User:-sche/English terms of Native American origin

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The lists of verified terms have been moved to appendices; click the link below. This list is now a workshop of terms which have not yet been verified. An asterisk next to a spelling indicates I either cannot attest the spelling or doubt that it is normalised; it does not necessarily mean I doubt the existence of the word (in some cases, the word may be attested in that spelling!).


Appendix:English terms of Native American origin

cleanup, check etymons[edit]

The following already listed words are assumed to be Native American, but no specific etymon is known:

  • Algonquian, language or etymon unclear: pokelogan, macock, maracock, scuppernong, squeteague, suckanhock, togue, wapato; pauhagen, poghaden; chinquapin (chinkapin), chum (fishing sense), werowance, werowansqua.
  • Algonquian, etymon and language known, spelling (of etymon) to be checked: cohosh (Penobscot *kkwὰhas), tumpline (from tump (from mattump, metomp?); Penobscot *mádûmbí? Algonquian *mat-a-pey); most Powhatan words.
  • check that this Ojibwe word exists: siscowetOjibwe siscowet (cooks itself)


FWH: German.—Some of the Indian tongues have special words for 'German.' The Chippewa term is Anima, a modification of the French Allemand, introduced by traders or missionaries. [...] From the French comes also the Micmak Alma. The Sauk and Fox have Tŭch(î|í)a, from 'Dutch.' In Klamath the term for 'German' is Detchmal, while in the Modoc dialect of the Lutuamian stock the name applied to the German settler is muni tchuleks gitko, 'thickset fellow' [...]. A Blackfoot word for 'German' is kistappekwan. The Creek name for a German, according to Adair (Am. Inds., 66, 1775), was yah yah algeh, 'those whose talk was ja ja.'

not listed[edit]

User:-sche/English dictionary-only terms of Native American origin

Deriving the following terms from Native American languages is unsubstantiated:

  • killhag — (in Maine:) "wooden trap (used by hunters)" — (no etymon is known)
  • 1864, in the Bradford Times; quoted in 1872 in Americanisms; the English of the New world, page 21:
    The first furs were brought into town yesterday, and already a number of Killhags have been put up everywhere.
research these further
  • chihuahua — "particular small dog" — (from the name of the Mexican state) of unclear origin; perhaps from Nahuatl
  • marijuana — "cannabis" — (from Mexican Spanish marihuana, mariguana, of unknown origin; some authorities suggest Nahuatl mallihuan (prisoner) as a possibility}
  • caucus — "meeting, especially a preliminary meeting, of persons belonging to a party, to nominate candidates for public office, or to select delegates to a nominating convention, or to confer regarding measures of party policy; a political primary meeting", "grouping of all the members of a legislature from the same party", (as a verb:) "to meet in such a grouping" — perhaps from an eastern North American language; compare "cockarouse"
  • punk — "material used as tinder for lighting fires", "bottom in a male-male sexual relationship", "(member of a) social and musical movement rooted in rebelling against the established order", "juvenile troublemaker" — perhaps from English spunk (tinder), funk (rotten wood), or perhaps from Unami punkw (dust) (all other senses derive, in any case, by extension of the word for rotten wood to anything worthless)

not yet checked[edit]

Attested, possibly Native American words:

is this attested?

Probably unattested, definitely Native American words:

'worraneag'; 'wallaneag', 'woolaneag' (Nipmuck) (fisher or pekan; or some quadruped); 'warraneag', 'woollaneag'; 'wailaneag'; 'wullaneg' (all from Abenaki wulanikw)

Check definition and attestation:

regarding "suckauhock" : suckampeag is said to be a Massachusett word for "black shells"
wampum is said to be made of metauhock : periwinkle (Pyrula); suck- is made of poquahock, poquauhock
Long Island was called Sewanhacky (land of sewan) or Mattauwack (according to W. W. Tooker from Meht-anaw-ack, land of periwinkles)

probably North American[edit]

  • cockarouse, cockerouse — "(Virginian Algonquian) leader, counselor, important person" — from Virginian Algonquian (i.e. Powhatan) *cawcawwassough ("elder, adviser") (also possibly the source of "caucus"); compare Tapehanek (Tappahannock) / Quioucohanock (Quiyoughcohannock) *kakarusu ("he speaks at some length")
    "cockarouse" has remained in use post-2000, though it is rare; "cockerouse" seems especially to have acquired the more general meaning "person of quality (or wealth or importance)"
  • kennebunker (or: Kennebunker?) — "valise, container for clothes (taken by lumberjacks into the woods)" — from the placename Kennebunk, from an Algonquian language (two derivations have been suggested: a root meaning "snake" and a root meaning "bay, body of still water")

