List of English words of Spanish origin

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It is a list of English language words whose origin can be traced to the Spanish language as "Spanish loan words". Many of them are identical in other Romance languages (mainly Portuguese or Italian), but their passage into English is believed to be through Spanish.

Most these words came to English from Castilian and American Spanish dialects, which in turn got them from various sources including English ("turista").

However many of the words contained in the list are not used by native English speakers today. For example native English speakers use the term 'goodbye' rather than 'adios' as incorrectly stated below.

A[edit]

abaca
via Spanish abacá from Tagalog abaká
abalone
from Spanish abulón, from Ohlone aluan or Rumsen awlun.
adios
from Spanish 'adiós' meaning "goodbye"
adobe
From Egyptian via Arabic "Al-tub"
aficionado
from past participle of aficionar, to inspire affection, from afición affection, from Latin affection-, affectio, from afficere .
albatross
from alcatraz, see below.
Alcalde
from alcalde, magistrate.
Alcatraz
(meaning "gannet") from Arabic غطاس al-ġaţţās ("the diver")
alidade
via French, Spanish alidada and Medieval Latin alhidade from Arabic العهدة al-idada, "the revolving radius"
alligator
from el lagarto, "the lizard"
alpaca
from Spanish, from Aymara allpaka/allpaqa
aludel
from Old French alutel, via Spanish and Medieval Latin from Arabic الأثال al-ʾuṯāl, "the sublimation vessel"
amigo
from Spanish and/or Portuguese amigo, "friend"; from Latin amicus meaning "friend," derived from amare (to love).
amole
Mexican Spanish from Nahautl amolli meaning "soap root."[1]
amontillado
from the village of Montilla, Province of Córdoba, Spain
ancho
from Mexican Spanish (chile) ancho, "wide (chili)"
anchovy
from Spanish anchoa or more probably Portuguese anchova meaning "bluefish"; from Genoese or Corsican dialect; ultimately from Latin apua meaning "small fish" and Greek Αφυε aphye meaning "small fry" or from Basque anchuva meaning "dry"[2]
Angeleno
from American Spanish
Apache
from Mexican Spanish from Yavapai ´epache meaning "people" or from Zuni apachu" meaning "enemy"[3]
armada
"armed [fleet]" from the Spanish navy, La armada española
armadillo
from armadillo, "little armored one"
arroyo
from arroyo, "stream"
avocado
alteration of Spanish aguacate, from Nahuatl ahuacatl.
ayahuasca
via Spanish from Quechua ayawaska meaning "soul vine."

B[edit]

banana
from Spanish or Portuguese banana, probably from a Wolof word,[4] or from Arabic بأننا “ba’ nana” fingers[5]
bandolier
from Spanish bandolera, meaning "band (for a weapon or other) that crosses from one shoulder to the opposite hip" and bandolero, loosely meaning "he who wears a bandolier"
barbecue
from the Chibcha word barbacoa
barracuda
from barracuda May have come from barraco, meaning overlapping tooth
barranca
from Spanish barranca or barranco, ravine
barrio
from Spanish barrio, "neighborhood", from Arabic بري barri, wild
bastinado
from bastonada, from Spanish bastón, cane
bodega
from Spanish and/or Portuguese bodega, meaning cellar
bodegón
from bodega
bolero
from Spanish bolero
bonanza
from bonanza meaning "prosperity"
bonito
from Spanish bonito, meaning "beautiful"
breeze
from brisa "cold northeast wind" or from Frisian briesen - to blow (wind)[6]
bronco
from bronco meaning "coarse"
buckaroo
from vaquero meaning "cowboy"
burrito
from burrito, a dish originally from Northern Mexico, literally "little donkey"
burro
from burro, "donkey"

C[edit]

