Glossary of Argentine Camp Spanglish
(As used in the family diaries)
To jump, click:
The Benitz family members of the late 1800's, as did
most of their English speaking contemporaries in Argentina, created English terms
from Spanish words familiar to them in their everyday activities. These terms
- see below) are known collectively as “Spanglish”. The
terms were used extensively in their diaries and letters. Many of the terms
are still in use today. To retain the flow and feel of the diaries, we
have transcribed them as written and have interpreted the Spanglish
terms here. Within the glossary, we have highlighted in bold terms
that have their own entries.
We will be continually updating this glossary during
the process of transcribing the diaries. If you have corrections or
further information that would enrich the glossary, please e-mail us;
particularly for terms flagged with [-?-],
likely misspelled, we could not figure them out. Please keep in mind we
are interested in Argentine camp Spanglish and not all possible meanings to a
word such as would be found in a good dictionary, e.g. a junta is a yoke
of oxen, not a military dictatorship nor a Mexican business meeting. Our
addresses can be found on the Benitz.com home page.
Our principal references:
Folklore: “Diccionario Folklórico Argentino”, Felix Coluccio, c.
Editorial Plus Ultra, 1981, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Guaraní: “Diccionario Guarania Ilustrado”, 1997 Colihue-Mimbipa SRL,
And on-line translators (with varying results).
Birds: “Guía para la identificación de las Aves de Argentina y Uruguay”,
Tito Narosky - Dario Yzurieta, c. Vazquez Mazzini Editores, 2003, Buenos Aires,
* We provide links to “Argentine Ornithology”,
published in 1888 by W. H. Hudson & P. L. Sclater; the books provide detailed 19th century descriptions in English;
however, many of the birds’ Latin names have changed.
Other wild-life: Visit “Photos of Wild Animals of ARGENTINA”.
Alec Earnshaw provides photos with brief descriptions in both English & Spanish.
* Another excellent reference site is “Fauna de mi Argentina”;
Martín Pedriera Kanter provides photos with detailed descriptions in Spanish.
Abbreviations & notes:
[=] - the term is correctly spelt Spanish, i.e. is not Spanglish.
[H] – Herman Benitz's spelling was quite inventive — found in the La California and Los
Palmares estancia diaries. Words he didn't
know, in either English or Spanish, he spelt phonetically as if pronounced in English.
He also had some peculiar but consistent spelling errors which suggest he may
have been dyslexic, e.g. he consistently spells “peon” as “poen”. In the
glossary we have included his more obtuse spellings, flagged with [H].
a-o / e-i / j-i-y / d-h-l-t / c-n-r-s-u / s-z – when looking up words,
please allow for spelling and transcription errors. It is often difficult
to distinguish between these letters in handwriting.
a.k.a. – also known as: a synonym or
CH, LL, and RR - we do not
treat as separate letters (as they would be in the Spanish alphabet).
Ñ - we treat as an
accented N, not as a separate letter (as it is in the Spanish alphabet).
The tilde was usually omitted by English writers, as were most accent marks on
- A -
- symbol for arroba, see arroba
- ◊ □
- symbols for cuadra (square), see cuadra.
Symbol used by Alfred A.Bz & John E.Bz respectively.
- In the diaries and documents, the unqualified symbol “$” denotes
the peso, not the US dollar (USD). See peso Argentino
(before-1933) and peso moneda nacional
- $B [peso Boliviano]
- see peso Boliviano
- see peso moneda nacional
- $ m/n
- see peso moneda nacional
- $ pat [patacón]
- slang for the peso argentino
- 2 x 3 - [dos-por-tres]
- phrase: “in a blink of an eye”; right away, in a hurry, rushed.
- “a medias”
- on halves
- a/c, A & cta [a/c - a cuenta]
- on account
- abajenio [abarajar]
- (i) to kill or be killed by a thrown lance/spear
(ii) in a knife fight, to fall towards/upon the oponent’s knife; usually fatal
- “abajo marca” [bajo marca]
- under own brand, i.e. branded livestock
- abichado [=]
- see embichado
- abombado [=]
- begun to boil, e.g water. However, per context (AABz diary, hunt 1902),
more liquely to be a corruped version of bombeado, pumped.
- abroja /o [abrojo]
- cocklebur, a plant with a spiny very prickly seed, considered a pest.
There are 2 kinds found in Santa Fé: “abrojo chico” or “abrojo grande” (Xanthium
- accompañared, acompanared [acompañar]
- to acompany, acompanied
- aceite [=]
- acheno, achero [acheno]
- (i) colloquial term for unbranded livestock: cattle or horse
(ii) could be misspelt ajeno - foreign
(iii) could be misspelt hachero - wood-cutter
- acinchar, asinchar [acinchar]
- to pull by a rope/laso attached to the saddle cinch
- one who gathers & may warehouse - not sure what from Los Palmares
- added, extra
- administración [=]
- management, or management offices
- administrator [=]
- Until the mid-1900's, the management of an estancia
was structured approx. as follows: The
manager (a.k.a.mayordomo) was
the person at the top of the estancia management hierarchy. If he was also the
owner, he would be an estanciero, and if his estancia was large enough,
he might have had a mayordomo
(hired manager) assisting him. Below the manager would be one or two
segundos (apprentices) and one or more capataz’s (foremen) in
charge of cuadrillas
(crews) of peones (workmen). Estancias might be split up into sections
with puesteros to take care of them. Because of his position, the
manager was well respected in the community. A hired manager lived very well
on an estancia with many perks (house, food, servants) but it was not a
lucrative position. Retirement, often without benefits, was a rude change in
lifestyle. Using a naval ship as a corollary, the administrador
corresponds to the captain, mayordomo to XO, segundo to ensign,
capataz to bosun, peón to seaman.
- aflojando [=]
- growing tired / weakening
- afrecho, affrechilla [afrecho]
- bran / mash - a biproduct of removing (cleaning) the fibrous shell from seed that will be ground into flour, a.k.a.: salvado.
- afueras [=]
- outlands, remote areas (in Alfred's 1889 context relative to Laguna Yacaré: the wilder areas west,
beyond the Calchaquí river)
- ageno [ajeno]
- see ajeno
- aguada [=]
- (i) watering hole;
- (ii) set of cattle watering troughs (bebederos)
- aguara [aguará guazú]
- A unique animal (Chrysocyon brachyurus), neither a fox nor a wolf,
it looks like a large fox on black stilts, standing 1 meter tall (taller than
almost all dogs), and weighing 20kg. Once common on the northern
pampas and Chaco regions (as well as Paraguay & Brazil), now only found in
remote areas. It is endangered due to habitat loss & hunting (in part due to
superstition). Its name is Guaraní for: “big fox”; a.k.a.: in Spanish:
lobo, "lobo del monte", or "Lobo argentino", in English: "maned wolf".
- aguariguay [=]
- The aguaribay (Schinus molle areira)
is a tree of north-central Argentina; known by various names: molle in Córdoba and the north-western
provinces, also: gualeguay, pimiento del diablo, terebinto, curanguay, mulli.
Grows 10-15 meters tall with drooping branches similar to weeping-willow, trunk up 1 meter in diameter, the
bark (reddish) produces a resin that smells strongly of turpentine
(trementina); is also the source of the pink
peppercorn spice. In English: Schinus, a pepper tree in the sumac family, Anacardiaceae
/ anacardiácea. Some people have a severe allergic reaction to its resin,
e.g. dripps from its leaves (e.g. after a rain) cause a severe rash.
- agunel [-?-]
- term included in a list of cows he milked, Alfred: 13 June'77
- ajeno [=]
- foreign / alien – a person or animal (e.g. cattle or horse) that is not of
or does not belong (e.g. to a herd or estancia)
- “al barrer”
- on/at average
- “al corte” [=]
- non-selctive / arbitrary cutting out a number of head or portion of a herd,
e.g. split a herd in two by simply riding through the middle of it
- alambrador [=]
- alambrados [=]
- fences / fencing enclosing potreros (fields).
La California: the fences were typically of 7 wire strands, 6
plain, 1 barbed, spaced closer together near to the ground to prevent calves
and sheep from passing through. Fence posts were set approx. 12 meters apart
varillas (wood spacers) distributed evenly between them. The posts were of
quebracho colorado, the wires passing through holes drilled in
the posts and tightened via
torniquetas (turnbuckles) at field corners. (see turniquetes and
- alambrar [=]
- to fence (i.e. to put in a wire fence)
- alambre [=]
- alasan, alesan, alisan [alazán]
- chestnut / sorrel (US). See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- alfalfa (or: alfa) [=]
- common forage legume – very productive but can cause bloat, particularly
new growth. Sometimes known as lucerne.
Like all legumes, it fixes (adds) nitrogen to the soil and is very often
included in a rotation with crops. (first reference in day-books: “La California”:
January, 1888; “Los Palmares”: July, 1892)
- alfalfar [=]
- field of alfalfa
- algaroba [algarrobo]
- a spiny leguminous tree found on the drier western and northern edges of
the pampas. (Prosopis alba, Prosopis nigra) Prized for its hard red
wood. Member of the same genus as mesquite, ñandubay,
espinillo, and caldén.
- algarrobal [=]
- a wood/stand/forest of algarrobo trees
- see alasan
- almacen [almacén]
- general store.
- almacenero [=]
- owner of a general store.
- almidon [almidón]
- almudo [almud]
- pre-metric measure for grain by volume, 12 almud = 1 fanega.
See fanega and our page on Measures.
- alpaca [=]
- (i) Similar to the llama, it is much smaller (Vicugna pacos); less than 1 metre tall, 50-85 kg.
It is bred in the Andes for its much prized fine hair/fur.
- (ii) A bright silver-like metal alloy made up of copper, zinc and nickel - and possibly iron.
It is non-precious and does not contain any silver. In Argentina, used in place of silver in the cheaper gaucho items:
knives, mates, bombillas, etc.
- alpargatas, alpergatas, alpagatos [alpargatas]
- black canvas topped, rope soled slip-on shoes, quite comfortable. Typically worn by hombres de campo (camp-men) -
the workmen (peónes, gauchos), see also: bombachas, tirador.
- amanecered [almanacer]
- arise, as in the morning.
- anegada [=]
- flooded (as in: camps are anegadas)
- angostura [=]
- the narrows (of a river or lake)
- “ant bear” [oso hormiguero]
- the South American giant ant-eater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), they are
about the size of a large dog. Alfred had one as pet.
- anta [=]
- another name for tapir, see tapir
- see arroyo
- apartadors [apartador /es]
- owner representatives at an apartes, those doing the cutting out.
- apartar, aparted [apartar]
- to cut-out, to separate or classify cattle; divide by owner (see
apartes) or categorise by sex, age, or condition, e.g. separate steers
from heifers, cull old cows, or select ready for market. See also:
- apartes [=]
- event of parting (separating / dividing) a herd of cattle / horses.
brand to the different owners, a regular occurrence when there were no fences
and the livestock mixed in with those of the neighboring camps (estancias); see rodeo.
- apestada, apestados [=]
- infected, sick.
- apretared [apretar]
- aprovechared, aprovochared [aprovechar]
- make use of, e.g. take advantage of an opportunity
- apuntared [apuntar]
- noted down, made a note of
- apuro [=]
- (i) in a hurry, rushed;
- (ii) in a tight spot.
- aquerenciar [=]
- to accustom an animal or a herd (horses or cattle) to a place so that they
will consider it their home and if strayed will return to it. See
- per context, abbreviation for: arroba (a measure of weight), or: peso argentino.
- archivado [=]
- arhived; per context (1897 Feb): registered with the local authorities
- areglared, arglared [H]
- see arreglared
- see arreador
- ariar [arrear]
- to herd, to drive a herd
- see horcon
- see arroba
- arrancars [arranca]
- starts at
- arrastrar [=]
- to drag
- arrear [=]
- (i) to herd cattle.
- (ii) to rustle / steal cattle.
- arreador [=]
- (i) long whip used when herding (arrear) cattle;
- (ii) someone who herds cattle - see tropero.
- (iii) someone who steals cattle.
- arreg, arreglared, arreglaring, reglar [arreglar]
- (i) to fix/repair; to tidy-up
- (ii) to settle accounts.
- (iii) to arrange with or reach an aggreement
- arreo [=]
- arroba, @ [arroba]
- pre-metric measure of weight. In Santa Fé, 1 arroba = 11.58 Kg. (25.5
lb.). (See our page on Measures.)
Also: “$x la arroba” is “$x per arroba”.
- arroyo, arroya [arroyo]
- creek, small river; abbreviated: Aº
- arroyita [arroyita]
- small creek, a stream
- arroz [=]
- asado [=]
- (i) barbecue, also the meat for/from the barbecue
(ii) manner of barbecuing: al asador – meat to barbecue is put on a spike, and the spike is stood in the ground, angled close to the fire & coals;
a la parrilla – cooked on a grill.
- “asado con cuero”
- an asado of an un-skinned side of beef (or any animal) placed
with the hide towards the fire, preserving the juices, takes 12-24 hours to cook - Excellent!
- see acinchar
- asucar [azucar]
- asulejo, sulejo [azulejo]
- see azulejo
- attachared [atajar]
- to intercept; once rounded-up, to prevent cattle from escaping.
- “Australian represa” / “Australian tank”
- water reservoir or tank, typically round; see tank for more details.
- avestruz [=]
- the common misnomer in Spanish for ñandu and choique, the flightless very
fast running large birds of the pampas
and patagonia. Often referred to in Spanglish as: ostrich.
The correct terms are, in Spanish:
ñandu and choique, and in English: rhea — see rhea for greater detail.
- avisar [=]
- (i) to notify or inform;
- (ii) the formal act of informing
- azotea [=]
- flat terraced roof
- “azucar ref.” [azucar refinado]
- refined (white) sugar
- azulejo [=]
- blue roan (mix of white & black with blue tones) See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- B -
- BA [Buenos Aires]
- abbreviation universally applied to Buenos Aires within the
- bagre [=]
- cat-fish - quite common worldwide. A fish that has no scales, most have
spines in their dorsal and pectoral. There are about 20 species in Argentina
(2,000 worldwide), almost all found in warm waters.
- (i) Auchenipterus nuchalis:
- (ii) Bergiaria Westermanni: bagre trompudo;
Heptapterus mustellinus (eel-like): bagre anguila, yuska;
- (iv) Primelodous Albicans:
bagre blanco, mandí guazú / morotí, moncholo blanco;
- (v) Primelous Clarias:
bagre amarillo / misionero / overo, mandiá saigú;
- (vi) Rhamdia Sapo (no teeth): bagre sapo;
- (vii) Rhamdia Quelen: moncholo lagunero, bagre de arroyo /
- (viii) Trachycorsystes albicrux: bagre colorado / rojo / cruz
- bagual, bogual, bagulas [bagual]
- wild horse - descended from escaped Spanish stock; mustang in the
US. See caballo for more horse terms.
- baile [=]
- dance or dance party
- low, lowland
- balde [=]
- “balde sin fondo” [=]
- “bottomless bucket”, figure of speech, equivalent to: “bottomless barrel”
(barril sin fondo) or “bottomless pit”
- baldeando [=]
- to fill (or rempty) water using buckets, e.g. a jagüel
- baldero [=]
- (i) the person (rider) drawing water from a well via a jagüel
– see jagüel for a description of how it’s done.
(ii) the horse normally used for the task
- balsa [=]
- a raft or ferry - per context
- bañado, bañada, banado [bañado]
- marshy low-land; water filled. See also
- barosa [barrosa]
- see barroso
- barra, bara [barra]
- barraca [=]
- see saladero
- barroso, varosa [barroso /a]
- muddy: a mixture of red, grey, and black hairs - more grey and black than
red. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- barsina [barcina]
- red-brown and white (AABz 1899 Nov. 1 - see pecarí)
- basco [vasco]
- person from the Basque area of Spain
- bastidor [=]
- screen or frame used in the sheep dip.
- batata, patata [batata]
- sweet potatoes
- batatal [=]
- field/plot of batatas
- baya, bayo [=]
- dun. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- beachado [H]
- see embichared
- beaches [bichos]
- see bicho.
- bebedero [=]
- water-trough – see bebida
- bebida, bebitta [bebida]
- (i) water-trough, for livestock. From photographs we know the
at La California were made of wood planks, they were later replaced
with metal, today most are of molded cement. For more details, see tanque.
- (ii) a drink, as in “have a drink”.
- bechado [H]
- see embichared
- berbeados [H], berbedo [H], berbeador [H] [bebedero]
- water-trough – see bebida
- bicho, becho [bicho]
- (i) a bug / insect / maggot;
slightly disparaging term for: creature, e.g. animal or wildlife
- see pileta [AABz spelling]
- see vizcacha
- Biscachicida [viscachicida]
- implement for killing viscachas - via machine &/or poison
- blanco [=]
- (i) white;
- (ii) horse coloring: grey. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- boals [-?-]
- “Boals ordered”? Alfred: 6 April'85
- bocal [brocal]
- See brocal
- bocero [-?-]
- probably: hackamore - a bit-less bridle. (Alfred: 13 July, 1877)
- bochincha [bochinche]
- (i) loud disorderly conduct or disagreement;
- (ii) a noisy / rowdy party
- see bagual
- see peso boliviano
- bola pie [-?-]
- (Alfred 21 May 1896) “Calchaqui almost bola pie paso north of ...”
- see boleadoras
- bolear, boleando [bolear, boleando]
to hunt (or hunting) with with boleadoras
- boleadoras [=]
- three ropes (usually of braided raw-hide) attached together at one end, with a stone or heavy wood ball
at each free end. Used to hunt large running animals (ñandú, deer, horses) by
flinging them spinning through the air so that the ropes will wrap themselves
around the legs of the prey. a.k.a.
- boleta de compra y venta [=]
- a contract or bill of sale.
- bolichito [=]
- small general store &/or bar serving alcohol
- bolsa [=]
- bag or sack
- “bolsas vacias” [=]
- empty sacks
- bogual [bagual]
- see bagual
- $B [peso Boliviano]
- denotes the Bolivian Peso, see peso Boliviano
- bombachas, bombatchos, bombags [bombachas]
- Loose baggy pants (pantaloons) that button at the ankles, typically held up by a sash (faja)
not a belt, though a tirador or rastra may be worn over the faja. Worn by hombres de campo (camp-men) -
the workmen (peones / gauchos) and managers alike. Very
comfortable, cool in summer. The bombachas worn for dress occasions are very
baggy, heavily pleated, and are typically white or black. (Note: in modern
times, bombachas also means women's underwear!)
- bombero [=]
- pump-man, likely a pump repairman.
- bombear [=]
- to pump
- bono [=]
- bond, certificate
- boregas, borregas [borregas]
- ewes (female sheep)
- borego, borrego [borrego]
- young ram (whole male sheep) - see also carnero
- borotilla [-?-]
- (1895 Sep 21) per context, a poisnous plant
- bosal [=]
- halter - as in horse tack. It's lead is: cabestro.
- bosta / bosto [bosta]
- dung, manure
- botoncita [=]
- small button
- boyero [=]
- (i) livestock (oxen, horse) wrangler, cares for the oxen, brings in
the riding horses in the morning
- (ii) sometimes also the errand-boy
- (ii) name given to a black bird (24cm long), the most common in the
NE Argentina being the “Boyero Negro” (Cacicus solitarius), in English:
“Solitary Black Cacique”.
- bragado [=]
- a horse with patches or splashes of a different color between its legs. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- Bramante [-?-]
- measured in
varas, likely a brand of some cloth (Alfred 15 Nov.'85)
- Braunlie is the name of one of Alfred's horses
- bravo [=]
- wild, fierce
- brazada [brazada, braza]
- (i) an arm-full;
(ii) braza is fathom - a measure of depth: 1.83 meters (6 feet).
