greenmanpartido vs. partida

A common confusion arises when translating 'game' into Spanish. Is it un partido or una partida?

The dictionary defines un partido as "una competición deportiva", whereas una partida is a "mano de un juego o conjunto de ellas que se juegan en una sesión". In general, partido is used to refer to sports, whereas partida is used to refer to games. Sounds straightforward, right?

Yet, while some activities are clear-cut sports (e.g. football), others can be found in the grey area between sports and games (e.g. darts - considered by most to be a sport). Partida sounds more like a friendly game rather than a competitive match.

Partido Partida
fútbol, rugby, hockey, etc. (en un campo) juegos de mesa y cartas
baloncesto vídeo juegos
voleibol dardos
tenis  billar
balonmano  bolos, petanca
padel (more common) padel
golf (more common) golf
pingpong pingpong 


En La Prensa

...un día, el presiente Eisenhower apareció en la primera plana del 'New York Times' por haber logrado un golpe directo en una partida de golfEl Confidencial-Nov 27, 2016 relación entre el Govern de Matas y el cuñado del Rey Felipe VI se gestó en el transcurso de una partida de pádel disputada en una pista en los jardines del palacio de Marivent. El Mundo-Jan 28, 2016



The difference between a sport and a game is not something that everyone agrees on in English. The comparison below gives a general idea of the difference.1

  • Altheticism: As noted elsewhere, sports tend to require more physical activity, while activities that do not require significant exertion tend to be called games.

  • Seriousness of Competition: Sports tend to involve more zero-sum competition with absolutely clear winners and losers, whereas games may be individual or even collaborative.

  • Audience Interest: Sports are in general activities which can be enjoyed entirely vicariously, by a passive audience not involved in the contest itself. Games, in contrast, are rarely interesting to watch.

  • Practicallity of Professionalism: Sports in general are activities that someone can engage in full-time as a profitable profession. In contrast, games do not have realistic competition between full-time participants.
  • Implied Maturity: Although it is almost entirely a cultural aspect, calling something a sport marks it as an unquestionably appropriate activity for adults to participate in. Calling it a game instead implies that it is an activity that may not be appropriate for adults, or which is appropriate for children.


-un partido o una partida-