Kevin Winker ffksw at UAF.EDU
Tue Jan 6 10:35:00 CST 2004

Thanks all for the responses. 'Chilpoctli' sure looks like the Nahuatl source.

It is easy for me to accept older word changes (e.g., la reata, lariat;
cocodrilo, crocodile), but it's harder I guess to live through those changes.
I'd wondered before about Dick's suggestion that perhaps the first 'l' had
been added by the Spanish locally in Veracruz, but that didn't make sense
given that I learned about 'chilpotles' from the Native Americans growing
them, and 'chile' came from Nahuatl in the first place. And there are such
uncorrupted words as chilmole (a Yucatecan mole that ranks with chilpotle as a
culinary pinnacle). Someday when chilmole becomes widely appreciated perhaps
it, too, will lose its first 'l'.

Heike, that is a great online dictionary! I had searched on this subject
before without hitting this excellent source. Lest I take this too far from
taxonomy, anyone wondering about obscure common names and their origins in
Mexico (and even probably some Latin species and subspecies name sources)
would do well to check here. (And there are many colloquialisms, slang terms,
and groserias as well!).

> The "Diccionario breve de mexicanismos" (a very nice online site at

Kevin Winker
University of Alaska Museum
907 Yukon Drive
Fairbanks, Alaska 99775
ffksw at

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