(iii) Per context (17 Feb'85), Alfred probably meant the distance between outstreched
arms (brazos), either finger-tip to finger-tip, or more likely finger-tip to nose.
- brazo [=]
- brea [=]
- “breaking up camp” [rompiendo campo]
- plowing (turning the sod over) for the very first time - heavy work
- bretes, brety [bretes]
- Heart of a system of corrales (pens)
for working cattle (or sheep) on an estancia. It begins with the
trascorral, a staging corral large enough to hold 50-80 head of cattle.
Smaller groups are then moved into the embudo (huevo, torín), a small corral that narrows
down to funnel the animals singlefile into the manga (raceway or narrow shute).
The manga has walls of solid wood planks. About ten head can be packed
head to tail in the manga to be branded, vaccinated, etc. At the far end from
the embudo is a yugo, a vice that grips an animal about its neck,
holding it so
that it can be worked upon while standing. Past the yugo is a tiny
enclosure from which several gates may lead, used for parting
cattle to different corrales, or today for directing them to a scale
(balanza), cattle dip (baño), or truck loading dock
(embarcadero). Bretes are far more efficient and less harmful to
livestock than roping them individually.
- brin [=]
- coarse cloth from which workclothes were made, measured in varas
- brocal [=]
- the brick-lined “mouth” of a well, i.e. the well's lintel.
- to line a well mouth with bricks. See calsa.
- buche [=]
- On a carreta, the triangular box or sack (made of leather) that was be attached in front or behind the carreta’s
cargo box (cajón, caja).
If in front, it rested on the carreta’s tongue (pertigo).
- buey / bueyes [buey]
- ox / oxen. See carro, pertigo, & yunta.
- bueyero [=]
- ox handler, someone who works with oxen
- bulto [=]
- bundle, bulky parcel
- burro [=]
- burro hechor [=]
- male donkey
- C -
- caballada, caballado [caballada]
- riding stock, same as caballar. See caballo for more.
- caballar [=]
- riding stock. See caballo for more.
- caballeriza [=]
- (i) a field in which riding stock are held
(ii) a stable
- caballeta [caballete]
- (i) ridge of roof - per context, likely the ridge-pole (cumbrera ) and
its supports (horcones) - see
cumbrera for more details
- (ii) tresle or sawhorse - often used as
a place to put saddles.
- caballo [=]
- (i) Any horse in general or a gelding (castrated male
horse) in the specific, depending on context. Montado a caballo -
mounted (on horse-back); montaba un caballo - rode a gelding - the crux of the
1982 movie: The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez.
- (ii) Caballos: is the common term for horses in
general, Yeguarizos is more refined but still a colloquial term,
Petisos is the colloquial term for polo-ponies, Equinos is
generally only used in official surveys & documents.
- (iii) More terms: bagual - untamed wild horse (mustang);
caballar / caballada - riding stock; cojudo - stallion (vulgar);
madrina - lead mare in a herd; manada - brood mare herd;
mancarrón - ungainly horse;
matungo - old moke; padrillo - stallion; pingo -
nice-looking horse; potrilla/o - foal or colt;
potranca - filly up to 3-4 years old; potro - colt up to 3-4
years old; redomón - horse being tamed (domado); retajo - sterilized stallion; tropilla -
herd of horses; yegua - mare.
- (iv) Horses are often refered to simply by their coloring (pelaje),
the ending “o” or “a” the only indication of their sex.
- (v) Hair colorings [pelaje] - see
foot of glossary.
- cabezada [=]
- headstall of a bridle
- cabestro, cabresto [cabestro]
- lead-rope of the halter (bosal)
- cabo [=]
- (i) handle of a knife or stock of a whip
(ii) corporal in the army
- cabrestrear [cabestrear]
- lead a horse by its halter rope (cabestro)
- cachorro [=]
- cacique [=]
- indian chief
- prickly-pear or paddle cactus (Opuntia sp.) — its leaves were chopped
up and added to slaked lime to make it stick better when white-washing walls.
In Spanish, its red fruit is called: tuna.
- calk [from German: kalk]
- slaked lime, see kalk for details
- callajon [callejón]
- per context, a road-way or dead end road
- callpon, calpon [H] [galpón]
- see galpon
- calsa [=]
- to fit or fits (in place)
- calsar [=]
- (i) to fit;
- (ii) to line, as in to line a well with bricks. See brocal.
- calzonzillas [calzoncillas]
- underwear shorts, drawers
- camisa [=]
- camolotes [camalotes]
- mats of floating water hyacinth
- camp [campo]
- Derived from the Spanish campo, it takes on all its meanings and
is still in wide use today:
(i) farm-fields, terrain, countryside – as in “riding out in camp”,
or “the camp is full of water”;
(ii) ranch – as in “I have a camp” means “I own a ranch”;
(iii) farming & ranching community / agribusiness as a whole: “the
camp is furious about the new tax.”.
- campiar, campeando, campiando, campiaring [campear]
- to be out in the field, to search the fields, to
- large open area surrounded by monte, per context (AABz 12 Sep 1895)
- caña [=]
- (i) cane (as in bamboo);
(ii) hut structural element: cane is used in the walls to provide a skeleton
adobe (chorizo) and in the roof it is the cross pieces on which the
thatch (paja) is lain and tied to - see
cañaveral. Other elements: horcón, cumbrera, tijeras, paja, chorizo;
(iii) rhum - Caña Piragua is (and likely was) the most popular brand.
- cañada, canada [cañada]
- (i) low-land / valley along an arroyo on the flat pampas.
(ii) If capitalized, most likely refers to the town of Cañada de Gómez
30 km. south of La California.
- cañaveral [=]
- dense stand of tall thick stemmed grass, or cane, found along rivers and
used for thatch, etc. See caña and paja - can be stands of
- candor [condor]
- Alfred, 18-10-76: most likely misspelt “condor” - see peso chileno.
- caño [=]
- canoa [=]
- narrow flat-bottomed boat that is rowed (note: not a north-american indian canoe)
- cansado [=]
- tired, worn out
- canutillo [=]
- (i) Tender plant (Commelina erecta) that grows in calm waters, up to
1.4 meters tall, found throughout the warmer regions of the Americas, has some
medicinal properties. In English: “Whitemouth Dayflower”.
- (ii) Pasto canutilla (Panicum elephantites) is a flood resistant
natural perennial grass found in lowlands; cattle like it however there are
some health issues with it.
- canyada [H]
- see cañada
- capar, capared, capando, capered [capar]
- to castrate, or castrated (see capon and novillo.)
- capataz, capatas [capataz]
- foreman on an estancia. See Administrador for the
management hierarchy of an estancia.
- capataz de tropa [=]
- foreman responsible for a cattle herd (being herded)
- see capar
- capon, capones [capón]
- wether, wethers (castrated male lamb/sheep)
- caponsito [=]
- small capón
- carada [cargada]
- load, as in wagon-load.
- caraguata [caraguatá]
- a.k.a.: planta vaso, cardo chuza
Most likely a spiky-spiny bromiliad plant, possibilities are (a) Aechmea distichantha native to northern Argentina,
Paraguay, and Brazil. (b) Bromelia pinguin; (c) Another
possibility is Eryngium pandanifolium, which is similarly spiny & spiky.
- carancho [=]
- Distinctive bird of prey (Caracara plancus) seen often on the pampas & patagonia:
wingspan 1.2-1.35 metres, weighing 1-1½kg.; feeds mostly on carcasses of dead animals, but will take small prey.
Not endangered. See Hudson’s Birds
- “cardo negro” [=]
- A thistle (Cirsium vulgare) introduced into Argentina from Europe; considered an invasive weed. English: "Spear thistle".
- cargero, carguero [carguero]
- pack horse, freighter
- carga [=]
- (i) load (e.g. car load)
- (ii) charge, price
- carne [=]
- meat. In Argentine terms, when unqualified, means: beef.
- “carne con cuero” [carne con cuero, asado con cuero]
- barbecued side of beef, grilled with the hide on & facing the fire.
Takes 12 – 24 hours to prepare, the hide keeps the juices in. See asado.
- carneared, carneado [carnear]
- to butcher an animal
- carnero [=]
- ram: whole male sheep
- carnicero [=]
- caronillias [caronillas]
- saddle-blankets, typically made of woven wool, or sheepskin wool-side down
- carosane [H] [querosén]
- kerosene (US: lamp oil)
- carpa [=]
- capared [capar]
- castrated – capar is: to castrate
- carpering, carpiendo, carpired [carpir]
- to cultivate – to use a
hoe (or cultivator, a farm implement) to build soil
into ridges around the roots of row crops such as maiz / corn.
- carpincho /a [=]
- the largest rodent in the world (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), it is
herbivorous; semi-aquatic it lives near water, diving into rivers or lakes
when frightened. About 1.0-1.3m long, males weigh as much as 65kg. - about
the size of a pig covered in coarse brown hair with a large square head.
Not endangered, it
is valued for its meat and hides which are very soft when tanned.
a.k.a.“capibara”, in Guaraní: “kapi-yva”, in English: “capybara”
- carral [H] [corral]
- see corral.
- see Correntino.
- (i) race, as in: horse race
(ii) a race horse - per context
- carreta [=]
- cart. During the 1800's, and earlier, the traditional cart of the pampas
was 2-wheeled and pulled by 1 to 3 yokes (yuntas) of oxen (bueyes).
Its wheels were 2-2½ meters in diameter with large solid wood hubs, joined by
a solid wood axle upon which rested the cart's cargo box (caja, cajón), 4 meters
long by 1-1½ meters wide. The box floor was made up of the foot of the 6½
meter long tongue (pertigo) and two parallel 4 meter long spars, held
together by cross-spars (teleras). A leather sack (buche)
was often attached in front &/or behind the box. The tongue extended forward from the
box 2½ meters, with a yoke (yugo) attached to its tip for the nearest
pair of oxen, known as the pertigueros. Each side of the box was made
up of woven rushes supported by six vertical stakes. Six high wood hoops
were attached the pairs of stakes across the box; the hoops supported a roof of
tightly sown cattle-hides. For more details, see
buche, buey / bueyes, castilla, coyunta, dorsal, yunta,
pertigo, & pertigueros.
Note: In the 1960's & 1970's, much smaller open
carretas (catangos) were still used in Neuquen province - they
had solid wood wheels cut from a log (at most 1½ meters in diameter) and were
pulled by a single pair of oxen; the driver led them by resting a long bamboo cane on
their yoke (mischeivous kids noticed fishing-rods also worked...).
- carretilla [=]
- (i) trebol de carretilla - a clover (Medicago arabica) (see AABz, 1895 Jun 14)
(ii) pasto carretilla - a grass that spreads via stolons
- carro [=]
- cart, typically 4-wheeled.
- “carro volcado”
- “overturned cart” is a site on or local to L.Palmares
- carrona, carronilla
- see caronilla
- cartucho [=]
- casco [=]
- the estancia headquarters. It can sometimes be quite substantial
on large estancias (e.g. in their hey-days: La California, Las Tres
Lagunas, Los Algarrobos). A casco consisted of the owner’s
house and parkland, plus individual housing for the mayordomo,
capataz, bookkeeper, key married workmen, rooms for the household and
field workmen, additional buildings for admin. office, butcher’s shop, store,
dairy (tambo), kitchen to feed the workmen, blacksmith and machine
repair shop (herreria), as well as the requisite barns (galpón),
sheds, garages, windmills, and water reservoirs (tanque). The
corrales adjoined but not too closely because of dust (& irate wives) –
all surrounded by a planted woodland (monte).
On the pampas, estancias that have shrunk (typically split up through inheritance), substancial cascos have
become non-productive burdens. The need for a large infrastructure
has been much reduced by good roads, good commnunications, & modern farming
methods & equipment.
- caserola [=]
- cook-pot, casserole
- casilla [=]
- small house, typically mounted on a 4-wheeled cart frame;
used to house workmen in the field. Some of the old casillas from La California still exist, used for
storage at La California & El Piquete. Modern day equivalents are mounted on 4-wheel traillers.
- castilla [=]
- an enclosed 2-wheel cart (carreta). The cart's box was fully enclosed
with small side-windows; at a distance it looked like a rolling castle
(castillo rodante). One was used on the first cattle drive from
La California to Laguna Yacaré (April, 1884).
- cat / wild cat
- see gato montes, puma, & jaguar
- catre [=]
- simple narrow bed / cot, similar to a field bed of canvas or burlap on
- cavallete/a [caballete]
- see caballete
- ceibo [=]
- The tree and national flower of Argentina (Erythrina cristagalli).
A subtropical broadleaf tree native to South America, with a twisted trunk &
many branches, not overlly tall, it is deciduous with brilliant red flowers.
a.k.a.seibo, in English: “Cockspur Coral tree”
- cencerro [=]
- a bell worn by a cow (i.e. a cow-bell) or mare so it can be found in the
dark. In the case of a mare, it is the madrina that wears the bell
- cepayos [zapallos]
- squash (of the edible kind), pumpkin – see zapallo
- cerca [cerco]
- hedge or enclosure (encercar is to enclose)
- cerda [=]
- horse hair, from the mane & tail.
- cerdearing, cerdiared, serdearing [cerdear]
- to trim a horse’s mane & tail
- cerrero [=]
- wild, untamed cattle; unbroken horse
- certifico [certificado]
- certified statement, document, or mail
- chacarero, chacrero [chacarero]
- (i) someone who makes a living from a small farm (chacra)
- (ii) someone who tills/works the soil
- chacra [=]
- (i) a small farm; see colono
- (ii) an area or field cultivated for farming, typically enclosed.
- chañar [=]
- A leguminous tree (Geoffroea decorticans), erect with a spreading
canopy, spiny, deciduous, bushy in groups (less than 5 mts tall), lone trees grow taller (10
mts.); its typically curved trunc sheds its bark leaving patchy patterns of
green, tan, and brown. Grows in dry arid
areas of central and northern Argentina & Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, &
Perú. Its yellow fruit is edible (meaty, very sweet, similar to honey), & is used to make chañar arrope, a medicinal drink.
- chañaral [=]
- a woods or stand of chañar trees
- chanarcita [chañarcita]
- a small chañar
- chañares [=]
- plural of chañar
- chanchero [=]
- pig-man (chancheria is the piggery).
- (i) small domestic pig - see chancheria
(ii) If Alfred, likely a small javali
- chancho corbato
- a wild pig, probably the pecarí de collar, see pecarí
- chancho negro
- a wild pig, one of the pecarí, see pecarí
- charabón [=]
- young / juvenile ñandú that has begun its first molt, see rhea
referenced by Alfred as: charybono, charybo (4 Aug'84, 16 Feb'85)
- charata [Chachalaca charata]
- Large olive-brown bird (Ortalis canicollis) inhabits the central South American forests
(northern Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, & Brazil), feeds on fruit, leaves, insects;
perches in trees, its loud clattering call is very noisy. a.k.a. in English: "Chaco Chachalaca".
- charco [=]
- puddle (of water)
- charqui [=]
- salted strips of sun dried meat
- charquiared, chasquiared, charqueared [charquear]
- to salt and dry meat in the sun, to make charqui;
- charybono, charybo [charabón]
- see charabón
- chasqui, chasques [chasqui]
- mounted messenger, mail-man. Name comes from Quichua, meaning:
- chica [=]
- (i) small
- chicarre [chicarrero]
- pen, for small livestock (pigs, chickens)
- chilca [=]
- A blooming shrub (Baccharis salicifolia or azumiate), a sage scrub, found near water
in dry areas from the southwestern US to central Chile & Argentina. Height: 0.8-2.0 m.,
long pointed sticky leaves, pink/red tinged flowers. The common name “Chilca”
comes from the Mapuche indians. In Mexico: azumiate, mula grasa, batamote, in US: mule
fat, seepwillow, water-wally.
- china [=]
- folksy criollo term for a woman or wife - not vulgar
- chinaje [=]
- folksy criollo term for women as a group, as in “women-folk”
- chispa [=]
- choclo [=]
- corn (maiz) on the cob for eating as in sweet-corn, in the
camp usually from field corn.
- choique [=]
- the correct term for the lesser rhea of Patagonia and Andes foothills. See rhea for more details.
- choriado [chorreado]
- brindle (dog or horse coloring). See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- chorizo [=]
- (i) sausage;
- (ii) hut structural element: a sausage of straw (paja) mixed
with mud used in building the walls of a hut. The mud was prepared in a
pisadero where horses trampled in straw and their dung; the mix was allowed to rot for a few days before it was
used to make chorizos or to plaster walls. A wall was (still is) made by bending
successive layers of
chorizos across horizontal supports - a skeleton of cañas (today
wire) attached to
posts (name), one layer at a time with each layer folded down over the lower layers.
The walls are then rough plastered with the mud. The last finer layer of
plaster was mud made with horse dung without the straw. In particular, see cumbrera, other elemenst are: caballete, caña,
costanera, horcón, paja, pisadero, tijeras.
- chorlo [=]
- Most likely the Chorlo Pampeano (Pluvialis dominica); a small-medium sized bird,
spotted gold and black with a black neck & breast with white borders. It has one of the longest
migration paths: nesting in northern Alaska and Canada, wintering in southern
Argentina, pampas and patagonia.
Heavily hunted in the late 19th century, its population has never fully recovered.
In English: the American Golden Plover. See Hudson’s Birds
- chúcara/o [=]
- shy horse or wild cattle
- chucheria [=]
- trinkets, miscelaneous small items
- Cia [Cia.]
- abbreviation for compañía, i.e. company.
- ciclon [ciclón]
- a storm on the pampas with very strong, intense winds, often on a narrow
front, destructive - uproots trees, flattens buildings.
- ciervo, cierbo [ciervo]
- (i) deer - per context, most likely the “ciervo de los pantanos” -
the largest deer of South America (Blastocerus dichotomus), it is
reddish-brown, darker in winter, with black legs below the elbows, black
muzzle, and white around the eyes and ear edges, up to 1.20m. tall at the
shoulder, males can weigh 150kg., females 100kg. Adult males grow large
(60cm.) many-tined (4+) antlers each spring. Originally found in north-east
Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil below the equator, today it is endangered,
found only in isolated pockets near esteros and lagunas,
particularly national parks. a.k.a: “ciervo isleño”, “ciervo del delta”, in
Guaraní: “guazú pukú”, in Englsih: “marsh deer”.
- (ii) “ciervo de las pampas” - see gama, guasuncho, & venado.
- cigüeña [=]
- stork (Ciconia maguari), found throughout South America in marshy
remote areas, excluding Ecuador, Peru, and the patagonia. Stands 85 cm. tall,
white with black primary and secondary wing feathers. Full names: “Cigüeña
americana”, in Guaraní: “tuyango”, in English: “Maguari Stork”.
See Hudson’s Birds
- cinche [cincha]
- girth, cinch
- cinch cart
- see sinch cart
- cirdeared [cerdear]
- per context (Alfred, 1 May '89), to trim a horse’s mane & tail. See cerda.
- clums [-?-]
- no idea? (Alfred, 2 Dec. '84)
- citared [citar]
- filed a complaint with or against (per context)
- coatí [=]
- The South American coati (Nasua nasua) is about the size of a large house cat, with a slender head,
elongated nose - about 75 cm in length, 30 cm. tall, 1-8 kg., & a very long
bushy tail (50 cm). Inhabits Paraguay, most of Brazil, & areas next to
Brazil of all neighboring countries. Lives in forests, able tree climber; diurnal, omnivorous, eats insects, birds
eggs, fruit, small birds & vertebrates. In the wild lives about 7 years;
males are solitary, females live in groups. Not endangered. Common
names: English: South American coati, ring-tailed coati; Guaraní: Kuatí; Spanish: coatí, osito de los palos.
