abra – from abrir, (to open), a narrow pass between hills, a narrow valley.
acequia – irrigation ditch, canal; acequia madre meaning main irrigation – an irrigation canal.
acion – stirrup leather.
adios – goodbye. literal translation – “to God.”
adobe – brick made of clay, water and available straw or grass baked in the sun used to construct all manner of buildings where wood was in short supply.
agarita – wild currant. Food and Drink
agregado – a farm hand.
agrito – term applied to a variety of thorn bushes from which can be made a delicious jelly.
aguardiente – term applied to a number of liquors such as brandy, whiskey, and “high octane” tequila derived from the Mexican cactus plan called maguey. Food and Drink
alameda – from alamo – cottonwood tree, grove of trees sometimes along an avenue.
alamo – cottonwood tree,. A word from which many names are derived, e.g., Alamogordo, (big tree), Alamosa, (tree’d), Los Alamos, (the cottonwood trees), and the Alamo, (the cottonwood tree), a Spanish mission fort in San Antonio, Texas.
albondigas – meatballs; served with spaghetti or as an appetizer. Food and Drink
alcalde – title applied to the town mayor, but sometimes the judge, or chief of police.
alfalfa – from Arabic al-fasfasah, good fodder.
alforja – saddlebag
algarroba – honey mesquite.
algodon – – cotton, sometimes referred to cottonwood tree.
alla – “over there, yonder.”
alligator – from “el lagarto.”
amansador – a horse tamer.
amigo – friend.
amole – from Nahuatl also ammole, amolli – a plant from which soap can be made, such as the yucca root.
Anglo – a person not of Spanish or Indian descent.
angoras – Chaps made from goat hide with wool left on the outside.
anquera – from Spanish and Mexican saddle style, the rear leather piece over the horses’ rump which varies greatly in size and use
ante – from the Spanish word antes meaning before. To get in the poker game you had to “ante-up” before (antes) having cards or a hand dealt to you; also meaning pay up or to hand something over.
aparejo – Mexican pack saddle.
aperitivo – appetizer re Food and Drink
appola – the sticks on which small pieces of meat were roasted over an open fire, (Matthews, 1951). Food and Drink
arancel – aransel, – an import tax.
arciones – stirrup-leathers.
argolla del enteador – the ring of the saddle rigging straps.
armas – the predecessor of chaps, leather flaps attached to saddle to protect riders legs.
armitas half-chaps riding apron just below the tops of the old Spanish high boots fastened around the legs.
arriero – muleteer, a mule driver.
arroba – Spanish measurement of weight, about 10 kilos used to weigh Corriente or Long Horn cattle.
arroyo – a gully or wash where water runs only when raining; dry most of the year, and also used as trails or horseback roadways.
arroz – rice. Food and Drink
atole – 1. from Nahuatl for blue corn meal/porridge/gruel served as a beverage with sugar. Food and Drink
2. A family surname to a clan/member of the Jicarrilla Apache Indians, NM.
avocado – from Spanish “de aguacate.” Food and Drink
baile – a dance
bajada – down slope of a hill.
bamoose – corrupted Spanish for “vamos,” meaning, “let’s go.”
banco – a sandbank
band – a bunch of horses, wild or in remuda.
bandana – the neckerchief of a cowboy
bandera – flag
bandido – a bandit
barbacoa – barbecue, derived from barba (beard) of the kid goat and cueva (cave)- pit cooked kid goat Food and Drink
barboquejo – (stampede string), chin strap for hat strong enough for the wind, but not so strong so as to choke the wearer.
barranca – 1. a steep wide of a ravine or arroyo
2. a bluff.
barriguera – cinch
basto/baste – a pad or skirt of a saddle.
bayo – a bay horse dun or smokey color.
belduque – a large knife and blade.
biscochitos – Anise-flavored cookies, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Food and Drink
bisonte – bison
bodega – – grocery store/liquor store.
bolero – original Spanish style vaquero hat known today as the Santa Fe style.