  • nikie name — "Native American (as opposed to English) name, especially one signifying kinship and/or referring to a larger-than-life ancestor" — ?
  • wahoo — "Acanthocybium solandri, a tropical and subtropical game fish" — ?
  • other spellings of canticoy: cantico, cantica, kantico, kanticoy, kintacoy, kintecaw, kintecoy, kintekaye, kinticka, kantikoy... but many of these may be unattested
    old entry for cantico: — (still current:) "fun", (obsolete:) "dance party, lively social gathering" — from an Algonquian language; compare Unami këntke (he dances)
    both a noun and a verb, in a variety of spellings and in phrases like "cut a cantico"
    1932, Frank H. Stewart, Indians of Southern New Jersey, page 86:
    [] for which they returned their thanks and canticoed.
    last common in the 1870s and 1880s; never common in print as a verb (though the most recent verb citation is from 1932, fifty years later than the noun)
  • canaha — "particular Caddoan rank/office" — presumably Caddo??? or Spanish or something else?
  • conna — "particular Caddoan rank/office" — presumably Caddo??? or Spanish or something else?

Canadian French words derived from north-of-Mexico languages: assinade, atoca, atosset, attikameg, cazagot, chiben, couac, kakawi, malachigan, maskoutin, mitasse, moniac, moyac, nagane, oka, sasaqua, savoyane.
  • may-pop — (in the southeastern US:) "passion-flower fruit" — ?

Central American or nearby[edit]

  • mamey (also: mamee) — (any of three unrelated plants:) "Mammea americana tree", "edible fruit of this tree: mamey apple, mamee apple"; "Magnolia guatemalensis tree"; "Pouteria sapota tree", "edible fruit of this three: mamey sapote" — ?
  • 1998, François Couplan, The encyclopedia of edible plants of North America, page 134:
    Mammea americana (B 5) Mamey Apple
    From the West Indian name of the fruit, "mamey."
  • pitaya (also: pitahaya) — "dragon fruit", "any of a few unrelated fruits" — ?

probably Caribbean[edit]

  • conima — "gum resin of the [poison hemlock / elemi gum]" — (possibly Cariban)
    synonyms: (tacamahaca,) hyawa (gum), carana (resin)
  • chicha — "fermented drink, usually made from maize, sometimes from grapes or apples" — (a Haitian language?)

probably South (possibly Central) American[edit]

  • fique — "natural fiber which occurs in the leaves of the plant Furcraea andina" — ?
  • mingaco — "(voluntary) communal labor (planting, harvesting, threshing, winnowing, clearing land, building), which a person invites neighbors to join in, providing food as payment" — Mapudungun)?
  • ulmene — "(indigenous, Araucanian) leader" — Mapudungun)?
  • caví, cavi — "lof" (which see) — probably Mapudungun?
  • soroche — "altitude sickness (as acquired after mountain climbing)" — from Spanish, perhaps originally from a Native American language
  • babaco — "fruit tree, related to the papaya and native to mountainous areas of Ecuador", "fruit of this tree" — ?
  • abiu — "the tree Pouteria caimito", "the fruit of this tree" — Tupi?
  • jaborandi — "any of several plants" — Tupi?

  • cherimoya, chirimoya — "the fruit of the species Annona cherimola, which tastes like bubblegum or like banana, pineapple, papaya, peach, and strawberry" — ??? (sometimes derivation from Quechua chirimuya or another Quechua term is suggested, but this is just as often doubted)

  • chago — "mauka" (which see) — ???
  • maca — "Andean medicinal herb Lepidium meyenii", "(extract of) the root of this plant" — Quechua?
    other names for maca: ayak, ayuk, willku, chichira, maka
  • mashua — "perennial Andean plant of the genus Tropaeolum", "edible tuber of this plant" — ???
    etymologically unrelated to the name of this plant there is a word mashua referring to a boat: "For transport those peoples use a boat, masua, from Swahili mashua, from Hindi-Gujarati machua 'fishing boat', which is derived from Sanskrit mätsya 'fish'."
  • yacón (also: yacon) — "Peruvian ground apple, Smallanthus sonchifolius (synonyms: Polymnia edulis, Polymnia sonchifolia)", "crisp, sweet-tasting tuberous root of this plant (which is suitable for diabetics)" — ??? Quechua???
  • leren — "Calathea allouia, Central American / Caribbean arrowroot" — (via Spanish, from) ???
  • otoy (rare) — "new cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolium" — (via Panama Spanish, from) ???
  • tannia, tannier (uncommon) — "new cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolium" (or sometimes a close relative of it) — ???
  • macabo (rare) — "new cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolium" — ???
  • sieva (bean) — "(small variety of) Lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus)" — ???
  • "wind" sense not attested:
    puna — "high elevation montane grassland in the southern high Andes" — ???

  • malanga — "new cocoyam, Xanthosoma saggitifolium" — (via Spanish, from) ??? (perhaps from the non-Native American Kongo language)