Featured Words – November 2018

November 26, 2018 MESTIZO

A person of mixed ancestry, especially one of Spanish and indigenous to the Americas heritage.  The word is also used in English, and comes from Late Latin mixticius – mixed.


Mestizaje is the process of racial and cultural inter-mixing, which gives place to mestizos.
El mestizaje es el proceso de la mezcla racial y cultural que trae consigo a los mestizos.


“ ’was a break with the past to recover the past. We were trying to deny we had an Indian and a black and a Spanish past. The Mexican Revolution accepted all heritages. It allowed Mexico to be mestizo.” ―Carlos Fuentes

“Fue una rotura con el pasado para recobrar el pasado. Estuvimos tratando de negar que temenos un pasado indígena, negro y español. La Revolución Mexicana aceptó todos los orígenes. Permitió a México el ser mestizo.” – Carlos Fuentes

November 12, 2018 GUAJOLOTE

The large domestic bird Melagris gallopavo is known in Mexico either as pavo (standard Spanish, from the Latin pavus – peacock), or colloquially as guajolote, from the Nahuatl word huexolotl (hue – old or large, and xolotl – monster).  It is known in English as turkey, and it is interesting to note that it was given this name because these birds were initially confused with Guinea fowl brought to Europe by Turkish merchants.  Similarly, the French name, dinde, comes from the erroneous assumption that these birds were coming from India (poule d’Inde).


Guajolote en mole es un guiso mexicano de piezas de pavo en una salsa tradicional de chiles, especias, semillas, frutas y, en el caso del estado de Puebla, también incluye chocolate.

Guajolote en mole is a Mexican dish of turkey pieces in a traditional sauce made with hot peppers, spices, seeds, fruit and, in the case of the state of Puebla, it also includes chocolate.


“One of the best birds I’ve ever had is called a ‘Turducken.’ A chicken inside a duck inside a turkey. That’s one that I love. I’ve done it a couple of times.” – Guy Fieri

“Uno de las mejores aves que he comido se llama ‘Turducken.’ Un pollo dentro de un pato dentro de un pavo. Esa es una que amo. La he hecho un par de veces.” – Guy Fieri

November 8, 2018 SOUP

I had featured this word before, but it fits today’s post perfectly. It is a simple word; both the English word soup, and the Spanish word sopa, come from Late Latin suppa – “sopped bread”, suggesting that it was a liquid food in which bread could be dipped or soaked.

“Esta sopa se prepara con algún líquido, ya sea agua o caldo”
“This soup is prepared with some liquid, either water or broth”

“I live on good soup, not on fine words” – Molière
“Me sustento con buena sopa, no con finas palabras” – Molière

November 1, 2018 PICAR

This verb has many uses, and its translation into English would depend on the context; the following are some examples:

To chop into small pieces; chopped onions – cebolla picada
To poke; “I poked an eye with a pencil, ouch!” – “me piqué un ojo con un lápiz, ¡ay!”
To sting; bees sting when threatened – las abejas pican cuando son amenazadas
To corrode; pipes might get corroded from exposure to the elements – las tuberías se pueden picar por exposición a los elementos
To chip, to break; herramientas para picar cantera – tools to chip quarry
To provoke, to annoy to get a reaction; el boxeador está picando a su rival – the boxer is provoking his rival
To eat like a bird, literal or figurative; ella nada más pica su comida, como palomas picando migajas – she just picks at her food, like pigeons pecking crumbs.
To itch, to tickle; ese suéter me pica – that sweater makes me itchy
To perforate; my blanket got all perforated by moths – mi cobija quedó toda picada por las polillas; also used in this context would be papel picado, the Mexican handcraft of tissue paper with cut-out designs.
To eat something light or snack; let’s grab a quick bite – vamos a picar algo
To be spicy hot; esos chiles pican – those peppers are spicy hot
To get into, to be obsessed (colloquial in Mexico); “Si me pico con una buena novela, no puedo parar de leer” – “If I get into a good novel, I cannot stop reading”
To get crossed (colloquial in Spain); they got crossed over a soccer game – se picaron por un partido de futbol