bolo tie – from the Spanish bolas, boleadoras, two balled weights at the end of a forked rope, the gauchos,’ (cowboys’) equivalent of the lariat; a cord tie held together with a concha (shell, in modern times a silver concha) or a turquoise stone.
bonanza – prosperity or success.
bosque – a grove of trees or woodland
brasada – brush country
brida – bridle
briza – wind, breeze.
bronc – an unbroken horse or a cow horse.
bronc buster – breaker of wild horses.
brujo – a wizard
bufalo – American bison, buffalo.
buñelo – fry bread, also sopapilla served with icing or dipped in cinnamon and sugar. Food and Drink
burrito – flour tortilla filled with beans, meat, cheese, or potatoes, served with a chilli/salsa garnished with lettuce, tomato, and onion. Food and Drink
burro – donkey
buscadero – someone who seeks, usually applied to lawmen.
caballada – a band of saddle horses. Also remuda, cavallard, cavy (or cavvy).
caberos – from cabestro or halter.
cabestro – original horse hair halter.
cabeza del fuste – the head of the saddle tree.
cabrie – pronghorn antelope.
cabrón – a male goat. As ¡Cabrón! = bastard!
cacao – cocoa .
cacique – a village leader usually applied to Indian Pueblo clan heads.
cafeteria – eating place.
calabaza – pumpkin, squash, related vegetables. Hence calabash Food and Drink
calabozo – jail. Hence calaboze.
calaveras – skulls or skull location
calzoneras – pants split on the outside of the leg showing white under leggings.
cama – bed, or bed roll
camino real – the original public roadway established by the Spanish Crown, literally meaning, the royal road. Crimes committed on the Royal roads were punished more severely.
campana – pommel
canada – a valley or canyon
canelo – from “canela,” meaning cinnamon color in horses.
cañon – canyon
cantina – canteen, or a saloon or embibing waterhole.
cantle – the rear back bracing part of a saddle.
capirotada – sweet bread pudding with cinnamon, raisins, nuts, and cheese. Food and Drink
capon – a gelded horse
caponera – a group of gelded horses
caporal . – boss or foreman, ranch manager.
carajo! – an expletive meaning darn, shucks and the like.
carina – sweetheart, honey
carne – meat Food and Drink
carne asada – Mexican brazier-cooked meat. Food and Drink
carne molida – ground beef. Food and Drink
carrera del gallo – rooster race
carreta – the original wagon with two wheels drawn by oxen, camp cart.
cartucho – a bullet cartridge.
casa – house
cascabel – a rattle, a rattlesnake, a jingle-bob.
cattalo – cross between domestic cattle and buffalo.
cavallero – a Spanish gentleman, noble equestrian (knight), upper-class cowboy.
cavallo – a horse.
caverango – original Spanish word for wrangler. Caverango became corrupted ‘wrango’ which in English eventually became ‘wrangler’. A caverango (wrangler) is generally a young inexperienced hand who tended horses, (remudero), on a cattle drive.
cavraces – (caberos), a hair rope.
cayuse – an Indian pony.
cenizo – ash colored.
cerro – a hill.
chalupa – boat-shaped fried corn tortilla filled with beans, cheese, & lettuce. Food and Drink
chamisa – rabbitbrush, a silver-blue, narrow-leaved, deciduous shrub, 3-5 ft. tall & wide with pungent, yellow flowers in fall.
chamisal – thicket of chamisa
chaparral – thick bramble bushes entangled with thorny shrubs in clumps, small scrub oaks, a small thicket of scrub oak.
chaparreras, chaparajos, chaparejos – leather leggings to protect horsemen frombrush and cacti. Corrupted to ‘chaps’ in English.
chaparro – evergreen oak tree or a small boy
chapenton/concha – metal rosette used to secure saddle leather together.
chaqueta – the original word for jacket.
charqui – corrupted to ‘jerky’ in English .
