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of the
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November 9-12. 2005
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Compiled by Marian S. Greenfield
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Others may speak and read English - more or less - but it is our language not
theirs. It was made in Englandby the English andit remains our distinctiveproperty,
however Widely it is learnt or used.
Enoch Powell, Member of British Parliament, 1988
As an independent nation, our honour requires us to have a system ofour own, in
language as well as government. Great Britain... should no longer be our standard.
Noah Webster, American Lexicographer, 1789
.....,.'-: ...
.,., ',., ":' '.
La Ciudad de Mexico (detail). (1949) by Juan O'Gorman (1905-1982).
Tempera on Masonite. Museo Nacional de Arte Modemo, Mexico City, Mexico.
Andre Moskowitz
Keywords: Spanish, regionalisms, terminology, dialectology, lexicography, sociolinguistics, tools.
Abstract: This paper contains information on the words used in different varieties of Spanish for
certain tools, materials, devices and miscellaneous items relating to construction and
If you walk into a hardware store, any hardware store anywhere in the Spanish-speaking world, to
buy a hammer-a claw hammer or ordinary carpenter's hammer-you can request a martillo and
receive a knowing and sympathetic response from the hardware store employee or owner. You may
need to add a qualifier to martillo to specify the hammer's weight or the type of claw you want it to
have (the word for a hammer's "claw" may vary\ but the unmodified or base term, martillo, will
remain unchanged from Tijuana, Mexico in the North all the way to the Tierra del Fuego in the
South and, across the Atlantic, in any of the Spanish-speaking regions of Spain as well. If, on the
other hand, you want to buy a sledgehammer, your dealings in the hardware store will go more
smoothly if you vary the term you use for this item in your request by choosing from one ofa series
of terms, such as a/magana, combo, comba, mandarria, marro, marron, maza, mazo or porra,
depending on where in the Spanish-speaking world you are making the purchase.
Possible reasons for lexical differences will occasionally be advanced in the individual
sections-combo and comba, for example, corne from a substrate language, Quechua-but in many
cases the origins of the variation involve terminological coinage and/or semantic drift that are
difficult to explain. Although one can search for the earliest written attestation of a given usage, the
term or phrase may have been in use in oral language long before it appeared in print and early
published sources may not give many clues as to how the usage came about.
Why, for example, is desarmador and/or desatomillador used more often in some countries than the
General Spanish word for screwdriver, destomillador, that to some extent is used everywhere? All
three of these nouns derive from perfectly castizo verbs (desarmar, desatomillar and destomillar,
respectively), and unfortunately, there are many examples such as this one in which I have no theory
that accounts for the regional preferences. In this article, you, the reader, will find hundreds of facts
about who says what and where, but only a handful of theories and partial explanations as to why.
Even many basic usage questions are posed that the limited data collected and sources consulted do
not allow me to answer.
Viewing the Spanish language synchronically (at a given point in time), and even diachronically
(over a period of time), the name used for many and perhaps most items, tools among them, is
essentially a constant: Martillo is a General Spanish word that "works" everywhere, and has for
manycenturies. In contrast, words for other items, such as sledgehammers, are geographic variables:
People from different regions call them by different names. In some cases an item's name may also
vary along a social and/or situational axis, or among different professional, ethnic or age groups, and
perhaps even between men and women. In this article, however, the primary focus will be on the
diatopical (geographic) lexical variation amongthe different Spanish-speaking countries. Relatively
little information will be presented regarding regional variation within nations, or between the
different socioeconomic layers ofeach society, and none regarding variation among different ethnic
groups, age brackets, or between the two genders. The amount of data collected in this study was
insufficient to draw many conclusions in these areas. However, since the vocabulary involves
specific trades, within a given country it is a speaker's occupation/activities that is probablythe most
important factor governing a variation that is, in a sense, binary in nature: the existence or lack of
existence of a specific name or names in a person's lexical repertoire.
The following topics relating to carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrical
, farming/gardening, auto
mechanics and other trades will be addressed:
A) Tools: 1) screwdriver A - general screwdriver (base terms), 2) screwdriver B - phillips
screwdriver or phillips-head screwdriver, 3) screwdriver C - slotted screwdriver, flat-head
screwdriver, straight-blade screwdriver, flat-blade screwdriver or standard screwdriver, 4)
sledgehammer or maul, 5) hacksaw, 6) pliers A - regular pliers, joint pliers, slip-joint pliers
or diagonal pliers (standard adjustable, noncutting pliers), 7) pliers B - needlenose pliers or
longnose pliers, 8) wrench A - crescent wrench or adjustable wrench, 9) wrench B - pipe
wrench, 10) crowbar, pry bar or wrecking bar, 11) clamp, 12) vise, 13) trowel A - pointing
trowel, brick trowel or mason's trowel, 14) trowel B - finishing trowel, flat trowel, plasterer's
trowel or smoothing trowel, 15) pick or pickax, 16) hoe, 17) drill bit.
B) Materials. devices and miscellaneous: 1) plywood, 2) tar, 3) sawhorse, 4) form (for pouring
concrete), 5) washer (metal washers for screws and bolts), 6) bearing (ball bearing, roller
bearing, etc.), 7) steamroller, 8) screw anchor, 9Ytire repair shop.
Usage relating to each ofthese topics can be considered a dialectological or linguistic labyrinth that
spans the entire Spanish-speaking world. The purpose ofthis article is to present the maze, outline
its salient landmarks, and hold out a thread by which you, the reader, can find your way to some of
the exits in most of the Spanish-speaking countries. Each way out can also be viewed as a way in,
an entree into a particular aspect of a language variety.
Information on the vocabulary for the items in A) Tools and B) Materials. devices and miscellaneous
above is provided for Spain and the nineteen Spanish American republics, but none is offered for

the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Western Sahara, Morocco, the United States, Trinidad and
Tobago or other countries where Spanish and/or a Spanish-based creole is spoken. Spanish speakers
from these countries were not queried on tool-related vocabulary for two reasons: First, because,
with the exception ofthe United States, I do not have access to a pool ofSpanish speakers from these
nations, and secondly, because, even if! had, it is not clear how, if at all, one is to define Philippine
Spanish, United States Spanish, etc., especially with regard to lexis. For information on these
varieties, see La Lengua Espanola en Guinea Ecuatorial (Qui lis and Casado-Fresnillo),"El espanol
en el mundo: frutos del ultimo siglo de contactos lingUisticos" (Lipski 2005), "La lengua espanola
en los Estados Unidos: avanza a la vez que retrocede" (Lipski 2004a), "Is 'Spanglish' the third
language of the South? Truth and fantasy about U.S. Spanish" (Lipski 2004b), "The place of
Chabacano in the Philippine linguistic profile" (Lipski 2001), and other works byJohn Lipski, some
ofwhich (as ofthis writing) are downloadable from his homepage at
/j/m1jm134/ (eliminate the dashes after "edu" and "faculty"), and all of which are listed in its
"Publications" section; each, in tum, contains an extensive bibliography.
Information in this paper relating to the topics outlined above in A) Tools and B) Materials. devices
and miscellaneous is organized into fouf sections:
1) Summary
2) Terms by Country
3) Details
4) Real Academia Regional Review
0.1 Summary
The "Summary" sections give a brief overviewofthe lexical variation that exists with respect to the
items in question.
0.2 Terms by Country
The "Terms by Country" sections consist oflexico-geographic tables in which I present the terms
offered bythe Spanish speakers I questioned on usage (this study's respondents or informants), next
to their countries oforigin. The Spanish-speaking countries are listed in an essentially geographical
order and the terms offered by respondents are presented in decreasing numerical order, with the
terms offered by the largest number of respondents from each country appearing first. In these
sections, regionally marked usages, i.e. those not part of General Spanish, appear in italics, and
usages that are regional and were also given by 50% or more of respondents from a particular
country ("majority regionalisms") are written in italics and boldface. When ten or more responses
from a given country were obtained, terms that were offered by only one or two respondents from
that country("minorityresponses") are written in small print. I have adopted this formatting scheme
because I consider each term that is in boldface and italics to be an important regionalism without
which a speaker lacks communicative competence for a specific item in a given country or set of
countries. Terms written in small print, in contrast, can for the time being be given little weight,
unless other studies demonstrate they are widely used by a particular group or speech community.
See Bolivia in section A13.3 (the pointing trowel) for an example of a term, pato, that was offered
byonlytwo respondents in this study, but a somewhat larger number in a different study. Combining
the data from both studies suggests that more field work is needed to determine the currency ofthis
usage in Bolivia, and that by no means should it be hastily dismissed.
The number of respondents who were questioned in this project varied as did the number of those
who were able to answer each question. As a result, the amount ofdata presented for each item and
from each country spans a considerable range. My goal was to obtain fifteen responses for each item
from each of the twenty Spanish-speaking countries whose usage was being studied, but in some
cases I fell far short ofthis goal (obtaining only four or five responses from a given country), and in
others I exceeded it obtaining over 20 responses. In some instances, even when ten to fifteen
responses were obtained for a given country, their distribution was so disperse as to make it
impossible to draw any conclusions about prevailing usage. For example, in section A14.2 (the
.finishingtrowel), ten responses were obtained fromParaguayans, but six different terms were offered
bythem and no tenn was given more than twice. Had I obtained fifteen responses from each country
for each item, this would have been fifteen multiplied by 20 countries multiplied by 26 items for a
total of 7800 responses, a figure which does not include multiple responses given by individual
respondents to the same item (e.g. people who said a screwdriver is called a desarmador or a
In the section on sledgehammers, part of the table reads,
almtigana (14/16), almQdana (2/16). almQdena (1116). mazo (1/16).
comba (19/21), mazo (6/21), combo (3/21).
This is to be interpreted as "of the sixteen Salvadorans who were asked to identify the
sledgehammer, fourteen offered the term almagana, two gave almadana, one almadena and one
mazo" and, in the case ofPeru, it means that "ofthe twenty-one Peruvians asked the same question,
nineteen indicated comba, six mazo and three combo." In many cases, such as these, some of the
people interviewed stated that more than one term was commonly used in their homeland for a given
item and, therefore, the sum of the ratios is often more than one. The terms almagana, almadana,
almadena, comba and combo appear in italics in the above table because they are more regional than
mazo, and the terms almagana and comba appear in boldface-they are written in both bold and
italics-because they are regional terms that were also given by 50% or more of the respondents
queried from EI Salvador and Peru, respectively. Under EI Salvador, almadana, almadena and mazo
appear in small print because they were given by only one or two (out of sixteen) Salvadoran
respondents. The word mazo can be considered the General Spanish term because, while it is the
term used by a majority of this study's speakers in only a handful of countries, it was offered as a
second or third choice by respondents from most of the remaining Spanish-speaking countries. The
words almagana and combo, in contrast, are regionally weighted terms used primarily by Spanish
speakers from northern Central America and the Andean region, respectively(see section A4 below).
I collected much of the data presented in these sections by means of one-on-one, face-to-face
interviews that consisted of showing the respondent a picture of the tool or other item in question
and asking him or her (usually him) to name the item. Descriptions and comments were also used
to focus the respondent's attention on the specific item and in a few cases these verbal cues played
a primary role. I also sometimes went about it in the opposite direction, that is, once I had established
that a given tenn is commonly used in a particular country, I might ask people from that country,
"lQue es un(a) __?," a question that was often followed by "lY cmil es la diferencia entre un(a)
__y un(a) __?".
Mypreferred mode ofseeking out respondents from specific countries was to visit the waiting rooms
of the Spanish-speaking country consulates in San Francisco (California) and New York City, and
striking up conversations with people waiting to get a document processed or some other service
perfonned. Occasionally, I would run into Mexicans at the Consulate ofEl Salvador and vice versa,
but 99% of the time the people I met at the consulates were from the country the consulate
For the most part, I found the public in these waiting rooms to be cooperative and willing to answer
questions on usage, and this was especially true of those who had some expertise in particular tool-
related topics. Not surprisingly, there were also some who tried to impress me with knowledge of
the subject matter that their answers demonstrated they lacked. I also obtained information on tool
terminology bygoing to the parking lot ofmy local Home Depot
store in El Cerrito, California, and
interviewing native speakers ofSpanish (mostly Mexicans and Central Americans) who were in the
store's parking lot waiting to be hired as day laborers. In the case of one country, Ecuador, I also
visited hardware stores and construction sites and spoke to carpenters, plumbers and masons, etc.
while on a trip there with my family in December of 2004.
Some of the information I obtained from respondents was not acquired through face-to-face
interviews, but bywritten questionnaires, telephone conversations and e-mail correspondence. I also
did something that many, ifnot most academic linguists would probably frown upon. I sent pictures
of the items in this study to friends and colleagues in different cities in the Spanish-speaking world
and asked them to take the images to hardware stores, construction sites, etc. and ask individuals
from their local area (ones my contacts thought were knowledgeable about tools) to tell them the
names they use for the items. My international contacts would then return the completed pictorial
questionnaires to me.
This technique has the disadvantage that the researcher conducting the overall study loses control
over the data collection process in that a second party is in effect interviewing a third party. And
other than providing the images to be shown to respondents, I admittedly had little control over the
interviewing techniques and data collection processes employed by those kind enough to help me;
I did not give them detailed instructions on how to obtain the information. Asking for outside
assistance, however, has the advantage of allowing researchers with limited funds and no academic
grants to collect more data, and possibly more accurate data, than they would be able to had they
limited themselves to face-to-face interviews ofrespondents living in the researcher's horne country.
While the ideal scenario would have been for me to personally travel to each ofthe twenty Spanish-
speaking countries and visit hardware stores and construction sites to conduct my own interviews
in situ, alas, this was not possible or practical due to the limitations on my own resources.
Nevertheless, I am heartened by the fact that the information I received from abroad was largely
consistent with the data collected in the United States. In any case, future studies will need to be
conducted to determine how representative the information presented in this article is of the usage
of Spanish speakers who regularly work with the tools in question.
0.3 Details
The "Details" sections consist ofa review ofpublished lexicographical and dialectological sources
and occasional explanations ofthe information in the "Terms by Country" sections. In the "Details"
sections, regional dictionary definitions and other sources are cited and compared to each other and
to the information gathered in this study in an attempt to arrive at an understanding of prevailing
usage in the different regions ofthe Spanish-speaking world. I examine what other published works
have to say about usage in a particular country to see which information provided by the respondents
in this study they confirm, which they contradict, and which they partly confirm, partly contradict
and/or modify. In general, the goal is to identify those cases in which there appears to be consensus
regarding the prevailing usage for a given item in a given region, as well as those in which there are
conflicting reports about what people from a particular region say and what they mean.
In these sections, you, the reader, will have the opportunity to observe some of the world's top
Spanish lexicographers go toe to toe, or "mano a mano" as some would say-perhaps "pluma a
pluma" or "teclado a teclado" would be more accurate-and compare how they handle defining
certain words with regard to both style and content, though the two are sometimes hard to separate.
Compare, for example, the definitions of"sledgehammer," "pointingtrowel" and "steamroller" cited
in the respective sections ofthis article andjudge for yourselfwhich lexicographer demonstrates the
best combination of marksmanship, conciseness, elegance, and precise imagery. Bear in mind,
however, that a definition often has to sacrifice brevity for precision or vice versa and where the
proper balance lies is a matter of opinion.
While the outcomes of these dictionary duels are debatable, you will have ringside seats to bouts
featuring some of the Spanish-speaking world's most renowned lexicographers such as Luis
Fernando Lara Ramos and his colleagues from the Colegio de Mexico, GUnther Haensch and
Reinhold Werner and their disciples from the University of Augsburg, and, of course, the Real
Academia's own team of scholars. You will also be witness to definitions written by several
lexicographers whose work is less well known internationallybut who are nonetheless highly skilled
in their craft and give those written by Lara Ramos, Haensch and Werner, and the Real Academia
a good run for their money. Some of the definitions you will see, however, are crafted by lesser
luminaries whose command of the subject matter and lexicographical skill and style are not as
impressive. The dictionaries cited here are not all of equal quality or sophistication, yet each has
some information to offer on regional tool terminology. Since all of them list their entry words in
alphabetical order, only the Spanish-language tenn and the work's abbreviation are indicated, not
the corresponding page number.
The published sources I consulted are far from exhaustive, but quite a bit ofinfonnation on regional
usage is cited from the following works that will be abbreviated as follows and whose complete
bibliographical data appear in References.
Diccionario de Bolivianismos. Dora Gomez de Fernandez and Nicolas Fernandez
Naranjo. 1996.
Diccionario del Espanol de Argentina I Espanol de Argentina-Espanol de Espana.
Giinther Haensch and Reinhold Werner. 2000.
Diccionario Ejemplificado de Chilenismos. Felix Morales Pettorino et al. 1984.
Diccionario del Espanol de Cuba I Espanol de Cuba-Espanol de Espana. Giinther
Haensch and Reinhold Werner. 2000.
Diccionario del Espanol Usual en Mexico. Luis Fernando Lara Ramos. 1996.
Diccionario Hondurenismos. Rosalio R. Zavala. 2003. (It is not entirely clear why
this dictionary is not called Diccionario de Hondurenismos.)
Diccionario del habla actual de Venezuela. Rocio Nunez and Francisco Javier Perez.
Diccionario de Peruanismos. Juan de Arona (pedro Paz Soldan y Unanue). 1974.
(Originally published in 1883 and 1884 in Buenos Aires and Lima.)
Diccionario de la Lengua Espanola. 22nd edition. Real Academia Espanola 2001.
Diccionario de Salvadorenismos. Matias Romero. 2003.
Diccionario de Terminos Panamenos. Arnoldo Higuero Morales. 1993.
Diccionario de uso del Espanol Nicaragiiense. Francisco Arellano Oviedo. 2001.
Diccionario de Venezolanismos. Maria Josefina Tejera. 1983-1993.
EI Habla del Ecuador I Diccionario de Ecuatorianismos I Contribucion a la
Lexicografia Ecuatoriana. Carlos Joaquin Cordova Malo. 1995.
Nuevo Diccionario de Americanismos. Tomo I Nuevo Diccionario de
Colombianismos. Giinther Haensch and Reinhold Werner. 1993.
Nuevo Diccionario de Costarriquenismos. Miguel A. Quesada Pacheco. 2001.
Nuevo Diccionario de Americanismos. Tomo III Nuevo Diccionario de
Uruguayismos. Giinther Haensch, Reinhold Werner and Ursula Kiihl de Mones.
1993. (Volume IT ofthe Nuevo Diccionario de Americanismos series was the Nuevo
Diccionario de Argentinismos which was superseded by the DEArg.)
Of the works in the preceding list, the DRAE is the most important and comprehensive general
Spanish-language dictionary in existence. It is written from an essentially Peninsular Spanish
perspective on the language, but it attempts to include Spanish American usage as well. The
DEUMex is unique in that it is an abridged but general Spanish-language dictionary written from a
non-Peninsular vantage point on the language (from a decidedly Mexican perspective) and is
currently, to my knowledge, the only general Spanish-language dictionary that is not told from a
Peninsular point of view.
The other dictionaries that stand out from the rest are the four listed above directed by Giinther
Haensch and Reinhold Werner. These are contrastive dictionaries that rigorously highlight and
expose that portion of the lexicon of one national variety of the language (Argentine Spanish,
Colombian Spanish, Cuban Spanish or Uruguayan Spanish) that functions differently when
compared to a second variety, which we can perhaps call "General Peninsular Spanish." Although
this is an abstraction, the lexicon of General Peninsular Spanish is essentially Peninsular Spanish
lexicon that is not especially Andaluz, Valenciano, Asturiano, or even Castilian. Each Haensch and
Werner dictionary also explains regional differences within the Spanish American variety being
presented, i.e. Oriente Cuban Spanish as opposed to the Spanish of central and western Cuba, or
Cuyo Argentine Spanish as contrasted with Rioplatense Argentine Spanish. The research and writing
in them is of the highest quality and anyone reading them can learn a great deal about both the
highlighted Spanish American variety of the language and about Peninsular Spanish. One can only
hope that they, or their disciples, will continue with this project and create contrastive dictionaries
for other Spanish-speaking countries as well.
I also occasionally cite two English-language dictionaries for the purpose of inter-language
lexicographical comparison (see References for complete bibliographical data):
AHD The American Heritage Dictionary ofthe English Language. 4th edition. Joseph P.
Pickett. 2000.
EWD Encarta Webster's Dictionary of the English Language. 2nd edition. Anne H.
Soukhanov and Kathy Rooney. 2004.
In addition, I have consulted and cited the twelve works published to date that are the fruit of the
Proyecto de estudio coordinado de la norma lingiiistica culta de las capitales de Hispanoamerica
y de Espana, a project that was initially developed by Juan Miguel Lope Blanch of the Instituto de
Investigaciones Filol6gicas of the Universidad Nacional Aut6noma de Mexico. In these studies, a
dozen or more educated Spanish speakers-ones with at least a college education and in many cases
also a graduate (postgraduate) or professional degree-who had grown up in a particular large city
in the Spanish-speaking world, were queried on about 4500 lexical items that included a handful of
tools. Half of the respondents were male and half female and they belonged to three different
generations. The lexico del habla culta studies that were consulted are as follows with complete
bibliographical data in References:
Lexico del habla culta de Mexico. Juan Miguel Lope Blanch. 1978.
Encuestas lexicas del habla culta de Madrid. Jose C. de Torres Martinez. 1981.
Lexico del habla culta de San Juan de Puerto Rico. Hurnberto LOpez Morales et al. 1986.
Lexico del habla culta de Santiago de Chile. Ambrosio Rabanales and Lidia Contreras. 1987.
Lexico del habla culta de Granada. Francisco Salvador Salvador. 1991.
Lexico del habla culta de La Paz. Jose G. Mendoza. 1996.
Lexica del habla culta de Santafe de Bogota. Hilda Otalora de Fernandez. 1997.
Lexico del habla culta de Buenos Aires. Academia Argentina de Letras. 1998.
Lexico del habla culta de Caracas. Mercedes Sedano and Zaida Perez Gonzalez. 1998.
Lexico del habla culta de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Jose Antonio Samper Padilla et al. 1998.
Lexico del habla culta de Cordoba, Argentina. Maria Teresa Toniolo et al. 2000.
Lexico del habla culta de Lima. Rocio Caravedo. 2000.
As comprehensive as the pioneering lexico del habla culta studies are, they were of limited use in
comparing results to those of this study for several reasons. First, because many of the items
addressed in this article, such as the sledgehammer, the crescent wrench, the pipe wrench, the
crowbar and the sawhorse, were not among those tested in the lexico del habla culta studies and,
secondly, because some ofthe tools tested in those studies appeared to be beyond the scope oftheir
respondents' knowledge as evidenced by the low percentage of them who were able to answer the
It is also hard to tell what some ofthe tools in the lexico del habla culta studies refer to, or whether
the same item was tested in each study. For example, in the section in each of these works on
HERRAMIENTAS CASERAS (household tools), item 1403 is called ALICATES and was tested by
means ofan illustration that was shown to respondents but is not presented in the books. As a result,
it is not clear what type of pliers-whether slip-joint pliers (noncutting adjustable pliers), linesman
pliers (nonadjustable cutting pliers), needlenose pliers, or some other type-were the ones
respondents were shown.
