In English, we use the verb "to meet" and the nouns "meet" and "meeting" in a plethora of nuanced ways. Let's explore the various manners in which these different types of meetings are expressed in Spanish.
The English verb "to meet" can mean "to make acquaintance" with someone. Although the Spanish verb for "to meet" in this sense is conocer, remember that in the present and other tenses, this verb can also mean "to know" or "be familiar with":
Por ejemplo: Conozco a María.
For example: I know María.
Caption 11, Lecciones con Carolina Saber y conocerPlay Caption
In the preterite tense, however, the meaning of the verb conocer typically changes to "meet" in the sense of having "met" someone for the first time:
Conocí a mi marido, Carlos, hace unos dieciocho años.
I met my husband, Carlos, about eighteen years ago.
Caption 9, Burgos María de los ÁngelesPlay Caption
To find out more similarly-evolving verbs, check out this lesson on verbs that change meaning in the preterite tense.
In other tenses, conocer can mean "to know," "to meet," or even to "have been" somewhere, and context will typically tell you which meaning is meant. But, since "meeting" is the topic at hand, let's take a look at a couple more examples where the verb conocer means just that:
Le gusta mucho conocer personas nuevas.
She likes very much to meet new people.
Caption 21, El Aula Azul Mis PrimosPlay Caption
Encantadísima de conocerte.
Very nice to meet you.
Caption 39, Yago 4 El secreto - Part 11Play Caption
There are several verbs that mean "to meet" as in "get together" with someone in terms of some outing, for coffee, or even a more formal "meeting" in Spanish. Let's take a look at some of them in action:
y ahí nos reunimos varias personas
and several of us get together there
Caption 41, Cleer Entrevista con JackyPlay Caption
Espero que esta situación pase rápido para poder reunirme con mis amigos, familiares
I hope this situation gets over soon so I can meet with my friends, relatives,
Captions 34-35, El coronavirus La cuarentena en Coro, Venezuela - Part 2Play Caption
Nos vamos a encontrar a las cuatro. -Ajá.
We're going to meet at four. -Uh-huh.
Caption 53, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 6Play Caption
Sí, me voy a encontrar con una amiga.
Yes, I'm going to meet a friend.
Caption 4, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 4Play Caption
To see more uses of the verb encontrar(se), be sure to look at this lesson on The Many Facets of the Verb Encontrar.
y quedamos en la escuela por la mañana.
and we met at the school in the morning.
Caption 25, El Aula Azul Dos historiasPlay Caption
In Spain, where they often use the present perfect more than in Latin America, the verb quedar is often heard in that tense to talk about "meeting" or "having made plans with" someone, as follows:
Hemos quedado a las ocho.
We've made plans for eight o'clock/We're meeting at eight o'clock.
He quedado con Juan para ir al cine.
I've made plans with Juan to go to the movies.
¿Usted cree que pueda verse con usted y con Amalia?
Do you think that he can meet with you and with Amalia?Play Caption
A ver si nos juntamos,
Let's see if we can get together,
Caption 31, Festivaliando Mono Núñez - Part 13Play Caption
If you want to ask a new (or old) friend, "Do you want to meet/hang out/get together"? you could use any of these verbs. Here are some examples of people asking other people to "meet" or get together:
¿Nos podemos encontrar ahora?
Can we meet now?
Caption 51, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 5Play Caption
Pero ¿en dónde nos podemos ver?
But where can we meet?Play Caption
You can also use the verb salir to ask someone "to go out" with you, which, like in English, might often (but not always) have a romantic connotation:
¿Te gustaría salir conmigo alguna vez?
Would you like to go out with me sometime?
So, how do you say "meeting" in Spanish, for example, a business or some other type of meeting? Let's take a look:
si acaso tengo alguna junta,
if perhaps I have some meeting,
Caption 12, Yo estudio en el Tec de MonterreyPlay Caption
Yo sé pero entiéndame, tengo una reunión con mi jefe.
I know, but understand me, I have a meeting with my boss.
Caption 25, Tu Voz Estéreo Embalsamado - Part 6Play Caption
Note that when the noun la reunión means "the meeting" in Spanish, it can be thought of as a "false cognate," or word that sounds like an English word but actually means something different. However, along with el reencuentro and even el encuentro in some contexts, la reunión can also mean "reunion" as in "una reunión familiar" (a family reunion) or, alternatively, a social "meeting" or "gathering":
Usted me acaba de confirmar que ese tipo sí está aquí en esta reunión
You just confirmed to me that that guy really is here at this gathering,Play Caption
The noun el encuentro can additionally be used to talk about such a "gathering":
se crea un ambiente propicio para el encuentro familiar.
a favorable environment is created for family gatherings.
Caption 30, Coro, Venezuela La Zona ColonialPlay Caption
Or, it might describe something on a larger scale, which might additionally be translated as something like a "conference":
vinimos a este encuentro nacional y...
we came to this national meeting and...Play Caption
Note that you can also use el encuentro to describe an incident of "running into" someone, as in a chance "meeting" or "encounter," or even an "encounter" in terms of a "meetup" or "hookup" with a friend or more than a friend:
Era Pablo Echarri, y luego de ese encuentro ya nada sería igual en la vida de ambos
It was Pablo Echarri, and after that encounter, nothing would be the same in their lives.
Captions 64-65, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 6Play Caption
Bueno, yo creo que necesitaba un encuentro más personal.
Well, I think that I needed a more personal encounter.
Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 12Play Caption
Note that the word "meeting" could be substituted for "encounter" in either one of these sentences.
Although there are many more ways in which the verb and noun forms of "meet" can be used in English with different Spanish equivalents, let's conclude with a few additional examples:
So, what if we are talking about a sports "meet"? This type of event is often referred to as una competencia (literally "a competition") or un campeonato (a championship), e.g. una competencia de atletismo (a track meet) or un campeonato de natación (a swim meet). And, although the noun el encuentro can sometimes refer to such events as well, in the context of sports, el encuentro might also be translated as "match" or "game":
el encuentro dura noventa minutos en total,
the game lasts for a total of ninety minutes,
Caption 17, Sergio El fútbol en EspañaPlay Caption
And, when two sports teams "meet" one another, the verb that is used is enfrentarse (literally "to face"), as in: Los dos equipos se enfrentaron (The two teams "met" or "faced off").
The verb used to talk about "meeting" or "fulfilling" a requirement or obligation is cumplir con:
El primer paso importante para ello es cumplir con todos los requisitos.
The first important step for it is to meet all of the requirements.
Caption 4, Raquel Abrir una cuenta bancariaPlay Caption
Hence the noun for not fulfilling or "meeting" such duties, etc. is incumplimiento (nonfulfillment).
For our final example, the verbs that mean "to meet" in the sense of things "converging" or "coming together" include confluir and unirse. Let's look at an example with the latter (although the former could be substituted with the same meaning):
mucho movimiento, mucho tráfico porque se unen muchas calles importantes de la ciudad.
a lot of movement, a lot of traffic because many important streets of the city meet.
Captions 38-39, El Trip MadridPlay Caption
We hope that this lesson has taught you how to talk about the many forms of "meeting(s)" in Spanish. There are, of course, a lot more Spanish nouns and verbs that could be translated as "meet" or "meeting" in English in different contexts. Can you think of any more? Let us know with your suggestions and comments.