The Lancer Fanfiction Archive

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Writing in the Western Genre



FGlossary of Common Spanish Words


abra – from abrir, (to open), a narrow pass between hills, a narrow valley.

acequia - irrigation ditch, canal; acequia madre meaning main irrigation - an irrigation canal.

acion - stirrup leather.

adios - goodbye. literal translation - "to God."

adobe - brick made of clay, water and available straw or grass baked in the sun used to construct all manner of buildings where wood was in short supply.

agarita - wild currant. Food and Drink

agregado - a farm hand.

agrito - term applied to a variety of thorn bushes from which can be made a delicious jelly.

aguardiente - term applied to a number of liquors such as brandy, whiskey, and "high octane" tequila derived from the Mexican cactus plan called maguey. Food and Drink

alameda - from alamo - cottonwood tree, grove of trees sometimes along an avenue.

alamo - cottonwood tree,. A word from which many names are derived, e.g., Alamogordo, (big tree), Alamosa, (tree'd), Los Alamos, (the cottonwood trees), and the Alamo, (the cottonwood tree), a Spanish mission fort in San Antonio, Texas.

albondigas - meatballs; served with spaghetti or as an appetizer. Food and Drink

alcalde – title applied to the town mayor, but sometimes the judge, or chief of police.

alfalfa - from Arabic al-fasfasah, good fodder.

alforja - saddlebag

algarroba - honey mesquite.

algodon - - cotton, sometimes referred to cottonwood tree.

alla - "over there, yonder."

alligator - from "el lagarto."

amansador - a horse tamer.

amigo - friend.

amole - from Nahuatl also ammole, amolli - a plant from which soap can be made, such as the yucca root.

Anglo - a person not of Spanish or Indian descent.

angoras - Chaps made from goat hide with wool left on the outside.

anquera - from Spanish and Mexican saddle style, the rear leather piece over the horses' rump which varies greatly in size and use

ante - from the Spanish word antes meaning before. To get in the poker game you had to "ante-up" before (antes) having cards or a hand dealt to you; also meaning pay up or to hand something over.

aparejo - Mexican pack saddle.

aperitivo – appetizer re Food and Drink

appola - the sticks on which small pieces of meat were roasted over an open fire, (Matthews, 1951). Food and Drink

arancel - aransel, - an import tax.

arciones - stirrup-leathers.

argolla del enteador - the ring of the saddle rigging straps.

armas - the predecessor of chaps, leather flaps attached to saddle to protect riders legs.

armitas half-chaps riding apron just below the tops of the old Spanish high boots fastened around the legs.

arriero - muleteer, a mule driver.

arroba - Spanish measurement of weight, about 10 kilos used to weigh Corriente or Long Horn cattle.

arroyo - a gully or wash where water runs only when raining; dry most of the year, and also used as trails or horseback roadways.

arroz – rice. Food and Drink

atole – 1. from Nahuatl for blue corn meal/porridge/gruel served as a beverage with sugar. Food and Drink
2. A family surname to a clan/member of the Jicarrilla Apache Indians, NM.

avocado - from Spanish "de aguacate." Food and Drink



baile - a dance

bajada - down slope of a hill.

bamoose - corrupted Spanish for "vamos," meaning, "let's go."

banco - a sandbank

band - a bunch of horses, wild or in remuda.

bandana - the neckerchief of a cowboy

bandera - flag

bandido - a bandit

barbacoa - barbecue, derived from barba (beard) of the kid goat and cueva (cave)- pit cooked kid goat Food and Drink

barboquejo - (stampede string), chin strap for hat strong enough for the wind, but not so strong so as to choke the wearer.

barranca - 1. a steep wide of a ravine or arroyo
2. a bluff.

barriguera - cinch

basto/baste - a pad or skirt of a saddle.

bayo - a bay horse dun or smokey color.

belduque - a large knife and blade.

biscochitos - Anise-flavored cookies, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Food and Drink

bisonte – bison

bodega - - grocery store/liquor store.

