Here are 15 common English words whose roots come from indigenous languages of the Americas. The fate of the people who spoke these languages varies greatly, from tribes lost to history (that we only know about through records of other tribes) to the Guarani, whose language at last count had over 4 million speakers in Paraguay. All of these peoples, whatever their current status, have contributed their ideas and their perspectives through the English words below. Many of these terms have to do with animals and foods to be found in nature, but the Algonquian roots of "tuxedo" may come as a surprise! Read on below for tales of many more English words from indigenous sources.
All of the English words on this lists have Arabic origins. While some, like caliph and imam, clearly come from Arabic sources, you might be surprised to discover that algebra, chemistry, and zero are also derived from Arabic. Learn these words that contribute to the richness and variety of the English language.
English has borrowed many words from Yiddish, which is itself an amalgam of German, Russian, Hebrew and many other languages. Here are 15 more English words that derive from Yiddish — some of which are very common, and some of which might be less familiar to you. Looking for more Yiddish-derived words? Check out our original list of English Words Derived from Yiddish.
You've got a lot of nerve — so learn this list of words that derive the Latin word neuron, meaning "nerve." Want to dissect more English words related to anatomy? Here are links to our complete set of Body Language lists: Corp ("Body") / Capit, Capt ("Head") / Or, Os ("Mouth") / Dent, Dont ("Tooth") / Gastr, Gastro ("Stomach") / Neur ("Nerve") / Man ("Hand") / Ped, Pod ("Foot") / Derm ("Skin") / Carn ("Flesh") / Os, Osteo ("Bone") / Cor, Cord, Cardio ("Heart") / Psych ("Mind")
Words derived from more than one language are called "hybrid words." Many hybrid words in English have a combination of Latin and Greek roots, but you'll also find other interesting combinations in the list below.
Meaning "not" or "opposite of," this common prefix is used in words like disagree ("to be of different or conflicting opinions") and disgust ("a strong feeling of dislike"). Learn these words that contain the prefix dis-. Want to increase your prefix power? Learn our complete set of Power Prefix lists: anti-, con-, dis-, ex-, fore-, inter-, mis-, pre-, pro-, sub-, super-, trans-, uni-