caballero
from Spanish caballero meaning "knight/gentleman", from caballo, "horse", Celtic caballos "horse".
cabana
from Spanish cabaña or Portuguese cabana; both meaning "cabin."
cacique
from Spanish, from Taino cacike or Arawak kassequa, both meaning a chief
cafeteria
from cafetería, "coffee store"
calaboose
from Vulgar Latin calafodium "to dig a protected place" and Louisiana French calabouse, from Spanish calabozo[7]
caldera (used in geology)
from Spanish caldera meaning "cauldron" from Latin caldaria, "cooking pot."
California
place name first seen in print in 1510 Spanish novel 'Las sergas de Esplandián' by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo
camarilla
from camarilla, "small room"
camino
from camino a path or road, from Celtic cammanos "road".
cannibal
from Spanish caníbal, alteration of caríbal, from Caribe
canoe
from Spanish canoa, from Haitian canaoua
canyon
from cañón meaning "a pipe, tube, gorge" from cano, "tube;" ultimately from Latin canna meaning "reed."[8]
carabao
from Spanish from Visayan language kalabaw, from Malay language kerabau.
caramba
from Spanish, meaning "heck"; expression of dread, displeasure, or disapproval, euphemism for carajo
carbonado
from carbonada, from carbón meaning "coal"
cargo
from the verb cargar meaning "to load"
Caribbean
from Spanish Caribe, from name of Carib Indians of the region.
cassava
from cazabe, from Taino caçábi
caudillo
from caudillo, from Latin capitellium "head" meaning "leader"
cedilla
from cedilla, archaic spelling zedilla (little z), "elsewhere"
chaparral
from Spanish, chaparro loosely meaning small evergreen oak, from Basque txapar, "small, short"
chaps
from Mexican Spanish chaparreras, leg protectors for riding through chaparral
chayote
from Spanish, literally: "squash", from Nahuatl chayotl meaning "spiny squash"
chicha
from Spanish chicha, from Kuna chichab, meaning "maize" or from Nahuatl chichiatl, "fermented water."
chicle
from chicle "gum", from Nahuatl tzictli "squishy stuff" or Mayan tsicte.[9]
chile
from Spanish chile, from Nahuatl chilli
chipotle
from Spanish, smoked jalapeño, from Nahuatl chilpoctli
chocolate
from Spanish chocolate, from Nahuatl xocolatl meaning "hot water" or from a combination of the Mayan word chocol meaning "hot" and the Nahuatl word atl meaning "water."
Choctaw
from the native name Chahta of unknown meaning but also said to come from Spanish chato (="flattened") because of the tribe's custom of flattening the heads of male infants.[10]
chorizo
from chorizo, "sausage"
churro
from churro, "fritter"
cienega or cienaga
from ciénaga, "spring"
cigar
from Spanish cigarro meaning "fag (UK), stogie, stogy", from Mayan sicar or sic, "tobacco"
cigarette
from French cigarette "little weed", diminutive of French cigare "stogie", from Spanish cigarro meaning "fag (UK), stogie, stogy."
cilantro
from Spanish cilantro, "coriander"
coca
from Spanish, coca meaning "coke", from Quechua kúka
cockroach
from Spanish cucaracha
cocoa or cacao
from Spanish cacao, from Nahuatl cacáhuatl
cojones
from Spanish cojones meaning "balls, testicles", to denote courage
Colorado
from Spanish colorado, red or colored
comrade
from French camarade meaning "friend", from Spanish camarada, "pal, mate"
condor
from Spanish, from Quechua cuntur
conquistador
from conquistador meaning "conqueror", from conquista, "conquest"
coquina
from coquina, dim. form of "concha" meaning seashell; a sedimentary rock of NE Florida
cordillera
from cordillera, "range"
corral
from corral meaning "pen, yard" from Portuguese curral meaning "pen" of unknown; perhaps ultimately from Afrikaans kraal or from Vulgar Latin currale loosely meaning "enclosure for vehicles."[11]
corrida
a bullfight (literally: "race")
coyote
from Spanish coyote, from Nahuatl coyotl
cowboy
from Spanish vaquero, an individual who managed cattle while mounted on horseback, from vaca, "cow", from Latin vacca
creole
from French créole, from Spanish criollo, from Portuguese crioulo, raised in the house
crimson
from Old Spanish cremesín, via Medieval Latin cremesinus from Arabic قيرميزل qirmizI, from Persian قرمز qermez kermes; ultimately from Sanskrit कृमिज krmi-ja meaning "worm-made."[12]
crusade
blend of Middle French croisade and Spanish cruzada; both ultimately from Latin cruc-, crux cross
cuadrilla
from cuadrilla, group of people
cumbia
from Spanish cumbia, a popular dance (for couples) originating in Colombia, Panama and Argentina

D[edit]

daiquiri
from Daiquiri, a port city in eastern Cuba
dengue
from Spanish dengue meaning "fever", from Swahili dinga, "seizure"
derecho
from Spanish derecho meaning "straight", a widespread and long-lived convection-induced straight-line windstorm
descamisado
from Spanish descamisado, "without a shirt"
desperado
from Spanish desesperado, desperate

E[edit]

