What is the difference between a periódico and a diario? If both mean exactly the same thing, which one is preferred in regular colloquial usage in Mexico vs. other Spanish-speaking countries?

  • 1
    A Mexican is the only one can answer the question, in Cuba my country we never use diario, we use periódico or prensa escrita in a very formal environment. Nov 28 '13 at 2:28
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    In Spain, strictly speaking, a periódico is a newspaper published periodically, and a diario is a periódico published daily. But in reality we use them interchangeably, and in fact, periódico is much more used, almost always meaning diario.
    – Chewie
    Nov 28 '13 at 8:46
  • 2
    @Chewie please promote to full answer.
    – Envite
    Nov 28 '13 at 8:57
  • Just to add that in Colombia the patter of the reported use is the same. While technically «periódico» is any periodic paper, and «diario» is a daily paper, the common word is almost always «periódico» for any newspaper, usually a daily newspaper. «Diario» is still the name use in certain newspapers' names or mottoes. Nov 29 '13 at 9:05

"Periódico" in México. I live here.

  • Exacto. Aunque posiblemente cualquiera en México entienda a que te refieres si dices "diario", es mucho mas común escuchar "ir a comprar el periódico" o "lo leí en el periódico" que usando "diario".
    – DiegoDD
    Dec 4 '13 at 23:31

Diario is the common word, by far, in Argentina.

Periódico is understood here as a formal (or "foreign") synonym. Everyone understands it, no one uses it.

Strictly speaking, "diario" is more restricted in meaning (daily newspaper), but common usage does not respect that much anymore - one could even hear about a "diario semanal".


Periódico is the common word to say in Spain.

It has some sinonyms, including diario:

diario, boletín, gaceta, noticiero, rotativo

Mainly are the same, but Diario is a Periódico published daily.


I have always used the word "periódico" for newspaper.

Actually in some cases it can be used as just simply "paper" (not as in plain regular paper that you write with).

"periódico vespertino" is the "evening paper"


"Leí el periódico de punta a cabo" which means "[I] read the paper from cover to cover".

Diario can mean "every day" (which I am certain is not what you mean), "daily", or "diary".

If the conversation is about some text and I hear the word, "diaro", I think of a "diary". I personally do not use the diaro to describe a "newspaper".

I hope this helps.

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