One very worthwhile aspect of the lexico del habla culta studies is that they provide a separate
response for each informant queried. As a result, terms that were given byrespondents in the singular
form (e.g. alicate or pinza) are distinguished from ones in the plural form (alicates or pinzas) when
speaking ofa single pair ofpliers. This is important in determining the level ofcompetition between
variants, and the existence ofdifferent patterns or regional norms as they relate to variants. My own
tendency, in contrast, is to present forms that were offered by respondents from the same country,
and that I consider to be variants, as a single word with the part that varies in parentheses. Examples
of this include alicate(s), when respondents from a given country offered both singular and plural
forms, destomillador (de) estrella, when they indicated destomillador de estrella and/or
destomillador estrella (see section A2.2 below), and (/lave) pico (de) cotorra, when they said llave
pico de cotorra, llave pico cotorra, pico de cotorra and/or pica cotorra (see section A8.2 below).
In a few cases, when I found that some variants were much more common than others, I have
presented separate response data for each variant.
Sometimes the name of the category in the lexico del habla culta studies does not seem to
correspond to the question posed to respondents and/or to the answers they gave. For example, in
the Lexico del habla culta de Caracas (Sedano: 146-147), under item 1101, entitled PALUSTRE
(supposedly the pointing trowel), three respondents gave cepillo and one paleta, but the three who
gave cepillo were evidentlyconfused or ignorant about these tools as the same three also gave cepillo
as their response to item 1100, the flat trowel, entitled LLANA. In fact, cepillo refers to neither type
oftrowel in Venezuela or in any other Spanish-speaking country, but can designate a "plane" (a tool
for smoothing and leveling wood). In the Lexico del habla culta de La paz (Mendoza: 163 and 699),
the itementitledLLANA was tested with an illustration, and according to its Appendix, the next item,
PALUSTRE, was described to respondents as "lParecida a la anterior pero de madera? (Palustre)."
Yet if we look at the DRAE's definition ofpalustre and the results of the article you are reading, it
appears palustre is nowhere used in the sense of a wooden flat trowel or what in Spain, according
to the DRAE, is called afrattis. Thus, in the case of some tools, there appears to have been just as
much confusion (or more) on the part of the researchers in the lexico del habla culta studies as to
the meaning ofthe terms and the identification ofthe items as there was on the part ofsome oftheir
informants who gave the same answers for two different categories or were unable to provide a
response for one or several of them.
In the Lexico del habla culta de La paz (Mendoza: 809) and the Lexico del habla culta de Cordoba,
Argentina (Malanca: 503), the question posed to respondents corresponding to item 3333, ~ n t i t l
TORNIllO, was "lY la herramienta compuesta de dos piezas moviles entre las cuales se puede fijar,
por ejemplo, una tabla para cepillarla? (Tornillo)." This description is confusing as it could refer to
either a clamp or a vise, and possiblyinaccurate in that all vises and most clamps-such as a C-clamp,
a pipe clamp or a bar clamp-consist of one fixed and one movable piece rather than two mobile
ones. (In a carpenter's wood clamp, both ends can be tightened simultaneously.) Not surprisingly,
some of the answers to this question presented in the La paz and Cordoba, Argentina studies, such
as tornillo and tornillo de banco, also suggest that different respondents interpreted the question in
different ways. And ifyou look at item3333, TORNILLO, in many ofthe other lexico del habla culta
studies (which do not provide the description or question that respondents were given), the answers
offered, such as tornillo and tirafondo, suggest that the item tested was neither a clamp nor a vise
but a screwor some other fastener. In short, with a number oftool items in the lexico del habla culta
studies, it is hard to tell what the subject or target was and thus difficult to assess the results.
As the researchers in the lexicodel habla culta studies may have found, and as I increasingly came
to suspect while conductingmyown research on both"educated" and ''uneducated'' respondents (and
everything in between), the problem with trying to obtain information about tools from educated
Spanish speakers is deep-rooted. In part, because ofthe stigma manual labor has in Hispanic cultures
and its relatively low cost in most Spanish-speaking countries, educated Spanish speakers generally
do not fall into the "do it yourself' homeowner category, tend to have little interest in carpentry,
masonry, electrical, plumbing, gardening, etc. and, consequently, are often unfamiliar with some of
the most basic tools' names and uses. This is true of many educated native speakers of English as
well, but my impression is that the percentage of educated Spanish speakers who have had little or
no contact with tools is greater.
Simplifying matters a bit, one need only look at the different roles played and attitudes held by early
English and Spanish settlers to the New World. The Pilgrims who came to English North America
were interested in working the land and would often kill or drive off any Indians who got in their
way, whereas the Conquistadors arriving in Spanish America did not want to work at all and were
intent on converting and subjugating the Indians they encountered so that they would do the work
for them. With regard to manual labor, basic outlooks among upperclass Spanish Americans have
changed little since then and, as a result, educated Spanish speakers-like the hablantes cultos
interviewed in the lexico de habla culta studies-are often the '"worst people" to ask about tools
insofar as their responses tend to be the least authoritative and the least representative ofwhat folks
who know something about tools actually call them. This impression is subjective, as is the notion
ofwhat it means to be "culto," and the words "educated" and "cultured," like many translated terms,
are only partial matches.
The issue ofwhat types ofrespondents should be tested in a lexical study is open to debate. One can
argue, as linguists often do, that the usage of all speakers of a language is equally worthy of study.
The other extreme is to examine the usage of only those who specialize in the domain or semantic
field being studied to the exclusion of all other groups. There are also intermediate positions,
according to which knowledge ofmost terminology is not viewed as so specialized as to require so-
called "experts" but which nonetheless hold that it is more appropriate, fruitful and important to
query some groups than others. For example, if you are conducting a study on the words used for
school and office supplies, then it makes sense that the people you would be most interested in
querying are those who teach in schools and universities, or work in offices, including home offices.
On the other hand, ifyour project involves specific tools, then you would want to know what people
who work with them call them, i.e. construction workers, contractors, craftsmen (artisans) and,
perhaps to a lesser extent, architects, engineers and do-it-yourselfhomeowners. Inapplying this type
of semi-selective criteria, researchers would be no more interested in finding out what obreros or
jomaleros call a stapler or a chalkboard eraser than they would be interested in knowing what
psychologists call a C-clamp or a crescent wrench (unless they happen to be psychologists who
regularly use these tools to fix and rebuild things). Thus when the Lexico del habla culta de Caracas
study tells us that three out of twelve educated Caraqueiio respondents said a pointing trowel is called
a cepillo and eight out oftwelve essentially fessed up to the fact that they had no idea what it was
called, presenting this data strictly adheres to the habla culta studies' goals and guidelines-to find
out and divulge the words that the habla culta in a given city knows and says-but it is not
information that is particularlyuseful to most readers. As a reader, I want to know what Caraquefios
who "know" what this tool is called actually call it, not what educated Caraquefios who don't know
call it.
In doing the field work for this studyon tool terminology, the criteria I used for selecting respondents
were perhaps logical but admittedly unscientific and imprecise. For example, upon entering a
consulate waiting room, I would take a moment to observe the prospects and, given the option of
questioning a man in a business suit or one wearing work boots, I would choose the latter; if his
boots were beaten up and his hands rough, all the better.
0.4 Real Academia Regional Review
The "Real Academia Regional Review" sections present an evaluation ofthe twenty-second edition
ofthe DRAE(published in 2001) and "grade" this dictionary's definitions ofspecific terms using the
following grading scale:
A Corresponding definition. correct regions. This grade is given when the DRAE defines the
term as used in a particular section ofthis article and correctly indicates the countries and/or
regions in which the term is used in this sense.
B Corresponding definition, incorrect regions. This grade is given when the DRAE defines the
term as used in the section and specifies a region or regions but does not specify them
correctly. Its definition either fails to include regions in which the usage occurs or includes
regions where the usage does not occur. However, the grade of B is raised to an A if the
DRAE's definition is appropriate, "Amer." (America, that is, Spanish-speaking Latin
America) is specified in the definition, and the term is used in ten or more (over 50%) ofthe
nineteen Spanish-speaking Latin American countries.
C Corresponding definition, no regions specified. This grade is given when the DRAE defines
the item in question but does not specify any countries or regions in which the term is used
in this sense. In essence, it fails to identify a regional usage as regional. However, the grade
ofC is raised to an A if the term is used in at least ten (at least 50%) ofthe twenty Spanish-
speaking countries.
D No corresponding definition. This grade is given when the DRAE does not include in its
definition of the term a sense that corresponds to the item in question.
F Tenn not listed. This grade is given when the DRAE does not list the term at all.
The DRAE's definitions themselves are quoted in these sections so that the reader can follow the
analysis that went into their evaluations. However, only terms that were offered by three or more
respondents from at least one country are graded, and definitions of some relevant terms that were
not offered by respondents are also presented. Thus not all terms offered by respondents are graded
and not all terms whose definitions are quoted were offered byrespondents. When, in myjudgement,
the category under which a definition rightfully falls is debatable, the grade assigned is followed by
a question mark; see, for example, porra in section A4.4.
* *
I will now address the following question relating to Spanish lexical dialectology.
Why is the study of Spanish regionalisms important?
You maybe wondering whyyou should bother learning SpanIsh regionalisms in the first place. After
all, what is so important about learning provincialisms that, if used, could make you sound like a
boorish local yokel? It is certainlytrue that using language inappropriately, whether General Spanish
anywhere, or a regional variety in the wrong locale, can make one look foolish or worse and that
increasing one's General Spanish vocabulary is extremely important. Indeed, as students or scholars
of the Spanish language-I view the latter as merely more passionate versions of the former-some
would say it is our duty to continually expand our lmowledge of General Spanish vocabulary. But
because Spanish is an international language (perhaps the second most international language on the
planet after English, although French may be able to claim this honor), to increase our command of
General Spanish in its broadest and most general context, we must learn something about the
regional varieties of which it is composed. Thus, to understand General Spanish, we need to know
what is general and what is regional and, to do so, we must learn something about the regionalisms
themselves: what they are, where they are used, and what they mean to those who use them. To some
extent, understanding Spanish regionalisms means having an international perspective on the
language or, looked at from the opposite direction, even to scratch the surface of international
Spanish requires us to learn aspects of regional Spanish. Without one, we cannot fully understand
the other.
All words are not created equal, but many descriptive linguists would say that the names for an item
like the sledgehammer (such as almagana, comba, combo, mandarria, maza, mazo, marro, etc.) can
be considered equivalent to the extent that they serve the same communicative function-within their
respective speech communities. Some prescriptivists and/or normativistas would probably dismiss
many of these terms. Lexical dialectologists and other regionalism enthusiasts, however, are often
more intrigued by the use of a term like Central America's almagana or Peru's comba than by the
term mazo that is used in the sense of sledgehammer in so many countries (see section A4 below),
and theymight consider mazo to be standard, everyday vanilla-flavor usage, and view almagana and
comba as exotic spices, breaths of fresh air that take us away from the routine and the mundane.
Indeed, there are those who revel in almagana and comba as much as others might reject them,
though both reactions are really opposite sides of the same phenomenon, that is, almagana and
comba are only as extraordinary as mazo is ordinary, and mazo can only be held up as more or less
"neutral Spanish" usage due to the existence ofmore regionally marked ones. The regional and the
general are but reflections of each other.
Oftentimes regionalisms are not used in place of but in addition to General Spanish terms and,
therefore, one can argue that the existence ofregionalisms in a particular country should be viewed
as a sign of linguistic enrichment, dexterity and even virtuosity rather than impoverishment. Since
some Spanish speakers have both General Spanish destornillador and a regionalism such as
desarmador and/or desatornillador in their lexical repertoire and at their linguistic disposal, this
view holds that their Spanish is lexically richer and more diverse with respect to this item than that
of speakers who use only one term.
When Anglicisms are involved in this diversity or plurality, however, attitudes among educated
Spanish speakers are often negative. Thus the use ofguacha in the sense of arandela ('washer') is
frowned upon, and the lexical diversity of Spanish speakers who use both terms is not seen as
enrichment but as linguistic impoverishment or corruption since the introduction ofAnglicisms into
the Spanish language is generally given the pejorative label of"Spanglish" and, in some circles, is
also viewed as yet another manifestation ofAnglo and North American attempts at imperialism and
cultural domination. Spanish speakers also desire linguistic purity when they make statements such
as "Spanish has arandela; we have no need for the Anglicismguacha." Ifyou point out the fact that
arandela comes from French rondelle (see section B5.4 below), this may not change their opinion
in the least as they will still feel that their language has been violated by a word like guacha, but not
by arandela. Several reasons may explain this. Both English washer and French rondelle have been
adapted to Spanish phonology, but arandela probably entered the language long before guacha and
more Spanish speakers recognize the foreign origin of the Anglicism guacha than that of the
Gallicism arandela (which in the process ofHispanization added two more syllables to its French
etymon). More importantly, France is no longer a world power and the number of Anglicisms
entering the Spanish language each year is much higher than the number ofGallicisms. Anglicisms
are viewed with both fascination and alarm, whereas Gallicisms are a mere curiosity. The use of
foreign loan words in certain regions of the Spanish-speaking world raises the question as to why
they were introduced (or summoned and actively recruited) there, and why words that are deemed
more castizo have been partially discarded, or were never created in the first place.
If your interest as a reader is to develop communicative competence in the topics addressed here,
then apart from knowing the most widespread, neutral or General Spanish term for an item, such as
destomillador, mazo and arandela for screwdriver, sledgehammer and washer, respectively, the
most important terms/usages to learn in this article are the "majority regionalisms" (those offered
by 50% or more ofrespondents from a given country) that appear in boldface and italics, words like
desarmador, almagana, comba, guacha and rondana. We could also call these regionalisms
"mainstream regionalisms" since they are names that are used by a majority of persons in a given
speech community but are regional when Spanish is viewed from an international perspective. In
other words, you cannot consider yourself communicatively competent in El Salvador with respect
to sledgehammers ifyou do not know that almagana is the most effective term to use when speaking
to Salvadorans about this tool.
Looking at the issue in the opposite direction, terms such as almagana and guacha also serve as
linguistic landmarks or beacons that give listeners clues as to the origin of the people they hear
speak. If you hear someone say almagana when referring to a sledgehammer, or guacha when
referring to a washer, you can already guess, with a fairly high degree ofaccuracy, the set ofSpanish-
speaking countries that person most likely comes from and eliminate a host ofothers. The larger the
number ofcommon regional equivalences you are familiar with, the more likely you will be able to
pick out a person's origin within a few minutes of listening to him or her based on word choice
alone. Developing expertise in phonetics and phonology is another wayto deduce a speaker's region
of origin although, to some extent, the more educated the speaker is, the less regional will be some
of his or her linguistic traits in the case of both lexis and phonology. The beauty of words is that
anyone can learn them, whereas to acquire an understanding of Spanish phonetics and phonology
requires some technical training. The key to learning about regional variation of any type is being
a good listener and gaining exposure to different varieties of the language.
Mainstream regionalisms like combo or guacha are terms that may be criticized or ridiculed but are
not easily ignored or denied within the context of their locale. To do so would be the linguistic
equivalent of denying the existence of Blacks in the Dominican Republic or Indians in Bolivia, or
disregarding the contributions ofnon-European cultures to Dominican or Bolivian national culture.
This does not mean such attempts at negation do not take place (with race, ethnicity, or language),
but they are cases of sticking one's head in the sand or trying to block out the sun with one finger.
Phillips-head Screwdriver
Figure A2
Fig-we A4
Flat-head Screwdriver or Slotted Screwdriver
Figure A3
Figu:e AS
Slip Joint Pliers or Diagonal Pliers
Channellock Pliers or Groove Joint Pliers
(Item not tested in study.)
Linesman Pliers
Figure A6"
(Item not tested in study.)
Needlenose Pliers or Longnose Pliers
Figure A7
Crescent Wrench or Adjustable Wrench
Figure A8
Monkey Wrench
Figure A8"
(Item not tested in study.)
Combination Wrench
Figure A8'
(Item tested but not enough data. See Appendix
Pipe Wrench
Figure A9
...... _._r
Crowbar, Pry Bar or Wrecking Bar
Figure AIO
Figure All
Flat Bar
Figure AIO'
(Ite"! not tested in study.)
Pipe Ciamp
Figure All'
(Item not tested in str.J.dy.)
Figure Al2
Metal Flat Trowel
Figure A14
Pointing Trowel or Brick Trowel
Figure Al3
\\iooden Flat Trowel
Figure A14'
Figure Al5
Hoe (wide blade)
Figure A16'
(Item not tested in study.)
Hoe (narrow blade)
Figure A16
Drill Bits
Figure Al7
Form (for pouring cement)
Figure B4
Figure B3
"lashers (metal)
Figure B5
Ball Bearing
Plastic Screw Anchors
Figure B7
,," "". ......
. -
I, .. '1
',-./ "-_.
" -..
/ '( ,.--:.'


Phillip$ ()

Clutch Head


Torx:'t @

T \\'.

n- . 'Ing"""
Torx @
Socket Head
Square Recess
@ Triple Square @

Different Types of Screws
Additional Figure
(Items not tested in study.)
Al.I Summary
Destomillador can be considered the General Spanish tenn as it is used, to some extent, throughout
the Spanish-speakingworld, but in manyareas ofSpanish America desarmador, desatomillador and
other tenns are used more frequently. Desarmador is particularly common in Mexico, Central
America, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia; desatornillador in Chile and also much of Central America.
Note: Throughout this article, the following fonnatting conventions will be used in the "Tenns by
Country" sections:
1) Tenns considered regional are written in italics; in section A1.2 below, all words other than
"destomillador" are in italics.
2) Regionalisms offered by 50% or more of the respondents from a particular country (majority
regionalisms) appear in boldface and italics; Mexico's "desarmador" and Costa Rica's
"desatomillador" are examples.
3) Words offered by only one or two respondents from a given country, when ten or more from that
country were queried (minority responses), are written in small print; Guatemala's
"desatomillador" and Peru's "entomillador" are examples.
Al.2 Terms by Country (6 terms)
destomillador (15/15).
desarmador (20/20).
desarmador (17/18), desatornillador (2/18).
desarmador (15/18), desatomillador (8/18), destomillador (1/18).
desarmador (8/13), desatornillador (8/13), destomiIIador (2113).
desarmador (9/16), desatornillador (6/16), destomillador (3116).
desatornillador (10/16), destomillador (8/16).
destomillador (11/11).
destomillador (16/16).
destomillador (15/15).
destomillador (20/20).
destomillador (17/17).
destomillador (14119), atornillador (2/19), desannador (2/19), desatornillador (1/19).
desarmador (8/14), destomillador (8114).
desarmador (12/18), desentornillador (5118), destomillador (3118),
entornillador (2118).
desarmador (11/18), destomillador (8/18), desentornillador (4118),
desatornillador (1/18).
destomillador (12/12).
A1.3 Details
destomillador (11/11).
destomillador (20/20).
destomillador (9/17), desatornillador (7/17), atomillador (5/17).
General: For infonnation on phillips screwdrivers (screwdrivers used to turn phillips-head screws)
and slotted or flat-head screwdrivers (screwdrivers used to turn slotted or regular screws),
see sections A2 and A3 below, respectively.
Spain: In this study, destomillador was the only Spanish tenn offered, though a few Catalan-
speaking respondents offered the Catalan tenn, tornabis. The Encuestas Iexicas del habla
culta de Madrid (Torres Martinez: 225), the Lexico del habla culta de Granada (Salvador:
700), and the Lexico del habla culta de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Samper Padilla: 182
and 444) all confinn the overwhelming preference for the tenn destomillador by educated
Madrilefios, Granadinos and Grancanarios. In the first study, all fifteen Madrilefios who
answered the question indicated destomillador, in the second, 24 Granadinos indicated
destomillador and one atomillador; and in the third, all twelve Grancanarios indicated
destomillador and one atomillador as a second choice in the chapter "Profesiones y oficios,"
and in the "La casa" chapter, under herramientas caseras, all twelve indicated
Mexico: The use of desarmador is confinned by the DEUMex (Lara Ramos), which defines it as
''Herramienta que sirve para apretar y aflojar tomillos; consta de un mango y una punta que
embona en la ranura de la cabeza del tomillo; desatomillador: desarmador de punta plana,
desarmador de punta en cruz." It is unclear whether desatomillador is listed in this
definition ofdesarmador to indicate that desatornillador is also commonly used in Mexico,
or simply to include a "foreign" synonym as a point of reference. The fact that neither
desatomillador nor destomillador is listed as a separate entry in the DEUMex, and the data
from this study(which produced only desarmador), suggest that neither desatomillador nor
destomillador is part of "everyday Mexican Spanish" among "ordinary Mexicans." This,
however, is contradicted bytheLexico del habla culta de Mexico (Lope Blanch: 446), a study
in which sixteen educated Mexico City respondents gave desarmador, ten desatomillador
and five destomillador. The small percentage ofLope Blanch's respondents who indicated
destomillador can probably be attributed to their knowledge of Pan-Hispanic norms, but
other questions remain: Is the use of desatomillador more common among educated
Mexicans than among less educated ones? Has the use ofdesatomillador in Mexico declined
(in favor of desarmador) between the time Lope Blanch conducted his survey and 2004-
2005, when I did mine?
Honduras: The DH (Zavala) does not define desatomillador or desarmador, but does define
desatomillar as ''tr. Vulgarismo, por DESTORNllLAR."
Nicaragua: The DUEN(Arellano Oviedo) confinns the use ofboth desarmador anddesatomillador,
defining the former as "Destomillador" and the latter as "Destomillador. ElladronJorzola
cerradura de la puerta con un desatomillador."
Puerto Rico: In the Lexico del habla culta de San Juan de Puerto Rico (LOpez Morales: 157), only
three out oftwelve respondents answered the question, but all three indicated destornillador.
Venezuela: In this study, all seventeen respondents indicated destornillador, but in the Lexico del
habla culta de Caracas (Sedano: 183), twelve indicated destornillador and three gave
atornillador. How common is the use of atornillador in Venezuela?
Colombia: The Lexico del habla culta de Santafe de Bogota (Otiilora de Fernandez: 279) confirms
the use ofdestornillador among educated Bogotanos as it was the only term offered by all
25 respondents in that study.
Peru: In the Lexico del habla culta de Lima (Caravedo: 459), six educated Limeiios indicated
destornillador, six desarmador and three desentornillador. In this study, in contrast,
desarmador was given by four times as many respondents as destornillador and
desentornillador bynearlytwice as many as destornillador. However, given that most ofthe
people queried in this study were considerably less educated than the respondents of the
Lexico del habla culta de Lima study (and therefore would be less aware of the General
Spanish term destornillador), the results ofboth studies seem to be fairly congruent.
Bolivia: The Lexico del habla culta de La paz (Mendoza: 207) confirms the fact that there is
substantial competition between destornillador and desarmador. Of the twelve educated
Paceiio respondents queried in that study, eight gave each ofthese two terms with many of
them offering both destornillador and desarmador. The percentages offering
desentornillador-three out of twelve in that study and four out of eighteen in this one-are
also quite similar.
Argentina: Both the Lexico del habla culta de Buenos Aires (Academia Argentina de Letras: 306)
and the Lexico del habla culta de Cordoba, Argentina (Toniolo: 207) confirm the exclusive
use of destornillador among educated speakers from both cities as destornillador was the
unanimous choice by all Porteiios and Cordobeses (about one dozen of each) that were
queried in the two studies.