El Dorado
from El Dorado, literally, "the golden one"
El Niño
from El Niño de la Navidad, literally, "the Christmas child" due to the warming of Pacific waters seemed to warm around Christmas
embarcadero
from embarcadero a boat dock
embargo
from Spanish embargar, to "seize" or "impound"
escabeche
from escabeche, "pickle"
escopeteros
from Spanish escopetero, "musketeer"

F[edit]

Federales
from Federales, "federal police"
fiesta
from the Spanish fiesta meaning "party"
Florida
from La Florida, the flowery or plant-filled place or pascua florida, "flowery Easter."
flotilla
diminutive of flota, "fleet"

G[edit]

galleon
from Spanish "galeón" (a large sailing ship having three or more masts, from the 15th to 18th century)
gaucho
from Mapuche "Argentine cowboy"
guacamole
via American Spanish from Nahuatl ahuaca-molli ("avocado sauce")[13]
guerrilla
from Spanish "small war"
gordita
from Spanish "little fat girl"

H[edit]

habanero
from the Spanish for the name of the Cuban city of La Habana, which is known as Havana in English. Although it is not the place of origin, it was frequently traded there.
hacienda
from Old Spanish facienda, "estate"
hackamore
from Spanish jaquima, "halter."
hola
Spanish greeting, equivalent to "hello"
hombre
from Spanish "hombre", man
hoosegow
from Spanish juzgado, courthouse, from juzgar, to judge
hurricane
from Spanish huracán, from Taino hurákan; akin to Arawak kulakani, thunder

I[edit]

Inca
from Spanish inca, from Quechua Inka, literally: "lord, king."[14]
incommunicado
from incomunicado, without communication (in the mountains, in the jail,...), "in solitary confinement."
iguana
from Spanish iguana from Arawak iwana.

J[edit]

jade
from Spanish piedra de ijada, "stone of flank."
jalapeño
from Spanish, a type of spicy chilli named after Jalapa de Enríquez, a town in Mexico, and the capital of the state of Veracruz
jerky
from Spanish charqui, from Quechua ch'arki, "dried flesh"
junta
from Spanish junta literally "joint"; a board of joint administration; sometimes used to refer to military officers command in a coup d'état. As an adjective, it means "together".

K[edit]

key
from Spanish cayo, from Taino cayo (this is English 'key'/'cay'/'quay' as in an island, reef or a linked series of them, not the 'key' with which one locks/unlocks doors)

L[edit]

La Niña, "The little girl", complementary weather pattern to (q.v.) El Niño
lariat
from la reata, meaning "the strap, rein, or rope" from reatar ("to tie again") from atar "to tie (up);" from Latin aparte, "to join."[15]
lasso
via American English from Spanish lazo meaning "tie;" ultimately from Latin laqueum, "noose, snare."[16]
llama
from Spanish llama, from Quechua llama
Llanos, Los
from Spanish llano (plain); vast tropical grassland plain situated to the east of the Andes in Colombia and Venezuela.
loco
from loco, "mad" or "crazy"
Lolita
from the diminutive for Lola, short for Dolores

M[edit]

macho
from macho, male, brave, the property of being overtly masculine.
majordomo
via Spanish mayordomo or Italian maggiordomo (both meaning "butler") from Latin maior domus meaning "mayor of the place."
Mano
from mano, "hand". Stone handtool
Marijuana
from Mexican Spanish - ultimate derivation unknown
matador
from matador meaning "killer" from matar ("to kill") probably from Arabic مات mata meaning "he died", also possibly cognate with Persian مردن mordan, "to die" as well as English "murder." Another theory is that the word "matador" is derived from a combination of the Vulgar Latin mattāre, from Late Latin mactare (to slaughter, kill) and the Latin -tor (which is cognate with Greek τορ -tōr and Sanskrit तर -tar-.)[17]
mesa
from mesa, table. The corresponding Spanish word to a flat top mountain is meseta
mescal
from Spanish mezcal, from Nahuatl mexcalli
mesquite
from Mexican Spanish mezquite, from Nahuatl mizquitl
mestizo
from mestizo, "racially mixed." in Spanish, refers to a person of mixed European and Native American descent
mojito
dim. formed from "mojado" (wet or dripping) probably referring to the mint leaves in the well known Cuban drink
mole
from Spanish, from Nahuatl molle or molli ("sauce")
Montana
from montaña, a mountain
mosquito
from mosquito, literally "little fly"
mulatto
from Spanish or Portuguese mulato meaning "octoroon, sambo". in Spanish, refers to a person of mixed European-African descent.
mustang
from mustango, mestengo, mestencoor mesteño, "without known master or owner" (archaic)
mustee
from mestizo, "racially mixed."

