More English Words that Derive from Indigenous Languages of the Americas – 15 Words

ipecac

a medicinal drug used to evoke vomiting

After trying everything else, he reluctantly agrees to exposure therapy: Under a doctor’s supervision he will take ipecac, which induces vomiting.
—Washington Post Jan 20, 2014
cashew

a kidney-shaped nut

The only slight disappointment was the single dessert option I tried: Kheer, described on the menu as “Tibetan-style rice pudding with cardamom, cashew and almonds.”
—New York Times Oct 3, 2014
cayenne

plant bearing very hot and finely tapering long peppers

Coriander and cumin lend fragrant earthiness, with a little cayenne pepper added for a hint of heat.
—Los Angeles Times Oct 1, 2014
pirana

small voraciously carnivorous freshwater fishes of South America that attack and destroy living animals

I have seen men bearing very ugly scars, the results of wounds inflicted by the piraña while they were bathing.
—Various
cougar

large American feline resembling a lion

When more died, they thought they had a hungry cougar, but experts determined the culprit was canine.
—Seattle Times Oct 4, 2014
Petunia

annual or perennial herbs or shrubs of tropical South America

I do not care for the Petunia close at hand on account of its sickish odor.
—Alice Morse Earle
pecan

tree of southern United States and Mexico cultivated for its nuts

Pumpkin spice has warm, earthy notes, and the blend pairs perfectly with nuts, particularly pecans.
—Los Angeles Times Sep 26, 2014
skunk

American musteline mammal typically ejecting an intensely malodorous fluid when startled; in some classifications put in a separate subfamily Mephitinae

Fast facts: Skunks are black and white and best known for their horrible-smelling spray, an oily liquid produced by glands under their large tails.
—Los Angeles Times Oct 4, 2014
tuxedo

formal evening dress for men

Push the Champagne Button and a waiter dons a tuxedo to deliver your bubbly.
—Forbes Aug 19, 2014
terrapin

any of various edible North American web-footed turtles living in fresh or brackish water

The 1,007 confiscated reptiles are mostly juvenile hatchlings less than a month old, and include more than 750 diamondback terrapins.
—Washington Times Oct 3, 2014
pemmican

lean dried meat pounded fine and mixed with melted fat

True pemmican was not manufactured, although the pulverized buffalo meat was mixed with dried roots and berries preparatory to being eaten.
—Robert F. Murphy
abalone

a large edible marine gastropod with an ear-shaped shell

The holy grail for divers is an abalone with a 10-inch shell.
—Seattle Times Jul 26, 2014
Sasquatch

large hairy humanoid creature said to live in wilderness areas of the United States and Canada

Another Snohomish man said his experience hunting Sasquatch makes him able to tell when others are lying about having seen it.
—Seattle Times Aug 15, 2014
jalapeno pepper

hot green or red pepper of southwestern United States and Mexico

The roasted corn and watermelon salad in a balsamic dressing spiked with fresh mint and jalapeño peppers tasted like summer in a bowl.
—New York Times Aug 29, 2014
jaguar

a large spotted feline of tropical America similar to the leopard; in some classifications considered a member of the genus Felis

The work in Belize and the research on jaguars was now to be continued by others.
—Scientific American Aug 22, 2014

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