Featured Word List – Spanish Words

Spanish words entered the English vocabulary through three different key sources – Through trade across the oceans, through the southwest of America, and through food.

Trade between England and America with Spain took place over the course of many years and with a wide variety of goods. However, there was one particular good that although was not on the trade list, still managed to find its way on to the shores of these two English speaking countries – the Spanish vocabulary. To be specific, a set of Spanish words found their way to England and America thanks to the trade that took place between them.

Latin America also inspired the adaptation of multiple Spanish words into the English vocabulary. People, especially those living in the South of the United States of America (USA), brought these words to light among the English speaking natives. Apart from that, pop culture also played a vital role in this regard. Movies that portray the Wild West or are about cowboys deserve a lot of credit for this.

The last method of transport these Spanish words have used to enter the English vocabulary is food. From burritos to tortillas, some of the most amazing delicacies come from a Spanish origin and hence, their names have forever been inducted into the English language.

Now that we are familiar with how Spanish words got into the English language in the first place, it is time to work our way through some of the Spanish words you might encounter at the next spelling bee.

Spelling competitions are known for using words that come from different countries. Hence, you cannot skip this Spanish words list. We at Spelling Bee Ninja have prepared this list of Spanish words to prepare you for the upcoming spelling bee competition.

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Spanish Words

AlamoSpanish word for “poplar tree”
AlligatorA large carnivorous reptile of the Crocodile family, peculiar to America. It has a shorter and broader snout than the crocodile, and the large teeth of the lower jaw shut into pits in the upper jaw, which has no marginal notches. Besides the common species of the southern United States, there are allied species in South America. – Any machine with strong jaws, one of which opens like the movable jaw of an alligator – a form of squeezer for the puddle ball – a rock breaker – a kind of job press, called also alligator press.
AnchovyA small fish, about three inches in length, of the Herring family (Engraulis encrasicholus), caught in vast numbers in the Mediterranean, and pickled for exportation. The name is also applied to several allied species.
ArgentinePertaining to, or resembling, silver; made of, or sounding like, silver; silvery. – Of or pertaining to the Argentine Republic in South America. – A siliceous variety of calcite, or carbonate of lime, having a silvery-white, pearly luster, and a waving or curved lamellar structure. – White metal coated with silver. – A fish of Europe (Maurolicus Pennantii) with silvery scales. The name is also applied to various fishes of the genus Argentina. – A citizen of the Argentine Republic.
BoleroA Spanish dance, or the lively music which accompanies it.
BolivarThe basic monetary unit of Venezuela, equal to 100 centimos.
BonanzaIn mining, a rich mine or vein of silver or gold; hence, anything which is a mine of wealth or yields a large income.
BongoEach of a joined pair of small deep-bodied drums, typically held between the knees and played with the fingers.
BuffaloA species of the genus Bos or Bubalus (B. Bubalus), originally from India, but now found in most of the warmer countries of the eastern continent. It is larger and less docile than the common ox, and is fond of marshy places and rivers. – A very large and savage species of the same genus (B. Caffer) found in South Africa; — called also Cape buffalo. – Any species of wild ox. – The bison of North America. – A buffalo robe. See Buffalo robe, below. – The buffalo fish. See Buffalo fish, below.
BurritoA Mexican dish consisting of a tortilla rolled round a savoury filling, typically of minced beef or beans
CaballeroA Spanish gentleman
CabanaA hut, cabin, or shelter at a beach or swimming pool.
CafeteriaA restaurant in which customers serve themselves from a counter and pay before eating.
CanastaA card game resembling rummy, using two packs. It is usually played by two pairs of partners, and the aim is to collect sets (or melds) of cards.
CastanetsTwo small, concave shells of ivory or hard wood, shaped like spoons, fastened to the thumb, and beaten together with the middle finger; — used by the Spaniards and Moors as an accompaniment to their dance and guitars.
CedillaA mark placed under the letter c [thus, c], to show that it is to be sounded like s, as in facade.
ChalupaA fried tortilla in the shape of a boat, with a spicy filling.
ChimichangaA tortilla wrapped round a filling, typically of meat, and deep-fried.
ChinchillaA small rodent (Chinchilla lanigera), of the size of a large squirrel, remarkable for its fine fur, which is very soft and of a pearly gray color. It is a native of Peru and Chili. – The fur of the chinchilla. – A heavy, long-napped, tufted woolen cloth.
CilantroCoriander used as a seasoning or garnish.
ComandanteAn officer who has the command of a place or of a body of troops
ConquistadorA conqueror, especially one of the Spanish conquerors of Mexico and Peru in the 16th century.
CordovanSame as Cordwain. In England the name is applied to leather made from horsehide.
DesperadoA reckless, furious man; a person urged by furious passions, and regardless of consequence; a wild ruffian.
DiabloSpanish word meaning
DuennaThe chief lady in waiting on the queen of Spain. – An elderly lady holding a station between a governess and companion, and appointed to have charge over the younger ladies in a Spanish or a Portuguese family. – Any old woman who is employed to guard a younger one; a governess.