Chile: The DECH(Morales Pettorino) confirms the use ofboth desatornillador and atornil/ador in
the sense of screwdriver. It defines desatornillador as "Destornillador; herramienta para
atornillar y desatornillar... Var. [variante]: atornillador/. Mas usual que la var. castiza." (It
is not entirely clear whether this source is indicating that in Chilean Spanish both
desatornillador and atornillador are more common than destornillador, or whether only
desatornillador is more common.) The Lexico del habla culta de Santiago de Chile
(Rabanales: 202) suggests the less frequent use ofatornil/ador and desatornillador among
educated Santiaguinos: Of the twelve respondents tested in that study, eleven gave
destornillador, four atornillador and two desatornillador.
Attitudes toward destornillador vs. alternate terms: Linguistic attitudes within a country naturally
vary from group to group and yet, in some cases, there are widely held beliefs that on a
national level can be considered mainstream. Many Ecuadorans of different educational
levels indicated to this author that they believe destornillador to be the "correct" term and
desarmador to be the "popular" and "incorrect" term. Is this negative attitude toward terms
other than destornillador also prevalent in other countries in which alternate terms are
commonlyused, or are desarmador and/or desatornillador, etc. accepted in some as standard
usage? Based on the definitions quoted above and the (albeit limited) information collected
in this study, desarmador seems to enjoy general acceptance in Mexico and perhaps in Peru
and Bolivia as well. In the case ofChile and Central America, manyrespondents seemed less
confident in their use of alternate terms and more critical of them.
A1.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: atomillador (C), desarmador (B), desatomillador (B), desentomillador (F),
destomillador (A), entomillador (F).
DRAE definitions: destomillador, "Instrumento de hierro u otra materia, que sirve para
destornillar y atomillar"; atornillador, "destornillador"; desarmador, "EI Salv., Hond. y Mex.
destornillador"; desatomillador, "destornillador. U. m. en America [Usado mas en America]."
Questions/Comments: The DRAE indicates that desatomillador is used more in Spanish
America than in Spain (''D. m. en America"), which implies that it is also used in Spain to some
extent. Yet no evidence ofdesatomillador's use in Spain was found in the two Peninsular Spanish
lexico del habla culta studies, in the Canary Island one, or in this survey. Where in Spain is
desatomillador used and by whom?
A2.1 Summary
In many areas of the Spanish-speaking world, the modifier de estrella is added to the base term
destomillador, desarmador, etc. to specifya phillips screwdriver. However, in a number ofcountries
other modifiers, such as phillips, de cruz or de estria(s), are more common than de estrella.
Note: Since the distribution of the base terms for screwdrivers was addressed in section Al above,
the focus in sections A2 and A3 will be on the modifiers or qualifiers that are added to the base terms
in order to designate a specific type of screwdriver (phillips or slotted). In section A2.2, modifiers
other than (de) estrella-and variants such as (de) punta estrella-appear in italics, and majority
regional modifiers in boldface and italics.
A2.2 Terms by Country (4 modifiers plus variants and c. 18 terms plus variants overall)
destornillador (de) estrella (14/15), destornillador de estria (1/15).
desarmador de cruz (17/20), desarmador de estrella (2120), desannador en cruz (1120).
desarmador de cruz (10/17), desannador phillips (6/17), desannador (de)
estrella (4/17), desatomilIadoT de estrella (2117).
desarmador phillips (14/18), desatornillador phillips (6/18), desannador de
cruz (5/18), desatomillador de cruz (2118), desarmador de estrella (1/18), destornilladoT
phillips (1/18).
A2.3 Details
desarmador phillips .(7/13), desatomillador phillips (6/13), desatomillador de
estrella (2113), destomiIIador phillips (2113), desarmador estrella (1113).
desarmador de estrella (9/16), desatomillador de estrella(s) (6/16), destomillador
de cruz (2116), destomiIIador de estrella (1116).
desatomillador phillips (10/16), destomillador phillips (8/16).
destomillador (de) estrella (9/11), destomillador phillips (4/11).
destomillador (de) estria(s) (14/16), destomillador phillips (4/16).
destomillador (de) estria(s) (15/15).
destomillador (de) estria(s) (14/20), destomillador de estrella(s) (5/20),
destomillador de punta (1/20), destomillador tipo phillips (1/20).
destomillador (de) estria(s) (13/17), destomillador de cruz (3/17), destomillador
estrella (1/17).
destomillador (de) estrella (10/16), desannador (de) estrella (2/16), desatomillador de
estrella (2116), destomillador (de) estria (2116), atomillador de estria (1/16).
destomillador (de) estrella (10/14), desarmador (de) estrella (9/14).
desarmador (de) estrella (10/16), desentomillador (de) estrella (4/16),
destomillador estrella (3/16), desannador de cruz (1/16), desentomiIIador cruz (1/16),
entomillador en cruz (1/16).
desarmador (de) estrella (7/18), destomillador estrella (5/18), destomillador
punta estrella (3/18), desentomiIIador de estrella (2118), desannador en cruz (1/18),
desentomillador punta estrella (1/18), desannador en cruz (1/18).
destomillador (de) cruz (6/11), destomiIlador en cruz (2111), destomillador (tipo) phillips
(2111), destomillador (de punta) estrella (2111), destomillador de punta cruz (1/11).
destomillador phillips (10/10).
destomillador phillips (16/20), destomillador de cruz (1120), destomillador de punta en
cruz (1/20), destomillador en cruz (1/20), destomillador en cruz phillips (1/20).
destomillador de cruz (6/16), desatomillador de cruz (3/16), destomillador
phillips (2116), atomillador de cruz (3/16), atomillador de punta (1/16), desatomillador depunta
(1/16), desatomilladorphillips (1/16), destomillador de cruceta (1/16), destomillador de estrella
( 1/16).
General: Destornillador de estrella and destornillador estrella can be considered variants of each
other, or the latter an abbreviation ofthe former, and the same applies to other pairs ofterms
in which the de is often dropped such as desarmador de estrella - desarmador estrella, or
the more technical sounding destornillador de punta estrella - destornilladorpunta estrella.
Indeed, de-dropping in such adjectival phrases appears to be a general phenomenon that is
quite common in Spanish, though under what circumstances it occurs needs to be researched.
In the case ofthe modifier phillips (as in destornilladorphillips, desarmador phillips, etc.),
alternate pronunciations and spellings are used that can be considered variants ofeach other.
Thus destornillador phillips is also written and/or pronounced destornillador Phillips,
destornillador philips, destornillador flUps, destornillador flUes, destornillador flUx,
destornillador flUe, destornillador flU, etc. Since the word phillips is a foreign word used
more in speech than in writing, Spanish speakers who are unaware of the term's origin and
unfamiliar with English-language orthography are often unsure of how it should be spelled.
(Pero, aunque no sepan ingles, me imagino que 10 escribinm a la inglesa aquellos
hispanohablantes que usen el termino destomilladorphillips, 0 desarmador phillips, etc., y
tambien tomen leche de magnesia Phillips.)
Spain: Destomillador (de) estrella was given by all respondents from Peninsular Spain. However,
one Canary Islander indicated destomillador de estria, a usage which we note matches that
found in many parts of the Caribbean basin. Given the sustained emigration of Canary
Islanders to the Antilles and Venezuela over the last two centuries, some of whom also
returned to their homeland after an extended stay, resulting in linguistic cross-pollination in
both directions (Lipski 1994: 56-61), it would not be surprising if it turned out that the
Canary Islands share the use of destomillador de estria with parts of the Caribbean. Ifso,
then the question would be who got it from whom: A Caribbean or Canary Island origin?
However, we are putting the cart before the horse since the first question is whether or not
destomillador de estria is commonlyused in the sense ofphillips screwdriver in the Canary
Mexico: The DEUMex, in its definition of desarmador (see section AI.3 above), indicates that a
phillips screwdriver is called a desarmador depunta en cruz, but the majorityofrespondents
in this study indicated simply desarmador de cruz; the former term appears to be a more
technical (and fancier sounding) variant of the latter.
Dominican Republic: Several respondents gave destomillador tria, which can be considered a
phonetic variant (or reduction) of destomillador (de) estria. Given the extremely high rate
ofelision ofsyllable- and word-final /s/ that occurs in the Dominican Republic (Lipski 1994:
239), a word like estria is often pronounced etria, which is but a short step away from tria.
To what extent has this phonetic variant become lexicalized in some speech communities in
the Dominican Republic?
Colombia: The majority ofColombians offered destomillador (de) estrella, but two from Santander
saiddesatomillador de estrella, another from Santander gave destomillador estria, one from
the Atlantic Coast gave destornillador de estria (which corresponds to Antillean and
Venezuelan usage), and an elderly man from Quindio indicated atomillador de estria.
Al.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: desarmador de cruz (F), desarmador de estrella (F), desarmador estrella (F),
desarmadorphillips (F), desatomillador de cruz (F), desatomillador de estrella (F), desatomillador
phillips (F), desentomillador de estrella (F), destomillador cruz (F), destomillador de cruz (F),
destomillador de estrella (F), destornillador estrella (F), destomillador punta estrella (F),
destomillador de estria (F), destornillador estria (F), destornillador phillips (F).
Questions/Comments: The DRAE does not offer its readers any information on the names
for phillips screwdrivers, and an argument can be made that such information is too technical to be
included in a general dictionary. However, the boundarybetween "technical language" and "general
language" is often blurry, or we could say that over time the distance between the two in many cases
tends asymptotically to zero. Ifwe compare the situation within English-language lexicography, we
note that Phillips is defined in the AHD (pickett) as "A trademark used for a screw with a head
having two intersecting perpendicular slots and for a screwdriver with a tip shaped to fit these slots."
The EWD (Soukhanov) defines "Phillips screw" as "tdmk a trademark for a screw with a cross-
shaped slot on its head" and "Phillips screwdriver" as "tdmk a trademark for a screwdriver that has
a cross-shaped tip so that it can be used to turn a Phillips screw." IfEnglish-language lexicography
tells us what a phillips screwdriver is, why should the DRAE take a back seat and not do likewise?
While it may not always be an easy task, in some instances it is a good idea to "keep up with the
Joneses" (and the Garcias, and the other neighbors in the global village). By all means, take a look
around, see what the other guys are doing. Lexicographers have as much to learn from others who
speak a different language and come from a different culture as the rest of us.
AJ.l Summary
Plano is the modifier most commonly added to the base term (destornillador, desatornillador,
desarmador, etc.) to specify a slotted screwdriver, although many people refer to it as a
destornillador comun, a destornillador corriente, or simply a destomillador with no modifier added
since they understand slotted screwdrivers to be the default type. In a number ofcountries, however,
other modifiers such as de paleta or de pala are used more often than plano.
Note: Modifiers other thanplano (and variants such as depuntaplana), or comun, corriente, normal
(and other similar "default" modifiers) appear in italics, and majorityregional modifiers in boldface
and italics.
AJ.2 Terms by Country (12 modifiers and c. 30 terms plus variants overall)
destornillador plano (10/14), destomillador de punta plana (2114), destomillador normal
desannador plano (14/18), desarmador de palela (2118), desarmador de pal(it)a (2118).
desarmadorplano (11/14), desarmador (tipo) castigadera (3/14), desannadorde
palela (1/14), desatomillador lipo castigadera (1/14).
desarmador plano (11/14), desannador (corriente) (3/14), desatornillador
plano (3/14), desannador de pala (1/14), desannador de plancha (1/14), desatomillador
(1/14), desatomiIlador de planchita (1/14).
desatornillador plano (7/13), desarmador plano (6/13), destomillador plano (2113).
desarmador de ranura (6/14), desatornillador de ranura (3/14),
destornillador de ranura (3/14), desannador (1/14), desarmador de raya (1/14),
desatomillador cornun (1/14), desatomillador recto (1/14), destomillador plano (1/14).
A3.3 Details
desatornillador plano (7/16), destornillador plano (4/16), desatornillador
(corriente) (2116), destomilJador (corriente) (2116), desatomillador de pa/eta (1/16),
desatornillador de punta plana (1/16).
destomillador plano (8/9), destomillador cincel (1/9), destomillador de raya
destornillador de paleta (8/16), destornillador (5/16), destomillador plano
destornillador plano (14/15), destornillador de pa/eta (1/15).
destomillador (de) paleta (17/20), destomillador (1/20), destomillador de pa/a (1120),
destomilJador plano (1120).
destomilladorplano (9/16), destomillador depala (4/16), destomillador depa/eta
(2116), destomillador punta plana (2116), destornillador (1/16).
destomillador (de) pala (10/19), destomillador plano (4/19), desarmador depa/a
(2119), destornillador (2119), atomillador pa/a (1/19), atomillador plano (1/19), desatomillador
de pahz (1/ 19), desatomillador de pa/eta (1/19).
desarmador plano (8/14), destomillador plano (8/14), destomillador (corriente)
desarmador plano (9/18), desentomillador plano (5/18), destomillador plano
(3/18), desarmador (2118), desarmador de punta plana (2118), entomillador (1/18).
desarmador plano (6/18), destomillador plano (4/18), desarmador (comun) (2118),
desentomillador (c1asico) (2118), destomillador (con) punta plana (2118), desentomilladorplano
(1/18), desentomillador punta plana (1/18), desarmador en cuchiIIa (1/18).
destomillador plano (6/1 0), destomillador (simple) (2110), destomillador chato (1/10),
destomillador de punta chata (1/10), destornillador de punta plana (1/10).
destomillador chato (4/11), destomillador plano (4/11), destomillador
(comlin) (3/11), destomil1ador de pa/eta (1/11).
destomillador (comlin) (5/16), destomillador de punta plana (5/16),
destomil1ador chato (2116), destomillador plano (2116), destomillador de punta chata (1/16),
destomillador de hoja plana (1/16).
destomillador (de) paleta (5/17), atornillador (de) paleta (4/17),
desatornillador (de) paleta (4/1 7), desatorhillador (regular) (3/1 7), destomil1ador
plano (1/17).
General: Many Spanish speakers consider the slotted screwdriver to be the standard or default type
of screwdriver and refer to it as a destomillador corriente (or desarmador corriente,
desatornillador corriente, etc.), as a destomillador comun (or desarmador comun, etc.), a
destomillador normal (desarmador normal, etc.), or simply a destomillador (desarmador,
etc.) with no modifier being added. .
Mexico: The DEUMex, in its definition of desarmador (see section A1.3 above), indicates that a
slotted screwdriver is called a desarmador de punta plana, but the majority of respondents
in this study indicated simply desarmador plano.
Colombia: Destomillador (de) pa/a was offered bythe majority ofrespondents, but desatomillador
de pa/eta was given by one from the Atlantic Coast, and we note that the qualifier de pa/eta
matches the usage found in other parts of the Caribbean such as Cuba and Puerto Rico.
United States English: Many English speakers from the United States consider the screwdriver of
this section to be the standard or default screwdriver (as do many Spanish speakers) and use
no specific name for it other than "screwdriver," "regular screwdriver," "normal screwdriver"
or "standard screwdriver," etc. The term "flat-head screwdriver" (with its spelling variants
"flathead screwdriver" and "flat head screwdriver") is also used frequently in the United
States in this sense, but some object to this term claiming that "flat-head" refers to a type of
screw that has a flat head and which can be either a phillips screw or a regular screw, but
does not refer to a type of screwdriver. Some who make the latter claim prefer the tenn
"straight-blade screwdriver" or "flat-blade screwdriver" (again with spelling variants along
the same lines as those indicated above for "flat-head screwdriver"). Others may counter that
the terms "flat-head screw" and "flat-head screwdriver" are unrelated; in other words, that
the former refers to a screw with a flat head, which may be a phillips screw or a regular
screw, and that the latter refers to a screwdriver whose shaft ends in a flat head (rather than
a pointy phillips head), and that may be used with slotted screws regardless of the head's
shape, whether flat-head screws, pan-head screws or screws ofsome other form. The Home
Depot and Ace Hardware store online catalogues (at and respectively) list only"slotted screwdriver" as the term for the class
of screwdriver addressed in this section, but one can also object to this term since phillips-
head screws also have slots (just different kinds of slots), and therefore, one can argue that
phillips-head screwdrivers are slotted screwdrivers just as much as straight-blade
screwdrivers are, insofar as both turn "slotted" screws. For this reason, some people prefer
the term "single slotted" screw (and screwdriver). Because terminology varies along a
specificityaxis, and because it is under no obligation to strictlyobeysemantic logic, it is hard
to reach a consensus on what the "proper" term for this type of screwdriver is even within
a single country.
A3.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: atomillador de pa/eta (F), desarmador castigadera (F), desarmador de pa/a
(F), desarmador de pa/eta (F), desarmador plano (F), desarmador de ranura (F), desatomillador
de pa/eta (F), desatomillador plano (F), desatomillador de ranura (F), desentomilladorplano (F),
destornillador chato (F), destornillador de pa/a (F), destomillador de pa/eta (F), destomil/ador de
punta chata (F), destomillador de pa/eta (F), destomillador de punta plana (F), destomillador de
ranura (F), destomillador plano (F).
Questions/Comments: Should the DRAE define the commonly used terms for the slotted
screwdriver? An argument can be made that this is unnecessary since the slotted screwdriver is often
considered to be the standard or default screwdriver. Another reason that may possibly mediate
against including a definition of a slotted screwdriver (or of a phillips screwdriver) is that the most
common type of screwdriver is now an adjustable combination screwdriver called a "multi-bit
driver" that contains four or more screwdriver heads, blades or bits, typically at least two different
sizes ofslotted-head and phillips-head bits. In other words, people who use this type ofscrewdriver
need to make a distinction between the different types of bits but not the different types of
screwdrivers since several types of bits are contained in and used with a single screwdriver.
Moreover, ifwe probe a couple ofsamples from English lexicography, we note that neither the 2000
edition ofthe AHDnor the 2004 edition ofthe EWD define the terms "slotted screwdriver," "straight
blade screwdriver" or "flat-head screwdriver," nor do they include a picture of one next to the
definition of screwdriver. On the other hand, ifthe DRAE's goal is to be international in scope, as
it claims in its preface, then readers should be told what a destornillador de paleta or a desarmador
plano, etc. is (with appropriate regional specifications) so that dictionary users will know what's
what and where.
A4.1 Summary
Mazo can be considered the most General Spanish term for sledgehammer since it is used in this
sense in large areas of the Spanish-speaking world. Almagana and its variants are commonly used
in northern Central America, combo or comba in the core Andean countries of Ecuador, Peru,
Bolivia and Chile (and perhaps in western Argentina as well), and mandarria in parts of Spain and
the Caribbean basin. Other terms are used in Spain, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Colombia,
Uruguay and Argentina.
Note: Terms other than mazo (and maceta which refers to a small sledgehammer) appear in italics,
and majority regionalisms in boldface and italics.
A4.2 Terms by Country (over 10 terms plus variants)
mazo (12/17), maza (4/17), mandarria (3/17), marreta (2117), maceta (III 7).
marro (22/25), mazo (6/25), maceta (2125).
almtigana (12/19), mazo (8/19), marro (3/19), almadana (1119), chambon (1/19).
almtigana (13/16), almtidana (2116), almadena (1/16), annagana (1/16), mazo (1/16).
almtigana (14/15), mazo (4/15), almadana (1/15).
mazo (13/13).
mazo (14/14).
mazo (13/13), maceta (2113).
mandarria (18/18).
mandarria (14/16), maTron (10/16), maceta (5/16).
marron (17/18), mazo(2I18).
mandarria (15/15).
porra (15/24), mazo (13/24), maceta (6/24), mandarria (2124), almtidena (1/24),
almutidana (1/24), porro (1/24),porron (1/24).
combo (17/18), mazo (3/18).
A4.3 Details
comba (19/21), mazo (6/21), combo (3/21).
combo (17/17).
mazo (9/10), maza (2110).
marron (8/12), maceta (5/12), mazo (4/12), maza (2112).
maza (18/20), combo (l/20), maceta (1120). mazo (1120), marron (l/20).
combo (18/18).
General: The term mazo was offered in the sense of sledgehammer by a majority of respondents
from only five countries, but was given by some respondents in fifteen out of the twenty
countries. However, since sledgehammers are closely related to mallets and gavels, etc.,
which can also be called mazos, it is possible that some of the respondents in this study
confused the sledgehammer with one of these similar items. All respondents who offered
maceta agreed that it refers to a small, short-handled sledgehammer. These "mini
sledgehammers," "hand sledges" or "babysledges" are oftenwielded with onlyone hand and
typically weigh between two and four pounds.
Spain: In this study, mazo was offered in the sense of sledgehammer by the majority of Spaniards
from diverse regions, and maza by four from different regions. Mandarria and marreta were
given by respondents from Galicia, and of these one indicated that mandarria was the
Spanish word for sledgehammer and marreta the Gallego term. The DRAE indicates that
mazo refers only to a wooden mallet and includes no sense of maza that corresponds to a
sledgehammer (see sectionA4.4 below). However, the DEArg(Haensch and Werner 2000a),
a contrastive dictionary, indicates that both maza and mazo are the Peninsular Spanish
equivalents of the Argentine terms for this tool (combo and maza, see Argentina below).
Almadena, almadana and almadina are defined in the DRAE in the sense of sledgehammer
(see section A4.4 below), but it is not clear what types ofSpaniards tend to use these terr.1S.
Are almadena, almadana and/or almadina used primarily by older Spaniards, by Spaniards
from specific regions, or by specialists such as carpenters, masons or quarry workers, etc.?
No doubt there are Spaniards who sayalmadena, almadana and/or almadina, but theyappear
to be harder to corne by than those that say mazo and/or maza.
Mexico: The use ofmarro is confirmed bythe DEUMex, which defines it as "Herrarnientasemejante
al martillo, que consiste en una pieza solida de hierro, rectangular, con l('s bordes limados,
montada en un fuerte mango de madera; se utiliza para romper piedras u golpear objetos
grandes y resistentes." Mazo is defined similarly in the DEUMex, but its definition indicates
it can also refer to a wooden mallet: "Herrarnienta con que se golpea fuertemente un cuerpo
solido, consistente en un mango largo de madera, al que se inserta en una de sus puntas un
bloque cuadrangular pesado y grande, de hierro 0 de madera."
Guatemala: A majority of respondents indicated almagana was the only term commonly used, but
several stated that a mazo is a small almagana or refers to a rubber mallet.
El Salvador: Almagana was offered by the majority of respondents, but one indicated armagana,
which can be considered a phonetic variant ofalmagana. Exchange ofsyllable-final liquids
III and Irl is common both historically and in terms of regionalisms; c pairs of words such
as arveja-a/verja ('pea'), te/gopor-tergopo/ ('styrofoam'), andpi/ca-pirca ('stone wall '). See
also Dominican Republic in section B4.3 below.
Honduras: The DHdefines a/magana as "Corruptela de ALMADANA" (in that publication accent
marks were not used with capital letters). In this study, the majority ofrespondents indicated
that a/magana was the only term commonly used in the sense ofsledgehammer, though most
were persons with limited formal education. Only one Honduran, a college-educated man,
said the "proper term" was a/madana, but he admitted this term was seldom used. In
addition, two stated that a mazo is a small a/magana, but several others said a mazo is a
wooden mallet.
Cuba: The DECu (Haensch and Werner 2000b) confirms the use ofmandarria, defining it as "Tipo
de martillo muy pesado."
Dominican Republic: Some respondents stated that a mandarria is a larger sledgehammer than a
marron, but some said the opposite, that a marron is larger than a mandarria; others
indicated the two terms were synonymous. Do Dominican craftsmen, laborers, and others
who regularly work with sledgehammers have a uniform understanding ofthe differences in
meaning between these two terms?
