Back in old Europe, Spain and England had an uneasy relationship. These not-quite neighbors had diplomatic relations, occasional royal intermarriages, and clashes between their formidable navies for centuries. But it took the exploration of the New World for their languages, both descended from Latin, to become close cousins.
Much of America's Old West was originally occupied and settled by Mexicans, descended, in part, from Spanish settlers. For this reason, many words from the world of ranching -- including "ranch" itself -- are adapted from Spanish. One of the more famous ones, the Western slang term "buckaroo," is descended from "vaquero," meaning "cowboy." (Don't worry, that's not a spoiler -- we didn't include that one in the quiz.) Spanish has also contributed many words for foods to the English language. This isn't surprising, given that Mexican recipes and ingredients are the basis for most of Southwestern U.S. cuisine. From "jalapeno" to "Tabasco," Spanish colors the language like it flavors the food.
Are you ready to test your skills at spelling these Spanish loanwords? One thing, before you start: Some of these words are exactly the same in English and Spanish, but more often the English word has a slightly Anglicized spelling. We won't try to trick you by using the Spanish version as one of the four choices. We're always looking for the correct English spelling among three misspelled variants.
Clear? Okay! Buena suerte!
Many words relating to the Old West come from the Spanish language. This is, in part, because much of present-day New Mexico, Arizona and California once belonged to Mexico.
At a rodeo, you can watch cowboys, ranch hands or professional rodeo athletes show off their riding and roping skills. The original pronunciation was "ro-day-o," like the street in Los Angeles.
Do Spanish speakers refer to "fiestando" the same way that we refer to "partying"? Just wondering.
In English, the word "macho" implies an aggressive or not entirely convincing attempt at masculinity. Think of Will Ferrell in many of his roles.
It's not a big surprise that quite a few words for food come from Spanish, when they were introduced from the Latin American world. In Spanish, the spelling is a little different: "tomate."
"Lasso" can be a noun or a verb. To "lasso" an animal is to catch it by throwing a looped rope.
This word is also related to "piazza" in Italian. "Plata" in Spanish means "silver."
You might recognize this from the city of Mesa, Arizona. The word "mesa" means "table" in Spanish.
You probably knew this one because of cigars' longtime association with Cuba. The Spanish word is "cigarro."
"Adobe" means "mud brick" and was a common building material in the Old West. Nowadays, it's also the design suite that includes Photoshop.
The Spanish word for fly is "mosca." Oddly, it turns from feminine to masculine in "mosquito."
A canyon is a gorge or ravine on a grand scale. Its original Spanish spelling was "canon."
You might find this word familiar from the Bogart film, "Treasure of the Sierra Madre." Or from California and Nevada's Sierra Nevada mountain range.
"Temblor" is Spanish for "shaking" (as a noun, not a verb form). English adopted it as a word for "earthquake," but the more common word for "earthquake," in Spanish, is "terremoto."
This word, which is spelled with two r's and two l's, means "little war." It's derived from the idea that a war fought by individuals in small skirmishes is "little" compared to that fought with armies and navies.
"Matar" means "to kill" in Spanish. Bullfights often do end with the death of the bull, which is why animal-rights activists oppose them.
Fun fact: This word was popularized by Ernest Hemingway, who discovered it when he was fascinated with bullfighting. A person with "aficion" for the sport really *got* bullfighting in a way that other people didn't.
This can mean "courtyard," "play yard," or "parade ground" in Spanish. In English, it's usually a paved outdoor area just behind a house.
In Spanish, "vigilante" is an adjective meaning "vigilant." (It's one of many cognates). A "vigilante nocturno" is a night watchman or guard.
"Flota" alone is Spanish for fleet. "Flotilla" is the diminutive, and is often used loosely in English: "A flotilla of paper airplanes sailed down from the upper balcony."
Diminutives in Spanish are often formed with "-illo" or "-ito." So "armado," for "armed," turns into "armadillo," or "little armed (thing)."
This comes from the Spanish "tabaco." It is entirely a New World crop, introduced to Europe after explorations to Latin America.
This is a tricky one to spell. It might help to be familiar with San Francisco, whose east shoreline is known as the Embarcadero district.
This is from the word "cargar," meaning "to load up." Fun fact: A "cargo cult" means a recently-developed religion based on the expectation of material gains. That is, when explorers from advanced nations dropped crates of goods onto beaches, the natives might have developed a cargo cult that sees them as gods.
This literally means "little burro," which sounds inauspicious to us. "What's in this?" "Oh, a little burro."
This means "sauce," unsurprisingly. One maker uses the slogan, "Es una salsa ... muy salsa!" which means "It's a very saucy sauce!"
This comes from the Spanish "huracan." That word is, itself, a borrowing from a South American tribal language, as Spain is not prone to hurricanes.
Maybe Americans like it for its resemblance to the word "mojo." In Spanish, "mojar" simply means "to moisten."
The rumba is a slow dance with a lot of hip action. A "Roomba" is the automated vacuum cleaner that cats like to ride.
This is adapted from the Spanish word "canoa." Spanish explorers first saw Native Americans using these narrow, dugout crafts.
It's rare to find an American who doesn't know this one. But they might use it interchangeably with "bien," the adverb for "well."
It's spelled like "banana," but is pronounced like "manyana." It helps if you imagine the tilde over the first n.
"Hasta" means "until." "Hasta la vista," popularized by its use in the movie "Terminator 2" and an MC Hammer song, is an honorary English phrase by now.
Though in everyday conversation, Americans don't use "camino" for "road," we've borrowed it a lot for road names, like "El Camino Real," meaning, "The Royal Road." There was also a funny hybrid truck called a Chevy El Camino.
The Spanish adapted this from a Nahuatl word, xocolatl. Both coffee and chocolate were imported to Europe from the New World. It makes you wonder, how did anyone get anything done in pre-exploration Europe?