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Classical Nahuatl[edit]



tetl ‎(animate, plural temeh)

  1. rock, stone
  2. egg

Derived terms[edit]



  1. A counter word used mainly for small, round objects; including, but not limited to: stones, chickens, seeds and beans, tamales, fruit, eggs, houses, seats, chili peppers, maize kernels, gourds, tubers, hills, etc.
    • 1571: Alonso de Molina, Arte de la lengua mexicana y castellana, f. 3v.
      P Ara contar piedras, gallinas, cacao, tunas, tamales, cerezas, hueuos, vaſijas, caſas, aſſentaderos, frutas, chiles, mayz, friſoles, calabaças, nabos, xicalas, o coſas redondas, aſi como cerros, ¬c. Dizen deſta manera. / ¶Centetl.vno o vna.  1 / ¶Ontetl.dos.  2 / ¶Etetl.tres.  3 / ¶Nauhtetl.quatro.  4 […]
      To count stones, chickens, cacao beans, prickly pears, tamales, cherries, eggs, pots, houses, places to sit, fruit, chili peppers, kernels of maize, beans, gourds, turnips, calabashes, or other rounds things, as well as mountains, etc., they say as follows: ¶Centetl. one.  1 / ¶Ontetl. two.  2 / ¶Etetl. three.  3 / ¶Nauhtetl. four.  4 […]
    Zan ōntetl in īteuh.
    Its eggs are only two.
    Mācuiltemeh in temeh, tēcpantocah.
    There are fives of stones, placed in a row.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The counter tetl is treated like a suffix, and is placed immediately after the numeral that modifies a noun:
    ce ‎(one) → centetl ayohtli (“one gourd”)
    nāhui ‎(four) → nāuhtetl tomatl (“four tomatoes”)
    mahtlāctli ‎(ten) → mahtlāctetl calli (“ten houses”)


  • Andrews, J. Richard. (2003) Workbook for Introduction to Classical Nahuatl, Revised Edition, University of Oklahoma Press, pp. 249–250.
  • Karttunen, Frances. (1983) An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl, University of Texas Press, p. 235.
  • Lockhart, James. (2001) Nahuatl as Written, Stanford University Press, p. 234.