The most common Spanish word for pineapple, piña, (PEE nya), (i.e., the piña in piña colada), is unfortunately close to a number of other Spanish words that have nothing to do with tropical fruit. Below is a list of words similar to la piña one should not ever mix up when speaking Spanish. The consequences could be unforeseeably disastrous.
Do not mix up these words
piña - pineapple
penar* – to punish or receive punishment (suffer)
(yo) peno - I punish/suffer
(tú) penas - you punish/suffer
(vosotros) penais - you (informal, plural) punish/suffer
(él/élla/Usted) pena - he/she/You punish/suffer
(ellos/ellas/Ustedes) penan - They/You (plural) punish/suffer
la pena – sorrow, or penalty
el pino – pine, pine tree
el pinar – pine grove
peinar – to brush/comb/style (as, hair)
peina – (s)he combs/styles (as, hair)
la peina – the hairstyle
la peña – group of friends, social club
la pinga – "prick" or "dick" (i.e., slang/offensive for penis)
el pene – formal/clinical word for penis
In addition to referring to pineapples themselves, piña also refers to any spiky, pineapple-like fruit,* such as that found in the center of the blue agave (also called maguey) cactus. Sugar from the blue agave's piña is used in the manufacture of tequila.
By the way, in Argentine Spanish, the word used for 'pineapple' is nearly the same as in French: (el) ananá, (vs. French l'ananas, which appears to bear a relationship to the English word banana).
- Personal experience,
- "banana", Merriam Webster Online (www.m-w.com)
- *Thanks to jmpz for the gentle clarification