150 Examples of Nahuatl Words and Their Meaning

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The Nahuatl is the language spoken by most people of central Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest. Even today more than a million Nahuas speak it. It was the language of the powerful Aztecs, whose culture dominated the region for centuries. Because Nahuatl was written using Spanish spelling beginning in the 16th century, it is easy to trace words created in subsequent centuries, words that describe New World plants, animals, and foods.

Most used Nahuatl words

1. Chocolate – cacahuatl

Cacao came from the Nahuatl word cacahuatl and was used by the conqueror Hernán Cortés, who introduced chocolate to Europe in 1519 after his visit to the court of the Aztec king Moctezuma II, where he was served a bitter cocoa drink. Cocoa initially referred to parts of the plant: the seed, the pod, the bean, and the tree itself. Nowadays it usually refers to the dried seeds of the cacao plant.


2. Coyote – coyōtl

Coyote originated from the Nahuatl word coyōtl in the mid-18th century. The canine animal is native to North America, and before that time, many Europeans simply called them wolves; he is sometimes described as a wild dog or called a prairie wolf. It is a distinct species and is smaller than a wolf, but they are so closely related to other canines that confusion sometimes occurs.


3. Avocado – āhuacatl

Avocado came from the Nahuatl word āhuacatl and was first used in the late 17th century. In turn, this fruit was known as the crocodile pear, due to its particular shape.


4. Tomato – Tomatl

People who love Italian food with red sauce will be surprised to learn that tomato is a New World fruit. And yes, it is a fruit. In fact, the definition of tomato lists the part we eat as a “berry,” which may come as a surprise. Tomato came from the Nahuatl word tomatl.


5. Chile – chīlli

The chili comes directly from the Nahuatl word chīlli, which means “hot pepper.” The word has common variants such as chilli and chile and entered from English to Spanish in the mid-17th century. The reason we call these fruits that are native to America “peppers” is that their spiciness resembled that of black pepper made from ground and dried peppercorns imported to Europe from India since Roman times. We can also associate chili peppers with Asian cuisine, but it was Portuguese traders who brought the plants east as part of the 16th century spice trade.


6. Ocelot – ōcēlōtl

An ocelot is a small jaguar native to America, which can be found from southern Texas to northern Argentina. Slightly larger than a house cat and about the size of a lynx, it has distinctive dots and stripes on its fur like those of a jaguar. Appropriately, its name comes from the Nahuatl word ōcēlōtl. In this case, the word went from Spanish to French before reaching English.


7. Axolotl – Axolotl

This salamander is distinguished by retaining external gills and a fin on its back until adulthood – traits that look more like an adult fish than an amphibian – and because it has small legs, it looks like a walking fish. Today it is an endangered species, but it was often consumed as a delicacy in Mexico since Aztec times.


8. Woman – Siwatl / Cihuatl

One of the most important words in the life of any Latina is “woman.” It’s great learning how to say this powerful and strong word in Nahuatl. The term is “siwatl”, also spelled as “cihuatl”, and is also used to describe a wife / girlfriend, woman, girl, and uterus. Now go and say “siwatl / cihuatl”, with pride!


9. Mother – Mantli

When learning words in another language, there are a number of them that you must learn first. The words that you use the most, that mean the most, and that represent important things in your life. In this case, the word “mother” in Nahuatl is “mantli.”


10. Friend – Ikniutli

You already know how to say “mama” in Nahuatl, but as TLC once said, “what about your friends?” Surprise your best friend by calling her “friend” in the Aztec / Nahua language: ikniutli.


Nouns in Nahuatl

11. Mezquite – Mizquitl

The word comes from the Nahuatl name mizquitl. They are small thorny trees or shrubs of the genus Prosopis that have flowers in axillary cylindrical spikes followed by large sugar-rich pods. The boardwalk at Anzalduas Park has become a hot spot for crossings and photo opportunities under palm trees and mesquite.


12. Tamale – Tamalli

The word comes from the Nahuatl name tamalli. It is a cornmeal and corn dough stuffed with a meat mixture, then wrapped in corn husks and steamed. For a truly local Mexican version, Donna’s Tamales makes vegetarian enchiladas, breakfast burritos, and tamales in flavors like smoked cheddar, black beans, and yams.


13. Mexico – Mexihco

Mexico comes from mexihco, the name of the Aztec capital. It is a republic located in the south of North America and its flag has green, white and red stripes.


14. Azteca – Aztecatl

The word Azteca comes from Aztecatl, which means “from Aztlán”, which was the place of origin of the legends. He was a member of the Nahuatl people who established an empire in Mexico, and was later overthrown by Cortés in 1519.


15. Quetzalcoatl – Quetzalli

It was an Aztec deity represented as a feathered serpent. Quetzalcoatl was described by Mexicans as tall, with a fair complexion, long dark hair, and a loose beard. The word comes from quetzalli, the name of a regional bird (which literally means “tail feather”) and coatl, “snake.”


16. Jícara – Xicalli

It is a container or vessel that was made with a dried coconut or a pumpkin. Now used to represent any plastic container.


17. Tianguis – Tianquiztli

The meaning in Spanish is that of a provisional market for any merchandise: clothing market, food market, etc.


18. Straw – Popotli

It is a small, very thin, hollow tube for drinking liquids.


19. Cuate – Mecoatl

There are many meanings of the word, but the most common for a person who is a friend.


20. Zacate – Zacatl

It is a vegetable fiber that is used to wash kitchen utensils or to bathe.


Adjectives in Nahuatl

21. Dirty – Touch

In Nahuatl the word Toca is used to determine that we are covered or stained with impure substances.


