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See also: ilhuicatl

Classical Nahuatl[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From ilhuicatl (sky) +‎ ātl (water), because ocean water appears to meet the sky in the horizon.


  • IPA(key): [iɬ.wiˈka.aːt͡ɬ]


ilhuicaātl (inanimate)

  1. sea, ocean
    • 16c, Bernardino de Sahagún, Florentine Codex, vol. 3. f. 223r. col. 1.
      […] llamase tan bien  ylhuicaatl / que quiere dezir agua, que se iunto / conel cielo. Porque los antiguos habi / tadores deſta tierra, pensauan que / elcielo se iunta conel agua enlamar, como ſi fuese una casa, queel agua / ſon las paredes : yel cielo eſta sobre / las. Y poreſto llaman alamar ylhui / caatl, como si dixesen, agua que se / iunta con el cielo […]
      […] it [the sea] is also called  ylhuicaatl, which means "water that joined with the sky", because the ancient inhabitants of this land thought that the sky joined the water in the sea, as if it were a house, where the water is the walls and the sky is above them, and because of this they call the sea ylhuicaatl, as if saying "water that joins with the sky" […]
    • 1555, Alonso de Molina, Aqui comienca vn vocabulario en la lengua castellana y mexicana, f. 164v.
      Mar generalmente. uey atl.ylhuica atl.
      The sea in general. uey atl.ylhuica atl.
    • 1571, Idem, Vocabulario en lengua castellana y mexicana y mexicana y castellana, f. 82r. col. 1.
      Mar generalmente. vey atl. ylhuica atl.
      The sea in general. vey atl. ylhuica atl.


Derived terms[edit]


  • J. Richard Andrews, Workbook for Introduction to Classical Nahuatl, Revised Edition, University of Oklahoma Press, 2003, page 229