- cobrar, cobrared [cobrar]
- collect payment, or charge for a sale
- cobraring [cobrando]
- bill collecting, likely rents from the colonos
- cocking [-?-]
- something to do with making hay of cut alfalfa - see La Calif. January, 1899
- cohudito, cohudieto [cojudito]
- diminutive of cojudo, see cojudo
- cohudo, cohudito [cojudo]
- see cojudo
- cojinillo [=]
- saddle cover, see recado for a desription in context.
- cojuntas [conjuntas]
- (i) per context June 11, 1884: yokes of oxen - see yunta.
- (ii) per context, Oct.12-13, 1884, a raw-hide lonja
(strap), likely used to tie an oxen to the yoke. See carreta.
- cojero, cojeared
- see collero / collear
- cojudo, cohudo [cojudo]
- Colloquial (& vulgar) term for an intact male (i.e. not castrated). Often used with horses
& cattle, the
correct (& polite) terms are, horses: stallion is padrillo; cattle: bull is toro.
- cojunta, conjunta, cojunda [coyunta]
- see coyunta.
- collera [=]
- horse collar - in a draft horse harness; see pechero
- collero [=]
- yoke strap, harness that holds a yoke in place on an ox
- collear [=]
- to acustom an ox to the collar
- colonia [=]
- a settlement, a section of land populated with colonos
(settlers), typically small farmers (a.k.a.: chacareros).
Colonias were often promoted by provincial
governments, either directly or via contract, to attract immigrant settlers
from Europe. Some settler groups bought their land from the government, e.g.
near San Javier (SFé) was established by a group of Californians, of which
Frank X. Bz (b.1816) was a founding member. Other colonias were promoted
by speculators, e.g. Colonia Espín, in which Frank J. Bz
(b.1850) invested heavily, the leading cause of his debts. (See their bios.
for more details.) In other cases, the land was rented out, as at
La California, the
league was rented out to tenant farmers.
- colonist, colono [colono]
- (i) settler (usually immigrants from Europe),
- (ii) tenant farmer or share cropper (a.k.a.: chacareros).
- colony, colonie [colonia]
- see colonia
- colorado [=]
- (i) red;
(ii) horse color: bay. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- (iii) cattle color: dark red. (e.g. red angus)
- comino [=]
- cumin (a spice)
- commandante [comandante]
- military officer, equiv. to a major or colonel
- comisario [=]
- chief of police
- comision [comisión]
- officially organized group, party, team
- “Comisión de Fomento”
- Town/department development & maintenance services comission, e.g. roads, streets, sewage, water services
- comolotes [camalotes]
- See camolotes.
- companero [compañero]
- friend, colleague
- completar [=]
- to complete, to fill
- compostura [=]
- a repair, or spare parts for a repair
- “con cuero” [=]
- “with skin” - see asado
- conforme [=]
- to formally agree with (in legal terms)
- conjunta, conyunta
- see coyunta and yunta
- consumo [=]
- livestock that is to be, or was, butchered for food (consumption)
- “contribución directa” [=]
- provincial real estate tax levied upon the value of all land and fixed
assets, typically paid in quotas (installments).(La California:
first mentioned 4 June, 1888.)
- convenio [=]
- corador [H]
- see corredor
- “Cordoba nates”
- provincial currency of Córdoba. At sporadic intervals between 1815 and
1843, the province of Córdoba (also La Rioja) struck its own coins.
See currencies of Argentina on our Measures page.
- Cordobes, Cordobese [cordobés]
- Someone, or something, of/from the province of Córdoba.
- corintinos, Correntinos [correntino]
- Someone, or something, of/from the province of Corrientes.
- cornaso [cornada/cuernaso]
- gored by a horn, jabed by a horn (cuerno)
- cornear [descornear ?]
- probably to trim the horns - see descornear
- corneto [=]
- any bovine (bull or cow) with asymetric horns, e.g. with one curved down,
the other curved up.
- corral, corrales [=]
- pen, enclosure; each estancia has a set of them for working cattle or
sheep, known collectively as the corrales or
bretes – see bretes. Sheep and cattle will have separate sets due
to the difference in size.
- corral de ramas [=]
- corral made of tree branches
- corralon [corralón]
- Large pen or yard. Depending on context, could be a lumber yard or
- corredor [=]
- veranda (long wide porch) on one or more sides of a house (note: pasillo is a corridor or passage within a
- correspondencia [=]
- Correspondence / mail.
- corretiada [corretear ?]
- per context (July 18, 1892), cattle made to walk about (e.g. making bloated cattle
walk causes their stomach & intestines to move, thereby assisting the gas
- see carretilla
- corrida [=]
- hunt / chase, e.g. chasing baguales
- corrida sortija [corrida de sortija]
- A traditional game of the pampas in which riders at a gallop attempt with a needle to hook
a small ring hanging from a cross bar above them. If there are many riders, they are broken into two
teams, one on each side of the hanging ring, the teams then alternate turns at hooking the ring.
- corvata pig
- see pecarí labiado
- cosecha [=]
- Crop or crop season.
- costa [=]
- coast of a river, or the edge of a monte
(i) La California diaries: refers to the coast of the
Paraná river about 70+ km. to its east
(ii) Los Palmares diaries, per context is: either the coast of the Paraná
to its east (e.g. the area of Alejandra & Pajaro Blanco), or the coast / banks of one of the
rivers or lagunas bordering the camp, rivers Calchaquí or Salado, lagunas.
- costaneros [costaneras]
- The posts of the outside walls of a hut. See chorizo, horcón & cumbrera.
- costillar [=]
- side of ribs
- “counter mark”, countermark [contra-marcar]
- to rebrand livestock (or hides) to show new ownership; e.g. Alfred added
his brand to cattle he purchased before having them herded down to L.California
- covered [cubrir]
- served, to serve - as in “a male serves a female”.
- coyunta, cojunta, conjunta, cojunda [coyunta]
- the strap that ties a yoke (yugo) in place upon an ox, as in
acoyuntar, the verb “to yoke” (i.e. tie-in) oxen. See carro,
dorsal, pertico, yugo, & yunta.
- crecida [=]
- (i) swollen, as in a river is swollen or high;
grown, as in a child has grown
- creciendo [=]
- (i) rising, as in a river is rising;
- (ii) growing
- creciente [=]
- flash flood, or flood stage
- crespo [=]
- curly haired
- criollo / criolla [=]
- (i) a creole person (literal translation): when referring to
people, it originally meant someone of Spanish ancestry born in the colonies.
In modern terms it means the country folk of the pampas, their customs, dress,
food, songs, and dances. Akin to country and western in the US. In
tourist terms, they are the gauchos. A true criollo is a man of his word, he
may be of modest means but he takes great pride in his honor.
(ii) Horses: The native criollo breed, akin to the quarter
horse in the US, is stocky and strong and is descended from escaped Spanish stock that ran wild on the pampas.
(iii) Sheep: The native sheep are descended from Spanish stock, still found in Corrientes and other remote provinces.
- cristianos [=]
- Christians, i.e. not indians.
- cuadra, cuadrado [cuadra]
- a.k.a. in Spanglish: square, sq
19th century measure of distance (150 varas, 130± metres) or land area: 150 x 150 varas
(1.69± hectareas). The length of the vara varied slightly by province (for
specific details, see our page
Though it was made obsolete when Argentina metrified during
the 1880's, the cuadra (square) remained in use for many years.
JEBz: used it mostly for area, denoted it with a tiny square: □ e.g 200□
AABz: used it mostly for distance, denoted it with a lozenge: ◊
La California: its first fields were each 100 cuadras (168.7 has.).
- cuadrilla [=]
- (i) crew of peones (workmen) on an
estancia. See Administrador for more about the management hierarchy
of an estancia.
(ii) bands of baguales (wild horses - Dec.'84)
(iii) small band of cattle
- cuarta, quarta [cuarta]
- (i) quarter;
(ii) a measure of length, one quarter (cuarta) of a vara,
i.e. 21.6 cm. in Santa Fé;
(iii) a measure of dry volume, most likely a contraction of
”cuartilla” which is one quarter (cuarta) of a fanega,
i.e. 55 litres. (See our page on Measures.)
- cuatí [coati]
- see coati
- cuartel [=]
- army barracks
- cubiertos [=]
- cucharon [cucharón]
- Alfred, 1897: Possibly a spoonbill duck (Anas clypeata); migrates
between North and South America.
- cuero [=]
- skin, hide
- “cuero cortado” [=]
- skin, hide that has been cut or has holes, i.e. was poorly skinned
- “cuero potros” [=]
- (young) horse hides
- “cuero vuelto” [=]
- “hide returned” - applies to livestock sales, price excludes the hide,
i.e. the hide is returned after slaughter.
- cumbrera [=]
- hut structural element: the roof ridge-pole, often curved up in the
middle for added height, as well as the lower horizontal tie-beams along
outside walls. The cumbreras rest on
horcones (forked posts); joining the the ridge-pole and the tie-beams are
lighter beams (tijeras). The tijeras in turn support a layer of
canes (caña) upon which lies the thatched roof of paja. See the
other elements: caballete, horcón, tijeras, caña, paja, chorizo
- curar, cureared [curar]
- see cured.
- cured [curar]
- to treat animals, usually for fly-blown wounds and such. See
- curero [=]
- slang Spanish term the livestock being treated - see cured
- per context, likely: castrated; see capar
- D -
- danino [dañino]
- damaging, destructive
- “de aparte” [=]
- separately (? - 1898 Apr 16 - AABz)
- ”de valde” [de balde]
- work on his own account, in vain (Alfred 21 May'85)
- decreto [=]
- see ciervo, gama, guasuncho, & venado.
- delgado [delgado]
- slim, skinny
- delgadar [adelgar]
- to slim down
- see dilegence
- demandared [demandar]
- official questioning or suit; to bring suit
- demijohn, demijuan, demejuanas [damajuana]
- 5, 10, or 20 litre bottles, typically encased in a wicker-basket, used for
wine, liquor, chemicals, etc.
- dentudo [dentudo]
- a “toothy” slim fish (Acstrorhynchus sp.), about 25cm long, common
to the tropical & subtropical rivers & lagunas of South America. A
voracious predator of smaller fish. It is bright silver with a greenish back,
and has small scales, large eyes, and a large mouth with sharp conical teet.
Various species with non-specific common names: dientón, dientudo dorado,
dientudo paraguayo, pez cachorro, pez zorro. In English, it is known as:
freshwater barracuda, or spotted cachorro.
- depenenties [dependientes]
- derake [H]
- desaguadero [desaguadero]
- drain, drainage ditch
- descansar [descansar]
- desconosidas [desconocidas]
- per context: unknown / unbranded livestock
- descornar, descornared [descornar]
- to de-horn cattle: the entire horn, often just its tips, is removed to reduce the possibility
wounding others. De-horning is usually done at weaning. See yerra.
Polled (mocho) cattle are selectively bred without horns.
- descuadrillado [descuadrillado]
- dislocated (arm or leg)
- desecho, desechando
- see deshecho
- desembichar /ed [desembichar]
- treat fly-blown wounds; typically involves clearing eggs and maggots out
of wounds and applying an ointment that kills eggs and/or dissuade
re-infestation. See cured and embichado.
- desgranared [desgranar]
- shell corn/maiz, shelled
- deshacer [=]
- dismantle, undo
- deshecho, deshechado [=]
- worn out, no longer productive livestock
- deshechar, dehechando [=]
- to reject, rejecting livestock
- see disparared
- desparared, desparada
- see disparared
- desparramada [=]
- scattered, scattering
- desvasar, devasar [desvasar]
- clean & trim horse hooves.
- see desvasar
- desvio [=]
- in railroad terms: a siding or side-track
- dilegence [diligencia]
- a diligencia is an errand; however, in the context of the diaries
it refers to the light express / hitch wagon (vagoneta) pulled by a
team of 2 or 4 horses typically used by
estancias to run daily errands in the local town for small purchases, mail, fresh bread, etc. The La
California diligencia was still making its daily run into Las
Rosas during the early 1950’s. Before the advent of paved roads and 4x4 trucks,
horse drawn vehicles fared much better in mud than did motorized, which after rain
all too often bogged down or slid into ditches.
- dip, dipping
- A dip is a long narrow vat filled with water through which livestock are made
to swim (aka: plunge dipping) thereby immersing and soaking their skin and
hair/wool. Chemicals are added to the water that kill various external
pests, e.g. ticks (Texas Tick fever), mites (scabbies), flies, lice. A
cattle dip is roughly 10 metres long, water 2 deep, 1 wide), a sheep dip is
considerably smaller. The chemicals used can be very toxic.
- see desechar
- dishacer [deshacer]
- dismantle, undo
- discharged, disechared [despedir]
- (i) let go, rejected, terminate employment
- (ii) unload or hand-over (Aug. 1892)
- see descornar
- discounted [descontado]
- JEBz diaries: Typically refers to a
discounted loan or note (bill) taken out at a bank. The loan includes the
interest and stamp taxes, i.e. the net amount received is the loan amount less
interest and taxes.
- disembichar /ed /ing [desembichar]
- See desembichar.
- disgrain /ed /ing, disgranaring [desgranar]
- to shell corn/maiz
- dishechada/o [deshechado]
- see deshechado
- dismamantared [desmamar / destetar]
- to wean, weaned
- disparada [=]
- a stampede; a panicked flight (typically of livestock)
- disparared [disparar]
- (i) stampeded
- (ii) to stampede, e.g. cattle stampeded;
- (iii) to fire a gun
- disparrama [desparrame]
- to scatter or a scattering
- disparramared [desparramado]
- dispatched [(i) despachar; or: (ii) despidir]
- (i) send / post / dispatch;
(ii) dismiss or fire (an employee)
- displayado [desplayado]
- (i) clearing in the monte (woods)
(ii) flood plain, land exposed when floods recede (or tide goes out)
- dispoblar [despoblar]
- to unsettle, to evacuate / leave
- dispunta [despunta]
- per context, where river doubles back (Alfre 27 Nov.'85)
- dispuntaring [despuntando]
- trimming burrs and barbs (e.g. from fence posts)
- distarra [-?-]
- (AABz 12 Nov, 1897) at most?
- In the camp diaries, this symbol symbol denotes the peso, see
peso. It does NOT denote the US dollar unless specified.
- dordillo, doridillo [doradillo]
- light bay/red. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- dormitorio [=]
- dorsal [-?-]
- harness part attached to the tongue (pertigo) of a cart (carreta).
We don't know its function, but we suspect it could be what attaches the
traces (tiras) of the lead pairs of oxen to the tip of the tongue (pertigo).
(Alfred, Oct.11, 1884)
- see dorsal
- domador [=]
- a tamer, if unqualified, then: a horse tamer
- domared, domaring [domando]
- taming or breaking-in horses.
- drogueria [=]
- Drug-store, farmacy; or items from such.
- Alternative name for the Shorthorn breed of cattle.
- E -
- See señal.
- egualars [iguala / igualar]
- matches, equals
- embarared [embarar]
- to apply or cover with mud, e.g. to plaster a wall with mud.
Revocar is probably more correct.
- embarcar [=]
- to load for shipment
- embargar, embaragared [embargar]
- to embargo or seize, i.e. by court order
- embichado /as [=]
- fly-blown animal. Flies lay their eggs in wounds, the eggs hatch into larvae
(maggots) that then feed on and enlarge the wound. See desembichar.
- embichared, embechared [embichado]
- fly-blown animal - see embichado
- embra [hembra]
- embretared [embretado]
- (i) to place cattle in bretes
(ii) to be in or be put in a difficult situation
- empastado [=]
- bloated, as when cattle suffer or die from bloat [empaste], typically caused by eating young alfalfa
that froths up and swells the rumen into the space needed by the lungs to
expand during breathing.
- empatanared [empantanado]
- bogged down (stuck) in a mud hole in the road; word root is: pantano - bog
- “en cerco”
- see encercar
- “en pelo” [en pelo]
- bareback - litteraly to ride “on hair”
- “en rodeo”
- see rodeo
- encajada, encajared [encajada/o]
- stuck, as in bogged-down in mud
- encargado [encargado]
- the person in-chage of a task or place. Can be a manager, capataz, or
anyone higher management has designated.
- encargared [encargar]
- requested, or placed an order
- encargoes [encargues]
- (i) requests;
- (ii) requested/ordered items
- enceinta [encinta]
- with child (polite form of embarazada - pregnant). A pregnant animal is: preñada.
- encercar [=]
- (i) to enclose or surround, e.g. with a hedge (cerco is a hedge);
- (ii) to encircle or box-in cattle, or prey when hunting.
- encomienda [=]
- (i) parcel post; courier or package sent by courier;
- (ii) an errand or request, often as a favor.
- enronchado [enronchado]
- to be covered in ronchas - discolored swellings or bruises, e.g.
from insects bites.
- ensenada [=]
- large corral or enclosure - typically grassy, much smaller than a potrero (field).
- entregared, entregó [entregar]
- handed over / delivered
- Entre Riano [entreriano]
- Someone from the province of Entre Rios
- envernada, envernar
- see invernada
- equipaje [=]
- equivocación [=]
- epedemis [-?-]
- (wool or skin, see 27 Oct., 1891)
- escribano, escribano publico [Escribano Público]
- Notary public in Argentina. In US terms they are equivalent to a para-legal or lawyer
specialized in contract law. (Today, an Escribano Público must first study law for 4-6 years,
Derecho Notarial, followed by another 2 years of specialization.) Most
contracts (e.g. land sales) must be written and certified by an Escribano Público.
Escribanos charge a fixed percentage of the value of the contract; the percentage rate is
determined by their colegio (association). The advent of
computers has made their tasks easier and their rates can be negotiated down.
- espadaña [=]
- bulrushes (often used as a building material, see caña)
- espartilla [espartillo o esparto]
- Espartillo is a common name applied to several harsh native grasses of Argentina, however, the
following are specific to northern Santa Fé:
(i) A perennial grass (Spartina spartinae, formerly S. argentinensis), 60-70 cm. tall,
spreads by seeds and rhizomes, forms immense fields in the salty lowlands of northern Santa Fé, NE Córdoba,
Formosa, & Chaco. (a.k.a.: paja chuza). Native to NE Argentina, Paraguay, & the Gulf of México.
(ii) A perennial bunch grass (Spartina densiflora), displaces S. spartinae alongside rivers
in flood prone salty soils throughout the NE 1⁄3 of Argentina;
forms dense tufts up to 1½ metres tall, with long narrow leaves; invasive.
- see expedición
- espiga [=]
- cob - as in “corn cob”. If “in espiga” then it is a partial translation of
en espiga - on the cob.
- espinillo [=]
- a short spiny tree (Acacia cavenia, 3-4 meters high, yellow
flowers) standing alone or in small groups, found in the northern pampas and
chaco regions. See also algarrobo and ñandubai
- estaca [=]
- stake, as in horses tied to a stake.
- estancia [=]
- ranch, hacienda, fazenda, station – usually spoken of as a camp. In
the late 1800’s and early 1900's, Argentine estancias were akin to Texas
ranches: extensive cattle and crop enterprises. See administrador for
more on the management hierarchy of an estancia. See casco for a
description of a typical estancia headquarters.
- estanciero [=]
- estancia owner, i.e. rancher - see administrador.
- estantes [=]
- (i) shelving, cubboards
- (ii) posts or supports for a cross-beam. See horcon and cumbrera.
- esterito [=]
- small estero
- estero [=]
- a large expanse of low land, a marsh mostly under water, filled with thick stands
of tall grass (paja), its open water partly covered by floating
- estrapiadas [estraviadas]
- strays, as in cattle that strayed off
- estropeado [=]
- crippled, damaged, knocked-about by rough treatment
- expedicion, espedicion [expedición]
- (i) hunting expedition
- (ii) campaign against the indians
- “exposición rural” [=]
- Agricultural show (fair), typically organized by a
sociedad rural at the town, county, or provincial level. The national
exposición rural is held every winter (sometime during July through
September) at the Palermo show grounds in Buenos Aires and is organized by the
Sociedad Rural Argentina – known as the Palermo Show amongst
Anglo-Argentines. JEBz: judged Durham (short-horn)
cattle at the show in Rosario.