bolero - original Spanish style vaquero hat known today as the Santa Fe style.

bolo tie - from the Spanish bolas, boleadoras, two balled weights at the end of a forked rope, the gauchos,' (cowboys') equivalent of the lariat; a cord tie held together with a concha (shell, in modern times a silver concha) or a turquoise stone.

bonanza - prosperity or success.

bosque - a grove of trees or woodland

brasada - brush country

brida - bridle

briza – wind, breeze.

bronc - an unbroken horse or a cow horse.

bronc buster - breaker of wild horses.

brujo - a wizard

bufalo - American bison, buffalo.

buñelo - fry bread, also sopapilla served with icing or dipped in cinnamon and sugar. Food and Drink

burrito - flour tortilla filled with beans, meat, cheese, or potatoes, served with a chilli/salsa garnished with lettuce, tomato, and onion. Food and Drink

burro - donkey

buscadero - someone who seeks, usually applied to lawmen.




caballada - a band of saddle horses. Also remuda, cavallard, cavy (or cavvy).

caberos - from cabestro or halter.

cabestro - original horse hair halter.

cabeza del fuste - the head of the saddle tree.

cabrie - pronghorn antelope.

cabrón - a male goat. As ¡Cabrón! = bastard!

cacao – cocoa .

cacique - a village leader usually applied to Indian Pueblo clan heads.

cafeteria – eating place.

calabaza - pumpkin, squash, related vegetables. Hence calabash Food and Drink

calabozo - jail. Hence calaboze.

calaveras - skulls or skull location

calzoneras - pants split on the outside of the leg showing white under leggings.

cama - bed, or bed roll

camino real - the original public roadway established by the Spanish Crown, literally meaning, the royal road. Crimes committed on the Royal roads were punished more severely.

campana - pommel

canada - a valley or canyon

canelo - from "canela," meaning cinnamon color in horses.

cañon - canyon

cantina - canteen, or a saloon or embibing waterhole.

cantle - the rear back bracing part of a saddle.

capirotada - sweet bread pudding with cinnamon, raisins, nuts, and cheese. Food and Drink

capon - a gelded horse

caponera - a group of gelded horses

caporal . - boss or foreman, ranch manager.

carajo! - an expletive meaning darn, shucks and the like.

carina - sweetheart, honey

carne – meat Food and Drink

carne asada - Mexican brazier-cooked meat. Food and Drink

carne molida - ground beef. Food and Drink

carrera del gallo - rooster race

carreta - the original wagon with two wheels drawn by oxen, camp cart.

cartucho - a bullet cartridge.

casa - house

cascabel - a rattle, a rattlesnake, a jingle-bob.

cattalo - cross between domestic cattle and buffalo.

cavallero - a Spanish gentleman, noble equestrian (knight), upper-class cowboy.

cavallo - a horse.

caverango - original Spanish word for wrangler. Caverango became corrupted 'wrango' which in English eventually became 'wrangler'. A caverango (wrangler) is generally a young inexperienced hand who tended horses, (remudero), on a cattle drive.

cavraces - (caberos), a hair rope.

cayuse - an Indian pony.

cenizo - ash colored.

cerro - a hill.

chalupa - boat-shaped fried corn tortilla filled with beans, cheese, & lettuce. Food and Drink

chamisa - rabbitbrush, a silver-blue, narrow-leaved, deciduous shrub, 3-5 ft. tall & wide with pungent, yellow flowers in fall.

chamisal - thicket of chamisa

chaparral - thick bramble bushes entangled with thorny shrubs in clumps, small scrub oaks, a small thicket of scrub oak.

chaparreras, chaparajos, chaparejos - leather leggings to protect horsemen frombrush and cacti. Corrupted to 'chaps' in English.

chaparro - evergreen oak tree or a small boy

chapenton/concha - metal rosette used to secure saddle leather together.

chaqueta - the original word for jacket.