charro – a gentleman equestrian
Chicano – from Mexican word originally spelled Mechicano used to refer to a wider spectrum of Southwest people of Hispanic origin.
chicharrones – cracklings made from pork fat with some meat attached. Food and Drink
chicos – dried sweet corn kernels that are fire roasted.Food and Drink
chile caribe – red chile pods ground and blended with water. Food and Drink
chile on queso – chile with cheese; served as a dip with tostados. Food and Drink
chile pequin – thin hot red chiles Food and Drink
chile relleno – stuffed chilli, green chile stuffed with cheese, dropped in egg batter, and fried. Food and Drink
chile, chili – hot spicy peppers integral to the cuisine of the vaquero; chile Colorado – red chile, chile verde – green chile. Food and Drink
chimichanga – fried burrito stopped with salsa and or sour cream. Food and Drink
chince – bed bug – hence chinch bug.
chorizo – highly seasoned Mexican pork sausage. Food and Drink
chuleta – pork chop with red chile sauce. Food and Drink
churro – the hardy breed of sheep introduced by the Spanish and responsible for changing the way of live of Navajos from wild nomadic to sheepherders.
cibolo – a buffalo .
cienaga – a swampy marsh.
cigarito – a cigarette
cincha – the saddle girth or cinch
cocinero – a cook (cowboy slang coosie ) ‘
coleador – a horseman who throws a bull by twisting its tail
colear – from Spanish infinitive, “cola” meaning tail, colear meant to throw an animal by the tail.
colear – to throw a running bull by twisting its tail
Comanceros – mestizos who lived wild and as go betweens for Comanche Indians and Anglos.
comarron – wild.
comino – cumin (spice)
compadre – a godfather, also used as a reference to anyone considered a partner.
companero – buddy/companion.
concha(o) – 1. Shell
2. a silver ornament used to decorate all manner of leather gear.
condor – the term for two species of vulture
conquistador – 15th century soldier who conquered lands for Spain.
contraenreatado – latigo
corcho – cork
corn tortilla – flat bread cooked on a griddle made from yellow or blue corn. Food and Drink
corona – 1. Crown
2. a type of blanket.
corral – a livestock pen.
corrida – from the Spanish infinitive correr, to run – a hunt, chase or bullfight.
corrido – Mexican folksong
cougar – from gatomonte (mountain lion) to cata mount – to cougar.
coyote – from the Nahualtl coyotl – a prairie wolf.
cristianos – Catholics, civilized people of European decent.
cuarta – quirt, a horse whip.
cucaracha – cockroach .
cuidado – Look out!
cuna – leather cradle used for carrying wood on a wagon.
desjarretadera – a hocking knife with curved steel blade attached to the end of a 12′ pole used to hamstring cattle’s hind leg before killing the animal for butchering.
dicho – a saying or proverb.
dinero – money
dogal – doggie, a motherless calf, (also a nose halter).
duena – chaperone, usually an older and fierce woman.
dueno – owner.
enchilada – covered in chile , Mexican dish. Corn tortillas servied rolled or flat filled with ground beef and or cheese, onions, and covered with chile and a variety of toppings. Food and Drink
encino – oak.
encomendero – holder of an encomienda, a royal land grant including everything on the land.
enveatados – rigging straps
espuelas – spurs.
estampida – stampede , the mass bolting of a herd of animals.
estradiota – old Spanish war saddle.
estribo – stirrup iron.
estufa – stove.
faja – a sash worn around the waist.
fandango – a lively dance.
fiador – ‘guarantor’, in Mexico and SW the bridle strap, sometimes corrupted into English to “theodore.”
flan – a baked custard with caramel sauce. Food and Drink
flauta – 1. Flute
2. fried version of a taco, rolled thin, dipped in sour cream or guacamole.Food and Drink
flour tortilla – flat bread cooked on a griddle made with flour. Food and Drink
fracaso – noisy disturbance, quarrel; hence fracas (pronounced “fray-cuss”)
freno – a horse’s bit.
