English Words that Come from Quechua – 15 Words

Andes

a mountain range in South America running 5000 miles along the Pacific coast

Ecuador — once known for its crude oil and bananas — is now the Silicon Valley of the tropics, the Singapore of the Andes.
—Seattle Times July 13, 2014
condor

the largest flying birds in the western hemisphere

“This is great news. This pair of condors, and their newly-hatched chick, could be a major step toward California condors reestablishing themselves in southern Utah.”
—Reuters July 17, 2014
vicuna

small wild cud-chewing Andean animal similar to the guanaco but smaller; valued for its fleecy undercoat

They also wove, of the fine hair of the vicuña, the hangings of the temples and the garments worn by the Inca and his household.
—Catherine Ann White
jerky

meat cut in strips and dried in the sun

I’ve developed a tofu jerky recipe that’s nearly as tough as beef jerky.
—Seattle Times July 13, 2014
llama

a cud-chewing, South American animal related to the camel

CHP officers have had to chase chickens, goats and even llamas off Bay Area highways.
—Los Angeles Times May 19, 2014
guano

the excrement of sea birds or bats; used as fertilizer

Silverfish, historically part of the penguin diet, each have a signature earbone called an otolith that shows up in penguin guano.
—Slate Dec 12, 2013
puma

large American feline resembling a lion

The Florida panther is the last subspecies of puma surviving in the eastern United States.
—Reuters July 5, 2014
alpaca

domesticated llama with long silky fleece

Alpaca wool is exceptionally soft, but be careful of vendors trying to rip you off.
—Time Jan 23, 2014
quinine

a bitter alkaloid extracted from chinchona bark

Later, cinchona bark was shown to contain quinine, a medicine now proven to kill the parasite that causes malaria.
—Washington Post Nov 11, 2013
chino

a coarse twilled cotton fabric frequently used for uniforms

His casual chinos and sneakers belied the seriousness of Monday’s reargument for the survivors of human rights abuses.
—Reuters Sep 30, 2012
Peru

a republic in western South America

Peru is the world’s top fishmeal exporter, producing about a third of worldwide supply.
—Reuters July 4, 2014
pampas

the vast grassy plains of northern Argentina

The country was a magnet for European immigrants, who flocked to find work on the fertile pampas, where crops and cattle were propelling Argentina’s expansion.
—Economist Feb 13, 2014
Lima

capital and largest city and economic center of Peru

An ancient Peruvian funeral shroud dating back to the pre-Inca period has gone on display in Lima after being returned from Sweden.
—BBC June 16, 2014
quipu

calculator consisting of a cord with attached cords

Quipus were knotted ropes invented by the Incas to keep records in their vast storage houses.
—Seattle Times June 2, 2011
Machu Picchu

Inca fortress city in the Andes in Peru discovered in 1911

Officials say they have discovered a new trail hidden in the mountain forest leading to the Peruvian citadel of Machu Picchu.
—BBC Jun 12, 2014

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