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The Various Meanings of "Outweigh" in English and How to Express Them in Spanish

written by: Eric W. Vogt • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 2/14/2012

English sometimes uses 'outweigh' literally, as when speaking of weight classes for athletes. Sometimes it's figurative, when speaking of pros and cons. Learn how to express these ideas in Spanish. Great verbs foconversation, not just canned material from a textbook.

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    'Outweigh' in Spanish - It May All Come Down to "Trumping"

    If one is speaking literally, then the idea of to outweigh is expressed in Spanish with a comparative: pesar más que or pesar menos que:

    Juan pesa más que Tomás (Juan outweighs Tomás).

    This phrase can be applied metaphorically to speak of more intellectual, moral or abstract ideas, but there are more interesting verbs to be found. Learning to use such verbs and phrases as superar, vencer, ser más/menos importante que and de mayor importancia/peso will enrich your speech. None of them are particularly difficult or unusual verbs. Superar and vencer, while not exact translations of outweigh, show that something overcame something else.

    Los esfuerzos de los investigadores superaron los obstáculos (The researchers' efforts overcame the obstacles). Here, the sense of outweigh is conveyed by the fact that on the one hand, there were obstacles but that the efforts more than counter-weighed or counter-balanced them.

    Sus argumentos vencieron las opiniones contrarias (His arguments vanquished the contrary opinions).

    The other phrases offered as solutions to the problem of to outweigh offer considerable flexibility, so long as one has enough skill handling comparatives of inequality.

    Las ventajas de la ciudad son más importantes que las desventajas (The advantages of a city are more important than the disadvantages).

    Note how this same idea can be expressed using superar or vencer, hence the value of superar as a solution to outweigh:

    Las ventajas de la ciudad superan/vencen las desventajas.

    Another useful expression that has some affinity to the concept of outweighing is poner fin a la duda or the simple verb convencer.

    Después de varias horas de discusiones, Juan me convenció que su plan funcionaría (After several hours of discussion, Juan convinced me that his plan would work).

    Juan puso fin a mis dudas (Juan put an end to my doubts).

Spanish Usage

The articles in this series deal with various questions about the right choice of word or phrase when English may have one or two structures but Spanish has more. They often deal with prepositional issues.
  1. Spanish Usage Questions: "Above"
  2. Using "Actual" and "Actually" in Spanish
  3. A Problem Preposition: The Ways "About" is Expressed in Spanish
  4. The Many Spanish Faces of the English Verb "to Agree"
  5. Spanish Usage Questions: Ways to say "Again"
  6. Expressing the Many Meanings of After
  7. Spanish Usage Questions: How to Say "Ahead"
  8. Spanish Usage Questions: "Anyone" and "Anybody"
  9. Using "Anyway..." in Spanish
  10. Let's Learn About How to Talk About Appointments & Dating
  11. What Do You Use for "Around" in Spanish
  12. The Spanish Verbs Meaning "to Ask" are Many!
  13. Beware of False Cognates! How to Express "Attend," "Assist," and "Help"
  14. Are You "Cool" or "Cold"? Explore the Nuances in Spanish
  15. The Difference Between "Why" and "Because" in Spanish
  16. The Temporal and Spacial Meanings of "Before": How to Get it Right in Spanish
  17. Don't Be Left in the Dust! Learn to Express the Meanings of "Behind" in Spanish
  18. Get the Low Down on the Preposition "Below" and Say it Right in Spanish!
  19. Understand Saying "Help" in Spanish
  20. Translating "Beside" & "Besides" into Spanish: Interesting Solutions!
  21. Not all Meanings of "But" Are Equal!
  22. Expressing the Various Meanings of the Preposition "By" in Spanish
  23. What Can the English Word "Can" Mean and How to Get it Right in Spanish
  24. Spanish Usage Questions: "Corner"
  25. The Word "Country" in Spanish
  26. The Various Meanings of "Outweigh" in English and How to Express Them in Spanish
  27. Expressing the Idea of "Ownership" in Spanish
  28. How to Express "Time & Distance" in Spanish
  29. Treat, Try, Attempt, Deal with... In Spanish, You Probably Need "Tratar"
  30. Spanish Usage Questions: "Having Fun"
  31. Even a Word Like "Even" Has Many Counterparts in Spanish
  32. Don't Go Wrong When You Look for Ways to Express "to fail"
  33. Do You Mean "Fair" Weather, a "Fair" Game or a "Fair" Complexion? Learn How to Say Them in Spanish!
  34. Love, Desire and Wanting -- Spanish Style!
  35. Discover the Right Spanish Verbs for Taking, Holding, Grabbing... and More
  36. You Have Nothing to Fear Except Not Knowing How to Say "Fear" in Spanish!
  37. Spanish Equivalents of the Common English Word "Find"
  38. Discover the Various Meanings of "Middle" and How to Say Them in Spanish
  39. Not All Spanish Words Meaning "Worker" Are Created Equal