The Uto-Aztecan languages are a collection of languages spoken in the western United States and Mexico. Nearly all English words of Uto-Aztecan roots come to us from the Aztecan Nahuatl language, spoken primarily in southern Mexico. The Nahuatl language has given us a number of words, the most familiar of those being, in my judgement, these:

Acapulco: meaning 'place of the large reeds'.

Atlatl: a device for throwing a spear.

Avocado: from the Nahuatl ahuakatl, meaning avocado. But yes, also meaning testicle. The more an etymological website makes of this homonym, the less you should trust them. We call them balls because we are bad at shapes, the Nahuas were just better at naming 3D solids than we are.

Axolotl: Often said to be literally 'servant of water', although it can be translated differently; it comes from atl, meaning 'water' and xolotl meaning 'slippery one', 'wrinkled one', 'servant', or 'slave'. 'Slippery water guy' would be another translation. Moreover, Xolotl was also a dog-headed psychopomp, so some give the translation of 'water dog', although 'water god of the dead' would also be apropos.

Aztec: from the Nahuatl meaning 'coming from Aztlan', Aztlan in turn meaning 'the white place' or 'the place of the heron'. We have no idea if Aztlan was a real place.

Cacao: from the Nahuatl cacaua, a root word used for building chocolate-related words.

Chili: from the Nahuatl chili, meaning 'chili pepper'.

Chipotle: from the Nahuatl chilpoctli, meaning 'smoked chili'.

Chocolate: from the Nahuatl chocola-tl or a closely related word (there were a lot of words refering to chocolate plants, q.v. Cacao). Chocola-tl specifically meant 'chocolate water'.

Cholo: probably from the Nahuatl xolotl, meaning dog. Warning, this is very rude if used to refer to a human, and it is usually used to refer to a human. Best avoided.

Coyote: from the Nahuatl coyotl.

Guacamole: from the Nahuatl ahuaca-molli, menaing 'avocado sauce'.

Jalapeno: from the Nahuatl Xalapan, meaning 'sand by the water'; this refers to the city of Jalapa in Veracruz, after which the pepper was named.

Mescal: from the Nahuatl mexcalli, literally meaning an agave stew, but specifically refering to a fermented drink made from the agave.

Mesquite: from the Nahuatl mizquitl.

Mexico: from the Nahuatl mexihco, originally refering to the Valley of Mexico (in what is now Mexico city). We don't know the origin of this word beyond that.

Ocelot: from the Nahuatl ocelotl, meaning 'jaguar'; in Nahuatl an ocelot would be tlalocelotl (lit. 'field jaguar'), but the French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon couldn't handle all those syllables. Apparently.

Peyote: from the Nahuatl peyotl, probably meaning 'caterpillar'.

Tamale: from the Nahuatl tamal.

Tomato: from the Nahuatl tomatl, meaning a tomato, but perhaps a descriptive term meaning 'the swollen fruit'.

There are some other Nahuatl words that you may recognize: Montezuma, Quetzalcoatl, Toltec, Olmec, nopal, quetzal, and chicle (root word tzictli), but those are less Englishy and/or less common. We should also give a dishonorable mention to the word 'shack'. No one knows where it comes from, but it might come from the Nahuatl xacalli, meaning a wooden hut.

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