Which are the words, parts of words and structures coming from Basque to Spanish language? And possibly in which periods did they become part of spoken Spanish and official Spanish (Castellano)?

3 Answers 3


From the top of my head, the most used one would be

izquierda: left

There are others, like:

  • zamarra or chamarra: though RAE says zamarra is a sheepskin jacket or similar, in the Basque Country we use it, in Spanish too, to mean overcoat or any coat, really (usually pronounced "chamarra").
  • zulo: in Basque it literally means "hole", but thanks to ETA, the word entered the Spanish language meaning a hideout to hide weapons or kidnapped people.

I've found the following link with some more words. Some of them I really had no idea they were of Basque origin:

  • Aquelarre: witches' sabbath
  • Gabarra: barge
  • Bacalao: cod
  • Chabola: hut
  • Chirimbolo: according to RAE, "Objeto de forma extraña que no se sabe cómo nombrar" (it seems now RAE says it of uncertain origin)
  • Chistera: top-hat, and also the jai alai "basket" or xistera
  • Órdago: in mus card game bidding all the remaining points. From there, it is also used as "ultimatum" (lanzar un órdago). And "de órdago" means "extraordinary".
  • Yes, izquierda is probably the most used one. I wish I could give you more up-votes ;-) Jan 9, 2012 at 17:44
  • Wow, didn't have any idea about izquierda
    – Petruza
    Jan 10, 2012 at 1:55
  • IIRC, usage of zulo is now for more common crimes, like for example a place where criminals would hide the stolen property or take apart stolen cars.
    – vartec
    Sep 4, 2013 at 19:45

This Wikipedia link includes a list of such words, which I confirmed in the DRAE and expanded with a search on the DRAE itself.

The DRAE attributes a Basque origin to the following words:

  • amachinarse
  • boruca
  • chaparro
  • chapela
  • charro
  • chatarra
  • chueca
  • cococha
  • esguín
  • gamarra
  • gambalúa
  • ganzúa
  • guiri
  • jorguín
  • laya
  • mochil
  • mochila
  • muga
  • narria
  • sabaya
  • zatico/zatillo
  • zurrón

It attributes a possible Basque origin to the following:

  • alud
  • azcona
  • barrunte
  • burga
  • cencerro
  • mogote

The word agur was borrowed from Basque, which in turn had borrowed it from Latin.

The word silueta comes from a fellow named Étienne de Silhouette, whose surname comes from the Basque zuloeta, which is related to the zulo mentioned by Mikmik in a previous response.

This list isn't comprehensive, of course. I didn't include words mentioned in previous responses, recent borrowings, or regionalisms.

  • 1
    Great list! I wish the RAE online dictionary had the option to look up words by etymology, or regionalisms. I also didn't include in my response some words which RAE includes in the dictionary but which are related to the Basque culture, like aizcolari, pelotari, batúa...
    – MikMik
    Jan 11, 2012 at 8:03
  • @MikMik Indeed, but we're lucky to have DRAE free online at all. The OED, by contrast, is not exactly cheap. Jan 11, 2012 at 16:27

You can search for "del vasco" on Dirae, which produces 88 results (from the DRAE):

Puedes usar la búsqueda "del vasco" en Dirae, que arroja 88 resultados (procedentes del DRAE):

abertzale, agur, aguín, aizcolari, amachinarse, amarreco, amilamia, anavia, angula, aquelarre, arangorri, arnasca, arrabio, astabatán, aurragado, aurresku, azcona, bacalao, barrunte, batúa, boruca, burga, carranca, cartolas, cencerro, cenzaya, chabola, chacolí, changurro, chaparro, chapela, charro, chatarra, chirula, chistera, chistorra, chueca, cinzaya, cococha, donostiarra, escarrio, esguín, etarra, euscalduna, euskera, gabarra, gamarra, gambalúa, ganzúa, gardama, gardubera, guiri, ikastola, ikurriña, izquierdo, jorguín, lastón, lasún, laya, lendakari, lurte, maqueto, mochil, mogote, molso, motil, mozcorra, muga, narra, narria, orzaya, pacharán, pelotari, pitarra, sabaya, sagardúa, sagarmín, sinsorgo, talo, tobera, zacuto, zamarra, zarandilla, zarrio, zatico, zorcico, zurrón y órdago.

  • Acabamos de darnos cuenta de que eres el creador de DIRAE. ¡Pedazo invento!
    – fedorqui
    Feb 12, 2018 at 14:57

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