frijoles – beans Food and Drink
fuste – the pommel part of a saddle tree.
gamuza – soft buckskin leather used for making moccasins.
garrocha – long pole used to prod cattle
gato monte mountain cat, cougar
gorditas – masa stuffed with seasoned meat and fried. Food and Drink
gringo – from griego meaning Greek but used to refer to all non-Indian strangers or newcomers, foreigners.
grulla – a crane, which is a dark gray color – hence becomes a term applied to horses of the same dark grey
guacamole – avocado dip Food and Drink
guajilla – Nahuatl for a small guard.
guia – a guide; vernacular – a pass/manifest for safe passage.
hacendado – the owner of a substantial hacienda or estate.
hacienda – a large ranch or estate.
harina – flour Food and Drink
hediondilla – a creosote bush.
herrar – to brand or mark with a hot iron.
hidalgo – a nobleman of Spanish descent.
hoja – 1. a leaf
2. a corn-chuck used as cigarette paper.
hombre – man.
hombre del campo – a rugged outdoorsman.
hondo – 1. the hole or slip ring end of the rope used to catch the animal.
2. meaning deep, used to refer to deep places like a deep arroyo.
horno – outdoor oven, made of adobe and beehive shaped. Introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors, adopted by the Spanish and brought to the new world.
huevos rancheros – ranch-style eggs, served with tortillas and salsa. Food and Drink
huraches – sandals
jacal – a primitive hut or shelter.
jaquima – a headstall, bridle. Corrupted into the English ‘hackamore’.
jineta – leather saddle style suited to speed and maneuverability introduced to Spain by Moors and brought to Americas by Spanish colonists.
jinete – an excellent horseman, originally from the Moorish jineta saddle riders who introduced la jineta to the Spanish in the 15th century.
jornado – a journey.
juzgado – court which sentenced one to jail. Hence ‘hoosegow’ for jail or prison
ladino – a wild Corriente (Longhorn).
ladron – a thief
latigo – a strap that attaches saddle rigging to the cinch.
lazo – a rope – hence lasso
leche – milk Food and Drink
lepero – a gross or vulgar person.
llano – the flats or prairie lands.
lobo – a wolf.
loco – crazy, insane.
loco weed – astragalus, a plant with purple or white flowers when eaten drives animals crazy.
loma – a hill.
machete – a long chopping knife. Derives from diminutive of Spanish ‘macho’ – ax club, mace.
macho – literally means a male as opposed to female, “la hembra.”
mal pais – bad country, badlands.
maleta – saddle bag
manada – bunch of mare horses with a stallion.
manana – tomorrow, later.
manga – a poncho cloak; modern Spanish a shirt sleeve.
mangana – forefooting – roping an animal by its front feet.
mano – a human hand, also short for brother hermano – her-mano.
mantilla – a scarf or head-shawl worn by women.
manzana – apple or horn of a saddle.
marihuana – marijuana
marrano – pig, During the time when Spain was under Moorish rule, between 711A.D. and 1492, the word for pig more with greater frequency came to be known as “ Marrano ,” the etymology of which evolved from an Arabic root meaning “prohibited thing,” or “outsider.”
mas alla – further over there.
masa – dough made of dried ground corn and lime water. Food and Drink
masa harina – dough made of a dried mix to which water is added. Food and Drink
matanza – the slaughtering of livestock, a killing of an animal.
mayordomo – a ranch foreman.
mecate – a hair rope.
mechero – a fire making tool. Also machero
menudo – in New Mexico, pork skins used in posole, each pueblo (town) has its own specialty – generally a mixture of tripe, stew meat, chile, and local ingredients. Food and Drink
mesa – a plateau of land, literally a table top.
mescal – word used to refer to liquor obtained from the form the maguey/agave plant. Food and Drink
mesquital – a thicket of mesquite
mesquite – a small tree or large bush which grows in southern New Mexico to California.
