Spanish word of the week: cabo

el cabo NOUN end

In one of its uses cabo means the end of something:

con un cabo de cuchillo que le asomaba por la cintura with the end of a knife which was showing at his waist

But it is much more often used in set expressions you are likely to come across. First of all al cabo de followed by a noun – generally a time expression. This is a more formal way than después of saying after:

Regresó al cabo de unos instantes. After a few moments he came back.

The phrase al fin y al cabo means after all, or at the end of the day:

Al fin y al cabo, lo que importa es que seguimos juntos. At the end of the day, what matters is that we’re still together.

Llevar a cabo is very often used to mean to carry something out:

La operación se llevó a cabo en la tarde de ayer. The operation was carried out yesterday afternoon.

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