Abertzale (Basque pronunciation: [aberts̻ale]) in the Basque language means "patriot", and it is mainly used to mean "Basque nationalist". It comes from the fusion of aberri(a) ("fatherland", a neologism created by Sabino Arana) with the suffix -(t)zale (someone who loves, is a friend of, has affection towards, or dedicates him- or herself to something).
Although the term is synonym of "patriot", its common use in Basque mainly refers to Basque nationalism, and this is the only specific meaning of this word in Spanish. The use of the term by members and sympathizers of Herri Batasuna, and the fact that the followers of the Basque Nationalist Party (Partido Nacionalista Vasco, PNV) call themselves jeltzales more than abertzales, has brought about a situation where the word is at times associated with that particular leftist current of Basque nationalism.
The Real Academia Española (RAE), the prescriptive body that oversees Spain's official dictionary of the Spanish language, recognized officially the adapted word "aberzale" (rather than "abertzale") as a Spanish-language word, with this narrower meaning. However, even in Spanish the original spelling "abertzale" retains greater currency, so the RAE substituted it in the 21st edition of their dictionary.
Several organizations past and present have used this word in their official Basque-language names:
- Abertzaleen Batasuna (Unity of the Abertzales): A political party in the French Basque Country.
- Emakume Abertzale Batza (Women's Abertzale Organization), onetime women's section of the PNV, made illegal by the rebel junta in Burgos during the Spanish Civil War.
- Euskal Abertzaletasunaren Museoa (Museum of Basque Nationalism).
- The name Eusko Abertzaleak (Basque Patriots) is used by various parliamentary and town council groups of the Basque Nationalist Party. In fact, Eusko Alkartasuna was meant to be founded under the name Eusko Abertzaleak, but the Basque Nationalist Party registered this name first.
- Eusko Abertzale Ekintza (Basque Nationalist Action), a Basque nationalist and leftist party.
- Ezker Mugimendu Abertzalea (Leftist Abertzale Movement): A political party in the French Basque Country.
- Gazte Abertzaleak (Abertzale Youths): the youth group of the Spanish Basque political party Eusko Alkartasuna, left of the PNV but not aligned with ETA or Batasuna.
- Koordinadora Abertzale Sozialista (Abertzale Socialist Coordinating Council, KAS).
- The names Ezker Abertzalea (Izquierda Abertzale or "Abertzale Left"), Nafarroako Sozialista Abertzaleak (Abertzale Socialist of Navarre) and Araba, Bizkai eta Gipuzkoako Sozialista Abertzaleak (Abertzale Socialists of Álava, Biscay, and Gipuzkoa) have been used by various parliamentary groups of Herri Batasuna and Euskal Herritarrok in different parliaments.
The term ezker abertzalea (abertzale left) is used to refer to parties or organisations which are Basque nationalist, but at the same time, left-wing. This may be marxist, communist, socialist or social-democratic. The term is used to distinguish these organisations from the usual traditionalist or conservative character of the Basque Nationalist Party.
- This article draws on the equivalent article in the Spanish-language Wikipedia, accessed December 6, 2004.
- See, for example, the Spanish-Basque dictionary Zehazki, by the Basque Language Academy member Ibon Sarasola; or the definition of abertzale in the Harluxet encyclopaedic dictionary.
- Murua Uria, Imanol (2006-09-02). "Hura bai haustura". Berria. Retrieved 2010-07-08.