A-Z of Spanish into English – Part Three

A-Z of Spanish into English – Part Three

Over the last five centuries hundreds of Spanish words have entered the English language. Here is Part Three of Paul Whitelock’s selection of the more common ones.

Part Three: From llama to paella

Spanish has donated a number of words for animals. In this section of the alphabet we have llama, from the Spanish llama, from Quechua llama and mosquito from mosquito, literally “little fly”.

Adjectives include loco, “mad” or “crazy”, macho, meaning male/masculine and the nowadays taboo word negro, from the Spanish negro, meaning black, and referring to a black person.

Words for people are matador, literally killer, for the star bullfighter, and mestizo, a person of mixed race.

Random words beginning with ‘m’ are machete (a broad heavy knife), mañana (tomorrow – although used in English to refer to a tendency among Spanish-speaking people to procrastinate), mantilla (a lace headscarf or veil) mascara (from the Spanish máscara meaning mask) and marijuana (a compound of the girls’ names María and Juana, but referring to the dried flowers of the cannabis plant which are smoked as an intoxicant).

In the world of food & drink English has borrowed manzanilla (a dry sherry, but also the Spanish for camomile), oloroso ( a full-bodied dark sherry), oregano (a herb) and paella (a rice dish with fish, meat and/or vegetables, typical of the Valencia region).

Look out for Part Four: From palomino to rumba

Hasta luego.

Paul Whitelock

About Paul Whitelock

Paul Whitelock is a retired former languages teacher, school inspector and translator, who emigrated to the Serranía de Ronda in 2008, where he lives with his second wife, Rita. He spends his time between Montejaque and Ronda doing DIY, gardening and writing.