N[edit]

nacho
from Nacho, a nickname for the given name Ignacio, inventor of the snack
nada
from "Nada" meaning " nothing."[18]
negro
from Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian negro, "black", from Latin Nigrum (nom. Niger) and Greek Νέγρος Negros, both meaning "black.".[19] In Spanish it is not derogatory.
Nevada
from Nevada literally "snowy"
nostromo
from nuestro amo, "our master".

O[edit]

olé
an interjection, an expression of approval or triumph, similar to the Italian bravo (capable), by spectators of bull fights or football (soccer) matches
oregano
from orégano, "marjoram"

P[edit]

pachuco
from pachuco, "fancy-dresser."
paella
from Spanish paella, from Valencian paella "pan" and originated in Latin patella, also meaning "pan."
palmetto
from palmito, "palm heart, little palm", diminutive form of the word for palm.
pampa
from Spanish, from Quechua pampa, plain
papaya
from japaya, akin to Arawak papáia
páramo
from Spanish páramo (moorland)
patio
from patio, inner courtyard, "an open paved area adjacent to a home"
peccadillo
from pecadillo, "small sin"
peccary
from Spanish pecarí, from Carib pakira or paquira.[20]
peon
from Spanish peón ("laborer")
peyote
from Spanish, from Nahuatl peyotl ("caterpillar")
Philippines
via Spanish Filipinas from Latin Philippinae, "islands of king Philip II of Spain"; ultimately from Greek Φιλιππίναι Philippinai from the Greek phrase Φίλος ίππος Νησιά Fílos Íppos Ni̱sí, "Islands of the Horse Friend."
piccadill
from picadillo, "hash"
pimento or pimiento
from pimiento, "pepper."
piña colada
from Spanish piña (pineapple), and colada, which means strained, from the Spanish verb colar ("to strain")
piñata
from piñata ("jug, pot") from Latin pinea, "pine cone."[21]
piñon or pinyon
from piñón, "pine"
pinta
from pinta, "he/she/it paints"; also archaic Spanish for pintada, "painted"
Piragua
from the combination of Spanish words Pirámide ("pyramid") and Agua meaning "water"[22]
pisco
from pisco, "turkey"
placer mining
from placer, "sand bank"
platinum
from platina, "little silver" (now platino)
playa
from playa, "beach"
plaza
from plaza, "public square, spot or place"
politico
from Spanish or Italian político meaning "politician, political agent;"[23] ultimately from Latin politicus meaning "of citizens or the state, civil, civic," from Greek πολιτικός (Ancient Greek: πολῑτικός) politikos, "of citizens or the state," from πολίτης (plural: πολίτες) polites (citizen) from πόλις polis, "city."[24]
poncho
from poncho, from Araucanian pontho meaning "woolen fabric."[25]
potato
from Peninsular Spanish patata, itself from batata, "sweet potato", from Taino and papa, "potato" from Quechua
potrero
from potrero, archaic term for "tongue of land"
pronto
from Spanish "soon, prompt"
pronunciamento
from pronunciamiento proclamation, "military coup d'état", usually establishing a military dictatorship (often a junta)
puma
from Spanish "cougar, panther", from Quechua
pueblo
via Castilian pueblo from Latin populus ("people").

Q[edit]

quadroon
from cuarterón, "fourth"
quesadilla
from quesadilla meaning a traditional Mexican dish made with tortillas and cheese, diminutive of queso, cheese.
Quetzal
from Spanish, from Nahuatl "quetzalli": a group of colourful birds of the trogon family found in tropical regions of the Americas. It also may refer to Guatemalan quetzal, the currency of Guatemala.
quinoa
from Spanish quinua, from Quechua kinua
Quinceañera
from Spanish quince años, literally: "fifteen years"; a girl's fifteenth birthday celebration similar to a "sweet sixteen"; with special rituals
Quixotism/Quixotic
from fictional character Don Quixote as in "tilting at windmills"
quirt
from Spanish cuarta literally: "quarter"; a short horseman's whip, from "one fourth" (of a vara)

R[edit]

ranch
from rancho, a very small rural community, smaller than a town; also a very humble dwelling in South American Spanish.
reconquista
from reconquista, "reconquest"
remuda
from Mexican Spanish remudar, to exchange (horses)
renegade
from renegado, "turncoat, heretic, disowned"
rincon
from rincón, "meadow"
robalo
from Spanish róbalo meaning "bass, sea wolf," a tropical marine game and fish food
roble
from Spanish roble, oak tree
rodeo
from rodeo and verb rodear (to go around)
rumba
from rumba

