Mexican Indigenous Words You Didn't Know You Were Using


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Many Americans mistakenly view Mexicans as foreign. In fact, the indigenous people of Mexico have called North America home for a whole lot longer than the Europeans who first started populating the Americas at the close of the fifteenth century. As a reminder, here’s 13 words in Nahuatl, the language of the Mexica people of Central Mexico, that English speakers use all the time — many without knowing it.
1. Avocado:  Passed into English by way of the Spanish word “aguacate,” the word originates from the Nahuatl term “āhuacatl,” meaning both “avocado” and “testicle,” according to Merriam-Webster.
2. Cacao:  The fruit whose dried seeds are used to make chocolate was originally named cacahuatl.
3. Chocolate:  The Nahuatl “xocolatl” is made up of the parts “xococ,” meaning “bitter,” and “atl,” meaning “water.”
4. Coyote:  These North American canines take their name from the Nahuatl “coyōtl.”
5. Guacamole:  The Nahuatl “āhuacamōlli” literally means “avocado sauce.”
6. Jicama: This vegetable, which is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, bears a name adapted from the Nahuatl “xīcama.”
7. Jalapeño:  The name of this spicy pepper comes from the Mexican city of Xalapa in the state of Veracruz. In Nahuatl, “xalapan” means “sand by the water.”
8. Mesquite:  If you’ve traveled to the U.S. Southwest, you’ve likely seen these trees that lend a smokey flavor to Texas barbecue. The name comes from the Nahuatl “mizquitl.”
9. Mescal: The name for one of Mexico’s greatest contributions to world culinary culture, “mezcal,” evolved out of the Nahuatl term “mexcalli.” Made from the smoked heart of the agave, the prefix means “maguey” — a synonym for the plant — while xcalli means “something cooked,” according to
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