- F -
- probably an abbreviation for peso fuerte.
- faja [faja]
- Sash, typically made of fine wool. Part of the traditional dress of the hombre de campo -
camp-man (peón or gaucho). See also: alpargatas, bombachas, tirador.
- falso [falso]
- faulting [faltando]
- missing (i.e. one short, absent) [Alfred: 27 May'92]
- fanega [fanega]
- pre-metric measure for grain by volume. In Santa Fé: 220 litres,
6.24 bushels. In modern terms: 1 fanega = 173.7 kg. wheat, = 185.3 kg. maiz,
= 139 kg. maiz+cob. See almud & cuarta. (See our page on Measures.)
- farina, farinha [farina]
- wheat meal - actually it is an English term but included here, for
non-cooks. Fine ground whole wheat, analogous to corn-meal (polenta),
or oat-meal / porridge (US / UK).
- felastico [-?-]
- roll of wire? (Alfred 17 Feb'85)
- feretteria [=]
- (i) iron-works, metal tools, most likely black-smithing tools &
- (ii) in modern terms, it is a hardware store.
- fiared [fiar]
- to sell on credit; to give credit
- fiesta [=]
- finado [=]
- the late (dead person)
- “fine point”
- leading/select group of livestock. See point
- flacage [=]
- skinny cattle, as a group or classification
- flaco [=]
- thin, skinny
- flacura [=]
- thining, starving.
La California diaries: Mentioned on 8 Oct. ’88, the end of winter.
In central Santa Fé winters (June-Sept.) are typically very dry with almost no
rain, so that by the end of winter grass for feed is often scarce.
- flamenco [=]
- fonda [=]
- inn (lodging & meals)
- fortin [fortín]
- small fort; chains of them were set up across the pampas to provide protection against the indians
- fosfores [fosforos]
- matches (to light a fire)
- fotografista [fotógrafo]
- Freisian horse, frisan, frissan
- A breed of black light draft horses originating in Freisland, the Netherlands. Also knows as: Belgian Black
- freno [=]
- entire bridle, or just the bit, depending on context
- frente [=]
- in front of, across from.
- frison, frisson
- see Freisian horse
- frutas [fruta]
- fuente [=]
- fuerte [=]
- G -
- gagared [-?-] [gaguer?]
- stuttered ?
- gain [ganar, ganan]
- when discussing wages: earn, earnings, e.g. gain $2.00 per day.
- galera [=]
- stage-coach pulled by a team of 6 riders on horseback
- galgo [=]
- greyhound dog
- galletas, galletes [galleta]
- (i) a bread which when dry flakes easely.
Estancias provided it to their workmen because it would keep for a long
- (ii) today, galletitas are dry crackers / biscuits (US / UK
- galpon [galpón]
- barn or large shed
- galponcita/o, galponsito [galponcito]
- small barn or shed
- gama [=]
- a small reddish-brown deer of the pampas (Ozotoceros bezoarticus) -
max. height: 70cm. at the shoulder, weight: 40kg. Males grow antlers,
typically 3 points. Once numerous, it is currently endangered due to habitat
loss. a.k.a. “venado
de las pampas”, “ciervo de las pampas”, “ciervo pampero”, in
Guaraní: “guazú-tí”, in Englsih: “pampas deer”. See also ciervo,
- gamita [=]
- little gama
- “gangrena gaseosa”
- see mancha
- garrapata [=]
- tick; cattle ticks cause loss in condition, severe anemia, and itching.
- garrua [garúa]
- drizzle, a light rain
- garza, garza mora [=]
- A heron, the garza mora (Ardea cocoi) stands 1-1.3 metres
tall (40-50 inches), similar to but larger than the grey heron, with darker markings & orange beak and legs;
slow & elegant in flight. Widespread throughout South
America, today not endangered. During the late 1800’s its long feathers were prized for ladies hats.
- garzal [=]
- heron rookery
- gastos [=]
- gateado [=]
- line back. See Horse Coloring at foot of this page.
- gatear [=]
- to walk very quietly, i.e. “on tip-toes”; to creep up like a hunting cat, very quietly,
- gato colorado [=]
- (i) today, the gato colorado (Laopardus guigna) is
one of several small cats that inhabit patagonia and/or the Andes mountanous
regions of Chile, Argentina, Bolivia,
Perú, & Ecuador. Others include: colocolo (Leopardus colocolo), & Gato
de las pampas (Leopardus pajeros). None are likely to have been seen (or hunted) in
the Argentine Chaco region.
(ii) the gato del pantanal or gato de los pajonales del Plata (Leopardus braccatus,
often classified as a subspecies of the colocolo) inhabits NE Argentina, Uruguay,
central & south Brazil, Paraguay, & eastern Bolivia. About the size of a domestic cat, yellowish-brown fur
with dark brown spots or rusty-brown with faint spots, whitish throat, dark lines on cheeks, legs, & chest.
(Likely Alfred Bz's gato colorado, 14 march 1898). In English: “Pantanal Cat”,
in Guaraní: [-?-]
- gato montes [gato montés]
- The smallest wild cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) found in central &
north Argentina, its
territory encompases Argentina & Chile north of the Patagonia, all of Uruguay
& Paraguay, southern Brazil, & south-eastern Bolivia. Crepuscular & nocturnal
it sleeps by day hiding up high in trees or in tree hollows. It feeds on
small mamals, birds, & fish. Similar to a domestic tabby cat, but larger &
more robust: average weight: 4.8 kg., body length: 45-75 cm., tail: 25-35 cm.,
height: 30 cm. Once the most numerous wild cat in Argentina, it is currently
highly endangered due to habitat loss & illegal hunting.
“gato moteado grande”, “gato de Geoffroy”, in Guaraní: “mbaracayá”, in English:
“Geoffroy's Ocelot” or “Geoffroy's Cat”, or by Alfred et al: “wild cat”.
- gato morra
- (1895 Aug 18) colloquial local term - either the gato montes or gato overo
- gato once, gato onza [gato onza]
- a small wild cat (Leopardus pardalis, formerly: Felis pardalis),
dark spotted on a tan coat, white belly, 10-15 kg., up to 1.30 meters
including its tail. Crepuscular & nocturnal, lives in jungles from the
south-west US to north Argentina, feeds on small animals and birds. In danger
of extinction. a.k.a.: titica, tiricón, ocelote, gato tigre; in English:
“ocelot”; in Guaraní: “chiví guazú”.
- gato overo [gato pintado?]
- probably the gato pintado (Leopardus wiedii, formerly:
Felis wiedii). Similar to the gato onza
/ ocelot, smaller (40-60 cm long, less than 4 kg.) with more pronounced coloration
long heavy tail, & large eyes. Nocturnal, great tree climber, found in dense forests from Mexico to
northern Argentina and Uruguay. a.k.a. in
Spanish: gato tigre, margay, tigrillo; in English: “margay”; in Guaraní: “maracayá”.
- gde [grande]
- large (standard abbreviation)
- Gefe Politico, Gefe [Jefe Politico]
- see Jefe Politico
- genero [=]
- gente [=]
- ginebra [=]
- giro [=]
- money order, also: bank draft or bank-transfer
- see guiso
- golpeared [golpeado]
- struck, hit, banged-up as in an accident (golpe
is a bang or punch)
- gordo [=]
- fat, as in over-weight
- gran bestia [=]
- the great beast, common name for the South American tapir - see its entry
- grande [=]
- grano [=]
- (i) grain,
(ii) common name for carbuncle or anthrax, refers to the dark pustules (grains) that appear in the skin.
A bacterial disase the affects ruminants (cattle, sheep, deer), often fatal. Highly contagious, it can infect humans
but is today treatable with antibiotics.
- Guabivi [Guabirá]
- a.k.a. Guabiroba, Ibá-virá (Campomanesia xanthocarpa)
A semi-deciduous tree with a dense pyramid shaped crown, 4-20 mts tall, & a trunk 30-50 cm.
It grows in poorly drained areas in a belt from southern Bolivia across Paraguay, NE Argentina, & Brazil to Rio de Janeiro. Its
yellow fruit (almost the size of an apricot) is edible & greatly appreciated.
- guacho, guascho, guatcho [guacho]
- (i) orphan animal or child;
- (ii) volunteer crop plant, i.e. a crop plant out of place or season.
- (iii) perverse person
- guanaco [=]
- The guanaco or huanaco (Lama guanicoe) is a member of the llama family; 1-1¼ metres tall (at shoulder),
weighing approx. 90 kg (200 lb), light brown to dark cinnamon coat shading to a white belly with grey faces and small straight ears.
Herbivorous, they live in groups, ranging from the Patagonia in Argentina & Chile
to the Altiplano of Peru. Though greatly reduced in numbers, they are not endangered. The name comes from wanaku in Quichua. Young guanacos are: chulengo(s).
- guapo [=]
- (i) physically competent / capable
- (ii) good-looking, handsome man
- Guaraní [=]
- Indian tribe of north-eastern Argentina, southern Brazil, and all of
Paraguay. Their language is still spoken widely in that area today. It is
also one of the two official languages of Paraguay, the other is Spanish.
- guareguay [aguariguay]
- a tree, see aguariguay
- guasca [=]
- raw-hide, strip of rawhide
- guasuncho [=]
- a small greyish-brown deer (Mazama gouazosubira with very short
simple antlers (i.e. 10 cm. spikes), originally common throughout South
America's dry open areas and the edges of swamps and forests. Maximum height:
65cm., weight less than 20kg. a.k.a.: viracho, masuncho, in
Guaraní: guazú virá, in English: “gray brocket deer”. See ciervo,
gama, & venado.
- guazu guiras
- (1895 Aug 18) Alfred’s bag list, could mean big birds in
Guaraní: guazu - big; guyra - bird
- guia [guía]
- Permit to move livestock (a Bill of Lading); required for all movements of livestock
between locations (e.g. estancia, market), including movements between
properties of the same owner. Issued by local police, documents the ownership, head-count, brands,
etc. being moved. See also pasé.
- “gum trees”
- most likely eucalyptus trees, term borrowed from Australia.
- guiso, guisado [=]
- stew of meat, rice, and potatoes. Also made with mandioca
- guzanas [gusanos]
- worms, grubs, caterpillars
- see guacho
- H -
- ha., Hs. [ha.]
- abbreviation for hectare.
- hachero [hachero]
- (i) wood-cutter, axman;
- (ii) see
- hacienda [=]
- livestock, generally cattle.
- “hacienda removida” [=]
- movement of livestock, between properties, all same owner
- “hand cured”
- see desembichar
- hechor [=]
- male donkey - see burro
- hectare, ha., hect. [hectaria]
- metric hectare, 100x100 metres square (equal to 2.47 acres); abbreviated:
ha. or hect.
(See league and our page on Measures.)
- hembra, hembre [hembra]
- female (male: macho)
- “honduras grass” [honduras (?)]
- a forage grass. Per UN dictionary of agricultural terms, Guatemala or
Honduras grass (Tripsacum fasciculatum) is a tall broadleaved perennial
with stems up to 3.5 m that grows in humid areas on rich soils. Tolerates
acidity. Essentially cultivated for fodder as it is unsuitable for grazing.
NOTE: Do not recall seeing any grass at La California meeting
this description other than the native Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana).
- hooked, “hooked by novillo”
- received a horn thrust, by a steer
- horcon, horcones, horjones [horcón]
- hut structural element: forked posts upon which the ridge-poles and
horizontal tie-beams (cumbreras) rest. In particular, see
cumbrera, other elemenst are: caña, chorizo, paja, tijeras.
- hornero [hornero]
brick-makers, those who tend the ovens (horno is an oven);
(ii) the oven-bird of the pampas & Chaco (Furnarius rufus) - a
short tailed reddish-brown bird with a distinctive call, it makes its nests out
of mud in the shape of brick-ovens, hence its name. In Englsih it is known as
the Rofous Hornero or Red Ovenbird. See Hudson’s Birds
- horqueta [horqueta]
- (i) forked post that would support a cross beam, such as a hut structural element - see horcón
- (ii) livestock ear marking: a notch (muesca) to the tip of the ear. See señal and muesca for more about ear marks.
- huntar, huntaring, huntared [juntar]
- gathering or to gather / collect
- hurdle gate
- free standing barriers made of wood and lath, up to 2 meters long & 1 meter high (6x3 ft),
that can be attached together or to a fence to form a pen (corral) for sheep.
- huron, hurones [hurón]
- (i) The native ferret (Galictis cuja) of South America, from northern
to southern Bolivia, Paraguay, & southen Brazil. Black belly, tan
back, white stripe along sides beginning at nose & fading down the neck &
flanks. In English: the lesser grison.
(ii) term is also applied (today) to the domesticated ferret or polecat from Europe.
- I, J, K -
- imbechared, imbeechared, imbechada [embichado]
- see embichared.
- see empantanared
- impastado [empastado]
- see empastado
- “in beachado” / “in bechado” [H]
- see embichared
- incorporer [incorporar]
- join with, merger with
- indiada, indiado [indiada]
- (i) mass or large group of indians;
- (ii) the native indian people of a place, spoken of as a whole.
- indio [=]
- indian (not capitalised, nationalities are not capitalised in Spanish); a.k.a. US: amerindian or Native American.
- Ingleses [ingleses]
- intrusos [=]
- inoculared [inocular]
- to inoculate livestock against a disease - either by injection or dose down the throat
- invernada, envernada [invernada]
- derived from invernar - “to winter”; generic term for yearling cattle (steers &
heifers) being fattened for market, pastured for 12 – 24 months depending on
breed. “Recria” are stockers. See vacunos
for more cattle terms.
- isleta [=]
- islet - small island
- isletita [=]
- small isleta
- islita [=]
- small island
- jabalí, javali [jabalí]
- The javalí Alfred hunted (1890s) in northern Santa Fé province was most likely
the largest of 3 species of pecarí, the pecarí orejudo - see pecarí.
Note: Jabalí, the wild pig of the Iberian peninsular (sus scrofa), was introduced into Argentina
in the early 1900s, controlled at first it escaped & spread throughout Argentina north of patagonia
in the 1940s and 1950s.
- jacana [=]
- Water bird (Jacana jacana) similar to a coot: long skinny toes, yellow beak, black head, neck, & chest,
rust brown body & wings that are yellow in flight; walks on floating vegetation in rivers and lagunas
of NE Argentina, feeds on insects & invertebrates. Not endangered. a.k.a. in Spanish: gallareta,
in English: Wattled Jacana.
- jaguar [=]
- The largest wild cat in the Americas (Panthera onca), its name is
derived from the Guraraní word: yaguá
(fierce). Yellow-orange coat, darker on top with a white underside, covered
in black spots with a ringed tail; due to a genetic mutation, the occassional
jaguar's coat is entirely black. It is stout with a large head and the
strongest bite of any cat - body length: 70 cm., tail: 80 cm., height at the
shoulder: 1 meter, weight: 70-130 kg. It is the only cat in the Americas that
roars. Solitary, it prefers jungles and plains; it is a great swimmer; it
hunts large animals (deer, tapir, carpincho, yacaré) and smaller
prey of opportunity. It originally ranged the non-mountainous areas from
southern California (USA) to Chubut (Argentina). Persecuted by humans, it has
been pushed off the plains. Today in Argentina it is listed as endangered and
is found only in jungle preserves of Salta, Formosa, Chaco, and Misiones.
a.k.a.in Spanish: tigre, “tigre americano”, in Guaraní: its name
changed (due to European influences) from yaguá
to yaguá-eté then yaguareté, in English: jaguar.
- jaguel, jarguel [jagüel]
- well, usually for watering cattle – in the days before wind-mills, the
water was often drawn from open wells using a large metal or leather bucket.
The bucket’s rope was tied to the cinch of a rider’s saddle who would raise
and lower the bucket by walking his horse back and forth from the well. (see
- jahuel, jahueles
- see jaguel [jagüel]
- see charata
- javali [jabalí]
- see jabalí
- jefe [=]
- “jefe politico” [=]
- head-man, of a provincial county (departamento), or mayor of a town.
- see gente
- Jersey (bull)
- British breed of milking cows
- jornalero [=]
- day-laborer - a workman paid by the day (jornada). See also mensual.
- juez [=]
- jugillo [-?-]
- per context, a harness part (La California diary, 16 Jan., 1899)
- junta [yunta]
- (i) when referring to oxen, see yunta.
- juntar, juntared, juntaring [juntar]
- (i) collect, gather
(ii) harvest by hand, e.g. maize
- see yuyal
- juzgado [=]
- court, tribunal
- lime in German; specifically unslaked lime, in Spanish: cal viva.
Used as a base for house-paints or to whitewash buildings.
- kinta [H]
- see quinta.
- kintals [H]
- see quintal
- L -
- “la pesada” [la pesada]
- “as weighed”, e.g. priced as weighed - no adjustments.
- labrared [labrar]
- work at, worked on
- lampas / lampers / lampra
- inflamation & swelling on the roof of the mouth of horses behind the front
teeth. Called lampers or lampass (in English) because it used to be removed
by burning with a lamp or hot iron.
- lanar, lanares [lanar, lanares]
- sheep livestock (woolies), more refined than ovejas
(sheep). The technical term ovinos is often used in official surveys.
- lance [lanza]
- the draft pole of a cart, to which horses or oxen are harnessed. In true
Spanish, a lanza is also a spear, i.e. lance. a.k.a.
pertigo on older carts.
- langosto [langosta]
- locust. See locust and saltonas.
- langostero [=]
- a locust man, someone hired to gather/hunt/kill langostas, see locusts
- laguna [=]
- lagoon or small lake on the pampas
- lagunita [=]
- small laguna, i.e. a small lagoon
- lapacho [=]
- A deciduous tree (Handranthus impetiginosus] with bright pink
flowers, native to the Americas, from northern Mexico to NE Argentina; it is the national tree
of Paraguay. Slow growing, it can reach 30 mts. in height with a trunc diamter
of 80 cm. Its yellowish wood is very hard (excellent for fence-posts). Its bark
has been used for
its supposed medicinal properties.
- lasso [laso]
- lariat, rope typically made of rawhide (4, 6, or 8 braided strands) used
for roping livestock. See trensa and maneador.
- lasso dorcida [laso torcida]
- lariat similar to a twisted hemp rope but of twisted (not braided) rawhide
- latas [-?-]
- per context (Alfred 23 Feb.,1892), long branches used in place of cane to build
huts of mud and straw (see caña & cumbrera). The term is most likely
the abbreviation of lata'i pobre, a plant who's long branches were/are used in building huts.
- lavandera [=]
- laundry-woman (before the days of washing-machines, laundry took almost a week (wash, hang-dry, iron);
which meant two sets of work clothes were needed, those being laundered and those available to wear)
- lbs [libras]
- abbreviation (in English) for pounds (libras) 2.2 lbs = 1kg.
- league / legue [legua]
- (i) distance: 1 league = 5 kilometres or 3 miles
(ii) land area: In the 1880’s it would have been 2,800 hectares
(6,000x6,000 varas). Today’s metric league is 2,500 hectares (5x5 km).
Estancias were / are typically quoted in leagues. La California
was originally 4 leagues, or 11,200 ha. (See our page on Measures.)
- lechera [lechera]
- milk cow or dairy cow (abbreviation for: vaca lechera).
- lecheria [lecheria]
- lechiguano, “leche iguana” [lechiguana]
- a honey producing non-aggressive wasp (Brachygastra lecheguana),
they make their nests of paper (not wax) in trees. There are several species,
from Texas to Argentina; this one inhabits southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay,
& northern Argentina. The honey is sweet, delicious, aromatic, and not as
dense/sticky as bee honey; depending on the flowers from which it is made it
can be poisonous. Their nests last several years and their honey can be
harvested annually. Their name comes from Quichua: lláchiwána - the
wasp that makes honey. a.k.a.In
Guraraní: camautí (camoatí, camutí, cábachui) - the friendly social wasp.