Venezuela: The DHAV(NUiiez) confirms the use ofmandarria, defining it as "Martillo muy grande
y pesado, provisto de un mango largo, que se maneja con las dos manos y que se emplea,
principalmente, en la construccion."
Colombia: Many respondents indicated that both a mazo and a porra refer to sledgehammers, but
one from Cundinamarca indicated that a mazo is a rubber mallet and a porra is a
sledgehammer; this same respondent also indicated that an a/madena refers to a
sledgehammer that has a point on one end. Almuadana was offered in the sense of
sledgehammer by an elderly man from the department of Quindio.
Ecuador: The HEDE (Cordova Malo) defines combo as "Gran mazo de hierro para quebrantar
piedras; macho."
Peru: Why is comba the dominant term in Peru when combo is dominant in Peru's Andean
neighbors, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile? The DRAE indicates that combo derives from
Quechua k 'umpa (see section A4.4 below). Is the Peruvian use ofcomba somehow "closer"
to the Quechua source, or are there other reasons that explain this difference?
Bolivia: The use of combo is confirmed by the DB (Gomez de Fernandez), which defines it as "2.
Almadana." It is not clear why there is no accent mark on the second a in the definition,
though it can probably be attributed to a simple typographical error.
Uruguav: The NDU (Haensch and Werner 1993b) defines marron as "1 Martillo grande y muy
pesado que se usa para demoliciones !2En los mataderos, mazo con el que se desmaya a las
reses antes de sacrificarlas." In this study, a few respondents indicated that a marron is a
bigger sledgehammer than a mazo.
Argentina: The DEArgdefines combo as a General Argentine Spanish term(i.e. without anyregional
specification within Argentina) as "Mazo de hierro, con un mango largo para asirlo, que se
emplea en el ambito de la construccion, generalmente para partir piedras 0 para demoler" and
defines marron as "3 NEArg [Northeast Argentina] Martillo de gran tamafto que se emplea
en la industria y en carpinteria" The DEArg indicates that combo and marron are synonyms
of mazo, which is used in Spain, and of maza, which is used in both Spain and Argentina.
In this study, however, the majority ofArgentines queried gave only maza, but one from San
Juan (in western Argentina) offered combo, and we note that combo is the predominant usage
in much of the Andean region. If combo is commonly used in the sense of sledgehammer
throughout Argentina, as the DEArg seems to claim, why did only one Argentine in this
study offer this tenn? Ifcombo is regionally marked within Argentina, in what regions is it
commonly used?
Chile: The DECHconfinns the use ofcombo, defining it as "Mazo pesado, generalmente de hierro,
provisto de un mango largo y una cabeza con los dos lados pIanos, igualmente aptos para
1 " go pear...
Related concepts: Is mazo the word for "mallet" (short-handled hammer with a cylindrical head
made of rubber or wood) and for "gavel" (mallet or hammer used by a presiding officer or
auctioneer to signal for attention or order) that is used throughout the Spanish-speaking
world, or is there regional variation for these items as well?
A4.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAEgrades: almadana (C), almadena (C), almadina (C), almagana (B), comba (D), combo
(D), maceta (A), mandarria (B), marro (D), marron (D), maza (D), mazo (D),porra (C or D?).
DRAE definitions: almadena, "(Del ar. hisp. almatana, y este cruce del ar. clas. mi 'dan yel
ar hisp. patana, trasto, cacharro). Mazo de hierro con mango largo, pararomper piedras"; almadana,
"almadena"; almadina, "almadena"; almagana, "Hond. almadena"; combo, "(Del quechua
k 'umpa, mazo de piedra). Am. [America] mazo (II martillo grande de madera)"; maceta, "2. Martillo
con cabeza de dos bocas iguales y mango corto que usan los canteros para golpear el cincel 0
puntero"; macho
, "(Dellat marcrJ/us, martillo pequeno). Mazo grande que hay en las herrerias para
forjar el hierro"; mandarria, "(Quiza del it. dialect. mannara, hacha). Mar. [marina] Martillo 0 maza
de hierro que usan los calafates para meter 0 sacar los pemos en los costados de los buques. II 2.
Cuba. Tipo de martillo muy pesado"; martinete, "(Del fro martinet). 2. Mazo, generalmente de gran
peso, para batir algunos metales, abatanar los panos, etc."; maza, "(Del lat. vulg. *mattifa). 2.
Instrumento de madera dura, parecido a la maza antigua de combate, que sirve para machacar eI
esparto y ellino, para otros usos"; mazo, "(De maza). Martillo grande de madera"; porra, "(Del 1at.
porrum, puerro, por la fonna de esta planta). 3. Martillo de cabezas iguales y mango largo algo
flexible, que se maneja con las dos manos a la vez."
Comments: Regardless of which word is selected as the base tenn to which the remaining
synonyms couldbe cross-referencecLthe sledgehammer should be defined as a type ofheavymartillo
(hammer), not as a typeofmazo (mallet) made ofmetal as the DRAEhas done. There are at least two
reasons why martillo should be the fulcrum of the definition for the sledgehammer and not mazo.
First, because martillo is a General Spanish word that everyone understands to mean the same thing.
Ifyou tell Spanish speakers that an almagana, a combo, a mandarria, a maza, or a mazo is a heavy
martillo, they will instantly understand what you mean. The second reason is that mazo itself is
defined in terms of marriUo and is described as something that is strictly made of wood. In the
DRAE's handling of this item, its lexicographers and/or editors not only demonstrate their lack of
familiarity with Spanish American usage (which is not particularly surprising), but also show
themselves to be unaware of the fact that mazo, maza and mandarria can refer to standard
sledgehammers (with metal heads) in varieties of Peninsular Spanish. The DRAE indicates that
mandarria is used in the language of sailors (presumably Spanish sailors) to refer to a special type
ofhammer found on ships, and is also used in the sense ofsledgehammer in only one country, Cuba
(see definition ofmandarria in section A4.4 above). Yet it defines mandarriazo as "Cuba. Golpe
que se da con la intenci6n de hacer dano" and "2. coloq. Ven. Golpe dado con una mandania 0 con
cualquier tipo de martillo." Sense two of mandarriazo clearly implies that mandarria is used with
the meaning of sledgehammer in Venezuela (which we mow to be the case), but the DRAE editors
failed to catch this inconsistency in two definitions that are consecutive (mandarriazo is the very
next entry after mandarria), and thus failed to include "Ven." in the regional specification of sense
two of mandarria. This is just sloppy workmanship. Also, the definition ofmaceta, ''Martillo con
cabeza... que usan los canteros para golpear el cincel 0 puntero" is too restrictive. To put it in the
vernacular, there are lots of folks besides quarry workers and stonemasons who use macetas, and
they use 'em for poundin' lots of things that ain't chisels.
AS.! Summary
Sierra-with qualifiers such as de metal, para metal or de arco added for clarification ifnecessary-
is the predominant termin Spain, most Spanish-speaking countries ofthe SouthernHemisphere, and
parts of Central America, that is, in roughly half the Spanish-speaking world. In the other half, in
most countries ofthe Caribbean Basin, segueta is the term.
Note: Segueta appears in italics and, where the majority term, in boldface and italics.
AS.2 Terms by Country (2 base terms plus variants)
sierra (11/11).
segueta (19/19).
sierra (13/17), segueta (5/17).
sierra (16/18), segueta (3/18).
segueta (11/16), sierra (5/16).
sierra (14/15), segueta (3/15).
segueta (13/13).
segueta (12/12), sierra (2112).
segueta (16/16).
segueta (15/15).
segueta (18/18).
segueta (13/15), sierra (2115).
segueta (16/18), sierra (2118).
sierra (12/12).
sierra (16/16).
A5.3 Details
sierra (IS/IS).
sierra (8/8).
sierra (10/10).
sierra (IS/IS).
sierra (15/15).
General: In countries where sierra is commonly used in the sense ofhacksaw, modifiers such as de
arco, de metal, para metal(es), delpara hierro, delparafierro, delpara acero, cortametales,
eortahierro, etc. are added to sierra to the extent people have a need to distinguish hacksaws
from other sierras such as power saws (sierras eIectricas); the diminutive form sierrita is
also sometimes used in the sense of hacksaw. The term segueta, in contrast, is already
specific in the countries it is used, and does not require a modifier. In more technical and/or
specific language, speakers may distinguish between the hacksaw blade (la hoja) and the
hacksaw frame (el area de la sierra or el arco de la segueta), but see Colombia below for
another possible scheme. The distinction between frame, blade and the two combined,
however, is often not made as both items are typically found and needed in their combined
form (neither the frame nor the blade by itself is particularly useful). Thus, people typically
saypasame la sierra orpasame la segueta and receive the entire apparatus, though ifseveral
different types ofsierras are available, then speakers from the non-segueta countries would
saypasame la sierra de area or the pasame la sierra de metal, etc., to specify the hacksaw.
In section A5.2 above, only the short form sierra is presented, not the longer more specific
terms such as sierra de arco. See saws in Appendix for other types of saws.
Mexico: The use of segueta is confirmed by the DEUMex, which defines it as ''Herramienta
consistente en una hoja, por 10 general de acero, recta, angosta y larga con numerosos dientes
puntiagudos en uno de sus bordes; la cual, sujeta a un armazon en forma de marco, se usa
para cortar metal u otros materiales duros..."
Guatemala. 1 Salvador, Honduras &Nicaragua: Varying degrees ofcompetition betweensierra and
segueta were found in these four countries and, based on the data collected in this study,
sierra appears to be more common than segueta in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua,
whereas segueta appears to be more common than sierra in Honduras. In these four
countries, how common is the use of segueta in the sense of hacksaw vis-a-vis sierra?
Colombia: Most respondents in this study indicated that segueta was the entire hacksaw, but two
said they understood segueta to refer to the blade only and, when asked what the frame was,
one said it was the sierra and the other that it was the marco or the arco.
Spelling ofsegueta: In countries where segueta is used in the sense of hacksaw, many people think
the word is spelled eegueta. This is probably due in part to the fact that the verbs segar and
eegar are homophones in Latin American Spanish, and to confusion about which spelling
corresponds to which meaning. Among less educated speakers, zegueta is also a common
AS.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: segueta (D), sierra (A or D?).
DRAE definitions: sierra, "Herramienta para cortar madera u otros objetos duros, que
generalmente consiste en una hoja de acero dentada sujeta a una empunadura"; segueta, "(De or.
inc.) Sierra de marqueteria"; marqueteria, "(Del fro marqueterie). Trabajo de ebanisteria."
Comments: The DRAE's general, all-purpose definition of sierra does not capture or
encompass the meaning of hacksaw because it describes a saw in which the blade is attached to a
handle, and a hacksaw's blade is attached to a frame. Compare theAHD's definition ofhacksaw: "A
saw consisting ofa tough, fine-toothed blade stretched taut in a frame, used for cutting metal." The
DRAE needs to include a separate sense corresponding to hacksaw in its definitions ofboth sierra
and segueta, with appropriate regional specifications, and the DEUMex's description of segueta
would be an excellent model to follow.
DIAGONAL PLIERS (standard, adjustable noncutting pliers)
A6.1 Summary
Alicate(s) or pinza(s) are the most commonly used base terms for these types of pliers in many
countries, tenaza(s) in several Central American countries, and playo in Ecuador.
Note: Terms other than alicate(s) and pinza(s) appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in
boldface and italics.
A6.2 Terms by Country (4 terms plus variants)
alicate(s) (8/11), tenaza(s) (2/11), pinzas (1/11).
pinza(s) (15/16), tenazas (1/16).
alicate (13/14), tenaza (2/14).
tenaza(s) (15/15).
tenaza (5/6), tenanza (1/6).
tenaza(s) (10/12), alicate (2/12).
alicate (9/11), pinza (1/11), tenaza (1/11).
pinza(s) (7/9), alicate (2/9).
alicate(s) (10/16), pinza(s) (5/16), tenaza (1/16).
alicate (15/15).
alicate(s) (18/18).
alicate(s) (16/16).
alicate(s) (14/15), pinzas(1/15).
pIayo (13/14), alicate (7/14).
alicate (13/13).
A6.3 .Details
alicate (16/16).
pinza(s) (8/9), tenaza(s) (2/9).
pinza(s) (8/9), tenaza (1/9).
pinza (13/15), tenaza (2/15).
alicate (13/14), tenaza (2114).
General: Both the singular and plural fonns, alicate-alicates,pinza-pinzas and tenaza-tenazas, can
refer to a single pair ofpliers. In this study, the majority ofrespondents from most countries
indicated the singular fonns (i.e. alicate,pinza or tenaza) when referring to a single pair of
joint pliers, and in many cases the singular fonn was the unanimous choice: See
and CHILE in section A6.2 above. However, more research needs to be done to determine
where each is more common and whether or not the singular fonns are more frequent in
regions where word-final lsi tends to be aspirated or deleted such as southern Spain and
coastal areas of Spanish America. The modifiers camun!camunes, universal(es) or
mecanica(s) are sometimes added to alicate(s),pinza(s) and tenaza(s) to specifyjoint pliers.
In the lexica del habla culta studies, item 1402 is entitled TENAZAS and item 1403
ALICATES, but it is unclear what type oftool respondents were shown in each case. See, for
example, Torres Martinez pp. 224-225, Samper Padilla pp. 182, OtaIora de Fernandez pp.
341, or LOpez Morales pp. 76.
Mexico: Although the use ofpinza(s) in the sense ofpliers is confirmed by the DEUMex, it defines
the instrument broadly as "sing 0 pI 1 Instrumento de distintos materiales y formas,
compuesto por dos palancas unidas en un punto, cuyas puntas 0 extremos se unen 0 separan
bajo la presion de los dedos y que sirve para agarrar algo con fuerza: 'Aflojo la tuerca con
las pinzas', pinzas para las cejas, 'Se saco la espina con una pinza', pinza de cirujana,
pinzas para calgar rapa." The fact that the term alicate is not listed in this dictionary is also
noteworthy and suggests that this tenn is not "usual" in Mexico.
Ecuador: Some Ecuadorans in this study made statements such as ''playa se dice vulgarmente" and
described this term as "incarrecta" and "mal [armada" and indicated that alicate is the
"correct" and "castiza" tenn. Others, however, indicated that playa is the only term for
adjustable pliers, whereas alicate(s) are nonadjustable, wire-cutting pliers ("linesman
pliers"). Still others, including carpenters, plumbers, and other specialists accepted both
tenns and indicated they are synonyms.
Related tenns: See pliers in Appendix for infonnation on other types of pliers.
A6.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: alicate(s) (A), pinza(s) (A), playa (A or D?), tenaza(s) (A).
DRAE definitions: alicate, "(Del err. hisp. *allaqqat, y este del err. clas. Laqqit, tenazas).
Tenaza pequena de acero con brazos encorvados y puntas cuadrangulares 0 de fonna de cono
truncado, y que sirve para coger y sujetar objetos menudos 0 para torcer alambres, chapitas delgadas
o cosas parecidas. U. m. en pI. [Usado mas en plural] con el mismo significado que en sing.
[singular]"; alicate de corte, "El que tiene las puntas en forma de cuchillas y se emplea, sobre todo
por los electricistas, para cortar cables";pinza, "(Del fro pince, tenaza). Instrumento cuyos extremos
se aproximan para sujetar algo";pinzas, "4. Instrumento de metal, a manera de tenacillas, que sirve
para coger 0 sujetar cosas menudas"; tenaza, "(Del 1at. tenaces, pI. de tenax). Instrumento de metal,
compuesto de dos brazos trabados por un clavillo 0 eje que permite abrirlos y volverlos a cerrar, que
se usa para sujetar fuertemente una cosa, 0 arrancarla 0 cortarla U. m. en pI. con el mismo
significado que en sing"; playo, "(Del ingi. pliers). Ecuad. Especie de tenazas pequefias,
generalmente con ranuras finas en sus extremos."
Comments: Spanish speakers from different regions seem to have different notions ofwhat
types of tools the terms alicate(s), pinza(s) and tenaza(s) can refer to, differences that are not
captured by the DRAE's definitions of these terms. The DRAE defines playo as a specific type of
small pliers, but based on the Ecuadorans queried in this study, playos seem to come in different
sizes, both large and small.
A7.1 Summary
Pinza and/or alicate, often with a modifier such as de punta or de pico, are the most commonly used
terms for needlenose pliers. Honduras, Nicaragua and Cuba have more regional usages.
Note: Terms other thanpinza(s), alicate(s)-or these terms with modifiers such as de punta, de pico
or the less precise electrico(s)/eIectrica(s)-appear in italics, and Honduras andNicaragua'spicuda(s)
in boldface and italics.
A7.2 Terms by Country (4 or 5 base terms and over 20 modifiers plus variants)
alicate(s) de punta (6/13), alicate(s) (3/13), alicate de boca plana (1113), alicate de
electricista (1113), alicate de punta tina (1113), alicate para electricidad (1/13), tenazas (1/13).
pinzas de punta (6/17), pinza(s) de pico (2117), pinzas electricas (2117), pinzas (1117),
pinzas de cortar (1/17), pinzas de corte (1/17), pinza de electricista (1/17), pinza de nariz (1117),
pinzas para alambre (1117), pinzas para coTtar (1/17).
pinza(s) (13/15), alicate (1115), pinzas de punta (1/15).
pinza(s) (11115), tenaza de punta (2115), alicate (1/15), pinzas de punta (1115), pinzas
picudas (1115).
picuda(s) (6/11), pinza (2111), alicate (1/11), tenanza de punta (1/11), tenaza de pieD (1/11).
picuda(s) (8/15), alicate (4/15), pinza (4/15), tenaza de punta (2115), tenaza pieuda
alicate de punta(s) (8/11), alicate de tenaza (1/11), pinzas (1/11), pinza electrica (1/11).
pinza(s) de punta (4/9), alicate de punta (3/9), pinza de pico largo (1/9), pinza
electrica (119), pinzas narizonas (119).
A7.3 Details
pinza(s) (5/16), pinza (punta) de garza (3/16), alicates de punta fina (1/16), alicate
pinza (1/16), alicate punta de garza (1/16), pinza de corte (1/16),pinza de pico de loro (1/16),
pinza punta de ganso (1/16), tenazas (1/16).
pinza (17/18), alicate de pinza (1/18).
pinza(s) (14/20), alicate de punta (2120), alicate de alarnbre (1/20), alicate de pinzas (1120),
pinzas de nariz larga (1120), pinzas para eleetricidad (1120).
pinza(s) (14/16), alicate(s) de punta (3/16), alicate de pinza (2116).
pinza(s) (12/17), pinza(s) (de) punta (2/17), alicate (1/17), alicate de punta (1/17),
cortapinzas (1/17), pinza cortafrio (1/17).
pinza(s) (8/10), alicate (1/10), pinza punta redonda (1/1 0).
alicate de punta(s) (6/15), pinza(s) (5/15), alicate (de) pinza (2115), alicate electrico
(1/15), tenaza (1/15).
alicate (de) punta (8/14), pinza (3/14), alicate con punta (1114), alicate de punta fina
(1/14), alicate pinza (1/14), lorito (1/14).
pinza(s) (219), pinzas de punta (219), pinza electrica (219), alicates de punta
(1/9), pinza puntiaguda (1/9), tenaza (1/9).
pinza(s) de punta (3/9), alicate(s) (3/9), pinza (1/9), pinza punta tina (1/9),
pinza puntiaguda (1/9).
pinza de punta (9/13), alicate (2113), pinza(s) (2113), pinza de pico fino (1/13).
alicate de punta(s) (9/15), pinza(s) (5/15), alicate de tenaza (1/15), alicate pinza
General: Most ofthe Spanish speakers queried in this study can be divided into two categories with
respect to the two types ofpliers tested. We could call "Type A" those speakers who use the
same base term for needlenose pliers as for joint pliers, but to the former they add a modifier
such as de punta or de pica. Such speakers appear to view needlenose pliers as a type of
pinza or alicate. "Type B" speakers, in contrast, would be those who use one base term for
joint pliers and a different base term for needlenose pliers. They conceive the two tools
differently, that is, they do not view needlenose pliers as a type ofjoint pliers, as Type A
speakers and some speakers ofUnited States English do (who would call joint pliers "regular
pliers" or "ordinarypliers"). There also appear to be some Spanish speakers, whom we could
call "Type C" speakers, who use one base term for joint pliers and use a compound term for
needlenose pliers that has a different base term from the one they use for thejoint pliers. The
keyto understanding howthe terms alicate(s),pinza(s), etc. function in the different varieties
of Spanish, however, may be determining the names used for "linesman pliers"
(nonadjustable cutting pliers), a type that, unfortunately, was not tested in this study. See
pliers in Appendix.
T)pe A Sj>eakers (same base term for joint and needlenose pliers): Based on the data collected in this
study, Spaniards, Costa Ricans and Bolivians generally call joint pliers alicate(s) and
needlenose pliers alicate(s) de punta or alicate(s) followed by some other modifier.
Mexicans and Argentines typically call joint pliers pinza(s) and needlenose pliers pinza(s)
de punta or pinza(s) followed by another modifier. (l,Quien dijo que los mexicanos y los
argentinos no tienen nada en comtin?)
Type Bspeakers (different base term for joint and needlenose pliers): In contrast to Type Aspeakers,
this study suggests that Guatemalans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans and
Colombians generally call joint pliers alicate(s) and needlenose pliers pinza(s); Salvadorans
typicallycalI joint pliers tenazas and needlenose plierspinza(s); Nicaraguans and Hondurans
joint pliers tenazas and needlenose pliers picudas; and Ecuadorans joint pliers playo and
needlenose pliers pinza(s). The term picuda(s), however, appears to be an ellipsis of
tenaza(s) picuda(s) and therefore, in a sense, Nicaraguans and Hondurans could be viewed
as "Type A."
Type C speakers (different base terms and a modifier is added to needlenose pliers): Some
Panamanians in this study calledjoint plierspinza(s) and needlenose pliers alicate de punta.
More research needs to be done to determine if Type C speakers are predominant in any
particular country or region.
United States English: In United States English, there may be a technical difference between the
terms "needlenose pliers" and "longnose pliers" (which can also be spelled "needle nose
pliers" or "needle-nose pliers" and "long nose pliers" or "long-nose pliers," respectively) in
that "needlenose pliers" have extra thin grippers whereas "longnose pliers" may be a more
generic term ("needlenose pliers" would be a type of "longnose pliers"). In practice,
"needlenose pliers" is probably the most commonly used term in everyday, nontechnical
language for any pliers that have fairly long thin grippers, whereas "longnose pliers" is the
term most often used for this general class of pliers in the Home Depot and Ace Hardware
online catalogues,respectively.Inthese
websites, there are pliers called "long needle nose pliers," "long chain nose pliers" and
"curved nose pliers" (with the tips ofthe grippers offset at an angle), and one company, X2,
even manufactures a pair of "long nose slip joint pliers" that do not appear to be very
common as many other manufacturers do not seem to make them.
