alterar o revolver alguna cosa o asunto que estaba olvidado, detenido, etc. U. t. c. prnl.

  5. tr. Deponer o apartar a alguien de su empleo o destino.

  6. tr. Investigar un asunto para sacar a la luz cosas que estaban ocultas.

  • Edel, you can strengthen your answer by quoting verbatim the most relevant part of what you linked to. (Then nothing huge is lost if the link dies.) Jun 20, 2018 at 5:15
  • 1
    Thx for the tip, aparente001 Jun 21, 2018 at 7:23
  • Técnicamente hablando, cuando se borra un archivo lo que se hace es separlo del sistema, hacerlo inaccesible. Pero sigue allí.
    – fedorqui
    Jun 21, 2018 at 7:56

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