- legua [legua]
- see league
- leña / lena [leña]
- leña / “lena de vaca” [leña de vaca]
- fuel of dried cattle dung /chips (buffalo chips, bois de vache) .
- león [=]
- Colloquial term for puma, see puma. No lions & tigers in Argentina.
- libreria [=]
- office supply store, book store
- libro mayor [=]
- general ledger
- lienzo, liensos [lienzo]
- (i) linen cloth
(ii) large bundle of freshly shorn wool tied up in burlap / hessian sacking
(not compressed as into a bale).
(iii) the burlap sack in which wool is wrapped
- lindero, lindando [=]
next-door neighbor, bordering property owner
- lion [león]
- Colloquial name for puma. No lions & tigers in Argentina.
- liston, listones [=]
- lath or light plank per context
- lobo, “lobo del monte” [“lobo del monte”, “lobo argentino”]
- (i) wolf — see aguara;
- (ii) could be a contraction of:
lobito de rio (river otter).
- “lobito de rio” [=]
- the river otter (Lontra longicaudis) of Central & South America.
Like all otters, it is long and sleek - body length: 70 cm., tail:l 50 cm.
long, weight: 8-12 kg., males are larger than females. It lives in or near
water and feeds on crustaceans, frogs, molluscs, and other similar small
fare. Loners, and great swimmers, a male's territory may stretch 15 km. along
a river (visited every 2-3 days), a female's about half that. It ranges from
Central America to north-eastern Argentina; however, due to its valuable fur,
it was heavily hunted 1950-1980 and has become extinct in some areas. It is
now endangered and is protected in Argentina.
a.k.a. “lobito del Plata”, “lobo de agua”, “gato de agua”, in
Corrientes: “lobo pé”, in Guaraní: [-?-],
in English: “neotropical river otter”.
- lobuna /o [=]
- light grulla / dun with wolf-like darker shaddows; see Horse Coloring
at foot of this page
- During the summer months clouds of these insects (langostas) would
descend upon the pampas from their breeding grounds in the north, devouring everything in
their path. They were so thick, tree branches broke under
their weight (Feb'91). Barreras (barriers) of metal sheets (still found stacked
in the back of old galpones) were erected to protect crops by directing
the young saltonas (flightless hoppers) into pits where they were burnt
using kerosene flame-throwers. Many an estanciero lost his crops, and
sometimes his fortune as well, to locusts before they were exterminated in the
1940's & 1950's using DDT. Estancia montes are predominantly made up of
paraíso (Chinaberry) trees from Africa and eucaplytus trees from Australia because they
were disliked by the locusts.
- loma [=]
- (i) high-ground; a low hill or brow of a hill,
- (ii) mispelled
- lomo [=]
- (i) loin (as in a cut of meat),
- (ii) the back of an animal.
- lona [=]
- tarpaulin (tarp) or canvas
- lonja [=]
- long strap or strip of rawhide
- made lonjas
- lote [lote]
- Field or paddock. See potrero for more details. Term favored by
JEBz in his diaries.
- lunanka [lunanca]
- animal with one hind-quarter higher than the other
- M -
- m/o menos [mas o menos]
- more or less
- macha, macho, marcho [macho]
- male (female: hembra)
- machona [machona]
- male-like (slang), in referring to a female
- madrina [=]
- in a horse-herd, the mare with the bell (cencerro) hung from its
neck, making it easy to find in the dark, and to which the other mares gravitate. Term derived from madre – mother. See caballo
for more details.
- madrinada [=]
- trained to follow the madrina
- madrugado [madrugada]
- early twilight, sunrise
- madrugar [=]
- to arise with or before the sun
- maizera/o [maicera/o]
- of maiz/corn,
- (i) as a noun: likely the sacks of heavy burlap used in the
harvesting of maiz/corn by hand;
- (ii) in horse terminology: it is a horse that is fed on
- maizal [=]
- stand or field of corn (maize)
- majada [=]
- flock of sheep
- mala cara, malacara [malacara]
- horse with a broad blaze. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- mal-paris [mal-parir]
- miscarriage. With cattle, could be Brucellosis,
a.k.a. “contagious abortion”, “bangs disease”. The bacterium (Brucella
abortus) causes cows to abort their fetus and often become sterile. There
is no cure, it is spread by infected bulls. Prevented today by controlled
vaccination of young heifers, and the slaughter of infected animals. Can
spread to humans via infected milk (undulant fever).
- “mal parado”
- badly set-up, poorly arranged; cattle poorly rounded up
- malo [=]
- bad. In reference to a horse: bad tempered, difficult, possibly even
- malon [malón / malones]
- A raiding party of hostile Indians. La California (1874,
central Santa Fé): was
never threatened by hostile Indians. Los Algarrobos (1896,
south-eastern Córdoba): by the
time John E. Bz purchased it malones were no longer a threat,
however the previous owners had suffered attacks. Los Palmares
(1890, north Santa Fé): Alfred A. Bz
installed a watch-tower as raids were common, the last took place in 1902. The Indians mostly stole horses & livestock for they were short
of food, however anyone caught alone risked being killed. Colonia
California (1867, north-east Santa Fé): Frank X. Bz
(Uncle Frank) was a founding member of this colony. Though well defended
the colony soon failed
on account of the constant Indian raids.
- malparición [=]
- manada, manad [manada]
- herd of brood mares (yeguas), with or without the stallion (padrillo).
See caballo for more details..
- mañador /es [=]
- similar to a laso but made of a single long wide rawhide strap (lonja)
with a ring at one end. Typically used with horses because its strap is wide and
soft, reducing the risk of cutting their thin skin. See also manea.
- small mañador
- manager [administrador]
- Within the context of the management of an estancia, he is the
head-man, or mayordomo. See administrador for more on the
management hierarchy of an estancia.
- mancarron [mancarrón]
- old / useless horse. See caballo for more terms.
- manca /o [=]
- lame on a fore-foot (of a quadruped animal). Lame on a back-foot: renga /o.
- mancha [=]
- (i) stain;
- (ii) the common name for an infectious bacterial disease (Gangraena
emphysematosa) of cattle and sheep, known as “blackleg” in English (a.k.a.in
Spanish: gangrena gaseosa). Before the advent of vaccines (1897 in the US) it was
highly lethal, particularly among young animals. Named for the spongy
swellings under the skin (often in the hind quarters) that crackle when pressed. Infection typically leads to death within 12 – 48 hours, i.e. dead
animals are the first indication of an infected herd. Burying dead animals and
burning infected pastures helps prevent the bacteria (Clostridium chauvoei) from spreading, however, it will remain in the soil for years.
- maneador [mañador]
- see mañador
- maneared [maneado]
- hobbled, from manea
- maneo [manea]
- a hobble — a strap that holds a horses front legs together such that it
can not walk fast preventing it from straying far. See also mañador, which may be used as a manea.
- mañero [=]
- stubborn, contrary animal or person
- manga [=]
- (i) swarm, (of locusts – see locust); e.g. manga of langosta
- (ii) raceway / shute – see bretes.
- skin disease: skin thickens, scabs, and hair falls out
- mangrullo, mangruyo [=]
- watch tower, for indian raiding parties. (See photo of “Los Palmares” in AABz’s album)
- manso [=]
- mantencion [manutención]
- provisions, food & supplies — apart from pay, peones in the camp were also
provided “casa y comida”, housing & food (provisions).
- mantenida /o [=]
- vain, self-important (Alfred 8 Mar'85)
- mar [=]
- sea, or a large lake on the pampas
- marca [=]
- cattle brand, registered by province. See yerra.
Before dividing up their properties in the 1890’s, the Benitz brothers had 2
brands in Santa Fé, both still in use today: a B with curly tails top and
bottom (used by La California), and two hearts (used by El Piquete & Dos Corazones).
John E. Benitz’s brand at Los Algarrobos, was a merged JB enclosed in a shield, kept
from the previous owners. Alfred A. Benitz’s brand at Las Tres Lagunas
was a crown. See the People & Places
reference pages for drawings of the brands.
- marcacion [marcación]
- branding event - see yerra.
- marcachiefla [mercachifle]
- a travelling salesman: a peddler or huckster - often of cheap goods
- frame; per context (1895 June) for a corral gate (tranquera)
- march, marched [marchar]
- to move, to travel, to drive a herd, be on the move (marching), e.g.
JEBz: “the saltonas are marching” = the locust hoppers are on the
- marcho [macho]
- male - see macho
- marchos [H] [-?-]
- No idea. 17 Oct’90: cart-horses?
- gate posts - for tranqueras
- mark, marked, marking
- (i) brand - see marca
(ii) to brand, see marcación - See also “counter mark”
- marcación [=]
- branding event, see yerra..
- mars [H]
- martineta, martinetes [martineta]
- Most likely the Martineta Común (Eudronia elegans-8r), a crested
ground bird of the pampas much prized by hunters, similar to grouse or
partridge. Its correct English name is “Elegant Tinamou”. Larger than
perdiz. Few if any found today at La California.
See Hudson’s Birds
- mataco [=]
- A small armadillo, the Mataco bola (Tolypeutes matacus) name
comes from its ability to
roll into a ball when threatened. Ranges from eastern Bolivia and south-western Brazil
across north-eastern Argentina down to San Luis province.
Lives in abandoned burrows & dense vegetation; color: typically yellow to brownish; length: about 25 cm.;
weight: 1.0-1.6 kg. Using its long sticky tongue, it feeds on insects, typically ants
& termites. a.k.a.: In Spanish: tatú bola, Corechi, Quirquincho Bola; In English:
Southern or La Plata or Brazilian three-banded Armadillo. Near threatened
due to habitat loss & exploited for food. See mulita, peludo, & tatú carreta.
- mas/menos, mas o menos. mas⁄menos [mas o menos]
- more or less
- “massas de cuenta” [masas de cuenta] [-?-]
- “100 masas de cuenta' likely means bundles of 100 plants (Alfred 13
- matrero [matrero]
- a person (or animal) who hides out in remote areas, e.g. someone who hides
from the police
- maved [-?-]
- no idea (Alfred's day-book: 10 January 1892)
- mayordomo [mayordomo]
- A hired manager, and in the absence of the owner, he's the boss at the top
of the management hierarchy of an estancia. Equiv. to XO on a Navy ship. See
- mecha [mecha]
- wick (lamp wick)
- “media res” [media res]
- side of beef - see res
- medico [medico]
- doctor, medic !
- mellada/o [mellada/o]
- toothless, or almost so
- melon /es [melón]
- menos [=]
- mensual [mensual]
- a workman paid by the month. See also jornalero.
- mercurio [mercurio]
- mestisa, mestizo [mestizo / mestiza]
- mixed breed or cross-bred animal
- m/n [m/n]
- abbrviation for moneda nacional. See peso moneda nacional.
- mocha /o [=]
- horn-less, polled cattle
- mojon, mohones, mohons [mojón / mojones]
- survey landmark placed by surveyors at the corners & borders of a property; typically a post
or length of rail (rail-road) set deep & immovable.
- molde [=]
- molle [=]
- a tree, see aguariguay
- “moneda nacional” [=]
- see peso moneda nacional See also nats and nacionales.
- montanando [amontonando]
- to create piles, to stack hay
- montarases [montaraces]
- plural of montaraz, adjective for wild or untamed, e.g. indians.
- monte [=]
(i) The original Argentine pampas was grassland bare of trees except
for the occasional isolated ombú, or group of espinillo (see
algarrobo) trees along an arroyo. Anything such as a woods stood out upon
the flat horizon much like a distant hill, or in Spanish: monte. Hence,
on the pampas woods became known as montes.
(ii) On the pampas, estancias planted their own montes with trees that were
resistant to locusts, in particular: eucalyptus & paraiso trees.
(iii) The natural, often dense, woodlands of the Chaco region in north Argentina are
also referred to as montes, in particular the denser thickets. To
desmontar is to cut down / remove trees, i.e. clear the natural forest - see
- montecito [=]
- small monte
- montonared [amontonar]
- To make piles (of straw or alfalfa)
- moquillo [=]
- Strangles or equine distemper — is a contagious upper respiratory
tract bacterial infection (Streptococcus equi), today treated with
antibiotics. Symptons: coughing, difficulty swallowing, yellow mucous from nose & eyes.
- mora, morro [mora/o]
- iron-grey. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- mortero [=]
- mortar, for pounding / crushing
- mosca brava [=]
- biting fly that bothers livestock (cattle, sheep, pigs) about the head and lips, typically does not bother people.
(The horn fly common in the US, did not appear in Argentina until the late 20th cent.)
The larger horse-fly is known as a tabano, it does bite people.
- mosquillo [moquillo]
- see moquillo
- mosquitero [=]
- mosquito netting
- muesca [=]
- notch, ear notch (see also: punta de lanza)
- (i) muesca de atras en la oreja izquierda (derecha) - rear notch in the left (right) ear
- (ii) muezca adelante en cada oreja - forward notch in each ear
- (iii) horqueta - notch to the tip of the ear
- mula, mulita [mula, mulita]
- mule / little mule.
- mulita [=]
- the common name for armadillos except the mataco, peludo, & tatú carreta. There are at least 5 armadillos found in
- (i) Peludo, the hairy armadillo, likely the most common; see peludo;
(ii) Mataco, the small 3-banded armadillo; see mataco;
(iii) Mulita Común (Dasypus septemcinctus) light brown,
long eared, 7-banded 27-30cm body, 25cm tall, 15cm tail, 1.5kg., found in the
chaco region north of Santa Fé, Paraguay, & eastern Brazil south of the Amazon -
not threatened (NT). a.k.a. “mulita chica”,
“armadillo de siete bandas”; in English: “seven banded armadillo”.
(iv) Mulita Grande (Dasypus novemcinctus) brown, long eared 9-banded, body
38-58cm long, 38-48cm tail, 5.5kg., ranges from Texas (US) to NE Argentina south
through Entre Rios - widespread. a.k.a.
“armadillo de nueve bandas”; in Guaraní: tatú-eté; in English (Texas, US):
“nine banded armadillo”.
(v) Mulita Orejuda (Dasypus hybricus) very dark brown with shorter ears,
narrow head, 6-7 banded 30 cm body, 17 cm tail, up to 2 kg. Found in the eastern
provinces (pampas & chaco regions), Uruguay, & south Brazil - not threatened
(NT). a.k.a. “mulita chica”, “mulita
pampeana”; in Guaraní: “tatú mbiricá”; in English: “southern long-nosed
(vi) Tatú Carreta - very large; see Tatú Carreta.
- multa, multared [multa, multado]
- (i) fine, as in pay a fine;
- (ii) fined
- “muy crecida” [=]
- for a river: very high, very swollen; see crecida
- N, Ñ -
- nac., nacionales [nacionales]
- name/abbreviation for
nacionales, see peso argentino (pre-1933) and/or peso moneda
- nada [=]
- ñandu [ñandú]
- the correct name for the rhea of the pampas (Rhea americana).
Its juvenile young are called: charabón. See rhea for more details.
- ñandubai, ñandubay, nandubuy [ñandubay]
- a legumenous spiny tree (Prosopis afffinis) with yellow flowers, it reaches 13m., native to
Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay, & Uruguay. Threatened in Argentina due to loss
of habitat. Its hard-dense wood makes excellent fence posts - not as brittle
as quebracho. See algarrobo & espinillo.
a.k.a. algarrobillo, espinillo,
- Disparaging term used by British settlers and their Argentine born descendants for Argentines of Spanish ancestry,
including the most wealthy and the leading members of society. It does not mean the native indians.
Today the term is considered rude and unattractive.
- nats, nates [nacionales]
- name/abbreviation for nacionales, see
peso argentino (pre-1933) and/or peso moneda nacional
(1933-1970). See also “Cordoba nates”.
- negocio [=]
- small blacks (steers per context)
- negro [=]
- niñera [=]
- nochero [=]
- night horse — kept in at night, available in the morning to bring in the day’s riding stock.
- noticia / noticio [noticia]
- news or word about someone or something
- novillado/a [=]
- (i) herd of steers
(ii) calf crop
- nov, novillo, novillio [novillo]
- steer (male calf castrated at weaning before it takes on the features of a
See vacunos for more cattle terms.
- novillietos, novillitos [novillitos]
- young steers - see novillos.
- nutria [=]
- a herbivorous semi-aquatic rodent (Myocastor Coypus), similar
in appearance to the beaver but with a narrow tail. Native to the rivers of
temperate South America, it is prized for its fur. a.k.a.
coipo (in countries where nutria is the sea
otter), in Guaraní: kyja; in English: coypu.
- nutriar, nutriando [=]
- to hunt for nutria; hunting nutria
- nutrieros /as [=]
- (i) nuntria hunters;
- (ii) area where nutria found, i.e. a nutria colony
- nyato [ñato]
- flat-nosed or pug-nosed
- O -
- olla [=]
- cooking pot, stew-pot.
- ombu [ombú]
- large broad-leaf tree (Phytolacca dioica) native to the pampas,
with an umbrella-like spread it makes deep cool shade, very welcome on a hot
summer day. Its wood is soft and spongy; it shreds when it dries, making it
useless as firewood. NOTE: Web sites (e.g. Wikipedia) describe it as an
evergreen, yet every ombú I climbed as a kid dropped its leaves in winter,
making it deciduous!
- “on rodeo”, “on rodayo” [H]
- see rodeo
- order [orden]
- in relation to money, would be an “orden de pago”, a money order.
- orechano [=]
- "whole/entire ear" - cattle that have not been ear-marked (notched), i.e.
young stock. Ear-marking is typically done at weaning. See also orejano
- orechano señalado
- Not ear-marked but marked (identified) in another fashion, e.g. a button on the left leg
- “orecho volteado” [-?-]
- “saino orecho volteado” (Alfred, 27 Aug.'84): zaino = dark-chesnut,
orecho = could be orechano (whole ear), volteado = knocked-over.
- orejano [=]
- (i) big eared, e.g. a mule.
(ii) incorrect spelling of: orechano - cattle with entire-ears
- orjon, orjones [horcón / horcones]
- see horcón
- orkito, orketos [horquito]
- per context, a small horqueta - post with a forked top (see horcón), used in
- orkones, orkonos, orkonas [horcones / horcón]
- see horcón
- orkonones [horcones]
- see horcón
- ornero [hornero]
- see hornero (oven bird)
- osage orange
- a small deciduous tree or large shrub (Maclura pomifera),
typically growing to 8–15 metres (26–49 ft) tall. Its fruit is about the size
of an orange, yellow/green, bumpy, it is inedible.
- oscura/o [=]
- (i) dark, e.g. like dark of night;
- (ii) horse coloring: black. See Horse Coloring at foot of this page.
- oscurita [=]
- a small oscura mare
- osko, oskito [hosco]
- dark colored,hosquito is its diminutive, e.g. a small dark bull
- ostrich [avestruz]
- the Spanglish misnomer for rhea - see rhea for details. There are no ostriches in Argentina.
- outside, out side [afueras]
- in relation to
Los Palmares in the late 1800's, it meant the area further west, far
from the rio & laguna Calchaquí (a.k.a.
las Aves), north of the
Salado river and the town of San Cristobal. Full of esteros, it was likely
still very wild.
- oveja [=]
- sheep, ewes
- see overo
- overo [=]
- horse & cattle coloring.