charqui – corrupted to 'jerky' in English .

charro - a gentleman equestrian

Chicano - from Mexican word originally spelled Mechicano used to refer to a wider spectrum of Southwest people of Hispanic origin.

chicharrones - cracklings made from pork fat with some meat attached. Food and Drink

chicos - dried sweet corn kernels that are fire roasted.Food and Drink

chile caribe - red chile pods ground and blended with water. Food and Drink

chile on queso - chile with cheese; served as a dip with tostados. Food and Drink

chile pequin - thin hot red chiles Food and Drink

chile relleno - stuffed chilli, green chile stuffed with cheese, dropped in egg batter, and fried. Food and Drink

chile, chili - hot spicy peppers integral to the cuisine of the vaquero; chile Colorado – red chile, chile verde – green chile. Food and Drink

chimichanga - fried burrito stopped with salsa and or sour cream. Food and Drink

chince - bed bug – hence chinch bug.

chorizo - highly seasoned Mexican pork sausage. Food and Drink

chuleta - pork chop with red chile sauce. Food and Drink

churro - the hardy breed of sheep introduced by the Spanish and responsible for changing the way of live of Navajos from wild nomadic to sheepherders.

cibolo - a buffalo .

cienaga - a swampy marsh.

cigarito - a cigarette

cincha - the saddle girth or cinch

cocinero - a cook (cowboy slang coosie ) '

coleador - a horseman who throws a bull by twisting its tail

colear - from Spanish infinitive, "cola" meaning tail, colear meant to throw an animal by the tail.

colear - to throw a running bull by twisting its tail

Comanceros - mestizos who lived wild and as go betweens for Comanche Indians and Anglos.

comarron - wild.

comino – cumin (spice)

compadre - a godfather, also used as a reference to anyone considered a partner.

companero - buddy/companion.

concha(o) - 1. Shell
2. a silver ornament used to decorate all manner of leather gear.

condor – the term for two species of vulture

conquistador - 15th century soldier who conquered lands for Spain.

contraenreatado - latigo

corcho - cork

corn tortilla - flat bread cooked on a griddle made from yellow or blue corn. Food and Drink

corona – 1. Crown
2. a type of blanket.

corral - a livestock pen.

corrida - from the Spanish infinitive correr, to run - a hunt, chase or bullfight.

corrido - Mexican folksong

cougar - from gatomonte (mountain lion) to cata mount - to cougar.

coyote - from the Nahualtl coyotl - a prairie wolf.

cristianos - Catholics, civilized people of European decent.

cuarta - quirt, a horse whip.

cucaracha - cockroach .

cuidado - Look out!

cuna - leather cradle used for carrying wood on a wagon.




desjarretadera - a hocking knife with curved steel blade attached to the end of a 12' pole used to hamstring cattle's hind leg before killing the animal for butchering.

dicho - a saying or proverb.

dinero - money

dogal - doggie, a motherless calf, (also a nose halter).

duena - chaperone, usually an older and fierce woman.

dueno - owner.




enchilada - covered in chile , Mexican dish. Corn tortillas servied rolled or flat filled with ground beef and or cheese, onions, and covered with chile and a variety of toppings. Food and Drink

encino - oak.

encomendero - holder of an encomienda, a royal land grant including everything on the land.

enveatados - rigging straps

espuelas - spurs.

estampida - stampede , the mass bolting of a herd of animals.

estradiota - old Spanish war saddle.

estribo - stirrup iron.

estufa - stove.




faja - a sash worn around the waist.

fandango - a lively dance.

fiador – 'guarantor', in Mexico and SW the bridle strap, sometimes corrupted into English to "theodore."

flan - a baked custard with caramel sauce. Food and Drink

flauta – 1. Flute
2. fried version of a taco, rolled thin, dipped in sour cream or guacamole.Food and Drink

flour tortilla - flat bread cooked on a griddle made with flour. Food and Drink

fracaso – noisy disturbance, quarrel; hence fracas (pronounced "fray-cuss")

freno - a horse's bit.