S[edit]

saguaro
from saguaro, from Piman
salsa
from salsa, "sauce"
sapodilla
from zapotillo
sarabande
from French sarabande in turn from Spanish zarabanda
savanna
from sabana, "veld", from Taino zabana
savvy
from Spanish or Portuguese sabe, "knows"; sabio, wise, learned.
shack
perhaps from Mexican Spanish jacal meaning "hut", from Nahuatl xacalli
sherry
from Old Spanish Xerés [ʃeˈɾes], modern Spanish Jerez [xeˈɾeθ].
Sierra
from sierra, a mountain range
siesta
from siesta, "nap", from Latin Sexta [hora] "sixth hour"
silo
from silo
sombrero
from sombrero (literally, shade maker), "hat"
stampede
from estampida
stevedore
from estibador (literally, one who stuffs), "ship loader"
stockade
from a French derivation of the Spanish estocada, "stab"
suave
meaning charming, confident, and elegant.

T[edit]

taco
from taco, "plug"[26]
tamale
from Spanish tamales, pl. of tamal, from Nahuatl tamalli meaning dumpling made from corn flour
tango
from Spanish tango.
tapioca
from tapioca, "cassava"
ten-gallon hat
from Spanish tan galán meaning "so gallant (looking)"; alternate theory is the gallon of Texas English here is a misunderstanding of galón meaning braid
temblor
Spanish for trembling, or earthquake; from temblar, to shake, from Vulgar Latin *tremulāre, from Latin tremulus
tequila
from tequila, from the town Tequila, where the beverage originated
telenovela, or telenovella
from telenovela, "soap opera"
tilde
from tilde
tobacco
from Spanish (Nahuatl influenced) tabaco, "snuff"
tomatillo
from Spanish tomatillo, "small tomato" (see Physalis philadelphica)
tomato
from Spanish tomate, from Nahuatl xitomatl
torero
from toro, "bull"
tornado
from Spanish tronada, "thunderstorm", influenced by tornar, "to turn"
tortilla
from tortilla, literally "small cake". In Mexico is a type of thin flatbread made from finely ground wheat flour. Now is called "omelet" in Spain
tostada (toast) and tostada (tortilla)
from tostada, "toasted"
tuna
from Spanish atún, from Arabic تون tun, from Latin thunnus, from Greek θύννος, thynnos (=tuna fish)
turista
from turista, "tourist"

V[edit]

vamoose
from vamos, meaning "let's go"
vanilla
from Spanish vainilla, diminutive of Latin vaina, from vagina meaning "pod"[27]
vertigo
from the Spanish word vértigo
vicuña
from Spanish, from Quechua wikunna
vigilante
from Spanish vigilante, meaning "watchman."

W[edit]

wop
from Italian guappone, from Spanish guapo, "handsome" or "attractive".

Z[edit]

Zorro
from Spanish zorro, a fox, originally "smart" (of Basque origin)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harper, Douglas. "amole". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  2. ^ Harper, Douglas. "anchovy". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  3. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Apache". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  4. ^ Harper, Douglas. "banana". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  5. ^ Dan Keppel, Banana, Hudson Street Press, 2008; p. 44.
  6. ^ Harper, Douglas. "breeze". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  7. ^ Harper, Douglas. "calaboose". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  8. ^ Harper, Douglas. "canyon". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  9. ^ "chicle", Mexicolore
  10. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Choctaw". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  11. ^ Harper, Douglas. "corral". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  12. ^ Harper, Douglas. "crimson". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  13. ^ Harper, Douglas. "guacamole". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  14. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Inca". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  15. ^ Harper, Douglas. "lariat". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  16. ^ Harper, Douglas. "lasso". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  17. ^ "matador", dictionary.com
  18. ^ "nada", dictionary.com
  19. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Negro". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  20. ^ Harper, Douglas. "peccary". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  21. ^ Harper, Douglas. "pinata". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  22. ^ "Luisito and the Piragua", p. 12, Author: Toro, Leonor, Publisher: New Haven Migratory Children's Program, Hamden-New Haven Cooperative Education Center; ERIC #: ED209026; Retrieved July 14, 2008
  23. ^ Harper, Douglas. "politico". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  24. ^ Harper, Douglas. "politic". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  25. ^ Harper, Douglas. "poncho". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  26. ^ "taco", Wordreference.com translation
  27. ^ Harper, Douglas. "vanilla". Online Etymology Dictionary. 

External links[edit]