- (i) horse: spotted or patches, one of many spot-related
qualifiers to a color, see also: rosillo &
tobiano. An overo colorado or overo manchado is white patches
on bay [English: apaloosa?] whereas tobiano colorado is a striking mix of
large white & bay patches, [Englsih: skewbald, paint, or pinto]; overo
rosado is a paler version, etc. There are many other terms: poroteado
(bean-size spots), sabino (tan spots or patches), salpicado (splattered),
fajado (belted), etc. related to the size, color, and placement of the
patches/spots. (See caballo for more terms & colors.)
- (ii) cattle: Overo Negro is the Argentine term for the
Holstein / Friesen breed (of milking cows), often shortened to simply as “overo”.
In Spanglish, they are often called “black & white”.
- "overo negro"
- black and white piebald, typically refers to cattle - see overo.
- P -
- paba [pava]
- pacha [paja]
- see paja
- padre [=]
- father. Casual term used in place of toro
- padrillo [=]
- stallion (horse) [or boar (pig)]. See caballo for more details.
- pagare [pagaré]
- IOU, note
- paisano [=]
- (i) peasant;
- (ii) Italian person, often a farmer or settler
- paja, paija [paja]
- straw. Los Palmares: straw from tall grass found along
river banks, used to thatch roofs and make
chorizos for walls (also see cumbrera).
- pajero [=]
- straw cutter, person who cuts paja.
- palenque [=]
- palenkeared, palenquiared [palenquear]
- to accustom an untamed (young) horse or ox to being tied up (typically to
a strong post) and then handled; the first step in taming a young horse. (palenque
is a hitching-rail)
- palmar [=]
- wood/stand/forest of palm trees
- “Palmares bajo” [=]
- stands of short / stunted palm trees (aka in Florida: palmetto?)
- post or pole - per context
- “palo a pie” [=]
“palo a pico” [=]
- fence made of a solid row of posts, most often tied together – a
palisade. Often used as fences in corrales, particularly the embudo, where
strength is needed. See bretes.
- palo borracho [=]
- The drunken post is a deciduous tree, its common name in Spanish describes the distinctive shape of its trunc,
similar to a bulging bottle. Other names: Spanglish: bottle tree,
English: silk-floss tree. Drought resistant, its green trunk
is studded with conical spines; belongs to the same family as the baobab & kapok
trees. In Arg., the two most common species are:
(i) Ceiba speciosa - (pink flowers) found in NE Argentina, Uruguay, east Bolivia, Paraguay, & southern Brazil;
grows to 25 mts., trunk at its widest has a 2 mt. circumference.
(ii) Ceiba chodatii - (white flowers) found in the drier forests
of Bolivia, Paraguayan Chaco, & NW Argentina; grows to 15 mts. with short stubby branches.
— Do not confuse with the ceibo tree, see its entry.
- “palo negro” [-?-]
- no idea (Alfred 14 Dec'91)
- pampa [=]
- (i) a pampa is an open mostly flat grassland,
- (ii) the Pampas (or pampas) are the Argentine prairie, originally a
treeless grassland, described as a “dessert” by first arrivals (surface water
was scarce). European immigrants of the late 1800's dug wells and transformed
this humid dessert with its deep rich loess soils into the agricultural /
economic engine of Argentina. Geographically it includes the following
provinces: all of BA, east edge of La Pampa, south-east quarter of Córdoba, south half of
Santa Fé, and southern Entre Rios (Note: most of E.R. has alluvial soils &
consequently it is included
with Corrientes & Misiones in the mesopotamic region that is bordered by the Uruguay &
- (iii) cattle: a white faced animal, e.g. the Hereford breed.
- pampero [=]
- litteraly “of the pampas”, it is the name given to the cold winter wind
that blows from the south / south-west
- pangare [pangaré]
- faded or pale chest, belly, and muzzle , e.g. zaino pangaré would be a
chestnut with paler areas. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- pantano [=]
- (i) bog or marsh
- (ii) mud-hole on a dirt road
- pantanosa [=]
- panzon [panzón]
- big-belly, pot-belly (panza = belly)
- (A:1876 Nov.2, per context: a big-bellied horse)
- pap [-?-]
- probably: ford/cross - (Alfred 2 Oct'89: intend to pap the Calchaqui
- papel fumar [papel de fumar]
- cigarrette paper
- papeleta [=]
- card, identity card
- paquete [=]
- package or box
- parada [=]
- event of gathering stock, see parar
- paral [parar+corral]
- per context (23 Aug.'96), a corral in which to parar (hold) a rodeo (herd)
- parar, parado, parando, parared, parraring [parar rodeo]
- to gather / hold a herd (rodeo) for inspection or a yerrra
- paraiso (trees) [=]
- Chinaberry tree (melia azedarach L.), a deciduous small leafed tree
with blue-purple flowers. Paraiso (from Africa) and eucalyptus (from
Australia) were popular trees to plant in the treeless pampas because they are
fast growing and locusts would not eat them - not surprising given paraiso
berries have insecticidal properties.
- paricion, parision [parición]
- (i) re cattle: calving rate or calf crop
(ii) a birth
- pariente [=]
- family relative
- see parar
- parrida [parida]
- a cow that has given birth; per AABz context: very parrida likely means very calved,
i.e. a high calving rate
- parted / to part [apartar]
- to cut-out, select, or otherwise classify livestock - see apartar, apartes, apartador.
- see perdíz & martineta
- pase [=]
- permit, pass – (Alfred 20 Nov 1897), likely required by local police
- paseo, pasear [paseo, pasear]
- joy ride, sight-seeing trip, take a joy-ride
- paso [paso]
- river crossing, ford
- pass [paso / pasar]
- (ii) river crossing, ford
- (ii) to cross / ford a river
- pastel, pasteles [pastel, pasteles]
- pastry, pastries
- pastilles [pastillas]
- pastage [=]
- rented pasture
- pasto [=]
- (i) grass / pasture;
- (ii) rent for pasture (see pastage)
- “pasto fuerte” [=]
- see pasto puna.
- “pasto puna” [=]
- harsh native bunch grass (Stipa brachychaeta) of the pampas, likely
covered all of La California and Los Algarrobos
before it was burnt to allow ploughing. Today it is considered a weed and will
invade sown pastures if not controlled.
- pastorearing, pastoreared [pastorear, pastoreo]
- (i) pasturing, to pasture (cattle).
(ii) at La California, when grass was in
short supply, during the dry winter months (June-September), rye and wheat
fields were sometimes sacrificed for winter feed to pasture cattle.
- pastoreo [=]
- on pasture, being pastured.
- pasuko [pasuco]
- a horse trotting gait (natural or trained) where the horse, alternating
side to side, lifts both legs of one side at a time. It is a smoother faster
trot (e.g. used in trotter sulky-races). In the more normal trot, a horse
lifts its legs paired diagonally.
- patacon [patacón]
- slang for the
peso argentino or peso duro (See our page on Measures.)
- patatas [batatas]
- sweet potatoes, see batata
- “Patente de Rodados” [=]
- Vehicle License fees, including horse drawn
- patio [=]
- typically an enclosed area next to the house to keep the animals out (e.g.
chickens, pigs, etc.), it can be as simple as a fenced-in area to a fully
enclosed veranda with a roof and tile floor.
- “pato real” [=]
- a large black duck (Cairina moschata) with a large white patch on
each wing; perches in trees, found near marshes and rivers; native to Central
and South America down to northern Argentina. Names: in English: “Muscovy
Duck”. See Hudson’s Birds
- patrerito [potrerito]
- small potrero
- pats [patacón]
- abbreviation for patacón
- pava [=]
- pavilla [=]
- small kettle
- Pavo del monte [Pavo del monte común]
- Speckled black wild turkey (Penelope obscura) inhabiting the forests of northern Argentina,
Paraguay, & southern Brazil. Feeds on fruit & flowers. Not endangered.
a.k.a. in English: "Dusky-legged guan".
- pecari, pig [pecarí]
- the wild pig hunted at Los Palmares in the late 1800s was almost
certainly a pecarí.
(see also: Jabalí)
There were 3 species of pecarí in north-eastern Argentina:
- (i) ”pecarí labiado” (Tayassu pecari) similar to the
“pecarí de collar” (see next), except it has a pale beard; up to 0.55m. at the shoulder &
1.0m. long, weighs 25-40kg. a.k.a. “pecarí
barbiblanco”, “pecarí de quijada blanca”, & “chancho mojano”, in Guaraní:
[-?-], in English: “white-lipped pecary” (AABz: corvata
pig) Not endangered; range: northern Argentina to southern Mexico.
- (ii) ”pecarí de collar” (Tayassu tajacu) with a lighter
colored hair about the head; up to 0.5m. at the shoulder & 1.0m. long, weighs
15-30kg. a.k.a. “chancho rosillo”, in
Guaraní: “tayasú”, in Englsih (US): “javelina” or “collared pecary”
(AABz: varzino pig) Not endangered; range: northern Argentina to southern Texas.
- (iii) ”pecarí orejudo” (Catagonus wagneri), has longer
thicker hair and is the largest (with males larger than females), reaching 1.10m
long and weighing 30-50kg. a.k.a. “pecarí
chaqueño”, “pecarí del Chaco” & “chancho quimilero”; in Guaraní: “taguá”, in
English: “Chacoan pecary”. Endangered due to hunting and habitat loss.
- pecaso [H]
- see picaso
- pechar, pechared [pechar]
- when handling livestock, to push or shove cattle with a horse’s chest
(pecho); the ability of a horse to pechar.
- pechero [=]
- In English: collar - the harness part that fits around the neck
of a draft horse & rests against the front of its chest (pecho) to which
the traces (tiros) are attached. Also: collera
- pelacharing [pelachar / pelachando]
- losing hair. Per contexct, cattle losing condition (Alfred: 17 Nov 1897)
- pelado [=]
- bare, hairless
- pelared, pelaring [pelar]
- (i) to strip bark from timber
(ii) pelado: shorn or stripped bare
- pelota [pelota]
- (i) small boat typically made of rawhide, used to cross small
rivers / arroyos;
- (ii) today: a ball, e.g. a foot-ball.
- peludo [peludo]
- (i) hairy;
- (ii) a numerous armadillo (Chaetophractus villosus), quite
hairy, it is flatter and wider than the mulita, it's body is 26-40cm
long, tail 15cm, weighs 2-3kg. Found throughout Argentina (except the NE) into
Bolivia & Paraguay; numerous it is making a comeback with the
advent of no-till farming.
a.k.a. in Spanish: “quirquincho grande”; in Guaraní: “tatu”[?] ; in English: “big hairy armadillo”. See
mulita, mataco, & tatú carreta.
- see piolar
- peon /s [peón / peones]
- generic term for all workmen on an estancia. See also jornalero
and mensual. See Administrador for more about the management
hierarchy of an
- peón de campo [=]
- the correct term for a gaucho (ranch-hand/cowboy).
- peón de confianza [=]
- a trusted peón / employee
- perdiz [perdíz]
- Most likely the Inambú Común (Nothura maculosa), the most common
ground bird hunted on the pampas. Its correct name in English is “Spotted
Tinamou”, however, it is more commonly referred to as a “partridge”. Smaller
than the Martineta.
See Hudson’s Birds
- pertico / pertigo [pertico]
- the tongue (draft pole) of a 2-wheeled cart (carreta). A long beam of hard wood
(typically urunday), it was fixed to the floor of the cart and extended out front 3
meters with a yoke (yugo) attached to its tip. The pair (i.e. yoke or
yunta) of oxen (bueyes) tied to that yoke were known as the
pertigueros. See: lance (lanza), carreta, coyunta, yunta, & yugo.
- pertigueros [pertigueros]
- the pair of oxen closest to the cart, see carreta & pertico.
- pesadero [pisadero]
- see pisadero
- pesebre [=]
- (i) channel, ditch, depression
(ii) feeding trough
- pesebrero [=]
- (i) stable or stableman
(ii) horse that feeds at a trough
- In the diaries and documents, the unqualified symbol “$” denotes
the peso, not the US dollar (USD). See peso Argentino
(before-1933) and peso moneda nacional
- $B [peso Boliviano]
- see peso Boliviano
- see peso moneda nacional
- $ m/n
- see peso moneda nacional
- $ pat [patacón]
- slang for the peso argentino
- “peso argentino” [peso argentino]
- the original Argentine peso was known as the patacón or peso
duro because it was made of silver and valued equal to the Spanish real.
Often recorded as nacionales, abbreviated to nats.
See currencies of Argentina on our Measures page.
- “peso Boliviano” [peso boliviano]
Bolivian currencies ($B) were used widely in Argentina
during the 1800's. See currencies of Argentina
on our Measures page.
- “peso Chileno” [peso chileno]
- the Chilean silver peso circulated within Argentina. The one peso coin had a condor engraved on its
front (obverse) side and was known as a: condor.
See currencies of Argentina on our Measures page.
- “peso duro”, “peso fuerte”
- see real and peso argentino
in the sections for Spanish and Argentine currencies on our
- “peso moneda nacional” [peso moneda nacional]
- The currency of Argentina between 1933-1970. The term moneda nacional
(denoted by the
m/n) differentiated it from the earlier peso argentino. Often
$xx m/n or simply
nacionales or nats. See also “Cordoba nates”. See currencies
of Argentina on our Measures page.
- peste [=]
- generic term for a harmful bug or illness affecting a crop or livestock.
In cattle during the 19th century, the term often meant aftosa, i.e.
hoof and mouth disease.
- petiso /s, petizo [petiso]
- (i) short, or “Shorty” if a nickname.
- (ii) colloquial term for ponies, particularly polo-ponies (see also
pingo). When polo was first played, there was a height restriction on
horses (to slow the game to a gentlemanly pace) - hence the
terms pony and petiso. The restriction (height at the withers, 14 hands =
56 inches or 1.42 m.) was removed c.1920. See caballo for more details
about all horses.
- picado [=]
- (i) choped up, e.g. vegetables, minced meat.
(ii) pitted, e.g. pock-marked, eroded, roughened surface
- picar, picando [picar]
- (i) most likely to break up the ground with a spade or pick-axe,
i.e. prepare it for planting;
- (ii) generically: to break or cut into smaller pieces, e.g. to
chop-up a garlic-clove, or to mince meat.
- picaso, picasso, picasito [picaso, picasito]
- black with white stockings & blaze. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- pie, pies [=]
- foot/ feet
- if hunted, see pecarí
if domestic, see chancheria
- pigeno [-?-]
- per context, likely a misspelling of “pigeon” (Alfred 4 June'85: pigeons
eating alfalfa [seed] up ?)
- piki [Guaraní: piky]
- small, tiny. (Alfred: 9 May'85:
kill pikis and fleas - kill lice and fleas ?)
- pila [=]
- pilchas [=]
- (i) usually: clothes, could include bedding, etc.
(ii) all components of the the recado (saddle)
- pileta, bileta [pileta]
- term implies a water-trough, wash-tub, or small tank. Tanque would
be a larger reservoir. See also bebida.
- “pine tea” [pinotea]
- pine wood imported from the US in the early years, it is today grown
commercially in Arg. A fast growing tree, its name is derived from the latin
Pinus taeda (Loblolly pine), the largest of the native pine trees found in
the SE USA. However, the term pinotea is also mistakenly applied to the
Longleaf pine tree (Pinus palustris), also native to SE USA, much
prized for its “heart” of very hard wood (pine-heart). It is a slow growing tree (100+
years) and today its wood is scarce and very expensive.
- pingo [=]
- fast, agile, good-looking horse (e.g. polo-ponies, see petiso
and caballo for more.)
- pinotea [=]
- See pine tea.
- piolo [piola]
- twine, e.g. piolo blanco is white twine.
- piolar, piolando
- To rope a running steer by its forefeet. A loop is thrown immediately in front
of the running steer, timed so the steer will put both forefeet through the flying loop. The loop is then
tightened instantly. The momentum of the steer over its trapped forefeet causes it to summersault,
landing on its back. (Requires skill, great fun, hard on the steer.)
- pisadero [=]
- Pisar is to: step upon. A pisadero is an enclosed shallow
pit within which horses are driven to mix straw, their dung, and mud by their trampling.
The mix is allowed to rot for a few days before it is used to make
chorizos, bricks, or to plaster walls. See chorizo for more
about house construction.
- plantel [=]
- A select herd of cows (or flock of ewes) that is put with the best bulls (or rams) to produce sires
for the more ordinary cow herds (or flocks of ewes). Good quality bulls and rams are expensive to purchase.
- plaso [plazo]
- grace period, terms, or installment payment
- poblacion [población]
- town or settlement, e.g. a colonia. Alfred's 1884 Arpil 14th entry
refers to a poblacion which is most likely Frank J. Bz's failed Espín colony.
- poblador /es [poblador]
- settler, see colono
- poblar, poblared [poblar]
- to populate or establish a settlement, e.g. a colonia.
- podar [=]
- to prune a tree
- poder [=]
- power of attorney, proxy
- podrid [podrido]
- poen [H] [peón]
- See peon.
- point [punta]
- (i) a point;
- (ii) a handfull or trace of ... (usually livestock: cattle or sheep);
- (iii) the lead group in a herd of cattle.
- polilla [polilla]
- moths. apolillado: moth eaten
- polvoro [polvora]
- porteño [=]
- a person from the port, i.e. Buenos Aires. The term is applied to anyone
from Buenos Aires and its suburbs. Like their counterparts from New York and
Paris, they are often arrogant towards their unfortunate countrymen.
- see potrillo
- portmanteau [French!]
- leather suit-case that opens in half.
- poso, posso [poso]
- well, typically dug for water
- herd of colts & fillies - potros & potrancas
- potranca [=]
- untamed filly / young mare - See caballo for more details.
- potrancon /es [=]
- older, larger filly - see potranca
- potrero [=]
- field or paddock. Also known as a: lote. La California:
The first fenced fields of La California were each of 100
cuadras (almost 169 hectares). Most of the fields were known by number. The
smaller fields were named, particularly those close to the
casco. However we don’t know their location. In 1890 the potreros were:
estancia, horse, pig, Peters, puesto, south, stack.
Los Algarrobos & Los Palmares: fields were known by
rodeo and estancia maps.
- potrerito [=]
- small potrero
- potrilla /o [=]
- foal, filly or colt. See caballo for more details.
- potro [=]
- untamed colt - young male horse 2-3 years old.
- potrita, potrisita [=]
- a filly, very young mare; even younger filly
- “potro fat” [grasa de potro]
- rendered down horse fat; liquid at room temperature, it was used to oil leather, etc.
- pozero [=]
- well digger, someone who drills wells
- pozo [=]
- water-hole, well
- precisieras [-?-]
- no idea (Alfred 31 May, 1877)
- “primer obraje” [=]
- per context (AABz diary, hunt 1902), first harvest of timber, logging (likely of quebracho trees)
- prolongation [prolongación]
- La California: per context, extension (of a rail-road) or
- provisiones [proviciones]
- provisions, food stock.
- puchero [=]
- a traditional meal: meat and vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions,
zapallito (squash)) boiled until soft and tender. The soup is delicious, so
is the marrow from the bones, the meat and vegetables are typically overcooked
- puente [=]
- bridge - herds often had to pay a toll
- puerta [=]
- door, gate
- puerto [=]
- puestero [=]
- on an estancia, someone who lives in a puesto, usually with
his family. Typically a trusted or valued peón (e.g. the horse tamer)
he could keep a limited number of his own livestock. On larger estancias, a
puestero was akin to a section manager on a ranch. He was responsible for the
care of all livestock in his section and was expected to revise the
livestock on a daily basis. In the estancia management hierarchy, he was
almost level with a capataz. See administrador for more on the
management hierarchy of an estancia.
- puestito [=]
- diminutive of puesto
- puesto [=]
- line or section house, a house located in a field or section of an
estancia. Literally: a place or a posting. See puestero. At
Los Palmares they had numbers (e.g. puesto No3) or names - see list
of place names.
- “puestos en …” [=]
- term used in a purchase or sale agreement to denote where the goods are to
be shipped or received: “placed in/on …” a given location: loading-dock,
- “pull water”
- see baldero and jagüel.
