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Spanish words of Basque/Iberian origin

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This is a list of Spanish words which are supposed to be of Basque, Iberian origin, or coming from some other pre-roman language in the Iberian Peninsula. Some of these words existed in Latin as loanwords from other languages. Some of these words have alternate etymologies and may also appear on a list of Spanish words from a different language.


  • abarca "sandal" (cf. Basque abarka)
  • aberzale "patriot" (cf. Basque abertzale). Recent loanword
  • aizcolari (cf. Basque aizkolari). Recent loanword
  • alud "avalanche" (cf. Basque luta "rockslide", lurte "avalanche", fr. lur "ground"; not related to elur "snow" < pre-Basque *erur)
  • aquelarre "witches' sabbath" (cf. Basque akelarre "goat field", fr. larre "field" and aker "kid")
  • ardite "money of little value" (fr. Gasc ardit, fr. Basque ardít)
  • arroyo "stream" (cf. LL arrugia)
  • azcona "hand-thrown weapon used in past times"
  • ascua "embers" (cf. Basque askuo, askua, fr. hauts "cinder")
  • bacalao "cod" (< Ned bakeljauw, cf. Basque bakailao)
  • barranca/barranco
  • barro "clay, mud"
  • batúa
  • bayoneta
  • becerro "yearling calf" (< OSp bezerro "bull"; cf. Basque bei "cow" + zekor "bullock")
  • bizarro "galant, spirited" (cf. Basque bizar "beard")
  • boina "beret" (cf. LL abonnis "cap")
  • bruces, caer de "headlong, to fall"
  • cachorro "puppy" (cf. Basque txakur "whelp")
  • calimotxo "a type of punch (drink)". Recent loanword
  • cama "bed"
  • cazurro
  • cencerro "cowbell" (cf. Basque zinzerri "animal bell")
  • chabola (< Fr geôle; cf. Basque txabola)
  • chacolí, type of basque wine. Recent loanword
  • chamorro "close-cropped"
  • chaparro "dwarf oak" (cf. Basque txapar)
  • chaparrón
  • chapela, type of basque cap. Recent loanword
  • charco "puddle"
  • charro "crude" (cf. Basque txar "bad, faulty")
  • chasco
  • chatarra "scrap" (cf. Basque txatar "old iron")
  • chiquito
  • chirimbolo "circular slice" (cf. Basque txirimbol)
  • churre "thick grease" (cf. Basque txur "miserly, economical")
  • chistera
  • cococha "cod's chin"
  • conejo "rabbit" (< Lat cuniculus; cf. Basque untxi "rabbit", from earlier *kuntxi)
  • ertzaina, "basque policeman". Recent loanword
  • ertzaintza, "basque police". Recent loanword
  • gabarra (cf. Basque kabarra, fr. Latin carabus, fr. Gk kárabos)
  • galápago "tortoise"
  • garma "scree, steep mountain slope"
  • garrapata "tick" (cf. Basque gapar, kapar "briar")
  • gazapo "young rabbit"
  • gordo "fat"
  • guijarro "pebble" (cf. Basque gisuarri "limestone")
  • gusano, gusarapo "maggot, caterpillar" (cf. Basque zizain "worm" < Medieval Basque *zizani)
  • ikastola, "Basquelanguage school". Recent loanword
  • izquierda "left" (cf. Basque ezker)
  • laya "spade" (cf. Basque laía)
  • legaña "rheum" (cf. Basque lakaiña "cord, roughness, knob on a tree", formerly "strand")
  • madroño "strawberry tree"
  • manteca "lard"
  • maraña "thicket"
  • mochil
  • muérdago
  • narria "sledge" (cf. Basque nar, narra "towing, sled")
  • nava "marshy valley, plain" (cf. Basque naba)
  • órdago "Mus card game expression pronnounced when you win" (cf. Basque or dago "there it is")
  • páramo "moor"
  • parque "park"
  • parra "vine, trellis"
  • parranda "fiesta"
  • pelotari, "player of Pelota". Recent loanword
  • perro "dog"
  • pestaña "eyelash" (cf. Basque pizta "rheum", piztule "eyelash")
  • pitarra, pitaña "rheum" (cf. Basque pitar "rheum")
  • pizarra "slate" (cf. Basque pizar "fragment")
  • sapo "toad"
  • sarna "scabies"
  • sarro "tooth plaque"
  • silo (cf. Basque zilo, zulo "dugout, cave or shelter for keeping grain")
  • socarrar "to scorch" (cf. Basque (dial. and arch.) sukarr, sukarra "flames, fire", fr. su "fire" and karr, karra "flame"
  • soca-tira, "game of Tug of war". Recent loanword
  • urraca "magpie"
  • vasco "basque"
  • vega "river-plain" (cf. Basque ibaiko "bank", from bai "river")
  • vizcaíno
  • zamarra/chamarra (cf. Basque zamar "fleece")
  • zanca "bird leg, slim leg", zanco "stilt" (cf. Basque zango "leg")
  • zarrio "excessively adorned" (cf. Basque txar "bad, faulty") (or of Arabic origin)
  • zarza "bramble" (cf. Basque sartzia)
  • zatico/zatillo "piece of bread" (cf. Basque zati)
  • zorra "fox" (cf. Basque azaria, from "lazy")
  • zulo "hole" (cf. Basque zulo). Recent loanword
  • zurdo "left-handed" (cf. Basque zur "stingy, miserly", zurrun "inflexible, hard")
  • zurrón "sack" (cf. Basque zorro)

See also


  • Corominas, Juan. Breve diccinario etimológico de la lengua castellaña, 2nd ed. Madrid: Editorial Gredos, S.A., 1967.
  • Gómez de Silva, Guida. Elsevier's Concise Spanish Etymological Dictionary. New York: Elsevier, 1985.

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Published - February 2009

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