Spanish (or Castilian, castellano) is a language which developed from a relatively early form of Latin (earlier than the varieties which developed into Catalan, Italian or French), with a Celtic substratum and Germanic and Arabic superstrata as a result of the subsequent invasions by the Visigoths and Arabs respectively. The many varieties of Spanish spoken in the Americas also show influences from native American languages and in some places (particularly Colombia and Argentina) from Italian as a result of substantial Italian emigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The result of centuries of Spanish colonialism is that it is one of the world's most widely used languages, with around 350 million native speakers, in the same ball park as English and Hindi and only significantly surpassed by Mandarin. It is an official language in 21 countries and widely spoken in as many more, and is a working language of the United Nations. The Real Academia Española, a Spanish body with international connections, has some notional authority over the language, but its real influence is limited.

Span"ish (?), a.

Of or pertaining to Spain or the Spaniards.

Spanish bayonet Bot., a liliaceous plant (Yucca alorifolia) with rigid spine-tipped leaves. The name is also applied to other similar plants of the Southwestern United States and mexico. Called also Spanish daggers. -- Spanish bean Bot. See the Note under Bean. -- Spanish black, a black pigment obtained by charring cork. Ure. -- Spanish broom Bot., a leguminous shrub (Spartium junceum) having many green flexible rushlike twigs. -- Spanish brown, a species of earth used in painting, having a dark reddish brown color, due to the presence of sesquioxide of iron. -- Spanish buckeye Bot., a small tree (Ungnadia speciosa) of Texas, New Mexico, etc., related to the buckeye, but having pinnate leaves and a three-seeded fruit. -- Spanish burton Naut., a purchase composed of two single blocks. A double Spanish burton has one double and two single blocks. Luce (Textbook of Seamanship). -- Spanish chalk Min., a kind of steatite; -- so called because obtained from Aragon in Spain. -- Spanish cress Bot., a cruciferous plant (lepidium Cadamines), a species of peppergrass. -- Spanish curiew Zool., the long-billed curlew. [U.S.] -- Spanish daggers Bot. See Spanish bayonet. -- Spanish elm Bot., a large West Indian tree (Cordia Gerascanthus) furnishing hard and useful timber. -- Spanish feretto, a rich reddish brown pigment obtained by calcining copper and sulphur together in closed crucibles. -- Spanish flag Zool., the California rockfish (Sebastichthys rubrivinctus). It is conspicuously colored with bands of red and white. -- Spanish fly Zool., a brilliant green beetle, common in the south of Europe, used for raising blisters. See Blister beetle under Blister, and Cantharis. -- Spanish fox Naut., a yarn twisted against its lay. -- Spanish grass. Bot. See Esparto. -- Spanish juice Bot., licorice. -- Spanish leather. See Cordwain. -- Spanish mackerel. Zool. (a) A species of mackerel (Scomber colias) found both in Europe and America. In America called chub mackerel, big-eyed mackerel, and bull mackerel. (b) In the United States, a handsome mackerel having bright yellow round spots (Scomberomorus maculatus), highly esteemed as a food fish. The name is sometimes erroneously applied to other species. See Illust. under Mackerel. -- Spanish main, the name formerly given to the southern portion of the Caribbean Sea, together with the contiguous coast, embracing the route traversed by Spanish treasure ships from the New to the Old World. -- Spanish moss. Bot. See Tillandsia. -- Spanish needles Bot., a composite weed (Bidens bipinnata) having achenia armed with needlelike awns. -- Spanish nut Bot., a bulbous plant (Iris Sisyrinchium) of the south of Europe. -- Spanish potato Bot., the sweet potato. See under Potato. -- Spanish red, an ocherous red pigment resembling Venetian red, but slightly yellower and warmer. Fairholt. -- Spanish reef Naut., a knot tied in the head of a jib-headed sail. -- Spanish sheep Zool., a merino. -- Spanish white, an impalpable powder prepared from chalk by pulverizing and repeated washings, -- used as a white pigment. -- Spanish windlass Naut., a wooden roller, with a rope wound about it, into which a marline spike is thrust to serve as a lever.


© Webster 1913.

Span"ish, n.

The language of Spain.


© Webster 1913.

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