- pulperia, pulperae [H] [pulperia]
- pub, bar – sometimes also a store - often known by their owner's name.
La California: in the 1890's, likely refers to the pulperia(s) run
by Andel and/or Peter.
Los Palmares: 1880's - Benjamín.
- pulpero [=]
- publican, see pulperia
- puma [=]
- The second largest wild cat (Puma concolor) of the Americas, its
name comes from the Quichua word: pomo. Typically tan coloured,
but it can be grey to reddish - body weight: male 53-72 kg, female: 34-48 kg,
body length: 1-2 meters (avg. 1.25), tail: 65 cm., height at the shoulder: 65
cm. Solitory and territorial, it is active in the evenings and early
mornings; it is a fast runner (up to 50 kph), agile it can climb trees and
jump. It hunts deer and guanaco as well as smaller animals of opportunity
such as monkeys and armadilos. It is not classified as a large cat because it
doesn't roar, instead it makes sounds more like a domestic cat. It originally
ranged from the Yukon (Canada) to the southern tip of mainland Argentina,
inhabiting mountains, jungles, and plains. Currently listed as endangered,
displaced by urbanization and illegal hunting. In Argentina it is no longer
found in the heavily farmed central plains (i.e. the pampas).
a.k.a. in Spanish: león, “león americano”, in Guaraní:
jaguá-pytá, in English: cougar, “mountain lion”. See cats.
- “punta de lanza” [=]
- lance point - describes a sharp narrow ear notch - see muesca: ear notch
- “punta laguna” [punta de la laguna]
- head or end of the laguna
- purgar [=]
- to purge or be purged
- Q -
- abbreviation for quintal
- see cuarta
- quebrachal, quebrachales [=]
- a stand / forest (or forests) of quebracho trees
- quebracho [=]
- a tree, name translates as: “axe-breaker”. There are two main varieties,
the blanco (white) and colorado (red), both found in the Gran Chaco areas of
Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay.
- (i)The quebracho blanco (Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco)
is a yellow-ochre wood, hard and heavy, it will bend and is useful for making
carts & wheels, also makes excellent charcoal, & has some medicinal
properties: as an aphrodisiac it is used to treat EDS.
- (ii)The quebracho colorado
(Schinopsis quebracho-colorado) is a very hard deep-red wood, so dense
it will sink in water; it is highly valued for fence posts, rail-road ties,
and as a source of tanin. A good quebracho colorado fence post will last
50-70 years, outlasting the fence wire - see alambrado. For over fifty
years, c.1880-1940, the colorado was heavily “harvested” for its tanin leading
to extensive defosteration. It takes centuries to grow, consequenlty there
are few large specimens left standing today. (See “La Forestal” on our page:
People & Place Names of North Santa Fé.)
- querencia [=]
- the home place to which a horse (or other animal) will return when
released or strayed.
- Quichua [=]
- Language of the Inca people, a pre-Columbian civilization that thrived in north-western
Argentina, Bolivia, Perú, and Ecuador.
- “quien sabe” [=]
- who knows
- quillape, quillapí [quillapi]
- Leather coat worn by the indians of the pampas (Manta de cuero de los
indios pampa). Alfred 27 Nov.1884: “Indian woman entregared
quillapí of 16 nutria skins.”. Likely the combined Guaraní
words “kyja-py”, where: “kyja” is “nutria”, and “py” is “wide”.
- quinta [=]
- vegetable garden
- quintal, quintales [=]
- a common measure of weight for crop yields, abbreviated “qq”. Prior to
metrification in the 1880's it was 46 kg., after metrification it came to mean
100 kg. (See our page on Measures.)
JEBz diaries: It is unclear which of the two he meant, in
particular when he refers to it in context with squares (cuadras), an
obsolete measure of land area.
- quintero [=]
- gardener. Los Palmares: cultivator (farmer) of corn/maiz.
- R -
- r. [real]
- abbreviation for real, see real
- rabicano [=]
- dark chestnut horse with some white hairs in its tail & mane, and spotted flanks grading to fully white belly.
See Horse Coloring at foot of this page.
- racion [ración]
- radao [H] [rodeo]
- see rodeo.
- rajared [rajado]
- cracked, fractured
- ralo [=]
- sparse, e.g. monte ralo - sparse woods
- rama [=]
- branch or branches (of a tree, of a river)
- ramada [=]
- open shed roofed with branches, often used to provide shade for livestock
- rancho, ranchito [=]
- Hut, small hut, typically built of mud & straw. See chorizo for a description of
how it is built. Elements in its construction include: caballete, caña, chorizo, costanera,
cumbrera, horcón, paja, pisadero, tijeras.
- rastra [=]
- (i) a tirador (man's wide belt) heavily decorated with silver coins and buttons, see tirador
- (ii) a harrow (used in cultivation)
- rastrear, rastreando [=]
- (i) to harrow - see rastra
- (ii) to track, to follow
- rastrillado [=]
- trail, tracks
- rastrojo [=]
- stubble, corn-stubble
- real [=]
- the peso real (Spanish silver coin),
peso fuerte. See “peso duro”.
- rebenque, revenque [rebenque]
- the standard whip of the pampas, a wide (3-7cm) leather striking strap
(30-40cm long) attached to a leather covered handle (30-40cm log), often
decorated with silver and fine leather-work. Smacks loudly, causes little
- rebocared, rebocaring [revocar]
- recado [recado]
- the saddle of Argentina. Unlike most saddles, it consists of several
pieces that are assembled on the horse. The first layer is one or more
caronillas (saddle-blankets, aka: mandil, matra, peleras); next come the
bastos (two tubes of leather stuffed with rushes, 10cm diameter, 40-50cm
long) loosely attached to each other so that when placed on the horse's back they lie parallel to horse's spine 25-35cm apart. Across
the bastos is placed the encimera, a strong piece of leather 20-30cm
wide and about twice as long with a ring at each end (with an extra ring on
the off-side for attaching a laso). Alternatively, the bastos and the
encimera are one piece known as the corona. The primary cinch (cinchon,
attaches to the rings of the encimera or corona and is 10-15cm wide at the
girth. Over the bastos are placed one or two unshorn wooly sheep skins (cojinillo
or pellón) and lastly a soft leather cover (sobrepuesto, the tanned skin of a carpincho is
favored), all held in place by the
sobrecincha, a second lighter cinch. The stirrups hang from the bastos
and are typically of dark leather and adorned with cut-out designs. The seat
of the recado is relatively flat. The rider retains his seat by pressing up
from the stirrups jaming his knees up under and against the bastos.
- to collect or recover
- received [recibió]
- Receptoria [=]
- Office of the Treasurer
- see resero
- recojida [=]
- a round-up, a gather
- recoger, recogiendo, recojered, recojering [recoger]
- to gather or gathered
- recolectar [=]
- gather, round-up
- recorered, recorering [recorrer]
- to ride through the fields inspecting the condition of the livestock,
pastures, crops, fences, water level in the tanks, etc. An estancia
manager or his delegates will recorrer their camp daily, checking
for problems that may need attention. See also revise.
- recorriendo, recorering [recorriendo]
- reviewing / inspecting (see recorrer); a policeman would be patrolling.
- recuento [=]
- (i) Recounting livestock (taking inventory), done regularly for control purposes.
(ii) The counts (numbers of livestock) obtained from a recounting.
- reculutar, reculutaring, reculutas
- see recolectar
- redomon /es, redemones, redimon [redomón]
- (i) horse that is in the process of being tamed;
(ii) a raw-hide that has not been fully worked – see sobar.
- redomonared [redomonar]
- tamed redomones
- reduce [reducir]
- move indians onto reservations (reducciones).
- “reducing indians” [reducir, reducción/es]
- placing indians in settlements (reducciones)
- reduction, reduccion [reducción/es]
- indian settlements, originally set up by the Spanish crown with the
purpose of assimilating them into Spanish society. Many (of the better ones)
were set up by the Franciscans and Jesuits. The practice continued after
independence and were run by local government bodies with varying results.
- redunging [see chorizo]
- Spanglish term for replastering derived from bosta - dung. The last finer
layer of plaster applied to the walls of houses (ranchos) made of chorizo (mud & straw)
is made up of mud & horse dung, hence the term. See chorizo for more details.
- reforzar, reforzando [reforzar]
- to stregthen.
- refugo [=]
- livestock animal hiding / taking refuge in a herd it does not belong to
- reglar, reglared, reglaring [arreglar]
- (i) to fix or repair;
- (ii) to settle (accounts). See
arreglar and regulate.
- regulate, regulated, regulating, regularing [arreglar]
- (i) settle (accounts). See arreglar and reglar.
- (ii) check, fix, set right
- rejuntared [rejuntar, rejuntado]
- to gather / collect, as in “gather cattle”; same as: put on rodeo, see rodeo
- reindas, reindes
- see riendas
- rematador [=]
- auctioneer, i.e. livestock auctioneer. See remate.
- remate, “remate feria” [=]
- auction, i.e. livestock auction. Typically livestock is sold in small
lots, each lot is herded into a corral next to a stand where the
cattle-buyers sit, signaling their bids to the rematador standing
between them and the corral.
- remedio [=]
- medicine or cure
- rengo [=]
- lame. In terms of a quadruped, lame on a back-foot; manco is lame
on a fore-foot.
- reparted, repartired [from: repartir]
- distributed (from: to distribute)
- repositard [H] [reposicionar, reponer]
- reposition, as in return cattle to their proper place
- represa [=]
- (i) water reservoir or tank. Term favored by JEBz. See tanque.
(ii) small dam or hollow - see tajamar
- repuesto [=]
- spare part
- repuntar, repuntared, repuntaring [repuntar, repuntado]
- to turn around (redirect) cattle; to head livestock in a certain direction
- res, reses [=]
- (i) beef animal, as in beeves;
(ii) if already butchered, a media res is a side of beef.
- resabiared [resabiar]
- to be obstinate, reluctant, hard to control
- resero [resero]
- cattle buyer, usually for slaughter.
- reservada/o [=]
- reserved, in reserve
- resguardo [=]
- guarantee, voucher
- (i) a stallion (or any male) that has been purposely made sterile but not castrated (i.e.
has had a vasectomy). Useful as he behaves like a stallion, preventing his mares from straying; he
he can mate
but not procreate.
(ii) slang/insult, a useless male.
- retobado [retobado]
- (i) a buck deer chased from the herd by other males
(ii) angry/out of sorts/bad tempered
- see rebenque
- revise, revisared, revisaring [revisar]
- (i) to revise a camp is to inspect it and the livestock, a normal daily occurance.
The more correct term is to recorrer.
(ii) to inspect, e.g. a herd’s condition & quality prior to possible purchase
(iii) at a neighbor's rodeo, to check for & part out cattle of own brand
- revocar, revocando, revokaring [revocar]
- to plaster, or plastering; last step in hut construction (see: chorizo, cumbrera, &
- see resero
- see reses
- the large fast-running flightless birds of South America (similar to Emu, Cassowary, Ostrich). There are
two types in Argentina,
neither is endangered: Ñandú and Choique - in English, the Greater Rhea and Lesser Rhea.
Both types are often incorrectly refered to in Spanish as avestruz, and
in Spanglish as ostrich.
Typically the male rhea has a harem of females and it is he who takes care of the comunal nest. In the diaries
of La California, a nest is mentioned that held 90 eggs.
- (i) Ñandú (Rhea americana), stands 1.3-1.5m. tall, is the rhea of the pampas and deserts north of the Rio
Negro, into Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil; known in Guaraní as: “ñandú guazu”
(big spider), and in English as the: “Greater Rhea”. Its juvenile
young are called charabon.
See Hudson’s birds.
- (ii) Choique a.k.a. Ñandú petiso & Ñandú del Norte (Rhea pennata,
formerly: Pterocnemia pennata), stands 1.1m. tall, and is the rhea of the patagonian
steppe south of the Rio Negro and the Andean foot-hills and Puna, north into Perú; in English known as the “Lesser Rhea”
or “Darwin’s Rhea”.
- riendas, rienndas [riendas]
- bridle reins
- rincon, rinconada [rincón, rinconada]
- (i) an inside corner (e.g. within a room); an outside corner is an esquina
(e.g. of a house or a city block)
(ii) the area contained within the bend of a river, or an open space enclosed on 2 or
3 sides by monte (woods) or a fence.
(iii) Laguna Yacaré: likely the area SW of the headquarters that lay within the bend
of the arroyo Espín (where its southerly course turns east).
- rinconadito [=]
- small rinconada, see above
- rinconero [rinconero]
- corner fence post, a.k.a.: esquinero
- rio [rio]
- “rl. bolivianos” [reales bolivianos]
- see peso boliviano
- “rls. bol.” [reales bolivianos]
- see peso Boliviano.
- roano, ruano [ruano / roano]
- roan or sorrel with white mane and tail, e.g. palomino See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- robo, roba [robo]
- a theft, robbery
- rodado, rodared [rodar]
- as in rolled by a horse - happens when a horse looses its footing & falls forward, rolling on the rider.
- rodayo [H]
- see rodeo
- rodeared [rodear]
- (i) to surround or encircle;
- (ii) to gather livestock, to pile-up palm logs – see rodeo
- rodeo, rodero [rodeo]
- (i) el rodeo - is the
herd, i.e. collectively all the cattle in a field or the entire estancia;
- (ii) on rodeo – La California: mixed Eng.+Span.,
per context: “on pasture” or “on rented pasture”;
- (iii) en rodeo or on rodeo – Los
Palmares: cattle rounded up (gathered together) to be worked upon or
selected from - see yerra and tropa;
- (iv) gave rodeo – rounded up (gathered) the cattle for review or selection;
- (v) herd names: at Laguna Yacaré: rodeo del medio, rinconada, east / middle / west;
at Los Palmares: See intros to diaries 1890+ and Names of
North Santa Fé.
- “rodeo general” [=]
- general roundup, to which neighbors are invited to take away their stock; see apartes.
- rollas [rollos]
- rolls (of wire)
- ronda, rondared, rondaring [rondar]
- (i) to circle, to hold a herd, particularly at night; nightwatch or night-patrol
of a herd
(ii) to gather & hold a herd
- rosado [=]
- strawberry roan, see rosillo. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- rosillo, rasillo [rosillo]
- roan - a uniform mix of red and white hair. See rosado &
overo. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- ruano, ruans [ruano / roano]
- see roano
- S -
- symbol denotes the peso
- squash (of the edible kind), pumpkin – see zapallo
- sacciared [zacear]
- to scare off, scared off
- sainito [zainito]
- diminutive of saino [zaino].
- saino [zaino]
- see zaino. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- sal [sal]
- sal grueso [sal gruesa]
- rock salt, coarse ground salt
- saladaro [saladero]
- a.k.a.: barraca. A business that buys hides from estancias. The raw
hides are cleaned, sorted, and salted down for sale to tanneries (curtiembres).
- salitral, salitrales [=]
- salt flat, salt flats
- saltones [saltonas]
- hoppers – young locusts before they can fly. See locusts & langostas
- sandia [sandia]
- sanjear, sanjeared [zanjar]
- dig ditches (zanja
- Santiaguenos, Santeagenians, Santiagenians [santeagueños]
- people of Santiago del Estero (province west of Santa Fé's north half).
- sapallo [zapallo]
- squash, pumpkin
- saraza [zaraza]
- chintz, printed cotton
- sargento [sargento]
- sarza, saya [-?-]
- no idea - possibly a sacking cover or sides to a cart? (Alfred: 28 March'92)
- savallas [sábalo]
- - a river fish (Prochilodus Platensis), large bluish back silver
sided found in slow moving waters of Argentina's north-eastern rivers. It has
a small mouth with which it sucks slime off mud. It is valued for its
(greasy) meat and is hunted by spearing or with nets.
- savandija [sabandija]
- (i) bugs (bichos) - particularly bothersome or unpleasant
- (ii) Also slang for an unpleasant person. Likely origin is
Quichua, in which it means “small lizard”.
- sebruno [cebruno]
- dark grulla. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- seca [=]
- as a noun: drought; as an adjective: dry
- second [segundo]
- See segundo.
- segundo [=]
- An apprentice manager on an estancia, they were typically well
educated adventurous young men from Europe or the sons of estancieros.
If they made a career of it, they could rise to mayordomo (manager).
See administrador for more on the management hierarchy of an estancia.
- semita [=]
- Byproduct of making (milling) flour, contains finely ground bran & germ. Used in livestock feed.
- señal, senal [señal]
- ear-mark - the pattern of notches (muescas) cut in the ears of livestock that
indicates the year of birth and/or ownership (same as a brand would) - which
depends on local custom. See muesca for more details.
Alfred (1876) - he probably meant marca - brand
- “señal punta de lanza” [=]
- “lance point ear-mark” - narrow notch (muesca). Typically to the tip of the ear, also known as an horqueta. See muesca and horqueta.
- señalared, senalared, senelared [señalar]
- to ear-mark - to cut notches (muescas) in the ears of livestock. See señal.
- sencerro [cencerro]
- see cencerro
- señuelo, señueles, señueleros [señuelo, señuelos]
- (i) decoys
(ii) re cattle: it is tame (often older) stock included (a) in a young herd
to calm them, (b) in a new herd to familiarise then with a field/rodeo.
- see cerdearing
- setobado [retobado]
- see retobado
- A breed of cattle, also known as Durham: red with variegated white
markings. Developed in the US during the mid to late 1800’s as a more
productive beef animal than the Texas Long-horn. It was imported into the
Argentine, but lost favor to the beefier British breeds Hereford and
Aberdeen-Angus (red with white faces, and all black or red respectively).
- show [esposición]
- Agricultural show or fair. See exposición rural.
- silver wattle tree
- The mimosa tree (Acacia dealbata), a species of Acacia native to southeastern Australia.
It did not do well vs. locusts.
- siesta [siesta]
- noon-day nap, typically after lunch
- siestar, siesteando [siestar]
- to take or be taking a siesta
- sin novedad
- nothing to report
- sina-sina [cinacina]
- a spiny shrub or a small tree with yellow flowers (Parkinsonia aculeata),
grows 2 to 8 m. Can be invasive. aka: in US English: “palo verde”.
- sinch [cincha]
- cinch, a leather belt attached each side of a saddle that loops beneath the horse’s chest
thereby holding the saddle to horse’s back. See recado.
- sinch cart [carrito de cincha o carrito tirado a la cincha ?]
- a small 2-wheel goods carrying cart pulled by a ridden horse, its single tongue attached to the cinch of the rider's saddle.
- sinuelo, sinueleros
- see señuelo
- sobar [sobar]
- To soften up, sobado is softened. Typically refers to the process
of working raw-hide to soften it up. See redomon and trenza.
- sobrepuesto [=]
- the top layer of a recado (saddle), see recado for description
- “sociedad rural” [sociedad rural]
- Association of farmers and ranchers; in the US would be a Cattleman’s
Association. They oftern orgnise shows see exposición rural.
- soga [soga]
- soldado [soldado]
- solicitud [=]
- an application or formal request
- solidar [H]
- see soldado
- sorda [sorda]
- La California diaries: Not sure per context: rope of hide or
a measure / count of hides.
- sorro [H] [zorro]
- see zorro
- sovared [H]
- see sobar
- sq, square [cuadra]
- Literal translation from Spanish of cuadra, a measure of distance
See cuadra for more detail.
- in the La California diaries refers to the La California train station.
- stop, stops, stoped [parar]
- to stay, as in stay the night.
