Develop your Vocabulary - Spanish Words in English




Introduction


As I mentioned in my articles on French words found in English, here and here , I explained that as a global language, English often borrows from other languages. So, there are quite a few words in English that originate from the Spanish language. As you will discover in this article, the spelling in many cases differs very little, if at all from the original Spanish.


Here, then, are fifteen words (together with their original spelling and meaning in Spanish) that are worthwhile becoming familiar with to develop your English vocabulary.



1 Patio


Spanish word: patio


Meaning: An open area attached to a house, a small courtyard or balcony.


2 Avocado


Spanish word: aguacate


Meaning: A dark green pear-shaped fruit with smooth, light green pulp and a large seed in the centre.



3 Stampede


Spanish word: estampida


Meaning: A sudden frenzied rush of animals or people.



4 Cockroach


Spanish word: cucaracha


Meaning: A crawling and flying insect with antennae, wings, and legs, usually found as household pests.


5 Tornado


Spanish word: tornado


Meaning: A powerful, destructive windstorm that forms itself into a cone-like shape, capable of destroying trees, buildings etc. and harming people.



6 Plaza


Spanish word: plaza


Meaning: A public area usually a building with shops and stores.


It comes from the Spanish meaning ‘place’.


7 Macho (even 'machismo')


Spanish word: macho


Meaning: To have manly characteristics and qualities such as being strong, aggressive, unemotional, etc.


In Spanish, macho means male.


8 Cargo


Spanish word: cargo


Meaning: Goods that are transported via aircraft, ship, or motor vehicles (trucks and lorries).


Originates from the Spanish 'cargo' and 'cargar' – to load.


9 Ranch (rancher)


Spanish word: rancho


Meaning: A large farm to raise livestock or crops; a cattle ranch.


The word originally means a group of people who eat together.


10 Lasso


Spanish word: lazo


Meaning: A rope with a knot that forms a ring for people to catch horses and cattle.


From the Spanish 'lazo', based on the Latin 'laqueus' meaning ‘noose’.


11 Canyon


Spanish word: cañón


Meaning: A deep narrow gorge with steep sides


Comes from the Spanish for 'tube' - cañón.


12 Guerrilla


Spanish word: guerrilla


Meaning: Someone who belongs to a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger forces.


Taken from the Spanish word for war: guerra.


13 Mustang


Spanish word: mestengo


Meaning: A small, lightly built horse.


The word comes from a blend of Spanish 'mestengo' (from mesta ‘company of graziers’) and 'mostrenco', both meaning wild or masterless cattle but more often applied to horses.



14 Vanilla


Spanish word: vainilla


Meaning: A sweet substance extracted from vanilla pods, used as a flavouring in food (ice cream, biscuits, desserts) and perfumes.


From the Spanish word 'vainilla' or 'little pod'.


15 Breeze


Spanish word: brisa


Meaning: A gentle wind


This word originates from Old Spanish 'briza'.



Conclusion


In this article, I have introduced 15 words from the Spanish language that are found in English. Some are more common than others. You may disagree, of course.

The aim of the article was to develop your English vocabulary. Be on the lookout for more Spanish words that you come across in English and let me know in the comments.




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