Mesta – a stockmen’s association first organized by the Spanish in Mexico, (New Spain), June 16, 1529.
mesteno – a mustang; from “Mesta.”
mestizo – someone of Spanish and Indian ancestry.
metate – a hollowed stone (morter) used to grind corn, grain, and nuts used with a mano (pestle)
Mexican standoff – a no-win conflict circumstance where neither side will back down; taken from the time of the Mexican Comancheros who were extremely fierce, wild rugged, and would not back down from a fight no matter the odds.
miel – honey Food and Drink
mochila – a loose leather covering for original saddles when saddle trees were covered only with rawhide.
mollete – anise bread Food and Drink
morral – a feed bag.
mosquito – diminutive for Spanish word mosca (fly), “de mosquito.”
muchacho – boy.
mujer – a woman or wife.
mulada – a herd of mules.
mulero – a muleteer – one who tends pack animals.
nachos – tostados topped with cheese and green chile baked, served as an appetizer Food and Drink
naja – a small decoration hanging from the headband of a bridle onto the horses face.
natilla – pudding sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg. Food and Drink
nuece – pecan nut Food and Drink
ocotillo – a stick like cactus.
ojo – meaning eye; in the west used to refer to a spring of water.
orejanos – wild cattle, slick eared or unbranded.
pa hablar – to talk or discuss. Hence ‘palaver’
padre – father or Catholic priest
paloma – dove, paloma blanca (white dove).
palomino – palomill or cream colored horse with white tail.
panocha – unrefined brown sugar, candy. Food and Drink
pansaje – a social meal in the open air. Not quite a picnic, more a barbeque including groaning tables and animals roasted whole; like a “matanza” in New Mexico. Food and Drink
parade – from parda, a main herd of cattle on a drive.
partida – a subsection or band of men or animals.
pasear – to walk or stroll.
paseo – a walk or ride.
paso – a walk, step, pass-safe passage.
paso de la muerte – to ride bareback on a wild horse or bull
pastelitos – little pies that are served in square portions Food and Drink
pastor – a sheepherder.
patata – potato Food and Drink
patio – courtyard.
patron – the boss or owner.
pedregal – a stony place.
pelado – peeling off, hairless, stripped of possessions.
peon – peasant.
pequeno nin – little child, hence picaninny
perilla – a pear shaped saddle horn.
periqito – parakeet
pial – a rope thrown underhanded right back of the front legs under the belly of the running quarry, the loop opening ups so that the hind legs stepped into it
piale – underhand rope throw that catches the animals hind legs.
piloncilla – brown sugar cone – candy. Food and Drink
pinole – corn flour mixed with sweetened flour from mesquite bean.Food and Drink
pinon – a dwarf pine nut tree. Roasted, the nuts are delicious. Food and Drink
pita – fiber obtained from plants to make ropes, bags, and baskets.
plaza – town square .
poco – little.
poco pronto – Right now!
pollo – chicken Food and Drink
poncho – a blanket with a hole in the middle used to keep warm.
poncho – de poncho.
posole – traditional New Mexican stew made with hominy-corn kernels, pork loin, garlic, oregano, onion salt red chile treated with lime. Food and Drink
potro – a colt or untamed horse.
presidio – a Spanish fort
pretal – breast band.
pronto – right away, now!
pueblo – a village or town, in New Mexico, Pueblo refers to anyone of the Pueblo Indian tribes.
pulqueria – a liquor store.
quelitas – spinach mixed with pinto beans, bacon, crushed red chile pods. Food and Drink
querencia – to love, as in loving the land whence you came.
querida – sweetheart, darling
queso – cheese Food and Drink
quien sabe – who knows?
quirt – from cuerda cord, horsewhip.
ramada – a shelter constructed from brush.
rancheria – a camp settlement.
ranchero – a rancher.
rancho – the land upon which stock was raised
rayar – a horse stepping contest
reata – rawhide rope, anglicized “la reata” to “lariat.”
rebozo – a head and shoulder shawl worn by women.