A7.4 Real Academia Regional Reyiew
Questions/Comments: The DRAEdoes not describe needlenose pliers inits definitions ofany
of the terms presented in section A7.2 above. Should it? Using English-language lexicography as
a point ofcomparison, we note that the EWD also does not define specific types ofpliers. However,
near its definition for pliers, it includes illustrations of slip-joint pliers, needlenose pliers and vise
grips. The AHDneither defines needlenose or longnose pliers nor includes a picture ofthem, and an
argument can be made that one can deduce the meaning ofthese terms from the meaning of"pliers,"
"needle," "nose" and "long." The same would apply in Spanish to terms like alicates de punta and
pinzas de punta. The problem is that the DRAE seeks to be international in scope and the terms
alicate(s) andpinza(s) mean different things to different Spanish speakers. Other types ofpliers such
as "linesman pliers" or "lineman pliers" (nonadjustable or solid-joint cutting pliers) are less
transparent because they are associative rather than descriptive and because the association
"lineman" or "linesman" (person who repairs electrical or telephone cables) maybe less well known
than the name ofthe pliers. Although it would be helpful ifthe DRAEprovided a picture ofthe three
or four most common types of pliers next to its definition of pliers (with a legend that indicated
which is which), ifyou start down that path, you must be prepared to seriously address variant terms
and regional variation. It is interesting to note that the AHD and the EWD both define a few types
ofwrenches (see section A9.4 below), but not different types of pliers.
A8.1 Summary
Llave ajustable and /lave inglesa are each used in a dozen or more countries, and /lavefrancesa in
at least a halfdozen. Mexico, Guatemala, EI Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia and Bolivia have highly
regional terms.
Note: Terms other than /lave inglesa, /lavefrancesa, /lave ajustable (and its variant /lave de ajuste)
appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in boldface and italics.
A8.2 Terms by Country (c. 13 terms plus variants)
Have inglesa (13/13).
perica (7/20),perico (7/20), /lave perica (6/20), /lave (de) perico (2/20).
cangrejo (10/13), /lave (de) cangrejo (3/13), /lave de graduacion (I /13).
cangreja (13/14), /lavecangreja (1/14).
Have ajustable (9/9), Have inglesa (119).
(llave) cresen (10/11), Have ajustable (2/11).
Have francesa (11/12), Have ajustable (1/12).
Have de ajuste (4/9), Have inglesa (3/9), Have ajustable (2/9).
Have ajustable (3/1 0), /lave de expansion (3/1 0), /lave de (ex)tension (2/10), \lave
inglesa (2/10).
Have ajustable (14/16), (/lave) pico (de) cotorra (6/16), crayson (2116), llave pico
de loro (1/16).
Have ajustable (6/11), (/lave) cresen (3/11), Have de ajuste(I/11), \laveinglesa (1/11).
Have ajustable (8/10), Have inglesa (3/10).
llave de expansion (14/22), /lave alemana (7/22), Have inglesa (5/22), Have
ajustable (2122), /lave expansiva (2122), /lave de extension (1/22), /lave de graduacion (1/22),
/lave de peston (1/22), /lave pico de loro (1122).
Have francesa (9/10), Have inglesa (2/10).
Have francesa (6/11), Have inglesa (5/11), pico de loro (1/11).
llave cresen (12/16), Have inglesa (5/16), /lave cresel (1/16).
Have inglesa (7/8), Have ajustable (118), Have francesa (1/8).
Have francesa (6/9), Have inglesa (2/9), Have ajustable (119).
Have inglesa (12/20), Have francesa (7/20), Have ajustable (1120).
Have francesa (7/9), Have inglesa (2/9).
A8.3 Details
General: Given the proper context, terms such as /lave ajustable, /lavefrancesa and /lave inglesa,
etc. can and often do get reduced to (unalla) ajustable, (una/la) francesa and (unalla)
inglesa, respectively, for the sake of efficiency and under the principle of "entre buenos
entendedores, media palabra basta." In some cases, the ellipsis-la cresen (Nicaragua) or la
perica (Mexico)-maybe more common than the full form (la llave cresen or la llaveperica),
while in others the derived forms-la cangreja (EI Salvador) or el cangrejo
(Guatemala)-appearto be muchmore common than their etymologies, la llave (de) cangreja
or la /lave (de) cangrejo, respectively.
Llave inglesa: Although /lave inglesa was offered by respondents from many countries in the sense
of crescent wrench, many others stated that /lave inglesa refers to a monkey wrench. A
monkey wrench (see Figure A8" in Illustrations) is one in which the adjustment opens and
closes along an axis that is parallel to the shaft of the wrench, unlike the crescent wrench in
which the adjustment opens and closes along an axis perpendicular to the shaft. In other
words, a monkey wrench functions like a pipe wrench (see Figure A9 in Illustrations), but
without the teeth in the gripping mechanism. However, since monkeywrenches are no longer
as common as crescent wrenches, the term /lave inglesa now seems to be applied to crescent
wrenches in many parts of the Spanish-speaking world, although perhaps not by some
professionals who use both types of wrench and therefore maintain a terminological
distinction. The confusion regarding the meaning of llave inglesa is further complicated by
the fact that it can also refer to a pipe wrench. See section A9 below.
Mexico: The use ofperico is confirmed by the DEUMex, which defines it as "II 1 Herramienta con
que se aprietan 0 aflojan tuercas, que tiene dos picos curvos, ajustados por un tornillo sin
fin." The terms perica andperico are an ellipsis of llave (de) perica and /lave (de) perico,
respectively, and all of these can be considered variants of each other.
Cuba: Llave ajustable, /lave de expansion and/or /lave inglesa were the three terms given by the
majority ofrespondents in this study when shown a picture ofa crescent wrench. However,
the DRAE defines picoloro as the Cuban term for crescent wrench or perhaps monkey
wrench (see section A8.4 below). The DECu, in contrast, seems to define picoloro as
"groove joint pliers" or "tongue and groove pliers" (see pliers in Appendix): "Herramienta
para aflojar y apretar tuercas, que consiste en unas pinzas largas que semejan el pico de un
loro." What does picoloro refer to in Cuba and which terms are most commonly used in
Cuba to refer to a crescent wrench?
Dominican Republic: Llave ajustable was given by the largest number ofrespondents in this study.
Llavepico de cotorra, /lave pico cotorra, pico de cotorra and pico cotorra (or picocotorra)
can be considered variants of each other and, viewed collectively, was the second-most
frequently offered term.
Colombia: Llave de expansion and llave alemana were the two most frequently offered terms in this
study. One Colombian indicated that /lave alemana is the older, more traditional term and
is being replaced by /lave de expansion.
Bolivia: Most respondents gave the spelling of /lave cresen, but some indicated /lave crecen. The
origin of this term, as we know, is English "crescent wrench" and/or the brand name
Related terms: For information on "flat wrenches" or "rigid wrenches," see wrench A in Appendix.
United States English: In the United States, "adjustable wrench" is the official term for this type of
wrench, the one that appears in catalogues and on the product packaging, but "crescent
wrench" (from the brand name Crescent) is the term most commonly used by Americans in
this sense. An argument can also be made that for Americans "crescent wrench" is a more
precise/specific termthan "adjustable wrench" since "pipe wrenches" (see sectionA9 below)
and "monkey wrenches" (see Figure A8" in TIlustrations), though not generally called
"adjustable wrenches," are also adjustable.
A8.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAEgrades: ajustable (D), cangreja (D), cangrejo (D), cresen (F), /lave ajustable (F), /lave
alemana (F), /lave cresen (F), /lave de ajuste (F), /lave de expansion (F), /lavefrancesa (F), /lave
inglesa (A), /lave perica (F), /lave pico coton-a (F), perica (D), perico (D).
DRAE definitions: /lave, "2. Instrumento que sirve para apretar 0 aflojar tuercas"; /lave
inglesa, "Instrumento de hierro de forma de martillo, en cuyo mango hay un dispositivo que, al girar,
abre 0 cierra mas 0 menos las dos partes que forman la cabeza, hasta que se aplican a la tuerca 0
tornillo que se quiere mover"; picoloro, "Cuba. Have inglesa (II instrumento de hierro para mover
tuercas 0 tornillos)."
Questions/Comments: The DRAE does not define most of the terms used in the sense of
crescent wrench including such classics as /lave ajustable, /lavefrancesa, /lave cresen, cangrejo/a
and perico/a. Even its definition of /lave inglesa, the term that appears to be used in Spain for both
crescent wrench and monkey wrench, describes only the latter type. In addition, its definition of
picoloro does not match up with the DECu's definition ofthe same term (see Cuba in section A8.3
above). i,Quien tiene la raz6n aqui, y quien meti6 la pata? i,Quien la embarr6?
A9.l Summary
Llave inglesa, /lave estilson, /lave de (orpara) tubo(s), and/or /lave de plomeria (or deplomero) and
variants of these are the most commonly used terms.
Note: Terms other than /lave inglesa, /lave estilson, /lave de tubo(s), /lave para tubo(s), /lave de
plomeria, and /lave de plomero appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in boldface and italics.
A9.2 Terms by Country (c. 14 terms plus variants)
A9.3 Details
!lave (de) grifa (3/8), llave de tubo(s) (3/8), !lave defontanero (1/8), llave de
plomeria (1/8).
(Have) estilson (19/21), !lave de pipa (1/21), nave de plomero (1/21).
(llave) estilson (9/12), Have de tubo (3/12).
(Have) estilson (11/12), !lave de eaneria (1/12).
llave de tubo (6/11), (llave) estilson (3/11), Have inglesa (2111), /lave de agua (1/11).
(llave) estilson (11/11), Have de tubo (1/11).
llave (de) caiieria (10/16), Have inglesa (4/16), llave de tuberia (3/16), nave
de plomeria (2116), !lave eabeza de mula (1/16), /lave de agua (1/16).
llave de tubo (6/8), llave de plomeria (1/8), llave inglesa (1/8).
(llave) pico (de) loro (5/14), (llave) estilson (4/14), Have inglesa (4/14), Have
de tube (2114), nave de plomeria (1/14), Have de tuberia (1/14).
(llave) estilson (12/14), Have inglesa (2114).
llave depe"o (10/15), /lave deperra (2115), nave (de) plomero(2115), Have inglesa (2115),
estilson (1/15).
llave de tubo (6/13), llave inglesa (6/13), nave de plomeria (1/13), Have para tuberia
llave (de) tubo(s) (7/14), llave inglesa (3/14), lIave para tubo(s) (2114), (llave) pica
de lora (2114), /lave de agua (1/14), !lave de paso (1/14).
Have (de) tubo (8/11), Have inglesa (3/11), Have de tuberia (1/11), Have estilson
(1/11), nave para tube (1/11).
(Have) estilson (10/14), llave inglesa (7/14).
(llave) estilson (12/14), Have inglesa (1/14), !lave para eanerias (1/14).
!lavefrancesa (3/8), Have de plomero (2/8), !lave para canerias (1/8), llave
para tubos (1/8), llave tuberias de agua (1/8), llave tubo (1/8).
llave inglesa (5/6), llave de caiio (3/6).
llave inglesa (5/14), /lave para canos (3/14), Have de plomero (3/14), llave
(de) cano (3/14), Have estilson (2114), !lavefraneesa (1/14).
(Have) estilson (6/13), llave inglesa (6/13), llavefrancesa (3/13).
Llave estilson: Llave estilson derives from the brand name "Stillson" and is often abbreviated to
estilson. The term is feminine, una estilson, since the word /lave is feminine. Other
phonetic/spelling variants that were offered bya few respondents from a number ofcountries
included !lave estimson and estimson, /lave tilson and tilson, and !lave tirso and tirso. In
addition to phonetic change/distortion, there is also a wide range of spellings that
respondents offered including stilson, stillson, stylson, etc., and these forms spelled with
initial uppercase s. As is the case with many words of foreign origin that are used more in
speech than in writing, there is a fair amount of linguistic insecurity regarding the written
Spain: The use of /lave grifa in the sense of pipe wrench is confirmed by the DRAE (see section
A9.4 below).
Cuba: In this study, picoloro, and its variants /lave pico de loro, /lave pico loro, and pica de loro,
as well as /lave estilson (and estilson) and /lave inglesa were the terms offered by the
majority ofrespondents. However, the DRAE and the DECu indicate that picoloro refers to
other tools and their definitions contradict each other (see sections A8.3 and A8.4 above).
Argentina: In this study, /lave para canos, /lave de plomero and/or /lave inglesa were given by the
majority of respondents in the sense of pipe wrench. The DEArg, however, defines /lave
prusiana as "Herramienta de metal, que se emplea para enroscar y desenroscar caiierias."
Although not a particularly precise description, this sounds like a pipe wrench. Is it? Ifso,
how common is the use of /lave prusiana in this sense vis-a-vis /lave para canos, /lave de
plomero and /lave inglesa?
A9.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: estilson (F), /lave de caneria (F), /lave de cano (F), /lave de fontanero (F),
/lave de perro (F), /lave de plomeria (F), /lave de plomero (F), /lave de tubo (F), /lave estilson (F),
/lavefrancesa (F), /lave grifa (C), /lave inglesa (D), /lave para canos (F), /lave pico (de) loro (F),
pico (de) loro (D).
DRAE definition: /lave grifa, "Have semejante ala inglesa, usada en fontaneria."
Comments: The DRAE should provide a full description of/lave grifa that is independent of
the term /lave inglesa for several reasons. First, /lave inglesa means different things to different
people, and even if we limit ourselves to Peninsular Spanish usage, the term /lave inglesa is often
used in Spain to refer to a crescent wrench, which is dissimilar to a pipe wrench in that the shapes
are different and the crescent wrench does not have teeth while the pipe wrench does. Also, as a
general principle, ifyou can tell dictionary users exactly what a thing is, you should tell them what
it is and not what it is like. In other words, when dictionary users look up the word /lave grifa, they
should not be told it is like a /lave inglesa, but should be told what a /lave grifa is. Compare the
AHD's definition of pipe wrench: "A wrench with two serrated jaws, one adjustable, for gripping
and turning pipe." Voila, simplicity itself.
AIO.l Summary
Pata de cabra (and phonetic variants such as pata cabra, paticabra, etc.) and/or palanca are used
in the majority of countries and can perhaps be considered General Spanish terms. More regional
terms include barra, barreta,pata de chancho and una. Mexico has a particularlyimpressive arsenal
of regional terms and both Mexico and Chile have unique usages not found elsewhere.
Note: Terms other than pata de cabra and palanca appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in
boldface and italics.
AIO.2 Terms by Country (c. 15 terms plus variants)
AIO.3 Details
palanca (7/15), pata (de) cabra (6/15),palanqueta (3/15).
barra (10/26), chiva (9/26), barreta (7/26), pata (de) cabra (6/26), pata de
chiva (3/26), barra de chiva (3/26), una (3/26), chiva de barra (2126), barra de una
(1/26), barreta de una (1/26), grifa (1/26),palanquera (1/26),pata de chivo (l/26),pie de chivo
(1/26), sacaclavos (1/26), una de cabra (1/26),
una (15/18), barrera (2118), palanca (1/18).
barra de una (13/17), pata (de) cabra (3/17), una (2117), llave de una (1/17), una de
gato (1/17).
barra de una (6/14), pata (de) cabra (5/14), barra (2114), sacaclavos (2114), palanca
(1/14), sacaunas (1/14).
pata de chancho (13/13).
pata de chancho (14/14).
pata (de) cabra (9/14), palanca (4/14), barra (2114), barra pata de cabra (2114).
pata (de) cabra (18/19), palanca (1/19).
pata (de) cabra (16/18), pie de cabra (1/18), pies cabra (1/18).
pata (de) cabra (11/17), barra (de carpintero) (3/17), cuiia (3/17), una (2117),
palanca (1/17).
pata (de) cabra (15/15).
pata (de) cabra (15/24), palanca (8/24), barra (4/24), palancapara de cabra (2124),
barreta (1/24), una (1/24).
pata (de) cabra (15/19), barretilla (3/19), barreta (2119), llave de uiia (1/19), palanca
(1/19), tumbapuertas (1/19), una de cabra (1/19).
pata (de) cabra (12/20), palanca (5/20), barreta (2120), barrerilla (1I20),pata de gallo
(1/20), sacaclavos (1/20).
pata (de) cabra (10/17), barreta (7/17), barreta pata de cabra (1/17), diablo (1/17),
palanca (1117).
pata (de) cabra (6/9), palanca (4/9), barreta (1/9), barra (1/9), pie de cabra
una (6/9), barra (1/9), barreta (1/9), palanca (1/9), pata de cabra (1/9), una
de gato (1/9).
barreta (15/22), barra (2122), palanca (2122), pata de cabra (2122), sacaclavos (2122).
diablo (12/16), diablito (3/16), pata de cabra (3/16), barreta (1116).
General: The termpata de cabra is often pronounced and written in variant forms such as patecabra,
paticabra, pat 'ecabra, etc. These phonetic/spelling variants are not indicated in section
AI0.2 above and are represented there by the one umbrella tenn pata de cabra. Similar
variants may also occur with pata de chancho and pata de chivo, though in this study no
modified spellings were offered. Respondents from several countries indicatedthat aganzua
is a type of small bar that can be used by thieves to break locks and open doors (perhaps
equivalent to what in the United States is called a "jimmy"), but it is not clear how universal
the use ofganzua is in this sense. The DRAE defines palanqueta in a way that suggests it
may also be a synonym ofganzua (see section Al 0.4 below). Although the term barra was
offered by a number of respondents from diverse regions in the sense of crowbar, many
others stated that a barra is not a crowbar but refers to other types of bars that do not have
a "claw" for removing nails.
Spain: What, if any, are the differences in meaning between and regional distributions ofpalanca,
palanqueta and pata de cabra? Is palanqueta used in the sense of jimmy, as its name (a
diminutive ofpalanca) implies? Five ofthe six Spaniards who gavepata de cabra were from
Galicia, but one was from Valencia Those who gave palanca did not hail from any single
region, which suggests it may constitute General Peninsular Spanish usage.
Mexico: Barra, and its variants, and chiva, and its variants, are the most commonly used terms, and
barra de chiva and chiva de barra can be considered variants ofboth barra and chiva. One
respondent from Puebla indicated that a chiva is smaller than a barra. The DEUMex defines
barra as a different tool that does not have a claw for removing nails and does not define
barreta, chiva,pata de cabra orpata de chiva in the sense ofcrowbar. What are the regional
preferences within Mexico among the different terms for this item?
Honduras: Manyrespondents indicated that a barra de una and apata de cabra are synonymous, but
one said that a barra de una is a smaller crowbar than apata de cabra, and one indicated that
a barra de una was a "flat bar" (see bars in Appendix).
Costa Rica: The use of pata de chancho is confirmed by the NDCR (Quesada Pacheco), which
defines it as "[Cary.] Utensilio de trabajo que es de hierro y tiene en un extremo una uiia
larga, el cual se utiliza para sacar c1avos 0 desarmar construcciones hechas con tablas."
Cuba: The DECu confirms the use ofpata de cabra, defining it as "Barra corta de acero con un
extremo plano y el otro curvo, con una uiia en forma de V, que se utiliza generalmente para
hacer palanca, p. ej. para abrir una puerta" but does not indicate a Peninsular Spanish
equivalent. One respondent indicated that an esparraguillo is a small pata de cabra.
Dominican Republic: Pata de cabra was offered by the vast majority ofrespondents. The two that
offered pie de cabra or pies cabra (piescabra) were from el Cibao, but several other
Cibaefios gave pata de cabra.
Venezuela: The DHAVconfirms the use ofpata de cabra, defining it as "Herramienta que consiste
en una barra de metal con uno de los extremos terminado en una punta ungulada que se
utiliza principalmente en labores de demolici6n."
Colombia: Pata (de) cabra and palanca are the two most commonly used terms, and palanca pata
de cabra can be considered a variant of both.
Chile: The nECHconfirms the use ofboth diablo and diablito in the sense ofcrowbar. It lists diablo
as a synonym ofdiablito, which it defines as "Barreta de fierro provista de un mango largo
con un extremo curvado ypartido en forma de V, que se emplea como palanca para separar
elementos firmemente unidos... 'Confes6 haber asesinado a su c6nyuge con un diablito de
fierro' ... Var [variante]: diablo." It appears that for some Chileans diablo is the unspecified
term and diablito a diminutive, whereas for others diablito is the base term-it is a diminutive
that has been lexicalized-and diablitito would be the first-order diminutive form. More
research needs to be done on this point and on the relative frequencies ofthe two competing
unmarked forms.
Related terms: For information on "flat bars" and "nail pullers" ("eat's paws"), see bars in
AIO.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: barra (D), barra de chiva (F), barra de una (F), barreta (D), cuna (D), chiva
(D), diablo (D), diablito (D),palanca (D),palanqueta (C?),pata de cabra (B),pata de chancho (F),
sacaclavos (D), una (D), una de cabra (F).
DRAEdefinitions: palanca, "(Del 1at. palanga, y este del gr... garrote). Barra inflexible, recta,
angular 0 curva, que se apoya y puede girar sobre un punto, y sirve para transmitir una fuerza";
, "Barra 0 palanca pequeiia de hierro que usan los mineros, los albafiiles, etc."; palanqueta,
"(Del dim. de palanca). Barreta de hierro que sirve para forzar las puertas 0 las cerraduras";pata de
cabra, "3. PerU. Herramienta de hierro usada en albafiileria, con dos uiias, que sirve para sacar clavos
y palanquear"; pie de cabra, ''Palanqueta hendida por uno de sus extremos en forma de dos uiias u
orejas"; sacaclavos, "herramienta para sacar clavos"; serrucha, 'jerg. Hond. ganzna (II garlio para
abrir cerraduras)."
Comments: Asserting that pata de cabra with the meaning of crowbar is a regionalism of
Peru alone is nothing short of absurd, and what is noteworthy is that the DRAE does not provide the
reader with a Peninsular Spanish or a Castilian equivalent ofpata de cabra. This combined with the
fact that the definition ofpata de cabra states this tool is used in masonry but not other fields (such
as carpentry, especially demolition) leads one to believe that the DRAE editorslIexicographers who
wrote this definition were virtually clueless about what a crowbar is and what the geographic
distributions of the terms used for it are. Compare the DHA V's definition of pata de cabra in
Venezuela above, which aptly states that the tool is used in demolition. The DRAE should probably
acknowledge pata de cabra as the General Spanish term as it is used in practically all twenty
Spanish-speaking countries, including Spain (though perhaps not common in Castilla), and should
cross-reference all other terms to pata de cabra, with appropriate regional specifications. The other
option would be to define palanca as the base term and cross-reference all other terms to it.
All CLAMP (such as a "C-clamp," "pipe clamp" or "bar clamp")
All.I Summary
Prensa-with modifiers such as manual or de mano, etc. added for clarification-is the most
commonly used term.
Terms other than prensa and its variants appear in italics, and Cuba's sargento in boldface and
All.2 Terms by Country (c. 12 terms plus variants)
Al1.3 Details
gato (5/11), prensa (de tornillo) (2/11), torniqueta (2/11), torniquete (1/11), torno portatil
prensa (de mana/manual) (13/14), abrazadera (1/14), gendarme (1/14),prensadora
(1/14), sargento (1/14).
prensa (de mana/manual) (8/11),prensadora (1/11), sargento (1/11), torno (1/11).
prensa (de mana/manual) (8/12), sargento (3/12), abrazadora (1/12), ajustador
(1/12), prensa de tornillo (1/12).
prensa (de mana/manual) (7/7).
prensa (de mana/manual) (6/8),prensa portatil (1/8), sargento (1/8).
prensa (de mana/manual) (5/11), sargento (5/11), prensa de carpintero (1/11).
prensa (de mana/manual) (7/8), abrazadera (1/8).
sargento (6/9),presilla (2/9), abrazadera (1/9), tomiquete (1/9).
prensa (de mana/manual) (7/11), sargento (6/11).
prensa (de mano/manual) (7/11), sargento (3/11), prensa desargento (1/11).
prensa (de mano/manual) (6/10), sargento (2/10), pinza ajustable (1/10), torniquete
prensa (de mano/manual) (10/11), prensa de carpinteria (1/11).
prensa (de mano/manual) (9/10), prensadora (1/1 0).
prensa (de mano/manual,(7/1 0), prensadora (2/10), tornillo de presion (1/1 0).
prensa (de mano/manual) (10/10).
prensa (de mana/manual) (2/7), tomiquete (2/7), prensador (1/7), prensa
portatil (117), sargento (1/7).
prensa (de mano/manual) (5/7), morsa (chica) (317).
prensa (de mano/manual) (9/12), morsa (de mano) (2/12), prensa de mordaza (1/12),
sargento (1/12).
prensa (de mano/manual) (9/10), abrazadera (1/10).