frijoles – beans Food and Drink

fuste - the pommel part of a saddle tree.




gamuza - soft buckskin leather used for making moccasins.

garrocha - long pole used to prod cattle

gato monte mountain cat, cougar

gorditas - masa stuffed with seasoned meat and fried. Food and Drink

gringo - from griego meaning Greek but used to refer to all non-Indian strangers or newcomers, foreigners.

grulla - a crane, which is a dark gray color – hence becomes a term applied to horses of the same dark grey

guacamole - avocado dip Food and Drink

guajilla - Nahuatl for a small guard.

guia - a guide; vernacular - a pass/manifest for safe passage.



hacendado - the owner of a substantial hacienda or estate.

hacienda - a large ranch or estate.

harina – flour Food and Drink

hediondilla - a creosote bush.

herrar - to brand or mark with a hot iron.

hidalgo - a nobleman of Spanish descent.

hoja – 1. a leaf
2. a corn-chuck used as cigarette paper.

hombre - man.

hombre del campo - a rugged outdoorsman.

hondo – 1. the hole or slip ring end of the rope used to catch the animal.
2. meaning deep, used to refer to deep places like a deep arroyo.

horno - outdoor oven, made of adobe and beehive shaped. Introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors, adopted by the Spanish and brought to the new world.

huevos rancheros - ranch-style eggs, served with tortillas and salsa. Food and Drink

huraches – sandals




jacal - a primitive hut or shelter.

jaquima - a headstall, bridle. Corrupted into the English 'hackamore'.

jineta - leather saddle style suited to speed and maneuverability introduced to Spain by Moors and brought to Americas by Spanish colonists.

jinete - an excellent horseman, originally from the Moorish jineta saddle riders who introduced la jineta to the Spanish in the 15th century.

jornado - a journey.

juzgado - court which sentenced one to jail. Hence 'hoosegow' for jail or prison





ladino - a wild Corriente (Longhorn).

ladron - a thief

latigo - a strap that attaches saddle rigging to the cinch.

lazo - a rope – hence lasso

leche – milk Food and Drink

lepero - a gross or vulgar person.

llano - the flats or prairie lands.

lobo - a wolf.

loco - crazy, insane.

loco weed - astragalus, a plant with purple or white flowers when eaten drives animals crazy.

loma - a hill.




machete - a long chopping knife. Derives from diminutive of Spanish 'macho' - ax club, mace.

macho - literally means a male as opposed to female, "la hembra."

mal pais - bad country, badlands.

maleta - saddle bag

manada - bunch of mare horses with a stallion.

manana - tomorrow, later.

manga - a poncho cloak; modern Spanish a shirt sleeve.

mangana - forefooting - roping an animal by its front feet.

mano - a human hand, also short for brother hermano - her-mano.

mantilla - a scarf or head-shawl worn by women.

manzana - apple or horn of a saddle.

marihuana - marijuana

marrano - pig, During the time when Spain was under Moorish rule, between 711A.D. and 1492, the word for pig more with greater frequency came to be known as “ Marrano ,” the etymology of which evolved from an Arabic root meaning “prohibited thing,” or “outsider.”

mas alla - further over there.

masa - dough made of dried ground corn and lime water. Food and Drink

masa harina - dough made of a dried mix to which water is added. Food and Drink

matanza - the slaughtering of livestock, a killing of an animal.

mayordomo - a ranch foreman.

mecate - a hair rope.

mechero - a fire making tool. Also machero

menudo - in New Mexico, pork skins used in posole, each pueblo (town) has its own specialty – generally a mixture of tripe, stew meat, chile, and local ingredients. Food and Drink

mesa - a plateau of land, literally a table top.

mescal - word used to refer to liquor obtained from the form the maguey/agave plant. Food and Drink

mesquital - a thicket of mesquite

mesquite - a small tree or large bush which grows in southern New Mexico to California.