refrito – literally – refried; refried beans that are cooked, mashed and refried. Food and Drink
remuda – saddle horses or a ranch or cattle drive.
remudero – a wrangler, young man, or boy who cared for the horse herd.
ristra – a string of chiles. Food and Drink
rodaja – a pointed rowel star at the end of the spur which rolls as the rider’s boot heel rakes the horse.
rodeo – from Spanish word, “rodear,” to encircle the herd; later meaning a cowboy skill contest.
rosaderos – saddle fenders.
salea – a soft sheepskin placed between a horses back and saddle blanket, (P. Watts).
salsa – de salsa, chile sauce made with fresh chile, tomatoes and onions. Food and Drink
salsa pequin – very hot salsa made with chile pequin sometimes labeld taco sauce. Food and Drink
salsa rancherita – thick sause (salsa chile) made with onions, green chile, tomatoes, and seasonings. Food and Drink
sandia – watermelon Food and Drink
santo – a saint or image of same.
sarape – a heavy shawl or small blanket sometimes with fringes at ends.
sasafras – – medicinal herb (English sassafras) used in soap or tea.
save – to know, infinitive form “saber.” Hence savvy.
sendero – a clearing for walking
senor – Sir or mister.
sierra – a mountain range or serrated/jagged mountain top.
siesta – nap taken early to mid day, by those whose day begins at dawn.
silla – saddle.
sombrero – a wide-brimmed Mexican hat, from sombra. (shadow)
sopa – sweet bread pudding with raisons, cinnamon, nuts, and cheese.Food and Drink
sopaipilla (so-pie-pia) – fried bread made with yeast or baking powder. Food and Drink
sortija – a ring race
tabaco – tobacco
tabasco – liquor or sauce which is named after the Mexacan state of Tabasco. Food and Drink
tablas del fuste – saddle tree slats
taco – a Mexican dish made with corn tortillas filled with minced meat or beans, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and topped with hot chili sauce. Food and Drink
talache – a hand hoe)
tamale – a Mexican dish consisting of minced pork meat chili, corn masa wrapped in corn husks steamed and/or baked. Food and Drink
tapaderos – leather covering over the stirrups to protect against brush.
tapajos – from tapa ojos – a blind for horses and mules.
tasajero – a building in which beef was smoked and dried
tasajo – jerky.Food and Drink
tegua – soft moccasin type leather.
teja – cantle.
Tejano – a Texan.
tequila – an alcoholic beverage made from the maguey cactus. Food and Drink
teshuino – teswin or Apache beer made from corn prior to arrival of Spanish. Food and Drink
tienda – store.
tomate – tomato Food and Drink
toro – a bull.
torta – stiffly beaten egg, fried and served with red chile. Food and Drink
tortilla – rolled flat bread made of wheat or corn flour cooked on a flat surface. Food and Drink
tostada – open faced taco or tortilla with melted cheese.Food and Drink
tostados – corn tortilla wedges fried crisp. Food and Drink
trigueno – the color brunet or brown applied to a horse.
tronada – tornado. The root-word of tronada is tornar – to twist or screw.
tule – depending on the region, a name applied to certain plants/trees found far out in the remote country, ergo, the saying, “out in the tulees!”
vaca – a cow.
vacada – a herd of cows.
vaciero – a man in charge of a number of sheepherders in a large outfit.
vainilla – vanilla. Food and Drink
vamos – let’s go! Hence vamoose, and mosey.
vaquero – a cowboy- hence buckaroo.
vara – a measurement just under 3 feet.
vereda – a trail.
vigilante – meaning guardian of the law, righteous, vigilant.
xerga – a cloth placed between the salea and pack saddle.
yerba buena – term used to refer to plants and herbs which can be used medicinally, such as mint.
yucca – a family of cacti which have palm like branches with sharp points.
zapato – shoe.
zorillo – skunk. Hence ‘zorillas’ used to describe Longhorn cattle with skunk like markings.