EmbarcaderoA pier, wharf, or landing place, especially on a river or inland waterway.
EmbargoAn edict or order of the government prohibiting the departure of ships of commerce from some or all of the ports within its dominions; a prohibition to sail. – To lay an embargo on and thus detain; to prohibit from leaving port; — said of ships, also of commerce and goods.
EmpanadaA Spanish or Latin American pastry turnover filled with a variety of savoury ingredients and baked or fried.
EnchiladaA tortilla served with chilli sauce and a filling of meat or cheese.
FandangoA lively dance, in 3-8 or 6-8 time, much practiced in Spain and Spanish America. Also, the tune to which it is danced. – A ball or general dance, as in Mexico.
FiestaAn event marked by festivities or celebration.
FilibusterA lawless military adventurer, especially one in quest of plunder; a freebooter; — originally applied to buccaneers infesting the Spanish American coasts, but introduced into common English to designate the followers of Lopez in his expedition to Cuba in 1851, and those of Walker in his expedition to Nicaragua, in 1855. – To act as a filibuster, or military freebooter. – To delay legislation, by dilatory motions or other artifices.
FlamencoA style of Spanish music, played especially on the guitar and accompanied by singing and dancing.
FlotillaA little fleet, or a fleet of small vessels.
GazpachoA cold Spanish soup made from tomatoes, peppers, and other salad vegetables.
Gordita(in Mexican cooking) a thick pancake made from maize flour, typically split and filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables.
HaciendaA large estate where work of any kind is done, as agriculture, manufacturing, mining, or raising of animals; a cultivated farm, with a good house, in distinction from a farming establishment with rude huts for herdsmen, etc.; — a word used in Spanish-American regions.
JuncoAny bird of the genus Junco, which includes several species of North American finches; — called also snowbird, or blue snowbird.
JuntaA council; a convention; a tribunal; an assembly; esp., the grand council of state in Spain.
LangostaCheck langouste.
LariatA long, slender rope made of hemp or strips of hide, esp. One with a noose; — used as a lasso for catching cattle, horses, etc., and for picketing a horse so that he can graze without wandering. – To secure with a lariat fastened to a stake, as a horse or mule for grazing; also, to lasso or catch with a lariat.
MachismoStrong or aggressive masculine pride.
MantillaA lady’s light cloak of cape of silk, velvet, lace, or the like. – A kind of veil, covering the head and falling down upon the shoulders; — worn in Spain, Mexico, etc.
MariachiDenoting a type of traditional Mexican folk music, performed by a small group of strolling musicians.
MesaA high tableland; a plateau on a hill.
NovilleroAn aspiring bullfighter who has not yet attained the rank of matador.
OlioA dish of stewed meat of different kinds. – A mixture; a medley. – A collection of miscellaneous pieces.
OreganoAn aromatic Eurasian plant related to marjoram, with small purple flowers and leaves used as a culinary herb.
PeccadilloA slight trespass or offense; a petty crime or fault.
PicaresqueApplied to that class of literature in which the principal personage is the Spanish picaro, meaning a rascal, a knave, a rogue, an adventurer.
PochismoA term of U.S. origin borrowed into Mexican Spanish and used along the border between the U.S. and Mexico especially by U.S.-born Mexicans
PuebloA communistic building erected by certain Indian tribes of Arizona and New Mexico. It is often of large size and several stories high, and is usually built either of stone or adobe. The term is also applied to any Indian village in the same region.
PunctilioA nice point of exactness in conduct, ceremony, or proceeding; particularity or exactness in forms; as, the punctilios of a public ceremony.
QuesadillaA tortilla filled with cheese and heated.
RamadaAn arbor or porch.
RejoneadorThe mounted man who thrusts a rejon into the shoulder muscles of the bull in bullfighting.
RenegadeOne faithless to principle or party. – An apostate from Christianity or from any form of religious faith. – One who deserts from a military or naval post; a deserter. – A common vagabond; a worthless or wicked fellow.
SarsaparillaAny plant of several tropical American species of Smilax. – The bitter mucilaginous roots of such plants, used in medicine and in sirups for soda, etc.
SassafrasAn American tree of the Laurel family (Sassafras officinale); also, the bark of the roots, which has an aromatic smell and taste.
SierraA ridge of mountain and craggy rocks, with a serrated or irregular outline; as, the Sierra Nevada.
SombreroA kind of broad-brimmed hat, worn in Spain and in Spanish America.
TomatilloAn edible purple or yellow fruit which is chiefly used for sauces and preserves.
TornadoA violent whirling wind; specifically (Meteorol.), a tempest distinguished by a rapid whirling and slow progressive motion, usually accompaned with severe thunder, lightning, and torrents of rain, and commonly of short duration and small breadth; a small cyclone.
TortillaAn unleavened cake, as of maize flour, baked on a heated iron or stone.
VanillaA genus of climbing orchidaceous plants, natives of tropical America. – The long podlike capsules of Vanilla planifolia, and V. Claviculata, remarkable for their delicate and agreeable odor, for the volatile, odoriferous oil extracted from them; also, the flavoring extract made from the capsules, extensively used in confectionery, perfumery, etc.
VaqueroOne who has charge of cattle, horses, etc.; a herdsman.
VigilanteA member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority, typically because the legal agencies are thought to be inadequate.


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