Words from New World Languages

Study Words

  1. condor
  2. iguana
  3. hurricane [1]
  4. kahuna
  5. hogan
  6. jerky
  7. muskrat
  8. hominy
  9. wigwam
  10. pampas
  11. caribou [2]
  12. toboggan
  13. persimmon
  14. quinine
  15. powwow
  16. bayou
  17. coyote [3]
  18. tamale
  19. poi
  20. cashew
  21. luau
  22. totem
  23. mahimahi
  24. hickory
  25. cacao
  26. kona
  27. malihini
  28. wikiwiki
  29. Tuckahoe
  30. pecan
  31. chipotle
  32. skunk
  33. woodchuck [4]
  34. chocolate
  35. muumuu
  36. puma
  37. tomato
  38. maraca
  39. petunia
  40. jaguar
  41. buccaneer
  42. llama
  43. succotash
  44. caucus
  45. wampum
  46. mole
  47. toucan

Challenge Words

  1. opossum
  2. terrapin
  3. ocelot
  4. hoomalimali
  5. coati
  6. jacamar
  7. ipecac
  8. menhaden
  9. sachem

Spelling Tips

  1. 1 Remember that words settling down in English are often spelled according to English word patterns. If you're completely unsure of how to spell a word from a New World language, you can try just "sounding it out." This strategy would work for hurricane, muskrat, wigwam, and several other words on the list.
  2. 2 Take note of the language(s) a word may have traveled through on its way to English, for the path to English often gives a clue about spelling. For example, if it had been up to an English speaker, the \\ sound at the end of caribou would probably have been spelled oo; but the influence of French gives us the current spelling because French usually spells this sound ou.
  3. 3 Coyote shows evidence of having passed through Spanish on its way to English: The voiced final e is often seen in Spanish words. Two other examples on this list are tamale and mole.
  4. 4 Remember what folk etymology is? Words that entered English from New World languages were prime candidates for this process. If parts of a native word sounded familiar, they were often spelled by the settlers in a familiar way, as in woodchuck. Muskrat is also probably a result of folk etymology.