While researching a little bit about Nicaragua for my Spanish class presentation, I became curious as to why there is no good explanation for the origins of the word “pinolero” Nicaraguans sometimes use to call themselves. The Wikipedia entry, as of this writing, doesn’t provide any references, and the version about 70s INDEVESA pick-up is highly doubtful (more than likely, it was the other way around).

The version about pinol (or pinole) sounds more plausible, but again, there are no references, and search results are scant. For what it’s worth, those results are dominated by the certain Nicaraguan blend cigars that have on the label, evidently, couple Nicas grinding maize:

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According to the Diccionario del Español de Nicaragua (Dictionary of Nicaraguan Spanish) published by the Academia Nicaragüense de la Lengua, pinolero is an adjective (also used as a noun) used to refer to Nicaraguans, "por su hábito de beber pinol" (because of their habit of drinking pinol). The entry above explains that pinol (a drink made from toasted, ground cornmeal) comes from the Náhuatl word pinolli. It doesn't go into any more details on etymology, but I'd imagine a publication of the Nicaraguan Language Academy is about as authoritative a reference as you're going to get on the topic.

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