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10 words that English borrowed from Spanish

Today is Cinco de Mayo and I thought I'd continue my series about words borrowed from other languages with a list of 10 words or expressions that English borrowed from the Spanish language.


1. AFICIONADO (A)
Are you aficionado of languages like me? "Aficionado" is the past participle form of the Spanish verb aficionar, which means "to inspire affection". If you're using the word to describe a man, you have to say "aficionado" and if you're talking about a woman, the right word if "aficionada".

2. PATIO 
Have you been daydreaming about spending summer evenings in your patio eating barbecue (which comes from the Spanish word barbacoa)? If so, you're really a teacher finishing up a school year!

3. BONANZA
First thing that comes to my mind is the TV series. No, I wasn't around to watch it, but it was my father's favorite show and I always thought, as a child, that Bonanza was a last name, like Simpsons. The word means "calm at sea" in Spanish, but has taken a different meaning in English: a very large amount, something very valuable.

4. RODEO
This comes from the Spanish verb rodear, which means "to surround".

5. BURRITO
Literally, "little donkey". The "-ito"is a suffix that means small, and that leads me to…

6. MOSQUITO
"Mosquito" is a small mosca (fly).

7. CINCO DE MAYO
The fifth of May is NOT Mexican Independence Day. It's actually the celebration of the Mexican victory over the French in 1862. Do you celebrate it in your classroom?

8. RANCH
The original Spanish word is rancho, but somewhere down the road, English lost the "o".

9. MANO A MANO
If you go "mano a mano" with someone, it means that you two are in direct competition, fight (physically or not). This expression can be literally translated as "hand to hand".

10. COLORADO, NEVADA, FLORIDA, MONTANA
The US has many states and countless cities whose names come from Spanish.
"Colorado" is the past participle of colorar, to color.
"Nevada" is the past participle of nevar, to snow.
"Florida" means florid, flowery.
"Montana" is derived from the word montaña, mountain.

READ 10 words that English borrowed from French

READ 10 words that English borrowed from Portuguese

Read: Teacher-authors around the world

Thanks for reading and hasta luego!

5 comments:

  1. About Colorado, I think it means "red". Just like that. Colorado means Red. For example: when someone tells you nice things, you get "colorado" (blushed, red) ;)

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    Replies
    1. Hey D.U.!
      I have to say that I don't speak Spanish so you may be right, but let me ask: wouldn't "colorado" be the equivalent to "colored" and "rojo" be "red"?
      Thanks for reading :)

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    2. I'm Spanish. Colorado means red. Get color would be coloreado.

      Delete
  2. Both of you are correct. It has more than just one meaning / use. It can mean the color red, and what Lucy S. described as well. Yea for everyone being correct!! :-)

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  3. Just to say that in Spanish does not exist "colorar" the right verb is "colorear".
    Thank you for your information, it's very interesting.

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