Americanisms examples with description


The Americanisms are words borrowed from American Indian languages and used in other languages. For examples: tobacco , chocolate, hammock . Americanisms with description and examples

They are an example of a linguistic loan , that is, the use of words from another language in the speakers of a certain language.

The term Americanism is also used in a complementary sense: words from foreign languages ​​(primarily from the languages ​​of the colonizers, Spanish and English) that are modified for use among Native American populations.

Many of the Americanisms that we use in our language come from Quechua or Nahuatl, which is why these terms are often called indigenismos. They are words also considered as lexical loans or foreign words.

Americanisms are more than integrated into our language. Unlike, for example, Anglicisms, which are English words that we use in Spanish, Americanisms often don’t even know what they are. In fact, we are used to using words like tobacco, avocado or chocolate, but all of them and many others are actually Americanisms , so we are going to offer you some examples below so that you know those that are most often used.


Some of the most popular examples we have of Americanisms are as follows:

  • Aguacate . It is a fruit whose original name is avocado, but the name as such and that we use in our language arises from the Nahuatl language, a language that predates the Aztec culture. It is a tropical fruit that is exported all over the world. Americanisms with description and examples
  • Barbecue : This other word comes from Arawak, a language that is used in much of Latin America. We all know that the word refers to the use of a rack over hot coals to cook meat.
  • Peanut : A legume, which is usually also referred to as a peanut. The name originates from the Nahuatl language. They met in Europe after the conquest of America, but the truth is that they were already eaten in Tecnochtilán, which is present-day Mexico.
  • Canoe : A canoe is a boat that moves by rowing. The word that defines this boat comes from the Taíno caná-oua, composed with canâa (digging, emptying) and ueé (tree).
  • Chocolate : The word chocolate is an adaptation of the Nahuatl word xocolātl, which refers to the drink that the Mexican warriors drank from cocoa. Apparently its translation is “sour water.” It is well known that it was not until the arrival of Christopher Columbus in America that Europeans got to know cocoa and chocolate.
  • Hammock : A hammock is a network that is suspended between two points and is usually used to sleep or rest. The origin of the word, however, comes from the Taíno and apparently its translation is that of “fish net.”
  • Hurricane : This word is of Taino origin and its translation is the center of the wind. As we already know, a hurricane is a large rotating storm with high-speed winds that forms over warm waters in tropical areas, so that the Spanish were able to know them after the colonization of the central region of America.
  • Jaguar : The word jaguar comes from Guaraní and means “feline animal.” As we know, a jaguar is one of the largest cats in the world. They are similar to leopards, although their size is larger. They usually live in the jungles of South America, so the Spanish learned the word as a result of discovering that they existed after the conquest of America. Americanisms with description and examples
  • Poncho : A garment whose name originates from Quechua. The garment in question consists of a rectangle of thick and heavy and thick fabric that in the center has a hole through which we can pass the head, so the rest of the fabric is hanging from the shoulders.
  • Snuff . Tobacco is often interpreted as Americanism, although the truth is that it is not entirely. This is because although the word tobacco is believed to be born from the language of the indigenous people of Haiti, and from the word Tobago, which was how these inhabitants called a kind of long cane that they used to smoke, the truth is that they exist Also the words of Arabic origin tabacco and atabaca that were already used in Spain at the beginning of the 13th century, to make references to various herbs that caused a sleeping effect. Everything points to the fact that the Spanish conquerors already knew the word from the Arabs and that when they discovered that the natives also smoked sleeping plants, they began to call them this way.

How to deal with Americanisms in literature?

From the examples seen and also from what we already know what Americanisms are, we can still see the question of how to treat them in the literature, although they are also present in this literature. 

In fact, the first of the Americanisms to which reference was made was to the word canoe , by Christopher Columbus himself who used it in his diaries to talk about the wooden boat with oars that the natives used.

At present, Americanisms are more than integrated despite being recognized as words that arise from indigenous languages, so they are treated in the same way as they are used in speech.

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