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Borrowed from Classical Nahuatl chalchihuitl


chalchihuitl (countable and uncountable, plural chalchihuitls)

  1. (mineralogy, South America) turquoise
    • 1974, Theodore R. Frisbie, quoting John G. Bourke, “Hishi as Money in the Puebloan Southwest”, in The Snake-dance of the Moquis of Arizona, 1884, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, page 254, in reference to the Hopi, quoted in Collected Papers in Honor of Florence Hawley Ellis, Norman: Hooper Publishing Company, published 1975, page 125:
      But such a determinate value is attached to buckskin, eagle and wild turkey feathers, pelts of the Rocky Mountain lion, chalchihuitl, abalone, olivette shells (unpierced), the perforated sea-shell beads, silver necklaces, and other ornaments []

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “chalchihuitl” in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Classical Nahuatl[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Sharing a root with xihuitl (turquoise). Shared a logogram in Aztec writing with "water".


  • IPA(key): /tʃaːltʃiwitɬ/
  • IPA(key): [tʃaːɬ.ˈtʃí.witɬ]

Andrews (2003) and Karttunen (1983) write chālchihuitl; Lockhart (2001) writes chālchihuitl, but says "Some suspicion remains that the first i is long."



  1. A precious green stone: greenstone, jade, turquoise.
    • 1524, Bernardino de Sahagún, Coloquios y doctrina cristiana
      ... auh no yehuan quitemaca ... in chalchihuitl, in quetzalli, in teocuitlatl.
      ... and they also give ... jade, plumes, gold.

Derived terms[edit]


  • Andrews, J. Richard. (2003) Workbook for Introduction to Classical Nahuatl, Revised Edition, University of Oklahoma Press, p. 215.
  • Karttunen, Frances. (1983) An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl, University of Texas Press, p. 45.
  • Lockhart, James. (2001) Nahuatl as Written, Stanford University Press, p. 214.