dock, pier, quay or wharf

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by andurinha, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. andurinha Senior Member

    Spanish Spanish
    Buenos días:

    En un texto en el que se trata la evolución de un puerto, necesito traducir el término "muelle" al inglés. ¿Podría alguien explicarme la diferencia entre los cuatro del título?

    Muchas gracias

    Good morning,

    When talking about the evolution of a port, i found the term "muelle". What's the difference in English between all four options in the title of the thread?

  2. k-in-sc

    k-in-sc Senior Member

    Dock is most common, and "the docks" is a common way of referring to the port area. Most people think a dock is what you stand on, the wooden structure, but that actually is the pier or wharf. The dock is the water where the boat is tied up. But if you try to draw that distinction, you might end up confusing people.
    We don't use "quay" here in the U.S.
  3. obz

    obz Senior Member

    Los foros de WR.
    Yankee English
    Quay is used a bit here in Canada (pronounced like 'key'). I had never seen it before coming here from The States, it's much like a wharf. A large area full of docks a piers.

    Dock are small, for boats. Found on lakes and rivers.
    Piers are much much larger. Found on the sea and large lakes.
    Wharfs and quays are large areas on the coast, that have docks and piers.

    Or so I understand it :).
  4. andurinha Senior Member

    Spanish Spanish
    Looking around wordreference forums, I found the definitions an "old salt" gives after several years of experience. The difference between Pier and Wharf is that the first one goes into the water and the second one is parallel to shore. I'm going to check out the picture of this port.

    Why do I want to be specific? Because this is a text signed by the port authority, main readers are proffessionals on shipping business, sailors, other port authorities, etc.

    Quay makes me think about a large area where water is nearby (as in Sydney, where the Opera House is at Circular Quay).

    I'm going to go for wharf ;-)

    Thank you very much ;)
  5. neonrider Member

    Vilnius (Lazdynai)
    Lithuanian / Lietúvüü
    Q u a y - urban environment where waterfront commerce & recreation takes place.

    Q u a y - a wharf or landing-place for the loading and unloading of water-borne cargo.

    QUAY = a structure built parallel to the bank of a waterway for use as a landing place. Landing platform beside a navigable waterway.

    Keywords or synonyms

    Quay, cay, key, quai, caye, kay, keye, kai, cayo, port, small port, wharf, stone wharf, harbour, harbor, embankment, waterfront, dockside, riverfront, lakefront, oceanfront, beachfront, reef, shoal, barrier, berth, dock, jetty, cai, levee, pier, slip, kae, hecg, harbourside venue, harborside.

  6. donivan Senior Member

    Could anyone give some images of a "wharf" and a "pier" because I cannot differenciate them... thank you!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2016
  7. obz

    obz Senior Member

    Los foros de WR.
    Yankee English

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2016
  8. Karraspito Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Spanish from Spain
  9. Rodal

    Rodal Senior Member

    Seattle WA
    Castellano (Chile)
    Thank you for your explanation. It's much easier to visualize the difference by classifying each structure as a subdivision of another.

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