García Márquez in "Relato de un Náufrago" states

Había brisa pero no corría en la misma dirección que yo debía imprimirle a la balsa para navegar directamente hacia la Osa Menor.

What does he mean?

  • 1
    What's the part of the sentence that it's causing you trouble? And what did you investigate about that so far? Can you please add more details to the question, please?
    – RubioRic
    Commented Apr 23 at 6:12

2 Answers 2


The doubt seems to revolve around the meaning of the verb "imprimir", which is a very formal and literary way of saying "give (something abstract) to something".

Under (5) here we can read this definition:

  1. tr. Dar una determinada característica, estilo, etc., a algo.

"imprimir una dirección a la balsa" can be literally translated as "conferring some direction on the raft" (a very formal way of saying "giving some direction to the raft" or "setting the raft in a certain direction").


The meaning of the phrase is that, although there was wind, it wasn't blowing in the correct direction the subject needed to direct its ship towards Ursa minor constellation.

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