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Spanish Matters - a blog in English and Spanish for those learning the language

This blog is entitled "Spanish Matters", because it does! Matter, that is. If you have committed to living in Spain, you should also make a commitment to learn some Spanish. So this is a blog about matters Spanish, as well as promoting the notion that Spanish does indeed matter. The blog contains articles in both English and Spanish. Don Pablo hopes it will be helpful to those learning the language.

Spanish into English, Part Five – from sarsaparilla to zapateado
Saturday, February 19, 2022 @ 8:34 AM

Over the last five centuries hundreds of Spanish words have entered the English language. Here is Part Five, the final part of my selection of the more common ones.


Part Five – from sarsaparilla to zapateado

Lots of words for drinks or to do with drinks have entered English from Spanish. For example, sarsaparilla (a soft drink), sherry (a corruption of jerez, the Spanish name of the fortified wine made in and around the city of Jerez), and solera, which is the system used to maintain consistency and quality in wine, including sherry.

Apart from its original meaning of sun and shade, referring to seating at the bullfight, sol y sombra is also a style of coffee. Tequila, originally from Mexico, is a drink I can’t imagine anyone liking! You’d certainly need a siesta afterwards! Finally, we have yerba mate, an infusion of leaves.

Food items include salsa (sauce or gravy, but also a dance!), taco, a crispy wrap, tomato (from tomate), tortilla (an omelette in Spain, but a soft wrap in South America and a prostitute in some Spanish American countries!), tuna (from atún) and the flavouring vanilla (from vainilla).

Two other dances are the tango and the zapateado (a flamenco tap dance).

A vigilante in the USA wearing his ten-gallon hat (from Spanish tan galán meaning "so gallant (looking)" might say to his men “Vamoose”, a corruption of Vamos (Let’s go).

Geographical terms include sierra (mountain range), savannah (a mixed woodland-grassland ecosystem) and tornado.

Finally, we have savvy, from the Spanish verb saber, to know; sombrero; stampede, a corruption of estampida; supremo; torero and vertigo.

I hope you found this series of five articles interesting. Look out for the next series on English words entering Spanish.

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