Spanish words of Austronesian origin Free glossaries at translation jobs
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Spanish words of Austronesian origin

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This is a list of Spanish words that come from Austronesian languages. It is further divided into words that come from Hawaiian, Javanese, and Malay. Some of these words have alternate etymologies and may also appear on a list of Spanish words from a different language.





  • bambú= bamboo: probably from Malay bambú "bamboo."
  • cacatúa= cockatoo: from Malay kakatua, "cockatoo," from kakak "older brother" + tua "old."
  • casuarina= Casuarina: from Malay kěsuari "," + -ina (diminutive suffix). Named for the similarity in appearance between the little branches of the tree and the feathers of the casuario (see following).
  • casuario= cassowary: from Malay kěsuari.
  • lancha= launch (boat): from Portuguese lancha, from Malay lancha, lancharan, "boat," from lanchar "velocity without effort," "action of gliding smoothly" (said primarily of boats and turtles).
  • malayo= a Malaysian person: from Malay Mělayu, of uncertain origin.
  • orangután= orangutan: from Malay ōrang hūtan "person of the jungle," from ōrang "man, person" + hūtan "jungle, forest."


  • barangay= from balañgay, meaning "barrio", ultimately from balangay an ancient Malayo-Polynesian boat
  • abacá= from abaka a native species of banana
  • palay

See also


  • "Breve diccionario etimológico de la lengua española" by Guido Gómez de Silva (ISBN 968-16-2812-8)

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Published - February 2009

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