General: The item tested on respondents was a C-clamp (see Figure All in lllustrations).
Prensa: The modifiers de mano, manual, portatil and others can be added to prensa to distinguish
"clamps" from "vises" (which are often called prensas de banco or prensas de mesa), and
from other meanings ofthe wordprensa. Vises (see section A12 below) are similar to clamps
but are attached to a work bench or other structure and generally have a larger gripping
Morsa: The DEArg (Argentina) defines morsa as "Especie de prensa pequefia que emplean, entre
otros, los carpinteros y los mecanicos, para mantener sujetas las piezas sobre las cuales
trabajan" and the NDU(Uruguay) defines morsa almost identically. In this study, however,
most Argentines and Uruguayans queried indicated that a morsa generally refers to a "vise"
rather than a "clamp." Whether the word generally refers to a clamp, a vise, or either one,
River Plate Spanish morsa most likely derives from Italian, a language in which morsa
means clamp or vise: The Vocabolario della Lingua Italiana (Zingarelli) indicates that
Italian morsa derives from morso from the verb mordere, to bite, and defines morsa as a vise
as follows: "[f. sost. di morso (2); 1582] 1 Attrezzo fissato al tavalo da lavoro, costituito da
una ganascia fissa e una ganascia mobile, Ie quali blocano, mediante un dispositivo a vite,
il pezzo da lavorare: m. parallela; m. a coda; m. a piede." The Dizionario della Lingua
Italiana (Istituto Geografico de Agostini) defines morsa as "1. strumento di ferro 0 di legno,
formato da due ganasce, una fissa e l'altra mobile, con il quale si tiene fermo il pezzo da
lavorare," which suggests that morsa can refer to either a clamp or a vise. The massive Italian
immigration to the Buenos Aires-Montevideo region at the end ofthe 19th and beginning of
the 20th century also lends credence to the notion that River Plate Spanish morsa derives
from Italian morsa. Nevertheless, questions remain such as how, and to what extent, morsa
was able to displace words of traditional Spanish stock such as prensa and tom(ill)o, and
how the different terms compete in the interior ofArgentina and Uruguay, regions that have
less Italian influence. See Argentina and Uruguay in section A14.3 below for a similar case,
Sargento: The DECu (Cuba) defines sargento as ''Prensa manual que se usa en carpinteria para
mantener fija una pieza, p. ej. despues de que ha sido encolada." In this study, Cuba was the
only country from which a majority of respondents, when shown a picture of a C-clamp,
indicated it was called a sargento. One Cuban, however, indicated that a presilla C is a C-
clamp and a sargento is a pipe clamp. And both an Argentine respondent and a Costa Rican
respondent indicated that a sargento refers specifically to a "pipe clamp" but not to a "C-
clamp" (or any other type ofclamp). Two Salvadorans, however, stated they call a C-clamp
a sargento, and a third Salvadoran said a sargento is a type of C-shaped spring clamp used
by masons for holding forms together (a clamp that works by spring action, not with a
C-clamps: Many respondents indicated that prensa C is used for a C-clamp, and a few indicated
other base terms followed by C, but some indicated prensa G. While it is not particularly
fruitful to argue over whether a C-clamp is shaped more like a C or more like a G, it would
be interesting to fmd out where the modifier Cis more common, where Gis more common,
and where a separate term (such as sargento) is more common.
AH.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: gato (C), morsa (B),prensa (A?), sargento (D).
DRAE definitions: gato, "4. Instrumento de hierro que sirve para agarrar fuertemente la
madera y traerla a donde se pretende. Se usa para echar aros a las cubas, y en el oficio de
portaventanero. 1111. Carp. Instrumento de hierro 0 de madera compuesto de dos planchas con un
tornillo que permite aproximarlas de modo que quede fuertemente sujeta la pieza que se coge entre
ambas"; morscr, "Arg. Instrumento que sirve para sujetar piezas que se trabajan en carpinteria,
herreria, etc., compuesto de dos brazos paralelos unidos por un tornillo sin fin que, al girar, las
acerca"; prensa, "Maquina que sirve para comprimir, cuya forma varia segilll los usos a que se
aplica"; tornillo, "2. Instrumento con que se mantienen sujetas las piezas que se estan trabajando,
por medio de dos topes, uno fijo y otro movil."
Questions/Comments: Should gato, morsa, prensa and/or sargento be cross-referenced to
each other? The evidence suggests that at least some of these can refer to the same thing, but you
wouldn't mow that from reading the DRAE's definitions ofthese terms. The DRAE indicates that
the origin ofGeneral Spanish morsal (the walrus) is Finish or Lap byway ofFrench (''Del fro morse,
y este del fines mursu 0 dellapon morssa"), but no etymology is provided for River Plate Spanish
morsel- (the tool), which appears to derive from Italian (see Morsa in section All.3 above).
A12.1 Summary
Prensa-often with the modifiers de banco or de mesa added for clarification-is the most commonly
used term. Tornillo de banco is also common in a number ofcountries, and Argentina and Uruguay
. have a usage not found elsewhere.
Note: Terms other than prensa, prensa de banco, prensa de mesa or prensa with other modifiers
appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in boldface and italics.
A12.2 Terms by Country (c. 6 terms plus variants)
tomo (3/7), prensa (de banco/de mesa) (217), tornillo (de banco) (217), prensa
de sujecion (117).
prensa (de banco/de mesa) (10/13), prensa de tornillo (2/13), tornillo (de presion)
prensa (de banco/de mesa) (9/11), prensador (1/1 I),prensadora (1/11).
prensa (de banco/de mesa) (10/10).
prensa fija (417), prensa (de banco/de mesa) (2/7), prensa de presion (1/7),
prensa estable (1/7).
prensa (de banco/de mesa) (6/7), prensa de yunque (1/7).
prensa (de banco/de mesa) (7/10), prensa de presion (1110), prensa rnecanica (1/10),
tornillo de banco (1110).
prensa (de banco/de mesa) (7/7), tornillo de banco (117).
tornillo de banco (11/13), prensa (2113).
prensa (de banco) (5/8), prensa fija (3/8).
prensa (de banco/de mesa) (11/11).
prensa (de banco/de mesa) (10/12), prensa de presion (1112), tomiquete (1/12), lorna
prensa (de banco/de mesa) (9/12), prensa de rnordaza (1/12), prensa fija (1/12), prensa
industrial (1/12), prensa para banco (1/12).
prensa (de banco/de mesa) (5/9), tornillo de banco (4/9).
tornillo de banco (6110), prensa (de banco/de mesa) (4/10), prensa de tornillo
(11l0),prensadora de banco (1/10).
A12.3 Details
prensa (de banco/de mesa) (9/10), prensadora (1110).
prensa (de banco/de mesa) (717), tornillo de banco (117).
morsa (5/8), prensa (4/8), morsa grande (1/8).
morsa (14/15), morsa de mesa (1/15).
tornillo (de banco/de mesa) (6/10), prensa (de banco/de mesa) (3/10), prensa
de tornillo (1/10), tornillo mecanico de banco (I II 0).
General: In most Spanish-speaking countries, prensa de banco and prensa de mesa are the most
commonly used terms in general language. To what extent are tornillo de banco or torno
more common than prensa in technical language?
Bolivia: The Lexica del habla culta de La paz (Mendoza: 499 and 809) suggests that tornillo (given
by seven our oftwelve respondents) and prensa (offered by five) are synonyms, but it is not
clear from the description respondents were given in that study whether the tool being
discussed was a clamp or a vise. In this study, none of the ten respondents gave tornillo.
A12.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: morsa (B or D?), prensa (A or D?), prensa de banco (F), prensa de mesa (F),
tornillo (D), tornillo de banco (A or C?), toma (D).
DRAEdefinitions: tornillo de banco, "Utensilio usado en carpinteria, cerrajeria, etc., que se
compone de una parte fijada en el banco y otra que se mueve mediante un tornillo, entre las que
sujeta, apretandola, la pieza que se trabaja";prensa, "Maquina que sirve para comprimir, cuya forma
varia seglin los usos a que se aplica"
Questions/Comments: TheDRAEprovides a veryprecise definition corresponding to "vise"
of the term tornillo de banco, but does not list the more widely used terms prensa de banco and
prensa de mesa, and its definition ofprensa is too general to be of assistance to a dictionary user
who did not already know what a prensa de banco or a prensa de mesa is. However, one can argue
that dictionary users who understand the very general definition provided for prensa can figure out
that a prensa de banco refers to a "vise." How true is this in practice, and how much "figuring out"
should a dictionary user be expected to do?
A13.1 Summary
Cuchara-with the modifiers de albanil or de albanileria added for clarification ifnecessary-is the
most commonly used term in about half the Spanish-speaking world, but in the other half more
regional terms are used.
Note: Tenns other than cuchara (de albani/lde albanileria) appear in italics, and majority
regionalisms in boldface and italics.
AI3.2 Terms by Country (c. 6 terms plus variants)
AI3.3 Details
paleta (de albanil/de a/bani/eria) (16/16).
cuchara (de albafiillde albafiileria) (20/20).
cuchara (de albafiillde albafiileria) (15/15).
cuchara (de albafiillde albafiileria) (17/17).
cuchara (de albafiillde albaiiileria) (10/10).
cuchara (de albafiillde albaiiileria) (13/15), palaUstre (1/15), paleta (1/15).
cuchara (de albafiillde albaiiileria) (11/11).
palaUstre (4/10), palustre (3/10), palajustre (2110), balaUstre (1/10).
cuchara (de albaiiillde albafiileria) (15/15).
plana (17/17).
pa/austre (8/13), paleta (3/13), balaUstre (2113).
cuchara (de albafiillde albafiileria) (14/14).
pa/ustre (19/20), palaustre (1120).
bailejo (17/18), balaustre (1/18).
badilejo (14/14).
badilejo (11/14), pato (2114), paleta (1114).
cuchara (de albafiillde albafiileria) (8/8).
cuchara (de albafiillde albaiiileria) (10/10).
cuchara (de albafiillde albafiileria) (20/20).
plana (9/10), cuchara (1/1 0), paleta (1/10).
General: The modifiers de albani! and/or de albani/eria are added to cuchara and paleta whenever
the speaker feels specification is necessary (since cuchara and paleta are corrunonly used
with other meanings), whereas the other tenns presented in section A13.2 above, such as
palau.stre and badilejo, are specific tenns that already refer to pointing trowels without the
need for a modifier.
Spain: the DRAB defines paleta and pa/ustre with no regional specification in the sense ofpointing
trowel (see section ABA below), but in this study all respondents offered only the fonner
tenn, as well as the variants paleta de a/bani! and paleta de albani!eria. The Encuestas
lexicas de/ habla culta de Madrid (Torres Martinez: 173) and the Lexico de/ habla culta de
Granada (Salvador: 236) both confinn the preference for the tenn paleta by educated
Madrilefios and Granadinos. In the fonner, eleven Madrilefios indicated paleta and four
palustre, and in the latter, nineteen Granadinos indicated paleta, two pa/ustra, two palustre
and one repellador. In the Lexico del habla culta de Las Pa/mas de Gran Canaria (Samper
Padilla: 141), in contrast, pa/a or pala pequena was given by seven educated Grancanarios,
pa/eta de albani! or paleta pequena by three, palilla by one and cuchara pequena by one.
How common is the use ofpala, palustre and palustra in the sense ofpointing trowel in the
different regions of Spain?
Mexico: The use of cuchara is confirmed by the DEUMex, which defines it as "2 Instrumento de
albaiiileria consistente en una pieza plana y puntiaguda de metal y un mango, que sirve para
poner mezcla y aplanarla." In this study, cuchara (de albani/lde albani/eria) was the only
term offered by all twenty respondents, but in the Lhico del habla culta de Mexico (Lope
Blanch: 155), ten educated Mexico City respondents indicated cuchara, and ten paleta, in
addition to other minority responses. How common is the use of paleta in the sense of
pointing trowel in Mexico?
Costa Rica: The NDCR defines cuchara as "[Alb.] Llana del albaiiil." However, all respondents in
this study indicated that a cuchara (de albani/lde albani/eria) is a pointing trowel, not a
finishing trowel, as the NDCR claims. The NDCR and the DRAEboth seem to make the same
mistake (see sections AB.4 and A14 below).
Cuba: The DECu correctly defines cuchara as ''Plancha meti.lica triangular, con mango de madera,
que usan los albaiiiles para remover y aplicar la mezcla" but mistakenly indicates that lIana
is the Peninsular Spanish equivalent. Compare the DEArg's definition of cuchara under
Argentina below, which correctlyindicates thatpaleta is the Peninsular Spanish equivalent,
and the discussion of this issue in section A13.4 below.
Venezuela: The DHAV confirms the use of cuchara, defining it as "Instrumento de albaiiileria que
consiste en una plancha de hierro, generalmente de forma triangular, provista de un mango
o asa que se utiliza para colocar y alisar el yeso 0 la mezcla sobre ladrillos 0 paredes."
However, the DV (Tejera) defines cuchara as "Llana 0 trolla que usan los albaiiiles para
tender el yeso 0 mezcla de cal 0 cemento en las obras," and it is possible this source may
have copied this incorrect information from the DRAE (see section ABA below and Costa
Rica above).
Colombia: The NDCol (Haensch and Werner 1993a) confirms that palustre is the General
Colombian Spanish term, which it does not define since it indicates that palustre is also used
in Spain (remember that the NDCol is a contrastive dictionary). This source, however, does
define babi/ejo, palaustre, palaustre, balaustre, balaUstre and balustre as "Herramienta de
albaiiil usada para extender la mezcla, consistente en una pala triangular con un mango
perpendicular en la inserci6n y doblado luego." The NDCol indicates that palaustre,
palaUstre, balaustre and balaUstre are used in the Atlantic Coast region and in the
department of Norte de Santander, that babi/ejo is used in the departments of Caqueta,
Cauca, el Huila, Nariiio and el Valle, and that balustre is used in Boyaca, Cauca,
Cundinamarca, el Huila, Norte de Santander and el Valle. In this study, all Colombian
respondents gave palustre except for one from the Atlantic Coast who gave palaustre. One
respondent from Cundinamarca indicated that balaustre refers to mezcla ('mortar'). The
Lhico del habla culta de Santafe de Bogoui (Oti.lora de Fernandez: 279) confirms the
preference ofpalustre among educated Bogotanos. In that study, ten respondents indicated
palustre, two espatula, two paleta, one pala de albani/ and one balustre, among other
minority responses.
Ecuador: The HEDE defines bai/ejo as "Norte. Plana, llana, herramienta de los albaiiiles." In this
study, however, respondents from different regions of the country-not only from northern
Ecuador-indicated that bailejo is used in the sense of a pointing trowel, not a finishing
trowel (see section Al4 below), except for one from el Carchi (which is in the "Sierra Norte"
bordering Colombia), who indicated that balaustre refers to the pointing trowel.
Peru: The DP (Arona) defines badilejo as "Instrumento primordial del albaiiil; la lIana: he aqui su
verdadero nombre. Nuestro provincialismo ha sido derivado, sin duda, de lapalabra espanola
badil, que es una cuchara 0 pala de hierro para remover la lumbre en la chimenea." In this
study, however, no respondent indicated that badilejo refers to the finishing trowel (la llana,
see section A14 below); all said it is a pointing trowel.
Bolivia: The Lexico del habla culta de La paz (Mendoza: 163) confirms the use ofboth badilejo and
pato. Of the nine educated Paceiios in that study who answered the question, badilejo and
its diminutive form (badilejito) were offered by five andpato orpatito by four, among other
minority responses.
Argentina & Uruguay: The DEArg (Argentina) defines cuchara (de albanil) and badalejo as
"Herramienta de albaiiileria, empleada para remover y aplicar la mezcla, formada por una
plancha triangular y un mango de madera." The definitions indicate that cuchara (de albanil)
is the General Argentine Spanish term, that badalejo is used in the Northwest ofArgentina,
and that paleta is the Peninsular Spanish equivalent. The definition ofcuchara (de albanil)
in the NDU(Uruguay) is almost identical to the DEArg's definition ofthis term. The Lexico
del habla culta de Buenos Aires (Academia Argentina de Letras: 112) and the Lexico del
habla culta de Cordoba, Argentina (Toniolo: 165-166) both confirm the use ofcuchara (de
albanil), which was offered by seven out often educated Porteiios in the former study and
by five out often educated Cordobeses in the latter; three Porteiios, however, offeredpaleta,
and three Cordobeses gave pala (de albanil), in addition to other minority responses.
A13.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAEgrades: badilejo (D), bailejo (D), balaustre (D), balaUstre (D), cuchara (D),palaustre
(F), paleta (C), palustre (C), plana (D).
DRAEdefinitions: paleta, "5. Utensilio de palastro, de forma triangular y mango de madera,
que usan los albafiiles para manejar la mezcla 0 mortero"; palustre
, "(De pala). Paleta de albafiil";
llana, "13. Herramienta compuesta de una plancha de hierro 0 acero y una manija 0 un asa, que usan
los albaiiiles para extender y allanar el yeso 0 la argamasa"; badilejo, "(Del dim. de badil). lIana (II
herramienta que usan los albaiiiles)"; bailejo, "Ecuad. lIana (/1 herramienta que usan los albaiiiles)";
cuchara, .". Can. yAm. [Canarias y America] lIana (II herramienta que usan los albaiiiles)"; plana
"(Del lat. plana). lIana (II herramienta que usan los albaiiiles)."
Questions/Comments: The DRAE's definition of paleta is too restrictive in saying "... y
mango de madera.." since not all pointing trowels have handles made ofwood. More importantly,
the Real Academia is under the mistaken impression that cuchara and bailejo are used in some
regions of Spanish America in the sense of finishing trowel (/lana) when, in fact, they refer to the
pointing trowel. The DRAE also defines badilejo with no regional specification in the sense of
finishing trowel (/lana). Where, ifanywhere, is this the case? All evidence in this studyindicates that
badilejo is used in the sense ofpointing trowel in Peru and Bolivia only, and nowhere in the sense
of finishing trowel. They really dropped the ball and missed the boat on this one.
or SMOOTHING TROWEL (trowels with the handle on the top-center of the blade)
A14.1 Summary
Llana can be considered the General Spanish term, but other words such as plancha, plana and/or
jlota are more common in many countries.
Note: Terms other than /lana appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in boldface and italics.
Some terms presented in section A14.2 refer to metal trowels and some to wooden ones (see section
A14.3 below).
A14.2 Terms by Country (c. 18 terms plus variants)
A14.3 Details
llana (10/13), plancha (2113), alisador (1/13).
llana (16/24), plana (8/24),jlota (5/24), paleta (2124), trola (2/24), diana (1124),
plancha (1/24), planador (1/24).
plancha (10/12), alisador (1/12), aplanador (1/12), repelladora (1/12).
plancha (11/13), ajinador(2I13),plana (2113), ajinadora (1/13), lIana (1/13).
codal (6/12),plana (6/12),plancha (5/12), planchuela (3/12), aJisadora (1/12).
plana (4/10), lIana (2110), paleta (2110), ajinador (1/10), diana (1/10), plancha (1/10),
repellador (1 110).
llaneta (S/13),plancha (7/13), paleta (2113).
llana (8/1 0), jlota (2110). plana (2110), paJeta (1/10).
jlota (8/18), plana (7/18), lIana (5/18),frota (2118), palela (1/18).
flota (15/1 7), Ilana (2/17), diana (1/17).
llana (7/13),jlota (3/13), resanadora (2I13),paleta (liB).
llana (3/9), paleta (3/9), alisador (1/9),frisador (1/9), plancha (1/9).
llana (15/16), paleta (1/16).
llana (lO/1S),paleta (9/18), diana (1/18), plana (1/1 8), plancha (1/18).
plancha (11/16), paleta (5/16), plana (1/16).
plancha (l3/16),jrotacho (5/16), paleta (2I16),frotador (1/16).
fratacho (2/10), latacho (2/10), llana (2/10), paleta (2/10), plancha (2/10),
alisador (1/10).
llana (4/9),fretacho (3/9),fletacho (2/9),fratacho (1/9),frotacho (1/9).
fratacho (10/20), lIana (8/20), alisadora (1/20),jletacho (1/20),fretacho (Ilio).
llana (9/9), platacho (219), patacho (1/9).
General: Here we are combining, if not apples and oranges, at least apples and pears (actually
different varieties ofapples and pears), because in manySpanish-speaking countries-perhaps
in l l ~ n term is used to refer to finishing or flat trowels made of metal, and another for
ones made ofwood. The distinction is significant in that the two tools are used to flatten and
smooth out different materials and create different effects. Some masons use wooden flat
trowels for coarse smoothing out ofconcrete on floors or other surfaces, and the metal ones
for finer finishes. There are also rubber floats used for smoothing out the surface of plaster,
cement, stucco, grout, etc. The Spanish termsjlota andfrota (when used in the sense offlat
trowel or float) derive from English "float."
Spain: The DRAE defines llana, plana and trulla in the sense ofa metal flat trowel, andfrauis in the
sense ofa wooden one (see section A14.4 below). Areplana and rru/la regionally marked
within Spain? There is evidence that plana may be more common in southern Spain since
in the Encuestas lexicas del habla culta de Madrid (Torres Martinez: 173), fourteen educated
Madrilefios indicated /lana, one pala, and one plana, whereas in the Lexico del habla culta
de Granada (Salvador: 236), thirteen respondents indicated plana, eight llana, and one
aplanador, among other minority responses; in the Lexico del habla culta de Las Palmas de
Gran Canaria (Samper Padilla: 141), most respondents were unable to answer the question,
but three educated Grancanarios gave /lana, one gave jlota as a second choice (his first
choice was /lana), and one gave alisadora, among other minority responses.
Mexico: In this study, many respondents indicated that a plana refers to a wooden flat trowel and
a /lana to a metal one, whereas others said that aflota refers to a wooden flat trowel and a
/lana or a trola to a metal one (trola appears to derive from English "trowel"). Still others
said ajlota refers to a "float" (see General above). In the Lexico del habla culta de Mexico
(Lope Blanch: 154), seven educated Mexico Cityrespondents indicated /lana, two pala, one
plana and one aplanador, in addition to other minority responses.
El Salvador: Most respondents indicated plancha as the generic term for flat trowels, but one said
that a /lana is a metal one and aplancha a wooden one. Another said aplancha can be made
of either metal or wood and that an ajinadora is made of metal.
Honduras: Plana, plancha or planchuela refer to a metal flat trowel and codal to a wooden one
according to several respondents.
