HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

FOLLOW US
Can You Spell These Simple Spanish Words That the English Language Has Stolen?
by Torrance Grey
shutterstock

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!

Read More
Scroll to Begin Quiz

ABOUT HOWSTUFFWORKS

How much do you know about how car engines work? And how much do you know about how the English language works? And what about how guns work? How much do you know? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks is about more than providing great answers about how the world works. We are also here to bring joy to your day with fun quizzes, compelling photography and fascinating listicles. Some of our content is about how stuff works. Some is about how much you know about how stuff works. And some is just for fun! Because, well, did you know that having fun is an important part of how your brain works? Well, it is! So keep reading!