Glossary - Resources - Moon Guatemala (Moon Handbooks) - Al Argueta

Moon Guatemala (Moon Handbooks) - Al Argueta (2015)



aduana: customs

agua: literally “water” but also used in reference to soda pop

agua pura: bottled water

aguardiente: cane alcohol or moonshine

aguas termales: hot springs

alcalde: mayor

alfombra: a colorful carpet made of sawdust and flowers central to Holy Week celebrations in Antigua and elsewhere in Guatemala

altense: a resident of Quetzaltenango

al tiempo: referring to drinks at room temperature

altiplano: the highlands

artesanías: handicrafts

avenida: avenue

ayudante: in cheap public buses, the man who helps the driver in collecting fares and helping passengers with baggage

bajo: lowland swampy areas of the Petén lowlands

balneario: a bathing or swimming hole

baño compartido/general: shared bath (in reference to accommodations)

baño privado: private bathroom

barranco: a ravine

baule: a leatherback turtle

billares: pool or billiards

billete: a banknote or bill

bistec: beef steak

bolo: drunk; also borracho

brujo: a male witch or sorcerer

cajero automático: automated teller machine (ATM)

calle: street

camioneta: a second-class bus

campesino: peasant farmer

canícula: a brief one- or two-week dry spell during the rainy summer months of July and August

cantina: a seedy bar

caoba: mahogany

casa de huéspedes: a guesthouse

cayuco: canoe

cerveza: beer

champa: thatched-roof, wall-less structure

chapín/chapina: what Guatemalans call themselves

chichicaste: a stinging plant somewhat like poison ivy

chiclero: a tapper of chewing-gum resin of the jungle Petén region

coche: a pig, not a car, as in other parts of Latin America

cofradía: traditional political-religious organization present in some highland Mayan communities

comedor: a simple eatery

corte: traditional wraparound skirt worn by Mayan women

costumbre: traditional Mayan religious practices that include offerings of flowers, candles, and sometimes animal sacrifices

coyote: a smuggler of undocumented immigrants across Mexico and into the United States

criollo: Guatemalan of Spanish heritage

cucurucho: costumed carriers of procession parade floats during Semana Santa celebrations

curandero: traditional healer or shaman

edificio: a building; used in street addresses in urban areas

encomienda: a colonial system enabling landholders to exact tribute and labor from the local indigenous population

farmacia de turno: a pharmacy that remains open all night on a rotating basis

finca: a farm of any type but usually referring to a coffee farm

hospedaje: inexpensive family-run accommodations

huipil: traditional embroidered dress

ingenio: a sugar mill

invierno: literally “winter” but used to describe the May-October rainy season

IVA: short for impuesto al valor agregado (value added tax) VAT; in Guatemala it’s 12 percent

ladino: a person of indigenous descent who has adopted European ways

lancha: small motorboat

latifundia: large landholding in the form of a plantation or hacienda

lavandería: laundry

machista: a male chauvinist

maquiladora: an industrial plant where clothes are assembled for reexport by cheap local labor; more commonly known in the United States as a “sweatshop”

mara: a gang, but also used to describe a “gang” in the manner referring to an agglomeration of people or a crowd

mestizo: person of mixed Spanish and Indian descent

milpa: a maize or corn plant; also sometimes used in reference to a cornfield

minifundia: small landholdings, usually in the hands of Mayan peasantry

morería: small crafts shop producing costumes and masks for traditional dancing

palapa: a high-ceilinged thatched-roof structure commonly used in restaurant or hotel architecture

parlama: green sea turtle

parque nacional: national park

pensión: inexpensive accommodations

petate: a reed mat

picop: pickup truck

Pullman: a first-class bus, though to varying degrees of newness and quality

rancho: a simple thatched structure; also sometimes referred to in its diminutive ranchito

recargo: a surcharge; usually associated with credit card transactions

refacción: snack time between lunch and dinner; also on menus as refacciones consisting of pastries and sandwiches

repatriado: returned civil war refugee, usually from Mexico

reserva natural privada: a privately owned nature preserve

reserva protectora de manantiales: a watershed protection preserve

retablo: an altarpiece in a colonial church

revueltos: scrambled (eggs)

ron: rum

sacbe: once-paved Mayan causeways present in the modern-day lowlands of Petén and still used as footpaths

stela (stelae): pre-Columbian stone monuments, usually carved

timbre: a type of stamp sold in banks used in paying fees such as visa renewals

traje: traditional Mayan costume worn by inhabitants of individual highland villages

túmulo: a speed bump

verano: literally “summer,” but usually in reference to the height of the dry season between March and the beginning of the rainy season in May

zafra: sugarcane harvest in the Pacific lowlands

zancudo: mosquito

zona: a city zone into which Guatemala’s principal urban areas are divided