- suebracho [-?-]
- no idea what, possibly related to quebracho (see AABz 1895 May 4)
- sugar of lead
- lead acetate, sweet tasting – toxic. Ïn 1896, Alfred uses it with
Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) and vitreal (vitrial, old term for sulfuric acid or a sulphate salt, really?)
to treat animals sick with tristeza
- see asulejo [azulejo] & Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- T -
- possibly an abbreviation for tabaco (tobacco)
- tab hoja [tabaco hoja]
- tobacco leaf
- tab colorado [tabaco colorado]
- red tobacco
- tab negro [tabaco negro]
- black tobacco
- tabana, tavena [tábano]
- horse fly, bites.
- tablon [=]
- (i) large heavy plank
(ii) raised platform made of heavy planks
- tacurú [tacurú]
- a very hard ants nest, most are conical 50-75cm in height, occasionaly
they may reach 2 meters; each nest may last 25 years. Their name comes from
the Guaraní word for the red-soil of which the nests are often made.
The ant (Camponotus Punctulatus) is native to
northern Argentina and Paraguay.
- tacurusal, tacurusales [=]
- an area or areas filled with tacurú. An infested field looks like
a dense sea of pimples.
- tajamar [tajamar]
- artificial laguna created as a watering hole for livestock; made by
daming a river or the exit to a small natural depression. Tend to dry up
in severe droughts.
- tala [tala]
- a medium sized, spiny, deciduous tree (Celtis tala) with yellwoish
flowers, 3-12 metres tall depending on water availability, found from Bolivia
and Paraguay, and throughout the Argentine pampas to southern Buenos Aires
province; it prefers well drained damp soils; in tree form it is a main
component of the Gran Chaco monte, it is found in the pampas in shrub form along
river banks. Hard twisted wood, makes excellent firewood.
- talero, talera [talero]
- a rebenque with a short, very wide striking strap, and a thick
- tambo [=]
- tambera/o [tambera]
- (i) as an adjective of dairy: vaca tambera - dairy cow; tambera calves - dairy calves
(ii) as a noun: tambero – dairyman.
- tank [tanque]
- water reservoir or tank, typically round. Sometimes referred to as a
represa. Originally made of a circular berm of earth, later by corrugated
iron sheets (a.k.a.an Australian tank),
today most often of molded cement slabs. Each field was equipped with at least
one, filled via a jagüel
or molino (wind-mill), it provided water to the bebidas / bebederos
(water-troughs) for the livestock. See jagüel, pileta, bebida.
- tapa [=]
- cover, lid – (June 1888: cement lid for a well)
- tapado [=]
- in terms of horse coloring, tapado means entirely “covered”, all
one color, i.e. no markings: no white socks, no star nor blaze. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- tapera [=]
- Per context, either: an abandoned house or shelter; or: an abandoned village (word
is from Guaraní)
- tapir [=]
- The South American Tapir (Tapirus terrestris), the second largest mammal of South America, weighs 150-320 kg.; it ranges
from the Amazon rainforest south into NE Argentina. Excellent swimmers & divers, also fast on land; they live 25-30 years;
herbivors, they feed on leaves, shoots, fruit, grass, & aquatic plants.
Preyed on by jaguars & pumas when they come ashore at night to sleep.
Endangered, its population is dwindling due to poaching & loss of habitat.
Common names in Spanish: anta, anta brasileña, anta danta, tapir brasileño, or gran bestia;
in Guaraní: mborevi or so'oguasu; in English: Brazilian or Lowland or South American Tapir.
- tarro [=]
- tin-can, e.g. tarro polvora - can of powder
- tassa [tasa]
- tatú carreta [tatú carreta]
- the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) is brown on top with
yellowish lower sides, body 70-100cm, long, 50cm wide & 30cm high, tail 60cm,
weighs approx. 60kg., nocturnal it feeds on ants & termites (breaks open nests
with its large claws) as well as worms & the like. Found throughout the
jungles of South America, including Argentina's north Chaco region. A living
fossil, threatened (EN) a.k.a. “armadillo
gigante”; in Guaraní: “tatú-guazú”; in English: “giant armadillo”. Alfred had
a shell of one hanging on the wall next to the African buffalo head at Ea.
“Las Tres Lagunas”. See peludo, mulita & mataco.
- tavena [tabano]
- horse fly - see tabano
- techa [teja]
- roof tile [Alfred: per context 9 May'92]
- techar, techaring [techar]
- to roof, to make or thatch a roof (techo is roof)
- tejas [=]
- slate (or clay) tiles with which to cover a roof
- temporal, temporalish [termporal]
- a period, typically in winter, of dismal weather. Winds from the SSW
bring cold overcast damp drizzly/rainy days.
- terantes [tirantes]
- see tirante.
- ternero [=]
- “ternero por muerto”
- calf as dead – term used at auction for cows with very young calves
at foot that means the calves are to be disregarded when pricing the cows (however,
their presence usually does increase the price).
- terraplen [terraplen]
- earthed-up / raised road
- testementura [testamentura]
- testify, testimony
- testamentaria [=]
- estate sale, auction (by executors) of the property of a person who has died
- tiger, tigres / tigre’s [tigres / tigre]
- (i) a coloquial name for the
- (ii) La California diaries: 8 Apr’90 - name of a stallion &
his manada (brood mares).
- tijeras [tijeras]
- (i) scizzors;
- (ii) adobe (see chorizo) hut structural element: light cross-beams, they rest on the
cumbreras (ridge-poles & outside wall tie-beams). Other elements: cumbrera, horcón,
caña, paja, chorizo
- tirador [=]
- A wide leather belt with pockets for money, hankerchief, etc. Covers the faja (sash) and is
usually decorated with leather work (e.g. wearer’s initials). If studded with silver coins
and buttons it is known as a rastra. The buckle is typically large, made of silver, and
attached with silver chains. Part of the traditional dress of the hombre de campo
(camp-man) - worn by workmen (peón, gaucho) and managers alike - see also: alpargatas, bombachas,
- tirante [=]
- rafter or beam (of wood), often quite long – see pine tea.
Typically measured in inches (width and thickness) and varas, metres or yards
- “tiras de monte” [=]
- strips of monte (woods)
- “tob leaf”
- abbreviation for tobacco leaf
- toba [Toba]
- Indian tribe of north-central Argentina. See People & Place names for
- tobiano [=]
- pinto or paint. A striking mix of large distinct patches of any color upon
a white background, term always qualified by a color, e.g.: tobiano negro
- piebald, tobiano zaino & tobiano alazán - skewbald. See overo, also
Horse Coloring at foot of this page.
- “todo lo que pisa”
- phrase: “all it weighs” or “whatever it weighs”, i.e. per head, regardless of weight
- tolderia [=]
- indian village / encampment
- toldo [=]
- indian hut / shelter, made of branches and grass, often open on one or more sides.
- topo [H] [tropa]
- see tropa
- tordillio, tordella [tordillio]
- speckled grey or chestnut on white. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- torito [=]
- little bull or bull calf. See padre, toro,
vacuno, and yerra.
- tormenta/o [tormenta]
- storm (heavy rain, often with strong winds)
- tormentoish [tormentoso]
- torniqueta, torniquet [torniqueta]
- turnbuckle - used in fences to tighten the wire strandss; typically
attached to fence posts (ususally the corner posts); a torniqueta voladora (flying turnbuckle)
is strung on the wire between posts. For more
about fences, see alambrados.
- toro [=]
- bull (as in cattle) - a whole male. See padre, vacunos for
more cattle terms.
- torta lino [=]
- linseed cake, used as feed for cattle.
- toruno [=]
- late or incompletely castrated male livestock (Oops! Missed one!).
- tosca, tusca [tosca]
- In English: caliche hardpan: exposed very hard light-colored subsoil, made up of calcium
carbonate; infertile it is typically bare of vegetation.
- “toslada tapada” [tostada tapada]
- horse coloring: see tostado and tapado
- tostado [=]
- “toasted” – chestnut (alazán) or bay (zaino colorado) with darker shadows,
often with darker legs, tail, and mane. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- small tostado
- tranca, tranceros [tranca]
- sliding poles or gates used to close a corral or parts of a cattle shute
or raceway. See bretes.
- tranquera/o [tranquera, tronquero]
- gate — smaller in corrales, most farm gates are wide enough for a team of horses & wagon
- a.k.a.sulky - a light one horse
2-wheel carriage capable of transporting 2 (or at a squeeze 3) people.
- trascorral, “tras corral” [trascorral]
- the staging corral before the embudo - see bretes for a description of its purpose
- trasera [trasera]
- rear, back
- trash [H], Trahser [H] [--]
- misspelled thrash or thrasher; for which the modern is “thresher”
- trata [trato]
- agreement, as in made an agreement.
- tratar, tratared [tratar]
- (i) deal/delt with, trade / negotitate a sale or purchase;
- (ii) tried (to do something).
- treat [tratar]
- e.g. “to treat for” - to trade for - see tratar.
- trebol [=]
- clover, a forage legume (see carretilla)
- trensa [trenza]
- a braid or plait - a rope made of intertwined rawhide strands. See
redomon and sobar, the first step. There are many different braids,
each with its uses. A laso is made of 6 or 8 strands of raw-hide, braided in a
fashion that results in a round rope - more strands make a smoother more
rounded braid. Women often braid their hair using 3 strands in a fashion that
results in a flat braid.
- trensar, trensaring [trensar]
- to braid (or plait) lasos, reins, belts, etc. from rawhide. See trensa
- “trigo guatcho” [trigo guacho]
- volunteer wheat, sprouted from fallen crop seed
- triste [triste]
- unhappy or sad. When referring to cattle: stressed, unhealthy, downcast.
See also tristeza.
- tristeza [tristeza vacuna o bovina]
- a tropical disease of cattle caused by parasites in the blood, transmitted
by ticks and mosquitos. a.k.a.: Texas cattle fever. The cattle are weakened
and may have fevers, they appear downcast (triste). Like measles in
humans, it affects adult animals more than the young; often leading to death.
- tronco, tronca [tronco]
- see tranquera
- troop, troup, tropo [H] [tropa / tropear]
- (i) herd of livestock;
- (ii) to drive a herd of livestock. See tropa.
- tropa [=]
- herd of livestock, typically cattle, that is being moved / driven /
herded. See rodeo.
- tropita [=]
- small tropa (herd)
- tropero [=]
- someone who drives/herds cattle from one place to another. (NOTE: Tropero
is not the translation of herdsman.)
- tropillia, trepillia [H], trapillo [tropilla]
- (i) small herd, typically of horses
- (ii) see yegua overa & yegua picasa for names of
horse herds at “La California”, 1877.
- large corral of palm logs (per context, AABz 1895, Apr. 19)
- trun / trunes [trun / trunes]
- A Chilean bur oak tree. JEBz: Based on context, we believe
he meant beams of its wood.
- tubiano [tobiano]
- horse coloring - see tobiano
- tubo [=]
- (i) tube;
- (ii) per context (19 June'85): clear glass tube of an oil lamp.
- tuerto [=]
- blind in one eye (person or animal)
- turnequetes, turniqts [torniquetas]
- turn-buckles on fences - see torniquetas
- tusca [tosca]
- see tosca
- tuviano [tobiano]
- horse coloring - see tobiano
- see cigüeña
- U, V, W -
- vaca [=]
- cow. See vacunos for more cattle terms.
- “vaca con cuero” [=]
- cow with skin - butchered but not skinned. Generally relating to asado con cuero -
grilled with the skin, see asado.
- “vacas c⁄cria”
- Cows with calf at foot
- “vacas mestizas”
- Mixed breed cows
- vacillas [H], vacillars, vacillona, vacilloño [vaquillas]
- heifers or young cows - colloquial. See also vaquillonas, and vacunos for more terms.
- vacuna [=]
- (i) abjective form of vacuno - cattle, see vacunos
- (ii) vaccine or to vaccinate
- vacunos [=]
- cattle. Bovinos is the more formal term and is generally only used
in official documents or academic research.
- Other terms:
cria breeding or offspring; ternera/o calf; recria stockers; invernada yearlings;
novillo steer; res beef; padre, toro bull; toruno
late or incompletely castrated;
vaca cow; vacillas [H] cows or heifers; vaquillas young cows, heifers; (vaca) lechera milk cow; vaquillona heifer;
rodeo cattle herd/group; tropa herd being herded;
tropero herder; tropilla small herd;
- “walde sin fondo”
- see balde sin fondo [AABz, 20 June'77]
- vale, valor [vale]
- note, or IOU
- valija [=]
- valise, suitcase
- see vaquilla - standard abbreviation
- vaqueano, vaquiano [baquiano]
- (i) guide or expert person;
(ii) becomming skilled or expert
- vaquilla, vaquillona, vaquillone [vaquilla o vaquillona]
- heifer (young cow). See vacunos for more terms.
- vaquita [=]
- little cow, likely: heifer. See vaca (cow) & vaquilla (heifer)
- “vaquilla con cuero”
- Per context (1893), Alfred had a heifer slaughtered but not skinned, for an “asado con cuero”
as a reward to the peones for completing a task, e.g. marcación.
- vara [=]
- (i)a measure of length, varied slightly by province. In Santa Fé: 86.6 cm.
(See our page on Measures.)
(ii) (AABz Dec.1896) varas replaced the caña in a thatched roof - see also chorizo.
- varillas, varillias [varillas]
- In US: “spacers” - wood staves hung vertically on the fence wires to keep
them correctly spaced. For more about fences,
- horse coloring, see barroso (AABz spelling)
- vasura [basura]
- garbage, trash.
- varzino pig
- see pecarí de collar
- velorio [=]
- wake (for the dead)
- venado [=]
- (i) deer, stag;
- (ii) “venado de las pampas” deer of the pampas, another name
for gama. See also ciervo, gama, & guasuncho.
- vergs [verga]
- slang for penis
- vermicelli [=]
- verugo [verruga]
- vieja/o [=]
- Viernes Santo [Viernes Santo]
- Holy Friday
- viga [=]
- beam or heavy post
- vinagre [=]
- vino [=]
- vitreal [=]
- vitrial, the old term for sulfuric acid or a sulphate salt
- viuda [=]
- vizcacha, biscacha [vizcacha]
- a rodent (Lagostomus maximus] of the pampas, similar to a prairie-dog with black and grey horizontal stripes
across its face. Lives in colonies (vizcacheras). Behave like pack-rats in the sense that they collect
anything and everything.
- vizcachera, biscachera [vizcachera]
- A colony of vizcachas, typically a mound of bare ground with many burrows, littered with branches.
- volante [=]
- a light, 2-wheeled horse drawn carriage
- volcador [=]
- per context (AABz diary, 1902 hunt), likely a jagüel with a tipping bucket. See jagüel.
- vueltas [=]
- twists & turns
- change returned (money)
- wappo [guapo]
- see guapo
- warosa [huarosa] [-?-]
- could mean: grey or pale colored
- watcho [guacho]
- see guacho
- “wild cat”
- see “gato montes”
- “wild pig”
- see pecarí
- wrax [-?-]
- no idea (Alfred 14 Dec'91).
- X, Y, Z -
- yacare [yacaré caimán]
- A medium to small crocodillian (Caiman yacare) inhabiting the rivers, lagunas, &
marshes of central South America, includng northern Argentina. Adult males: 2½-3
metres, less than 60 kg, adult females: 1½ metres, 20 kg. Feeds on fish, birds, &
carpincho. Fed on by jaguars and anaconda. Not threatened.
- yappa [yapa or ñapa]
- (i) an extension (enyapado is patched on);
(ii) an extra piece tossed in for free, a gift.
- abbreviation (English) for yards (yardas). 1 yard = 3 feet = 36 inches
(pulgadas) = 0.91 m.
- yegua [=]
- "yegua overa tropilla"
- “La California” — horse herd of the spotted black & white (piebald)
mare (Alfred 1877)
- "yegua picasa tropilla"
- “La California” — horse herd of the black coat & white markings
(face, socks) mare (Alfred 1877)
- yeguada [=]
- mare herd, colloquial term could include more than just mares.
- yeguariza, yeguarisas [yeguarizos]
- generic colloquial term for horse livestock. See caballo
for more horse terms.
- yerba [=]
- Yerba litterally means “herb”. However, unless qualified otherwise referes
to yerba mate – the bitter tea drunk in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay,
and southern Brazil.
- yerra [=]
- the yearly inspection of cow-herds (in US: the round-up): each herd (rodeo) is rounded up (put
on rodeo), the new calves are branded (marcar / marked) and
ear-marked (señalar) to identify year of birth, their horns are tipped or removed (descornar),
male calves (except a select few kept as bulls) are
castrated turning them into steers, sick & fly-blown animals are treated,
non-productive (deshecho) cows and bulls are replaced by young stock. The larger steers
(novillos) and the culls (some heifers, old cows & bulls) are parted out for sale.
annual event that requires many workmen (peones). In more recent times the cattle
are also vaccinated, dosed, and/or dipped, on a regular basis (every 3-6
months) throughout the year, but this activity by itself is not referred to as a
yerra. For cattle terms, see vacunos.
- yierno [yerno]
- yierra [yerra]
- see yerra
- yugo [=]
- (i) yoke, usually the wood-beam that lies across the knecks of a
pair (yunta) of oxen & is tied to their horns.
can be the pair of oxen, a.k.a.yunta.
See carro, coyunta, yunta, & pertico;
- (iii) vice in a raceway (manga) to grip cattle by their neck,
- yunta, junta [yunta]
- (i) a yoke (pair) of oxen (bueyes). See
carro, coyunta, pertico, & yugo.
- (ii) a pair
- yuyal [=]
- weed-patch, i.e. a mass of weeds (yuyos)
- yuyo [=]
- a weed
- zaballo, zapallas
- see zapallo
- zaino [=]
- bay or dark chestnut. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
(i) zaino colorado: bay.
(ii) zaino pato: bay with yellow (egg-yolk) shades.
(iii) zaino chaira: no idea
- zancheared [zanjar]
- to dig a ditch (zanja)
- zapallo [=]
- squash (of the edible kind), pumpkin
- zarscito [zarcito]
- little czar, mangled name of a horse
- zebruno [cebruno]
- dark grulla. See Horse Coloring
at foot of this page.
- zerero [cerrero]
- wild, untamed cattle; unbroken horse
- zorro [=]
- (i) fox
(ii) per context, a light or small wagon (La California diaries: 17 Oct’90).
In the table below we include only those terms used in
the diaries. We do not pretend to be experts. There are many sites
on the web listing horse colors:
- To see photos/pictures, query the web on: “que es pelaje put-in-term”.
- Guillermo A. Terrera, an authority on the criollo breed, provides a list at:
- Wikipedia in Spanish has a short version that includes Argentine terms, at:
Pelajes del Caballo.
- The American Horse Registry provides a list at
Equine Colors & Markings.
- Below the following table, we include the American Quarter Horse color chart to which we have
associated (subject to discussion) the terms used in Argentina for the colors shown (not necessarily the color
The following table is our attempt at translating the terms we have encountered in the
family records. For more horse terms, see caballo in the glossary above.
||often with a wall-eye
||color qualifier: splashes of a different color between the legs
||qualifier: dark stripe down the back and leg barring
||with shadows - wolf-like coloring
||qualifier: face with a broad white blaze
||(with white socks, then: picaso) |
||qualifier, see overo in glossary
||pale / faded patches
||qualifier, e.g. zaino pangaré - bay with pale patches
||tinged / shaded yellow
||qualifier, e.g. zaino pato - bay with (egg-yolk) yellow tints
||brilliant black, usually with white stockings & white face
/ wide blaze
||tail &; mane with white tones/accents, flanks spotted grading to fully white belly
||large white spots
||see overo in glossary for more
||qualifier: sorrel, chestnut, or bay with white mane & tail
||qualifier: no star, blaze, or socks (i.e. fully covered).
||piebald / skewbald
pinto / paint
|see tobiano & overo in glossary
||qualifier: “toasted” e.g. zaino tostado - bay with dark
||dark chestnut / bay
”sangre de toro”
|very dark bay
||”bull's blood bay” - beautiful dark blood red