Costa Rica: Llaneta refers to a metal one and plancha to a wooden one according to several
Panama: Most respondents gave only /lana, but one indicated that plana refers to a metal one, and
/lana andjlota to a wooden one.
Cuba: The DECu definesjlota as "Herramienta de albafiil que consta de una plancha con un mango,
y que sirve para extender y alisar algunos materiales, especialmente cemento y yeso." In this
study, many respondents confirmed this stating that a jlota can refer to any flat trowel.
However, some stated that aflota orfrota refers to a wooden one, whereas aplana is a metal
one, and one said that ajlota is specifically a "float" (see General above). The DECu also
definesjlotear as "Extender 0 alisar con lajlota un material, especialmente cemento 0 yeso:
'una personajlotea un material'." See cement/plaster (verbs) in Appendix.
Dominican Republic: The vast majority of respondents in this study indicated thatjlota can refer to
either a metal or a wooden flat trowel. However, a few said ajlota was a wooden one and a
/lana or a diana a metal one.
Colombia: The Lexico del habla culta de Santafe de Bogoui (Otalora de Fernandez: 278) confirms
the use of/lana in the sense of(some kind of) flat trowel among educated Bogotanos. In that
study, twelve indicated llana, three mistakenly gave palustre (some ofwhom also indicated
palustre for the pointing trowel), and one said aplanador, among other minority responses.
Ecuador: Llana refers to a metal flat trowel and paleta to a wooden one according to many
Peru: Plancha refers to a metal one and paleta to a wooden one according to a few respondents.
Bolivia: Plancha refers to a metal flat trowel andfrotacho orfrotador to a wooden one according
to several respondents. The Lexico del habla culta de La Paz (Mendoza: 163) seems to
confirm the use ofplancha for the metal flat trowel, which was given by four respondents;
llana was also given by two.
Paraguay: Llana refers to a metal one andfratacho or latacho to a wooden one according to a few
respondents. One Paraguayan said he believed latacho to be a deformation offratacho and
that the latter was the "correct" term. What is the origin of latacho?
Uruguay: The NDU defines fretacho as "var fletacho Pequefia tabla de madera pulida, de forma
rectangular y con un asa en una de sus caras, que se emplea en albafiileria para extender y
alisar el revoque" and indicates that fratds is used in both Spain and Uruguay in this sense.
In this study, respondents indicated that llana refers to a metal finishing trowel andfretacho
or (less often) fratacho to a wooden one. No Uruguayan in this study offered or confirmed
the use of/ratds, and we note that in the DEArg the same authors of the NDU make no
mention offratas being used in Argentina (see ArQentina below), which suggests that one
would probably be hard pressed to find a Uruguayan who used this term.
Argentina: TheDEArg definesfratacho, with the regional specifications of"Argentina Rioplatense,"
"Cuyo" and ''Nordeste de Argentina," and jletacho, with the regional specifications of
"Argentina Central" and "Noroeste de Argentina" as "Pequena tabla de madera pulida, de
forma rectangular y con un asa en una de sus caras, que se emplea en albafiileria para
extender y alisar el revoque." The DEArg also indicates thatfratds is the Peninsular Spanish
equivalent ofArgentinefratacholfletacho and definesjletachar andfratachar (withthe same
regional specifications corresponding to jletacho andfratacho) as "Extender y alisar yeso,
argamasa 0 cualquier mezcla sobre una pared con un jletacholJratacho: alguien
jletachalfratacha una pared"; enrasar is given as the Peninsular Spanish equivalent. Most
respondents in this study indicated that llana refers to a metal flat trowel and fratacho,
fretacho or jletacho to a wooden one. Of the respondents in the Lexico del habla culta de
Buenos Aires (Academia Argentina de Letras: 112) who were able to answer the question,
four offered llana and three fratacho, and in the Lexico del habla culta de Cordoba,
Argentina (Toniolo: 165), six indicatedfratacho, five llana, threefretacho and onejletacho.
However, it appears that neither the respondents in these two studies, nor the researchers
conducting them, grasped the distinction between the metal flat trowel and the wooden one.
With regard to the River Plate Spanish terms fratacho, fretacho and jletacho, there is
evidence to suggest that these words derive from Italian. The Dizionario della Lingua
Italiana (lstituto Geografico de Agostini) definesfrattazzo andfrettazzo as "2. tavoletta di
legno, quadrata 0 rettangolare, che i muratori usano per spianare sulle pareti la calce fresca,
impugnandola per il manico," and the Vocabolario della Lingua Italiana (Zingarelli) defines
/rattazzo andfratazzo as "Tavoletta rettangolare di legno, con maniglia, usata dal muratore
per spianare la malta con cui si intonaca un muro. SIN. spianatoio." For another example of
a River Plate name for a tool that appears to derive from Italian, see Morsa in section AII.3
Chile: The DECH defines platacho as "alb. Plana 0 llana rUstica de madera: 'Los maestros solo
necesitan de un platacho, herramienta similar a la que usan los estucadores, y una
espatula' ..." and defines platachar as "Pasar el platacho para extender y allanar el yeso 0 la
argamasa: 'falta platachar las murallas del patio' ..." as well as platacheo and platachada
as "alb. Accion y efecto de platachar." In this study, two respondents also made this
distinction between llana (metal finishing trowel) and platacho or patacho (wooden one),
but none indicated that a platacho could refer to a plana (pointing trowel), as the DECH's
definition ofplatacho suggests; see section AI3.2, CHILE, above. In the Lexico del habla
culta de Santiago de Chile (Rabanales: 158-159), six respondents indicated llana, three
platacho, and five did not answer the question, but the distinction between llana and
platacho (metal vs. wooden flat trowel) seems to have been lost on both the respondents and
the researchers conducting the study. What is the origin ofplatacho?
Diana vs.llana: A handful ofthis study's respondents offered a term for these items that, to my ear,
sounded like diana (see MEXICO, NICARAGUA, DOMIN. REP. and ECUADOR in section A14.2
above). However, diana is not defined in the DRAE with any meaning related to those of
llana, and what I perceived as a dental stop (phrase-initial Idf) may have actually been an
affricate that is "lighter" than the consonantal sounds in Englishjudge, which is a possible
realization ofphrase-initial Iy/. Ifso, then what I transcribed as diana is reallyjust a phonetic
variant ofllana. Research by phonologists needs to be done on this point.
Origin of the use ofplana in parts of Spanish America: Can the use ofplana (= 'flat trowel') in
Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba-and perhaps elsewhere in Spanish America-be
attributed to Andalusian influence? We note that plana, in the sense of flat trowel, appears
to be more common in Granada than in Madrid (see Spain above). Andalucista theories of
Latin American Spanish generally attempt to explain phonetic and phonological similarities
between the speech of Andalucia and that of Spanish America such as: a) aspiration and
deletion of word-final and syllable-final s in Andalucia and coastal Spanish America; b)
neutralization of s and z into a single phoneme lsi in Andalucia and all of Spanish America
(historically these were four phonemes in the Castellano dialect that were reduced to two in
northern and central Spain and became one in southern Spain); and c) the pronunciation of
j and g (followed by e or i) as a simple aspiration in Andalucia and much of Spanish
America. If Andalusian influence can account for some phonetic and phonological
characteristics ofLatin American Spanish, perhaps it can also explain specific shared lexical
and semantic features. For an analysis ofthe andalucista theories ofLatin American Spanish,
see chapter two ofLatin American Spanish, ''The linguistic heritage ofSpain" (Lipski 1994:
A14.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: codal (D), diana (D), jletacho (F), jlota (B), fratacho (B), fretacho (F),
frotacho (F), latacho (F), llana (A), llaneta (F), paleta (D), plana (C), plancha (D), platacho (F).
DRAEdefinitions: liana, "13. Herramienta compuesta de una plancha de hierro 0 acero yuna
manija 0 un asa, que usan los albaiiiles para extender y allanar el yeso 0 la argamasa";flota, "8.
Cuba. Ilana (II herramienta que usan los albaiiiles)";plana
, "(Dellat.plana).llana (II herramienta
que usan los albaiiiles)"; trulia
, "(Del lat. trulla). lIana (II herramienta que usan los albaiiiles)";
frattis, "(De fratasar). Arq. Utensilio compuesto de una tabla pequeiia y lisa, cuadrada 0 redonda,
con un tarugo en medio para agarrarla. Sirve para alisar una superficie enfoscada, humedeciendola
primero";fratacho, "Ur. fratas."
Questions/Comments: TheDRAEhas properlydefinedflota,fratacho,plana and liana (albeit
in some cases with improper regional specifications), but it has left many Spanish American usages
uncovered with respect to these two items. Curiously enough, the DRAE does not list fletacho but
does definefletachar as "Ur. fratasar." These and other lacunae (see DRAE grades above) need to
be filled. In terms ofetymologies, the DRAEindicates that the origin oftrulla is Latin trulla, but the
AHDstates that English "trowel" derives from Late Latin truella, the diminutive ofLatin trua, ladle.
Which etymology is more accurate, the DRAEs or the AHD's, or are they essentially equivalent?
Also, unless the DRAE's etymologists have a better theory as to the origin of River Plate Spanish
fratacho, fretacho, etc., the etymologies "(Del it. frattazzo)" or "(Del it. frettazzo)" should be
included in the DRAE's definitions ofthese terms (see Argentina in section A14.3 above).
Al5.l Summary
Pico is the General Spanish term, but regional terms are common in Mexico, Central America,
Puerto Rico, Colombia, Bolivia and Chile.
Note: Terms other than pico appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in boldface and italics.
Some Spanish speakers use two different base terms for two different types ofpickax (see section
A15.3 below).
Al5.2 Terms by Country (c. 8 terms plus variants)
pico (14/14).
pico (18/21), talache (8/21), ta/aeho (2121), pieo/eta (1/21), saeapieo (1121), ta/aeha
(1/21), zapapieo (1/21).
piocha (14/1 7), pico (5/17), eoba (1/17), pioeha de pieo (1117).
piocha (18/18), pico (5/18).
piocha (10/11), pico (3/11).
piocha (8/12), pico (6/12), eoba (1/12).
pico (10/12), sacho (8/12).
pico (8/10), piqueta (5/10), zapapieo (III 0).
pico (12/15), pieo pioeha (2/15), pieach6n (2115).
pico (14/14).
A15.3 Details
pico (11/1 7), picota (7/1 7), piqueta (2117), pica (l/17).
pico (13/13).
pica (11/17), pico (7/17), zapapico (2117), zapapica (1/17).
pico (9/11), zapapico (5/11), sacapico (1/11).
pico (13/13).
picota (15/1 7), pico (4/17).
pico (8/8).
pico (9/9).
pico (15/15).
picota (13/15), pico (4/15).
General: Some Spanish speakers use two different base terms to distinguish between two different
types ofpickax. One term is used for a pickax that has a point on one end and a narrowblade
on the other (often called a "pick" and used for digging in hard or rocky ground or for
chipping stone), and another term for a type that has a point on one end and a wider blade on
the other (also called a "mattock" and whose wide end is used for digging in compact soil).
In the ensuing descriptions, we will refer to these two types of pickax as "narrow-blade
pickax" and ''wide-blade pickax," respectively. The wide-blade pickaxes sometimes have a
blade that is more curved than the narrow-blade ones. In this study, these two types ofpickax
were shown to respondents, but they were not specifically asked to differentiate between
them and many did not. Other types of pickaxes were not targeted in the field work and
research needs to be done to determine which Spanish speakers use different base terms for
different types ofpickax and what the distinctions are. The lexica del habla culta studies do
not indicate what type of pickax respondents were shown.
Spain: TheEncuestas lexicas del habla culta de Madrid (Torres Martinez: 173), the Lexica del habla
culta de Granada (Salvador: 235-236), and the Lexica del habla culta de Las Palmas de
Gran Canaria (Samper Padilla: 141) all confirm the overwhelming preference for the term
pica by educated Madrileiios, Granadinos and Grancanarios. In the first study, fifteen
Madrileiios indicatedpico and onepiqueta; in the second, 22 Granadinos indicatedpica, two
espiocha, and one piquete; and in the third, nine Grancanarios indicated pica and one
piqueta, among other minority responses.
Mexico: In this study,pico was the only term given by about half the respondents, but many others
indicated that a talache, talacho or talacha refer to a wide-blade pickax and a pica to a
narrow-blade pickax. In the Lexico del habla culta de Mexico (Lope Blanch: 154), sixteen
educated Mexico City respondents indicated pica, eleven zapapico and one talacha. How
common is zapapico in Mexico and, if it is common, to what type of pickax does it refer?
Guatemala. El Salvador, Honduras & Nicaragua: For El Salvador, the DS (Romero) defines piocha
as "Herramienta de albaiiileria para picar la tierra. Se parece al pica pero se diferencia de el
en que este tiene los dos extremos puntiagudos y la piocha solo uno y el otro es como
hachuela 0 azadon." And in this study, many Central American respondents from these four
countries confirmed this distinction betweenpiocha (wide-blade pickax) and pica (narrow-
blade pickax), while others gave onlypiocha for both or indicated that the two terms are used
Costa Rica: The NDCR defines sacha as "[Agr.] Pico, instrumento de trabaj 0 agricola." In this study,
a maj ority ofrespondents indicated that sacha andpica are synonyms, but some said a sacha
is a wide-blade pickax and a pica a narrow-blade one.
Panama: A couple of respondents indicated that a piqueta is a wide-blade pickax and a pica a
narrow-blade one, but others said the two were synonyms.
Puerto Rico: In this study, most respondents indicated pica or picota as a generic term, but a few
said that a picota is a wide-blade pickax and a pica a narrow-blade one. In the Lexica del
habla culta de San Juan de Puerto Rico (LOpez Morales: 66), only four respondents
answered the question and all four gave pica. Is picota regionally marked within Puerto
Venezuela: The Lexica del habla culta de Caracas (Sedano: 146) confirms the use ofpico, the term
given by all twelve respondents in that study.
Colombia: A majority of respondents in this study gave onlypica or pica, but one said that apica
refers to a wide-blade pickax whereas a pica or zapapico refer to a narrow-blade pickax. Is
pica used more in some regions of Colombia and pica in others? In the Lexico del habla
culta de Santafe de Bogota (Otalora de Fernandez: 278), sixteen respondents indicatedpica,
seven pico, and one zapapico, among other minority responses.
Ecuador: A couple ofrespondents indicated that zapapico is a wide-blade pickax andpica a narrow-
blade one.
Peru: In the Lexica del habla .culta de Lima (Caravedo: 183), ten educated Limefios indicatedpica,
and one zapapico.
Bolivia: The Lexico del habla culta de La Paz (Mendoza: 162) confirms the use ofpicota, given by
eleven out oftwelve respondents, but pica was also quite well represented as it was offered
by ten out of twelve respondents with many indicating both pica and picota. In this study,
picota was the only term offered by the majority of respondents, with a handful indicating
pica (see section A15.2 above), and the fact that many were not educated Bolivians might
explain the lower representation ofGeneral Spanishpico vis-a.-vis regionallymarkedpicota.
Argentina: The Lexica del habla culta de Buenos Aires (Academia Argentina de Letras: 112) and
the Lexico del habla culta de Cordoba, Argentina (Toniolo: 165) both confirm the exclusive
use ofpico as it was the orily term given by all dozen or so respondents from both cities.
Chile: The DECHconfirms the use ofpicota in the sense ofpickax, defining it as "Herramienta que
se usa para picar la tierra. Consta de un palo en el cual va encajada perpendicularmente una
barra de hierro, algo curvada hacia adentro, que remata en puntas aguzadas en un extremo
o en ambos..." The Lexico del habla culta de Santiago de Chile (Rabanales: 158) also
confirms the use ofpicota: Of the seven respondents in that study who were able to answer
the question, all seven gave picora. Among this study's respondents, picota was also the
overwhelming choice, and one indicated that pica could not and would not be used in Chile
in this sense as this word is taboo. (The DRAE defines pico
as "18. Chile y C. Rica. pene."
Thus the jokes about how in Chile it is not advisable to use phrases such as llegaron a las
cinco y pica.)
A15.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: pica (D), pico (A or D?), picota (D), piocha (D?), piqueta (C), sacho (A),
ta/ache (F), zapapico (A or C?).
DRAE definitions: pico, "3. Herramienta de cantero, con dos puntas opuestas aguzadas y
enastada en un mango largo de madera, que sirve principalmente para desbastar la piedra. II 4.
Instrumento formado por una barra de hierro 0 acero, de unos 60 cm de largo y 5 de grueso, algo
encorvada, aguda por un extremo y con un ojo en el otro para enastarla en un mango de madera. Es
muyusado para cavar en tierras duras, remover piedras, etc.";piocha
, "(Del fro pioche, depic, pico).
Constr. Herramienta con una boca cortante, que sirve para desprender los revoques de las paredes
y para escafilar los ladrillos"; sacho, "3. C. Rica. pica (II herramienta de cantero)"; zapapico, "(De
, pala, y pico). pica (II herramienta de cantero). 112. pica <II instrumento para cavar)"; azadon
de peto and azadon de pico, "zapapico"; piqueta, "(Del dim. de pica). zapapico."
Comments: The DRAE defines pico as a stone-chipping tool used by quarry workers or
.stonemasons with sharp points on each end (sense three), and as a tool that has a blade on only one
end (sense four). Senses three and four ofpico are the only two that define tools, which means that
the DRAE's definition ofpico does not include a sense that corresponds to the wide-blade pickax.
In addition, its definition ofpiocha indicates that it is a different tool from a pico, one used to chip
offmortar from walls and bricks. Perhaps in Spain apiocha is a tool used primarily in masonry, but
in much ofCentral America it is generally a wide-blade pickax commonly used in agriculture. Also,
the DRAE's definition of piqueta cross-references the reader to zapapico which, in turn, cross-
references the reader to pica without specifying which ofthe two senses ofpico (de cantero or para
cavar) the cross-reference refers to, or whether" it can refer to either. That is simply too much
legwork for the dictionary user to go through who, after chasing down two cross-references, is still
not exactly sure what a piqueta is. Lastly, it fails to tell the reader that pico, pica, picota, piocha and
ta/ache can be synonyms. The DRAEneeds to do a fair amount ofwork on these trouble spots to fix
them and get this job done right.
A16.1 Summary
Azadon is more common than azada in most of Spanish America with the exception of the River
Plate region and the Antilles. Spain, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia and possibly Ecuador, Peru and
Argentina have more regional terms.
Note: Terms other than azada and azadon appear in italics, and Cuba's guataca in boldface and
italics. Some Spanish speakers use two different base terms to refer to two different types ofhoe (see
section A16.3 below).
A16.2 Terms by Countl")' (c. 12 terms plus variants)
A16.3 Details
azada (8/13), azadon (5/13), /egan (1113).
azadon (16/16), ta/ache (1/16).
azadon (15/15).
azadon (17/17).
azadon (919).
azadon (6/6).
azadon (919).
azadon (7/9), azada (1/9), coa (1/9).
guataca (11/16), azadon (8/16), azada (2116).
azada (14/14), azad6n (2114), /egona (1/14).
azada (12/14), azad6n (2/14).
chicora (Sill), escardilla (5/11), azadon (4/11), azada (1/11).
azadon (16/16), recatan (1/16), revo/con (1/16), zapan (1/16).
azadon (9/10), tampa (l/1 0).
azadon (5/7), azue/a (In), tampa (In).
azadon (11/12), azada (1/12), azadilla (1/12).
azada (919).
azada (8/8).
azada (13/16), zapa (4/16), zapin (1/16).
azadon (8/10), azada (2110).
General: To some extent we are mixing, ifnot apples and oranges here, at least oranges, tangerines
and grapefruits, as the above terms can refer to different types of hoes. The two most
common types, however, are a narrower-blade hoe used for digging in more compact ground,
and a wider- and shorter-bladed one used for digging in softer soil. The blade ofthe narrow-
blade hoe is often longer and slightly curved, whereas the wide-blade hoe generally has a
blade that is shorter, wider and flat. In the descriptions of usage that follow, we will call
these two types of hoes the "narrow-blade hoe" and the "wide-blade hoe," respectively.
Respondents in this study were only shown a picture of a narrow-blade hoe and a major
question remains largely unresolved: Which Spanish speakers (i.e. the agricultores,
labradores and campesinos, etc. from which regions ofthe Spanish-speaking world) tend to
use one base term for the wide-blade hoe and another for the narrow-blade hoe, and which
generally use the same base term for both and distinguish between them by applying
adjectives or other modifiers to them?
Spain: The DRAE's definition of azada and azad6n indicate that both terms can refer to both
narrow-blade and wide-blade hoes. TheDRAEalso defmes almocafre, escardilla, escardillo
and leg6n as types ofhoes, in some cases providing a detailed description, and in some cases
not (see section A16.4 below). In this study, most respondents indicated azada and/or
azad6n, and one gave leg6n. A few non-Spanish terms were also offered including legoiia
and eixada (Gallego) and magall (Catahm). See section A16.4 below for the definitions of
other related tenns such as alcotana, batidera, etc.
Mexico: TheDEUMex defines azad6n as "Instrumento de labranza compuesto por una pala de hierro
afilada en uno de sus extremos, y que en el opuesto tiene un anillo donde se inserta un mango
con el que forma angulo agudo. Se usa para quitar las malas hierbas y arrimar tierra a las
plantas." It defines azada in terms of azad6n as "Herramienta de labranza semejante al
azadon perc de pala mas corta y plana; se usa para barbechar terrenos de poca extension."
In other words, the DEUMex seems to indicate that azad6n is the narrow-blade hoe and
azada the wide-blade hoe. The DRAE indicates that in Mexico talacho refers to a type of
azada (see section A16.4 below). See also the DEUMex's definition of coa in Coa below.
In this study, all respondents gave azadon when shown a picture of a narrow-blade hoe,
except one who indicated that both azadon and talache are used in this sense.
Costa Rica: The NDCR defines paleta as "5. (Zona Noroeste) [Agr.] Azada larga, empleada para
desherbar y sembrar."
Cuba: Are azad6n and guataca synonyms in Cuban Spanish, or do they refer to different types of
hoes? Ifthey canbe synonyms, are theyregionallyweighted within Cuba? TheDECu defines
guataca as "Instrumento agricola formado por un mango de madera largo y fino en uno de
cuyos extremos va insertada una lamina rectangular de hierro, con un borde cortante. Se
emplea para cavar 0 remover tierras roturadas 0 blandas" and indicates that azada is used in
this same sense in Spain and azadon in both Spain and Cuba The DRAE, however, states
that a guataca is a "short azada" (see section A16.4 below). In this study, several
respondents stated that guataca and azad6n are synonyms, but one said the guataca has a
wider blade. This is consistent with the DECu's description of the guataca being used to
"cavar 0 remover tierras roturadas 0 blandas" (emphasis added) since the hoe with the
shorter and wider blade is often used for this purpose. One Cuban who said azad6n and
guataca are synonyms indicated that the former is used more in the Oriente and the latter
more in central and western Cuba, but this was not corroborated by others in this study.
