Is "camión semirremolque" a good translation for a semi-truck (semi-trailer truck)? Also, is there a colloquial term used in Spanish that's analogous to "semi"? (I usually say semi in English, sometimes semi-truck, but never semi-trailer truck.)

  • 1
    The prefix semi- in Spanish has the same origin, meaning and use as in English.
    – Rodrigo
    Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 13:01

4 Answers 4


"Camión semirremolque" is a literal translation but it would not be used by native speakers. The word "Camión" alone is generally used to refer to semi-trucks and other types of trucks, while "Camioneta" is used for pick-up trucks. There are other words to refer to truck-like vehicles but "Camión" is the only one that refers specifically to what semis are.

I researched synonyms and slang for the word semi, but I could not find anything relevant that may be used to refer to a semi-truck exactly.

  • I'd say this applies in Chile as well. Commented Jan 12, 2023 at 20:44

In Spain we say 'un tráiler'. The word is obviously borrowed from English but it's not used as a general term for 'remolque', only for semitrailers or for the whole semi-truck (or for film trailers, in the other use of the word). If you do a Google search for expressions like "conducir un tráiler" or "accidente de un tráiler", you will find lots of results.

The Diccionario de la Real Academia Española only lists the definition as semitrailer, but it is much more common to use the word to refer to the whole vehicle.

  • 1
    +1 In fact in British English we call the total vehicle an articulated lorry which is comprised of a tractor and trailer (we call them artics for short). Semi-trailer is US English.
    – mdewey
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 11:25
  • Good point. 'Camión articulado' is the more formal and correct word in Spanish too, although 'tráiler' is more common in the spoken language in Spain. Colloquial usage probably varies considerably throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 13:46

Un semirremolque es un vehículo que no lleva motor, es decir, un vehículo no autopropulsado, pero está preparado para engancharse con una cabeza tractora sobre la que reposará parte del peso del mismo, transfiriéndole una parte sustancial de su masa.

El prefijo semi-, de origen del latín, se utiliza para indicar "situación intermedia", "casi" o "la mitad de algo".

Por ejemplo: semicírculo (la mitad de un círculo), semicorchea (la mitad de una corchea) semirremolque (casi o la mitad de un remolque).

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Real Decreto Legislativo 6/2015, de 30 de octubre, por el que se aprueba el texto refundido de la Ley sobre Tráfico, Circulación de Vehículos a Motor y Seguridad Vial.


Conceptos básicos

A los efectos de esta ley y sus disposiciones complementarias, se entiende por:

  1. Semirremolque. Vehículo no autopropulsado diseñado y concebido para ser acoplado a un automóvil, sobre el que reposará parte del mismo, transfiriéndole una parte sustancial de su masa.



No conozco ninguna expresión como 'semi' que se refiere a un 'semi-truck'. Solo un recordatorio de que el prefijo semi- (del latín *semi- *) generalmente significa 'mitad' o 'parcialmente'. Coloquialmente, la palabra 'tráiler' se usa para 'semitrailers' o todo el 'semitruck', mientras que la palabra 'camión' se refiere a varios tipos de camiones, incluidos los 'semi-trucks'. Un semirremolque, la mitad de un remolque, es la parte que se acoplará con el remolque, palabra no tan usada coloquialmente.

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