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10 English words you'd never guess were really Spanish
The Village People had a hit with Macho Man. Photo: Mariano Casciano/Wikimedia

10 English words you'd never guess were really Spanish

The Local · 27 Jan 2016, 12:30

Published: 27 Jan 2016 12:29 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Jan 2016 12:30 GMT+01:00

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Screen shot: Ralfsu/YouTube 
An oldie but a goodie: this words dates back to the mid 16th century and comes from the Spanish word 'canibales'. That's the plural of what Christopher Columbus recorded as the name of a West Indian people (the Caribes), who were said to eat human flesh. Seems Hannibal Lector was born a few centuries too late.
The Village People had a hit with Macho Man. 
Doesn't everyone want to be a macho man? The word macho literally means everything from 'male animal' to 'manly' or 'virile' in Spanish. But 'macho' took on its current negative connotations in the English-speaking world with the women's rights movement of the mid 20th century.

Photo: Jessica Jones 
Siesta now, fiesta later? Perhaps the most famous cultural trait of the Spanish, the word comes from 'sexta hora' or sixth hour. It is used to describe an afternoon rest or nap.

Photo: Jay Javier/Flickr 
Although the 'Caped Crusader' Batman is 76-years-old, the word vigilante has been around for much longer. This Spanish word which means 'watchman' has become repurposed in English to mean a citizen who takes enforcing the law into their own hands.

Photo: John Tann/ Flickr
Mosquito, the bug everyone wants to avoid, is a lot easier to say than its scientific name 'Culicidae.' This Spanish/Portuguese word directly translates to 'little fly.'

Photo: Lee McCoy/Flickr 
Where would English be without this word? But actually we can't give the Spanish all the credit here. Chocolate comes from the central Mexican Nahuatl word chocolatl, or 'food made from cacao seeds'. It was then taken by the French and Spanish in the early 17th century, before going on to become an English word.

Photo: AFP
Introduced by the Spanish in the 19th century, it translates to 'little war.' However the word is now used to describe a person who is part of a small independent group that uses irregular fighting tactics against a larger opponent.
Story continues below…

Photo: sanna.tugend/Flickr 
Better hope you don't get caught committing a peccadillo. This word in Spanish directly translates to 'little sin' (the diminuitive of 'pecado', or sin) and dates back to the late 16th century.

Photo: AFP
This word gained currency in English in the century after the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English. It refers to a fleet of warships.

 Screen grab: CBGP Television/YouTube
Bonanza isn't just the name of a long-running US TV show involving cowboys. It was also used in the 19th century to talk about success when mining. Now it can be used in any situation which creates a sudden increase in wealth, good fortune, or profits. Oh, and it's also the name of a city in southern Spain.

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