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Common English Words You Might Not Know Were Native American

Sure, you know Tobacco entered the English language from the indigenous peoples of the Americas, via the Spanish. But there are dozens of other words that we use every day that you may not realize are rooted in North, Central, and South America.

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  • 1. Avocado

    Root language: Nahuatl
    Region: Mexico
    From the word huacatl meaning "testicle."
    via

  • 2. Barbecue

    Root language: Arawakan
    Region: South America
    From the word barbakoa meaning "framework of sticks."
    via

  • 3. Bayou

    Root language: Choctaw
    From the word bayuk meaning "creek, river."
    via

  • 4. Cannibal

    Root language: Cariban
    From the word "karípona" meaning "person." Early Spanish explorers believed that the Caribs ate people.

  • 5. Canoe

    Root language: Arawakan Taino
    From the word "canoa." via

  • 6. Caribou

    Root language: Algonquin
    From the word qalipu meaning "snow shoveler."
    Via

  • 7. Cashew

    Root language: Tupi Guaraní
    From the word acaîu
    via

  • 8. Cayenne

    Root language: Tupi Guaraní
    From the word: kyinha
    via

  • 9. Chili

    Root language: Nahuatl
    From the word ch+lli
    via

  • 10. Chipmunk

    Root language: Algonquin
    Originally "chitmunk," from the Odawa word jidmoonh meaning "red squirrel."
    via

  • 11. Chocolate

    Root language: Nahuatl
    Comes from the words xococ -"bitter", and tl - "water."
    In its traditional form, chocolate was primarily served as an unsweetened drink.
    via

  • 12. Cocoa

    Root language: Nahuatl
    From the word cacahuatl.
    via

  • 13. Condor

    Root language: Quechua
    From the word kuntur
    via

  • 14. Cougar

    Root language: Tupi Guaraní
    A corruption of guaçu ara.
    Via

  • 15. Coyote

    Root language: Nahuatl
    From the word coyMtl
    Via

  • 16. Guacamole

    Root language: Nahuatl
    From huacamMlli meaning "avocado sauce."
    Via

  • 17. Hammock

    Root language: Arawakan
    From Taino via Spanish hamaca.
    Via

  • 18. Hickory

    Root language: Algonquin-Powhatan
    From pocohiquara meaning "milky drink made with hickory nuts." Today hickory can refer to the tree, the finished wood, the nuts, or even the flavor.

  • 19. Hooch

    Root language: Tlingit
    A shortened form of Hoochinoo, from the word xutsnuuwú, originally the name of a village meaning "brown bear fort.

  • 20. Hurricane

    Root language: Arawakan - Taino
    From the word hurakán.
    Via

  • 21. Husky

    Root language: Algonquin
    A variant of the word Eskimo from the Innu language word aiachkimeou.
    Via

  • 22. Iguana

    Root language: Arawakan
    From the word iwana
    Via

  • 23. Jaguar

    Root language: Tupi Guaraní
    From the word jaÈwar
    Via

  • 24. Jerky

    Root language: Quechua
    From the word ch'arki
    Via

  • 25. Kayak

    Root languages: Eskimo-Aleut
    From the word qajaq.
    Via

  • 26. Llama

    Root language: Quechua
    Via

  • 27. Manatee

    Root language: Cariban
    From a word meaning "woman's breast."

  • 28. Moose

    Root language: Algonquin
    From Eastern Abenaki moz
    via

  • 29. Ocelot

    Root language: Nahuatl
    From a href= oclMtl.

  • 30. Opossum

    Root language: Algonquin
    From the Powhatan word aposoum meaning, "white dog-like animal."

  • 31. Pecan

    Root language: Algonquin
    From the Illinois word pakani.
    Via

  • 32. Petunia

    Root language: Tupi Guaraní
    From the word petun meaning "smoke."
    Via

  • 33. Potato

    Root language: Arawakan
    Via the Haitian Carib word batata.
    Via

  • 34. Puma

    Root language: Quechua
    Via

  • 35. Raccoon

    Root language: Algonquin
    From the word arahkun.
    Via

  • 36. Skunk

    Root language: Algonquin
    From the Massachusett word squnck meaning "urine fox."
    Via

  • 37. Squash

    Root language: Algonquin
    From the Narragansett word askútasquash.
    Via

  • 38. Tapioca

    Root language: Tupi Guaraní
    From a word meaning "juice squeezed out" the word is now applied to the root starch and the pudding made from it.
    Via

  • 39. Toboggan

    Root language: Algonquin
    From Míkmaq word topaaqan meaning "to drag with a cord." Today the word primarily refers to the sled throughout most of the United States. However, in some southern states where it doesn't snow enough for sledding, the word has become a regional slang for the type of hat one would wear in cold weather, such as a knit stocking cap.  Via

  • 40. Toucan

    Root language: TupiGuaraní
    Via

  • 41. Tomato

    Root language: Nahuatl
    From the word tomatl.
    Via

  • 42. Woodchuck

    Root language: Algonquin
    A corruption of the word ockqutchaun.
    Via