A-Z of Spanish into English – Part Two

A-Z of Spanish into English – Part Two

Over the last five centuries hundreds of Spanish words have entered the English language. Here is Part Two of my selection of the more common ones.

Many Spanish words entered the English language from Spanish America via the United States. These include:

Eldorado, from el dorado, ” the golden one”,  a fictitious country rich in gold, believed by the Spanish of the 16th Century to be in the region of the Upper Amazon. Nowadays it is used to refer to any region or prospect of enormous wealth;

estancia, a cattle farm in Spanish America;

gaucho, a half-breed mounted herdsman in South America;

gringo, any stranger in Mexico, especially a North American.  Similar to guiri in Spain;

hacienda, a country estate or plantation;

lariat comes from la reata, meaning “the strap, rein, or rope” from reatar (“to tie again”) from atar “to tie (up)”

and lasso from Spanish lazo meaning “tie;”

The El Niño weather phenomenon in the Pacific is named after the Christ Child. It’s also the nickname for Spanish footballer Fernando Torres (Atlético Madrid, Liverpool, Chelsea, Atlético Madrid again) – now retired.

In the world of music and dance we have fandango, fiesta and flamenco.

Two food and drink words are fino, a dry sherry, and gazpacho, a cold “salad soup”.

An embargo derives from the Spanish embargar, to “seize” or “impound”.

Guerilla, incommunicado and hurricane are Anglicised versions of the Spanish words  guerrillero, incomunicado and huracán respectively.

Guano is the word for bird droppings, good as fertiliser.

And, finally for today, a junta from the Spanish meaning literally “joint”; a board of joint administration or committee; sometimes used to refer to a group of military officers in command after a coup d’état.

Look out for Part Three: From llama to oregano

Hasta luego.

Paul Whitelock

About Paul Whitelock

Paul Whitelock, a retired former languages teacher, school inspector and translator, who emigrated to Andalucía in 2008