25 English Words Borrowed From Spanish

August 18, 2021
By Sarah Angela Almaden
25 English Words Borrowed From Spanish

“¿Dónde está la biblioteca?” is one of the questions you first learn in Spanish, along with common greetings like ¡Buenos dias! and ¿Cómo está? and introductions like “Me llamo (name)” or “Soy (name).” Then you move onto numbers, days of the week and more. Over time and after many lessons with Beelinguapp, you will be on your way to being fluent in Spanish. Did you know that English has borrowed words from Spanish for many, many, many years?

Let’s take a look at some everyday English words borrowed from Spanish!
  • Avocado - The original word for avocado is āhuacatl, a Nahuatl word. When the Spanish arrived in Mexico, they revised the word āhuacatl to aguacate.
  • Buckaroo - The word buckaroo comes from the word vaquero meaning cowboy.
  • Chocolate - Chocolate, originally xocolatl, is another word derived from Nahuatl, an indigenous Mexican language.
  • Desperado - In Spanish, desperado means desperate.
  • El niño - El niño is the warming of water currents flowing toward the west coast of the Americas that occurs around Christmas time. It is thought that a Peruvian fisherman named the event in honor of the Christ Child. In Spanish, el niño means the child.
  • Fiesta - Fiesta is a celebration or a big party or a feast.
  • Garbanzo - Garbanzo is a type of bean, but the name comes from the Spanish word for chickpea.
  • Huarache - Huarache is a type of sandal and the word is derived from the Tarascan language in Jalisco.
  • Iguana - Iguana is both a Spanish and English word for cold-blooded reptile. The word iguana is derived from a West Indies language called Arawak.
  • Jalapeño - Jalapeño is a Spanish word, originally from the word Jalapa.
  • Key - Key, also known as Cay, is from the Spanish word cayo meaning small island.
  • Lasso - Lasso is from the Spanish word lazo meaning a rope or a knot.
  • Maize - Maize is originally from the Arawak word, mahiz.
  • Nacho - Nacho is a Mexican dish. It is said that the word nacho came from Ignacio “Nacho” Amaya–the inventor of nachos.
  • Olé - In Spanish, olé is an expression to show excitement or happiness. You can use the expression in many places other than bullfights.
  • Patio - Patio means courtyard in both Spanish and English.
  • Quixotic - Quixotic is from the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.
  • Rodeo - Rodeo comes from the Spanish word “rodear” meaning to go around. Today, the word rodeo also means a cowboy show in both Spanish and English.
  • Suave - The word suave comes from Spanish, meaning smooth and charming.
  • Telenovela - Telenovela is the Spanish word for soap opera.
  • Utah - The word Utah comes from the Spanish name given to the indigenous Ute tribe meaning people of the mountains.
  • Vigilante - Vigilante comes from the Spanish word vigilante meaning guard or watchman.
  • Wrangler - The word wrangler is thought to be from the Germanic word “wrangeln” and it means to wrestle. While others believe the word is from Mexican Spanish called caballerango.
  • Yucca - Yucca is the name of a cassava plant. It is from the Caribbean word yuca.
  • Zapateado - Zapateado is a dance style in Mexico where the movement of the heels is emphasized, sort of similar to tap dancing.
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