22. Heated – Tlatotoniya

The summer months are just around the corner and with them come the warmer temperatures. You can convey that you feel heated, in Nahuatl, by saying “tlatotoniya.”


23. Alto – Kuautik

In Nahuatl the word Kuautik is used to indicate that a person, an object or a place is of great stature, or greater than something else.


24. Low – Amotlakpak

In Nahuatl the word Amotlakpak is used to determine that a person, an object or a place is shorter than another.


25. Weak – Achikauak, kuanakki

In Nahuatl the word Achikauak or Kuanakki is used to indicate that an object or a person is fragile, defenseless or does not possess great power or strength.


26. Sick – Kokoxki, kokoxkatl

In Nahuatl the word Kokoxki is used for when a person or an animal is not in optimal health conditions.


27. Ugly – Amokualnesi

In Nahuatl the word Amokualnesi is used when something does not seem beautiful to the eye, does not taste good or is simply not to the liking of a person.


28. Strong – Chikauak, chikautok

In Nahuatl the word Chikauak is used to indicate that a person or an object has great strength and can face problems with ease.


29. Gordo – Tomauak, tomaktik

In Nahuatl the word Tomauak is used to determine that a person or an animal is overweight.


30. Honest – Mimatki, elchipauatl

In Nahuatl the word Mimatki is used to indicate that a person is sincere, humble and can be trusted without problems.


Nahuatl verbs

31. Apapachar – Pachoa

32. Count – Pohua

33. Write / paint / engrave – Cuiloa

34. Move – Calpatla

35. Reply – Nānquiliā

36. Back / translate – Cuepa

37. Write – āmatlahcuiloa

38. Make / Create – Yōcoya

39. Cross – Panō

40. Eat – Cua

41. Laugh – Huetzca

42. Cry – Shock

43. Exit – Maybe

44. Make – Chihua

45. Cut – Tequi

46. ​​Alive – Nemi

47. Get down – I fear

48. I want – Nequi

49. Wash – Paca

50. Have – Pia

Numbers in Nahuatl

1. cë
2. öme
3. ëyi
4. nähui
5. mäcuïlli
6. chicuacë
7. chicöme
8. chicuëyi
9. chiucnähui
10. mahtlactli
11. mahtlactli-on-cë
12. mahtlactli-om-öme
13. mahtlactli-om-ëyi
14. mahtlactli-on-nähui
15. caxtölli
16. caxtölli-on-cë
17. caxtölli-om-öme
18. caxtölli-om-ëyi
19. caxtölli-on-nähui
20. cem-pöhualli
21. cem-pöhualli-on-cë
22. cem-pöhualli-om-öme
23. cem-pöhualli-om-ëyi
24. cem-pöhualli-on-nähui
25. cem-pöhualli-om-mäcuïlli
26. cem-pöhualli-on-chicuacë
27. cem-pöhualli-on-chicöme
28. cem-pöhualli-on-chicuëyi
29. cem-pöhualli-on-chiucnähui
30. cem-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli
31. cem-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-on-cë
32. cem-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-om-öme
33. cem-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-om-ëyi
34. cem-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-on-nähui
35. cem-pöhualli-on-caxtölli
36. cem-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-on-cë
37. cem-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-om-öme
38. cem-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-om-ëyi
39. cem-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-on-nähui
40. öm-pöhualli
41. öm-pöhualli-on-cë
42. öm-pöhualli-om-öme
43. öm-pöhualli-om-ëyi
44. öm-pöhualli-on-nähui
45. öm-pöhualli-om-mäcuïlli
46. ​​öm-pöhualli-on-chicuacë
47. öm-pöhualli-on-chicöme
48. öm-pöhualli-on-chicuëyi
49. öm-pöhualli-on-chiucnähui
50. öm-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli
51. öm-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-on-cë
52. öm-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-om-öme
53. öm-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-om-ëyi
54. öm-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-on-nähui
55. öm-pöhualli-on-caxtölli
56. öm-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-on-cë
57. öm-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-om-öme
58. öm-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-om-ëyi
59. öm-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-on-nähui
60. yë-pöhualli
61. yë-pöhualli-on-cë
62. yë-pöhualli-om-öme
63. yë-pöhualli-om-ëyi
64. yë-pöhualli-on-nähui
65. yë-pöhualli-om-mäcuïlli
66. yë-pöhualli-on-chicuacë
67. yë-pöhualli-on-chicöme
68. yë-pöhualli-on-chicuëyi
69. yë-pöhualli-on-chiucnähui
70. yë-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli
71. yë-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-on-cë
72. yë-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-om-öme
73. yë-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-om-ëyi
74. yë-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-on-nähui
75. yë-pöhualli-on-caxtölli
76. yë-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-on-cë
77. yë-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-om-öme
78. yë-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-om-ëyi
79. yë-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-on-nähui
80. näuh-pöhualli
81. näuh-pöhualli-on-cë
82. näuh-pöhualli-om-öme
83. näuh-pöhualli-om-ëyi
84. näuh-pöhualli-on-nähui
85. näuh-pöhualli-om-mäcuïlli
86. näuh-pöhualli-on-chicuacë
87. näuh-pöhualli-on-chicöme
88. näuh-pöhualli-on-chicuëyi
89. näuh-pöhualli-on-chiucnähui
90. näuh-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli
91. näuh-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-on-cë
92. näuh-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-om-öme
93. näuh-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-om-ëyi
94. näuh-pöhualli-om-mahtlactli-on-nähui
95. näuh-pöhualli-on-caxtölli
96. näuh-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-on-cë
97. näuh-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-om-öme
98. näuh-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-om-ëyi
99. näuh-pöhualli-on-caxtölli-on-nähui
100. mäcuïl-pöhualli

Source: paraninos.org

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