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Is there any difference in meaning and usage between "desmalezar", "desbrozar" and "escardar" (= to weed) ? I cannot see a clear difference in meaning by reading their definitions in DLE (https://dle.rae.es/desmalezar , https://dle.rae.es/desbrozar , https://dle.rae.es/escardar) and in Word Reference.

Regarding usage, according to Word Reference and DLE, "desmalezar" is an americanism. What about the other two?

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  • Are we talking about weeding (removing weeds)? If so, what I have heard in the countryside in Mexico is limpiar or quitarla maleza. I don't know about other countries. Jan 24, 2020 at 3:37
  • @aparente001 Yes, that's the meaning. Jan 24, 2020 at 9:55
  • I've never heard campesinos in Mexico use any of these terms. I don't know about other countries, though. Jan 25, 2020 at 7:23

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All the three verbs have a similar meaning: to remove unwanted vegetal mass:

  • Desmalezar means quitar la maleza.
  • Desbrozar means quitar la broza.
  • Escardar means quitar los cardos o malas hierbas.

So the difference is what you are removing:

  • Maleza (malas hierbas) means weed. So you are removing still alive plants.
  • Broza means dead leaves, dead brushwood o trash. So you are removing dead branches, leaves or plants.
  • Cardo is a thistle.

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