Mesta - a stockmen's association first organized by the Spanish in Mexico, (New Spain), June 16, 1529.

mesteno - a mustang; from "Mesta."

mestizo - someone of Spanish and Indian ancestry.

metate - a hollowed stone (morter) used to grind corn, grain, and nuts used with a mano (pestle)

Mexican standoff - a no-win conflict circumstance where neither side will back down; taken from the time of the Mexican Comancheros who were extremely fierce, wild rugged, and would not back down from a fight no matter the odds.

miel - honey Food and Drink

mochila - a loose leather covering for original saddles when saddle trees were covered only with rawhide.

mollete - anise bread Food and Drink

morral - a feed bag.

mosquito - diminutive for Spanish word mosca (fly), "de mosquito."

muchacho - boy.

mujer - a woman or wife.

mulada - a herd of mules.

mulero - a muleteer - one who tends pack animals.




nachos - tostados topped with cheese and green chile baked, served as an appetizer Food and Drink

naja - a small decoration hanging from the headband of a bridle onto the horses face.

natilla - pudding sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg. Food and Drink

nuece - pecan nut Food and Drink




ocotillo - a stick like cactus.

ojo - meaning eye; in the west used to refer to a spring of water.

orejanos - wild cattle, slick eared or unbranded.




pa hablar - to talk or discuss. Hence 'palaver'

padre - father or Catholic priest

paloma - dove, paloma blanca (white dove).

palomino - palomill or cream colored horse with white tail.

panocha - unrefined brown sugar, candy. Food and Drink

pansaje - a social meal in the open air. Not quite a picnic, more a barbeque including groaning tables and animals roasted whole; like a "matanza" in New Mexico. Food and Drink

parade - from parda, a main herd of cattle on a drive.

partida - a subsection or band of men or animals.

pasear - to walk or stroll.

paseo - a walk or ride.

paso - a walk, step, pass-safe passage.

paso de la muerte - to ride bareback on a wild horse or bull

pastelitos - little pies that are served in square portions Food and Drink

pastor - a sheepherder.

patata - potato Food and Drink

patio - courtyard.

patron - the boss or owner.

pedregal - a stony place.

pelado - peeling off, hairless, stripped of possessions.

peon - peasant.

pequeno nin - little child, hence picaninny

perilla - a pear shaped saddle horn.

periqito - parakeet

pial - a rope thrown underhanded right back of the front legs under the belly of the running quarry, the loop opening ups so that the hind legs stepped into it

piale - underhand rope throw that catches the animals hind legs.

piloncilla - brown sugar cone - candy. Food and Drink

pinole - corn flour mixed with sweetened flour from mesquite bean.Food and Drink

pinon - a dwarf pine nut tree. Roasted, the nuts are delicious. Food and Drink

pita - fiber obtained from plants to make ropes, bags, and baskets.

plaza – town square .

poco - little.

poco pronto - Right now!

pollo – chicken Food and Drink

poncho - a blanket with a hole in the middle used to keep warm.

poncho - de poncho.

posole - traditional New Mexican stew made with hominy-corn kernels, pork loin, garlic, oregano, onion salt red chile treated with lime. Food and Drink

potro - a colt or untamed horse.

presidio - a Spanish fort

pretal - breast band.

pronto - right away, now!

pueblo - a village or town, in New Mexico, Pueblo refers to anyone of the Pueblo Indian tribes.

pulqueria - a liquor store.




quelitas - spinach mixed with pinto beans, bacon, crushed red chile pods. Food and Drink

querencia - to love, as in loving the land whence you came.

querida – sweetheart, darling

queso – cheese Food and Drink

quien sabe - who knows?

quirt - from cuerda cord, horsewhip.



ramada - a shelter constructed from brush.

rancheria - a camp settlement.

ranchero - a rancher.

rancho - the land upon which stock was raised

rayar - a horse stepping contest

reata - rawhide rope, anglicized "la reata" to "lariat."

rebozo - a head and shoulder shawl worn by women.

