cacahuete Peanut, Cocoa
Posted: 14 July 2019 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  1737
Joined  2007-03-21

Probably the most extreme case of Diegogarcity ever.

I’m in Germany with a bunch of Hondurans and we order peanuts for a snack. One of the Honduran say, “cacahuete” so I look it up on my phone. It’s used in Honduras and Mexico as the word for peanuts.

Then when I get back to the states, I open a fridge of my church in Wisconsin and there is a huge container of crushed peanuts with cacahuete in parens. We are used to lots of things translated in both languages and here it is. Never heard it before my trip to Germany.

But the word seems to have an odd etymology. connected to the cocoa bean.

From Classical Nahuatl cacahuatl (“cocoa bean”), with phonetical influence of alcahuete, hypothetically of Arabic origin (this influence is absent in cacahuate, the variant of the word used in Honduras and Mexico). Note that in Classical Nahuatl cacahuatl might refer to the cocoa bean, with tlālcacahuatl (literally “earth cocoa bean”), probably being the name for the peanut.

the Uto-Aztecan language of the Nahuatl. seems to be alive in the Americas (Shishoni in the north and Aztec in Central America.

Amazing to me!

Posted: 15 July 2019 01:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  328
Joined  2007-02-15

Thanks for this. I know it from standard French for peanuts but was unaware of the American origins, although the odd spelling in French should perhaps have set me to thinking.

Posted: 15 July 2019 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  402
Joined  2007-06-14

Cacahuete is also the common term for peanut in Spain and in Nicaragua.  The South American term is maní, a Taíno word.
In Mexico I’ve also heard it pronounced as cacahuate.

I doubt the influence, phonetic or otherwise, of alcahuete.  Yes, it is from the Hispano-arabic alqawwád, from the classical Arabic qawwād, prefixed by the article al.  It is a fairly common insult, meaning pimp or procurer.

[ Edited: 15 July 2019 07:48 AM by cuchuflete ]
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