refrito - literally – refried; refried beans that are cooked, mashed and refried. Food and Drink

remuda - saddle horses or a ranch or cattle drive.

remudero - a wrangler, young man, or boy who cared for the horse herd.

ristra - a string of chiles. Food and Drink

rodaja - a pointed rowel star at the end of the spur which rolls as the rider's boot heel rakes the horse.

rodeo - from Spanish word, "rodear," to encircle the herd; later meaning a cowboy skill contest.

rosaderos - saddle fenders.



salea - a soft sheepskin placed between a horses back and saddle blanket, (P. Watts).

salsa - de salsa, chile sauce made with fresh chile, tomatoes and onions. Food and Drink

salsa pequin - very hot salsa made with chile pequin sometimes labeld taco sauce. Food and Drink

salsa rancherita - thick sause (salsa chile) made with onions, green chile, tomatoes, and seasonings. Food and Drink

sandia – watermelon Food and Drink

santo - a saint or image of same.

sarape - a heavy shawl or small blanket sometimes with fringes at ends.

sasafras - - medicinal herb (English sassafras) used in soap or tea.

save - to know, infinitive form "saber." Hence savvy.

sendero - a clearing for walking

senor - Sir or mister.

sierra - a mountain range or serrated/jagged mountain top.

siesta - nap taken early to mid day, by those whose day begins at dawn.

silla - saddle.

sombrero - a wide-brimmed Mexican hat, from sombra. (shadow)

sopa - sweet bread pudding with raisons, cinnamon, nuts, and cheese.Food and Drink

sopaipilla (so-pie-pia) - fried bread made with yeast or baking powder. Food and Drink

sortija - a ring race



tabaco - tobacco

tabasco - liquor or sauce which is named after the Mexacan state of Tabasco. Food and Drink

tablas del fuste - saddle tree slats

taco - a Mexican dish made with corn tortillas filled with minced meat or beans, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and topped with hot chili sauce. Food and Drink

talache - a hand hoe)

tamale - a Mexican dish consisting of minced pork meat chili, corn masa wrapped in corn husks steamed and/or baked. Food and Drink

tapaderos - leather covering over the stirrups to protect against brush.

tapajos - from tapa ojos - a blind for horses and mules.

tasajero - a building in which beef was smoked and dried

tasajo - jerky.Food and Drink

tegua - soft moccasin type leather.

teja - cantle.

Tejano - a Texan.

tequila - an alcoholic beverage made from the maguey cactus. Food and Drink

teshuino - teswin or Apache beer made from corn prior to arrival of Spanish. Food and Drink

tienda - store.

tomate - tomato Food and Drink

toro - a bull.

torta - stiffly beaten egg, fried and served with red chile. Food and Drink

tortilla - rolled flat bread made of wheat or corn flour cooked on a flat surface. Food and Drink

tostada - open faced taco or tortilla with melted cheese.Food and Drink

tostados - corn tortilla wedges fried crisp. Food and Drink

trigueno - the color brunet or brown applied to a horse.

tronada – tornado. The root-word of tronada is tornar - to twist or screw.

tule - depending on the region, a name applied to certain plants/trees found far out in the remote country, ergo, the saying, "out in the tulees!"





vaca - a cow.

vacada - a herd of cows.

vaciero - a man in charge of a number of sheepherders in a large outfit.

vainilla - vanilla. Food and Drink

vamos - let's go! Hence vamoose, and mosey.

vaquero - a cowboy- hence buckaroo.

vara - a measurement just under 3 feet.

vereda - a trail.

vigilante - meaning guardian of the law, righteous, vigilant.





xerga - a cloth placed between the salea and pack saddle.



yerba buena - term used to refer to plants and herbs which can be used medicinally, such as mint.

yucca - a family of cacti which have palm like branches with sharp points.



zapato - shoe.

zorillo – skunk. Hence 'zorillas' used to describe Longhorn cattle with skunk like markings.