Dominican Republic: Legona was offered by one respondent in the sense of a small hoe, generally
used with one hand, but the majority ofDominicans in this study offered only azada. Azada,
however, was often pronounced (and even written) (h)aza or (h)asa. How common is this
abbreviated pronunciation in other regions of the Spanish-speaking world where -ada and
-ado can also get reduced to a and ao, respectively, in the speech ofsome educated speakers
in informal situations and in that ofmany uneducated speakers in all situations? The loss of
d in the suffix -ado (e.g. cansao < cansado and quedao < quedado), and, to a lesser extent,
in words with ada (na < nada) is a general phenomenon in popular and/or relaxed speech,
though it is more common, and more socially accepted, in some regions of the Spanish-
speaking world than in others. In the case of the Dominican Republic, Lipski states that
"Intervocalic Id/ regularly falls in all sociolects and in all regions" (Lipski 1994: 238). Thus
it is possible that for some Dominicans, including educated ones, the full/original azada has
become lost and the phonetic change (azada aza) has undergone lexicalization. Ifso, one
possible explanation for this is that educated Dominicans, to the extent they hear about hoes
at all, hear about them from Dominican campesinos, and what they hear from them is
invariably aza. If educated Dominicans also read about azadas, this would provide an
alternate model for them to follow, but insofar as they do not, the model from belowthey
follow is aza. See Sellalotodo in section B2.3 below for another possible example of this
Venezuela: Are azadon, chicora and escardilla the same tool or different tools in Venezuela? This
is, as they say in Venezuelan Spanish, la pregunta de las sesenta y cuatro millochas (the
sixty-four thousand dollar question). The evidence seems to suggest, but does not definitively
establish, that the escardilla is a local Venezuelan name for the azadon, whereas the chicora
is a somewhat different tool, perhaps a type of shovel. The DBAV defines chicora and
chicura as "rur hnplemento de labranza compuesto por un palo largo de madera y una punta
de hierro recta, fuerte y cortante que se utiliza para abrir pequefios huecos en la tierra" (is it
perhaps what in the Antilles is called a coa?), and defines escardilla as "Instrumento que
sirve para escarbar y limpiar la tierra de hierbas." The DV' is more specific, defining chicora
and chicura as "Centr Llan Truj Instrumento de labranza que sirve para abrir hoyos en la
tierra. Consiste en una pieza de hierro 0 de madera en fOITIla de pala estrecha y fuerte; esta
pala se prolonga en un cabo de madera al que va fijada," and defines escardilla as "Dec
Centr Llan Azad6n con la lamina de mas 0 menos 20 centimetros de largo, de forma
cuadrangular algo curva. Se usa para remover la tierra y para limpiar las siembras de malas
hierbas." Thus the DV seems to indicate that the escardilla is a type of hoe, and that the
chicora is a type of shovel, but the exact nature of the latter tool is not entirely clear to me.
In this study, a number of respondents indicated that escardilla and azadon are synonyms,
one that a chicora is a different type of hoe than an escardilla, and another that escardilla
and chicora are synonyms used in different regions of Venezuela. A Google image search
of chicora conducted in mid 2005 did not turn up any pictures ofthis tool, but a text search
ofescardilla and azadon turned up a number ofVenezuelan documents in which the phrases
"escardilla 0 azad6n" or "azad6n (escardilla)" appeared. For example, the following appears
in a document entitled, Capitulo 6 Proteccion y Sanidad Vegetal, Seccion 2 Combate y
Control de Malezas: "Es el metodo de combate de maleza mas antiguo usado por el hombre
al hacerse sedentario. Consiste en arrancar las malezas alrededor de las plantas de maiz,
utilizando las manos 0 estacas elaboradas con diferentes materiales, 0 cortarlas con machete,
azadon 0 escardilla. Este metodo se continua usando pot agricultores con menores recursos
econ6micos y/o tecno16gicos, sobretodo en pequefias unidades de producci6n; tambien 10
usan productores medianos cuando se imposibilita, tecnica 0 econ6micamente, la utilizaci6n
de maquinaria agricola 0 la aplicaci6n de herbicidas" (Rodriguez Tineo; emphasis on azadon
and escardilla added). There is also evidence to suggest that chicora may be distinct from
escardilla (and, therefore, from azadon) as the following citation illustrates: "Cabe destacar,
que dentro de la actividad de la entrega formal de los titulos de tierras en la zona de Valle de
La Cruz, se concedieron 7 micro creditos para fines de producci6n agricola, como parte de
la ardua labor desempefiada por la Corporaci6n de Desarrollo Agricola (Cordami), donde
tambien se donaron los kits de herramientas a los labradores del campo, contentivos de sus
botas, machete, pico, pala, escardilla, lima y chicora [sic], a manera de facilitar los trabajos
correspondientes de estos cultivadores" ("Recorrido por Municipio Paez"; emphasis on
escardilla and chicora [chicora] added). How do Venezuelan campesinos conceive of and
distinguish between their azadones, chicoras and escardillas?
Colombia: The NDCol defines recaton as "Ant[ioquia], Cald[as], Quind[io], Risar[aldas], Valle
Instrumento formado por unmango largo de madera, con una paleta cortante de hierro en uno
de sus extremos, usado para hacer hoyos en la tierra y para sembrar." This same source
indicates that barreton is used in this sense in the departments of Boyaca, Cordoba,
Cundinamarca, el Choco, el Huila, Narino, Norte de Santander and Santander-departments
which we note are spread out over much of the country-and that cavador is used in this
sense in the Atlantic Coast region. In this study, all respondents indicated azadon, and one
each indicated recaton (Antioquia, small hoe), revolcon (el Valle), and zapon (Risaraldas),
departments in the western interior part ofthe country.
Ecuador: In this study, azadon was given by the majority ofrespondents when shown a picture of
a hoe, but one serrano said a lampa is a hoe. See information in Lampa below.
Argentina: Most Argentines interviewed in this studygave onlyazada and said theyhad never heard
of a zapa. However, one indicated that the azada's blade and handle form an acute angle,
which makes it ideal for digging, whereas the zapa' s blade and handle fmm a right angle and
is used to break up dirt. Another stated that an azada is a hoe that has a hole in the blade,
which makes it useful for mixing mortar, whereas a zapa does not have a hole in the blade.
A third said he thought a zapa had a shorter handle than an azada; a fourth that a zapin is a
type of hoe used for mixing mortar.
Coa: The DEUMex (Mexico) indicates that a coa is "similar to an azadon," defining it as
"Instrumento de labranza parecido al azadon, compuesto por.un mango largo de madera
unido a una pala de hierro terminada en punta, con uno de sus lados rectos y el otro curvo."
The DECu (Cuba), in contrast, defines it as "agr Utensilio que sirve para abrir hoyos en la
tierra, y que consiste en un palo terminado en punta 0 engastado en una punta de hierro, a
veces en fonna de espatula 12 hist Palo tenninado en punta endurecida al fuego, que usaban
para sembrar los indios que poblaban la isla de Cuba." It appears that the Cuban meaning has
kept closer to the term's historical roots, which makes sense since the Tainos lived in the
Antilles. See also the DRAE's description of the different senses of coa in section 16.4
Lampa: Luis Cordero's Diccionario Quichua - Quichua Shimiyuc Panca (a bilingual Spanish-
Quichua and Quichua-Spanish dictionarypublished in Ecuador) defines lampa as a Quichua
word meaning, "Azada plana y vertical, de uso comtin en algunas provincias de la Sierra
Ecuatoriana." The HEDE (Ecuador) also defines lampa as "Cierta clase de azada..."
However, in an extended discussion of the terms azada, azadon, lampa and lampon, the
HEDE seems to describe the lampa as a shovel and azada as a hoe. The DB (Bolivia) defines
lampa rather ambiguously as "Azada, pala" as does the DECH(Chile), which defines it as
"lab. [laboral] Azada 0 pala usada principalmente por mineros y campesinos..." The DRAE
also indicates that lampa is used in the sense ofazada in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru
(see section A16.4 below), while theHEDE and theDECHseem to indicate that lampa can
mean shovel (pala). In this study, azadon was given by almost all respondents from Ecuador,
Peru, Bolivia and Chile when shown a picture of a narrow-blade hoe, and most Ecuadoran
and Peruvian respondents said that a lampa is a shovel (pala), not a hoe, and that lampa and
pala are synonyms. Ecuadorans and Peruvians also stated that lampa is more commonly used
to refer to a shovel than pala, especially in popular speech. In the case ofEcuador, this was
directly confirmed byseveral Costeiio obreros all ofwhom responded lampa when asked the
name ofthe tool (shovel) they were using, and acknowledged pala only with a fair amount
of coaxing; one Ecuadoran from the Sierra, however, indicated that a lampa is a hoe. Are
there regional preferences within Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile with regard to the
meaning of lampa? Who uses it in the sense of shovel and who in the sense of hoe, or can
the term refer to tools that could be considered a cross between a shovel and a hoe? Ver y oir
para creer.
A16.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: azada (A), azadan (A), chicora (A?), guataca (A?), zapa (A?).
DRAE definitions: azada, "(Del lat. vulg. *asciata, de ascia, azuela, especie de hacha).
Instrumento que consiste en una lamina 0 pala cuadrangular de hierro, ordinariamente de 20 a 25 ern
de lado, cortante uno de estos y provisto el opuesto de un aniBo donde encaja y se sujeta el astil 0
mango, formando con la pala un angulo un tanto agudo. Sirve para cavar tierras roturadas 0 blandas,
remover el estiercol, amasar la cal para mortero, etc. II 2. azadon (II instrumento que se distingue de
la azada por la pala, algo curva ymcis larga que ancha)"; azadan, "(Del awn. de azada). Instrumento
que se distingue de la azada en que la pala, cuadrangular, es algo curva y mas larga que ancha. II 2.
azada (II instrumento de pala cuadrangular, ordinariarnente de 20 a 25 cm de lado)"; azuela, "(Del
lat. *asci61a, dim. de ascia). Herramienta de carpintero que sirve para desbastar, compuesta de una
plancha de hierro acerada y cortante, de diez a doce centimetros de anchura, y un mango corto de
madera que forma recodo"; alcotana, "(De alcouin, por su forma). Herrarnienta de albaiiileria, que
termina por uno de sus extremos en forma de azuela y por el otro en forma de hacha, y que tiene en
medio un anillo en que entra y se asegura un mango de madera, como de medio metro de largo. Hay
algunas con boca de piqueta, en vez de corte"; batidera, "Instrumento parecido al azad6n, de astil
muy largo, que se emplea para batir 0 mezclar la cal con la arena y el agua al hacer argamasa";
chicora, ''Ven. Instrumento de labranza para cavar la tierra, que consiste en una pieza estrecha de
hierro, en forma de pala, con uno de los cabos afilados y el otro con una cavidad para adaptarlo y
fijarlo a un mango largo de madera"; coa, "(Voz taina). Ant. [AntiBas] Palo aguzado que los indios
tamos usaban en la labranza para abrir hoyos en los conucos. II 2. Cuba, Hond., Mix. yPan. Especie
de palo usado para la labranza. II 3. Ven. chicora"; escardilla, "(Del dim. de escarda, azadiIIa).
a1mocafre II 2. And. [Andalucia] Azadilla de boca estrecha y mango corto, menor que el escardiBo";
almocafre, "(Quiza del ar. hisp. *abu kilff, y este del ar. elcis. abii kaff, el de la mano). Instrumento
que sirve para escardar y limpiar la tierra de malas hierbas, y para trasplantar plantas pequenas";
azadilla, "(Del dim. de azada). almocafre"; escardillo, "Azada pequena para escardar"; guataca,
"Cuba. Azada corta que se usa para limpiar de hierba las tierras"; lampa, "(Del aim. [aimara]
lampa). Bol., Chile, Ecuad. y Peru.. azada"; legan, "(Del lat. ligo, -anis, azad6n). Especie de
azad6n"; sacho, "(Del lat. sarciilum). Instrumento de hierro pequeno y manejable, en forma de
azad6n, que sirve para sachar"; sachar, "Escardar la tierra sembrada para quitar las malas hierbas,
a fin de que prosperen mcis las plantas utiles"; talacho, "Mh. Especie de azada"; zapa
, "Especie de
pala herrada de la mitad abajo, con un corte acerado, que usan los zapadores 0 gastadores"; zapador,
"(De zapar). Militar perteneciente 0 encuadrado en unidades bcisicas del arrna de ingenieros";
gastador, "3. En los presidios, hombre que va condenado a los trabajos publicos. Ir condenado en
calidad de gastador. II 4. Mil. Soldado que se aplicaba a los trabajos de abrir trincheras y otros
semejantes, 0 bien a franquear el paso en las marchas, para 10 cuaillevan palas, hachas y picos."
Comments: TheDRAE' s definitions ofazada and azad6n are somewhat contradictory. Sense
two ofazada reads "azadon" and indicates that this tool is distinguished from the azada in that the
blade is somewhat curved and longer than it is wide; sense one ofazad6n likewise indicates that the
azad6n is a tool that is distinguished from the azada. Yet sense two of azada is azad6n and sense
two ofazad6n is azada. In other words, although there are two tools that can be distinguished from
each other, the two terms, according to the definitions, can not, as both terms can refer to both tools.
TheDRAE' s handling ofthese two terms also completelyglosses over the dialectal differences. More
useful and accurate would be to select either azada or azad6n and give it two descriptions, one sense
describing the wide-blade hoe and the other defining the narrow-blade one. It should then define the
other word interms ofthe first. Selectingazada for primarycoverage, its definition could read (using
essentiallythe DRAE's own wording), "Instrumento que consiste en una lamina 0 pala cuadrangular
de hierro, ordinariamente de 20 a 25 centimetros de lado, cortante uno de estos y provisto el opuesto
de un anillo donde encaja y se sujeta el astil 0 mango, formando con la pala un cingulo un tanto
agudo. Sirve para cavar tierras roturadas 0 blandas, remover el estiercol, amasar la cal para mortero,
etc. II 2. Instrumento parecido a este pero con la pala algo curva y mas larga que ancha. Sirve para
cavar tierras mas duras y para quitar las malas hierbas." If the same base term is used for narrow-
blade and wide-blade hoes, a statement could then be added such as ''D. [Usado] en ambos sentidos
principalmente en Arg., Esp., Par., P. Rico, R. Dom. y Ur." Azad6n could then be defined as "azada
(II dos instrumentos). U. en ambos sentidos principalmente en Am. Cent., Bol., Chi., Col., Cu., Ec.,
Esp., Mex. y Peru." If applicable, the DRAE editors could also specify the regions of Spain where
each term is more prevalent. (However, the DRAE has a disconcerting tendency to give detailed
information about regional differences between provinces in Spain, but gloss over regional
differences between countries in Spanish America.) Then the remaining more regional terms, such
as almocafre, chicora, guataca, etc. could be defined in terms ofazada, with any differences in the
tool and appropriate regional specifications indicated. Finally, the DRAE editors should make up
their minds whether theywant to abbreviate the word "centimeter" as cm or spell it out as centimetro
and apply the policy consistently throughout the dictionary (see the definitions ofazada and azuela
above for an inconsistency in this regard). We note that in the definition ofalcotana above "meter"
is spelled out as metro, that "cm" does not appear in the DRAE's list of "abreviaturas y signos
empleados" (pp. LIV), and that "m" is already spoken for ("masculino" pp. LVI).
At7.t Summary
Broca is the General Spanish term for standard drill bits, but mecha is more commonly used in the
Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, and barrena in Cuba and Puerto
Note: Terms other than broca appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in boldface and italics.
A17.2 Terms by Country (4 terms plus variants)
A17.3 Details
broca (12/14), barrena (2/14).
broca (16/16).
broca (12/12).
broca (13/13).
broca (8/8).
broca (12/12).
broca (11/11).
broca (9/9).
barrena (9/15), broca (5/15), barreno (2115).
mecha (14/18), barrena (3/18), barreno (3/18).
barrena (15/15).
mecha (12/12).
broca (14/14).
broca (9/9).
broca (11/11).
broca (11/11).
mecha (6/7), broca (2/7).
mecha (9/9).
mecha (17/18), broca (7/18).
broca (14/15), mecha (7/15).
General: The items in question are the bits sold in hardware stores to drill holes in wood, metal,
masonry, or other materials; different types of bits are used for different materials. (Not
targeted in this study were large bits or devices for drilling holes in the ground such as those
used in the mining or oil industries, which the DRAE indicates are generallycalled barrenos;
see section A17.4 below.) In many countries where General Spanish broca is not the most
commonly used word in everyday language for standard drill bits, there is some evidence to
suggest that broca may be a more technical term.
Cuba: Barrena was the only term given by the majority ofrespondents, but two indicated that broca
is a more technical term for drill bit than barrena.
Ecuador: The HEDE defines barreno as "Herrarnienta de carpintero para taladrar madera. //2.
Herramienta de meca.nicos para taladrar." In this study, however, all respondents gave only
broca in the sense of drill bit.
Argentina & Uruguay: The DEArg (Argentina) confirms the use ofmecha, defining it as "Varilla de
acero, terminada en punta y con filo helicoidal, que se adapta al taladro 0 a instrumentos
similares, para perforar madera, hierro, cemento, etc." and indicates that broca is the
Peninsular Spanish equivalent. The DEArg's definition does not indicate that broca is used
in this sense in Argentina, yet over a third of the respondents in this study stated that broca
is also used in Argentina, albeit not as often as mecha. The definition of mecha in the NDU
(Uruguay) is almost identical to that of the DEArg.
Chile: The DECHconfirms the use of mecha, defining it as "2. lab. [laboral] Broca; rosca, espiga
o barreno de un taladro..." In this study, a majority ofrespondents indicated broca, but some
also said that mecha is the more popular or "low-class" term (depending on one's outlook),
and broca a fancier or more "proper" term.
A17.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: barrena (C or D?), barreno (C?), broca (A), mecha (D).
DRAE definitions: barrena, u(De or. inc.; cf. lat. veruina). Instrumento de acero con una
rosca en espiral en su punta y una manija en el extremo opuesto, que sirve para taladrar 0 hacer
agujeros en madera, metal, piedra u otro cuerpo duro. Hay otras sin manija, que se usan con
berbiquf'; barreno, u(De barrena). barrena (II Instrumento de acero para taladrar 0 hacer agujeros).
U. comUnrnente para significar la de mayor tamaiio"; broca, ''2. Barrena de boca conica que se usa
con las maquinas de taladrar"; berbiqui, "(Del fro vilebrequin, y este del neerl. wimmelkjin).
Manubrio semicircular 0 en forma de doble codo, que puede girar alrededor de un pufio ajustado en
una de sus extremidades, y tener sujeta en la otra la espiga de cualquier herrarnienta propia para
Questions/Comments: The DRAE should define broca from scratch without reference to
barrena using the DEArg's definition of mecha as a model (see Argentina & Uruguay in section
A17.3 above). Ifanything, barrena should be defined in terms ofbroca since the latter is the General
Spanish termfor a standard drill bit. The DRAE's definition ofbarrena also fails to mention dialectal
differences, and that ofmecha does not include a sense corresponding to drill bit. As ofthis writing,
in the early 21st century, how valid is the distinction the DRAE makes between barrena (bit with a
handle or without one and used with a berbiquz) and broca (bit used with a drill)? Clearly, it does
not accurately describe usage in Cuba and Puerto Rico, countries in which barrena means broca
(standard drill bit used with a drill). Yet even in Spain it would appear that the distinction may soon
be more historical than current. In the United States, 18-volt-battery cordless drills are commonly
used in construction, in addition to standard drills with a power cord, and one can only wonder how
much longer the berbiqui will continue to be used in the Spanish-speaking world. (In English this
device is called a "brace," though it is more common for people to refer to the set as a ubrace-and-
B1.1 Summary
Madera contrachapada is the only term that could be considered General Spanish since it appears
to be used, to some extent, throughout the Spanish-speakingworld. Plywood, or variants ofthis term,
are common in about half the Spanish-speaking world, primarily in the northern half of Spanish
America. Other more regionallymarked terms include triplex, triplay, madera contraenchapada and
madera terciada.
Note: Terms other than madera contrachapada appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in
boldface and italics.
B1.2 Terms by Country (c. 15 terms plus variants)
B1.3 Details
contrachapado (5/11), madera contrachapada (3/11), laminado (2/11), madera
laminada (2111).
triplay (16/17), madera contrachapada (1/17).
plywood (12/12).
plywood (10/10).
plywood (9/9).
plywood (11/11).
plywood (13/13).
plywood (11/13), madera laminada (2113), madera contrachapada (1/13).
plywood (15/19), madera contrachapada (4/19), madera laminada (2/19), panel
plywood (11/11).
plywood (12/15), panel (5/15), madera laminada (1/15).
contraenchapado (13/16), madera contraenchapada (3/16).
triplex (15/18), madera triplex (3/18).
plywood (8/14), triplex (5/14), madera triplex (3/14), contrachapado (2/14),
contraenchapado (2/14), madera contrachapada (2/14).
triplay (18/20), plywood (4/20), madera enchapada (1/20), madera laminada (1/20).
venesta (9/10), plywood (1/1 0).
madera terciada (7/8),plancha terciada (1/8).
madera compensada (5/8), compensado (4/8).
madera terciada (12/15), madera contrachapada (1/15), multilaminado (1/15), sandwich
de terciada (1/15), terciada (1/15), terciado (1/15).
madera terciada (9/12), madera enchapada (3/12), contrachapada (1/12),
enchapado (1/12), terciado (1/12).
Contraenchapado: The DHAV (Venezuela) does not confirm the use of contraenchapado in the
sense of plywood, defining it as "Mueble 0 tabla hecho con alglin material mas 0 menos
resistente y recubierto con una capa delgada de madera."
Madera terciada: Many respondents from Argentina and Paraguay said that madera terciada refers
to plywood, but others described madera terciada as a thin panel that has only one layer, or
a panel that has a veneer surface (like the DBA V's description ofcontraenchapado above).
Perhaps it can refer to all three.
Plywood: The use of plywood in northern Spanish America is confinned by a number of
lexicographical sources. The DECu (Cuba) defines plywood as "Conglomerado de madera
formado por varias placas delgadas encoladas" and indicates that the word is pronounced
"aproximadamente [pleigu], [pleiu] 0 [pleigud]"; no Peninsular Spanish equivalent is
provided. The NDCR (Costa Rica) defmes plywood as "(pronunciado pIeibud) Lamina de
madera contrachapada." And the DUEN (Nicaragua), though it does not define plywood,
does include in an appendix entitled "Siglas y acr6nimos actuales mas usuales" the acronym
PLYNIC, which is glossed as Plywood de Nicaragua, S.A. fu this study, the term plywood
was offered with a variety of pronunciations and spellings including playwood, playwud,
playgu, playwu, pleiwood, pleiwud, pleibud andpleiwu, sometimes with an accent mark on
the a or e in the first syllable, and occasionallywith an accent on the u in the second syllable
(e.g. pleiwu). All of these spellings are attempts to render graphically what is being
pronounced, or efforts to carryover into Spanish elements fromthe English word "plywood,"
or some combination ofthe two.
Triplay: The DEUMex indicates that triplay refers specificallyto three-plyplywood, and defines this
term as "Madera laminada en tres hojas, flexible y resistente, que se usa en construcci6n 0
para forrar ciertos muebles." While triplay no doubt derives from English "three-ply
(plywood)," in this study many Mexican and Peruvian respondents stated that they use
triplay generically to refer to any plywood, whether three-ply, five-ply, seven-ply, etc.
Respondents also gave a variety of spellings including triply, triplay, triplai, tripley and
triplei. Regardless ofhow it is spelled, the word is pronounced in one oftwo basic ways: [tri-
PLAI] or [tri-PLEI]. One Peruvian indicated that triplay is used more by lay people and
plywood more by professionals in the construction industry.
Triplex: Triplex, and its variant madera triplex, were found to be used in Colombia and Ecuador.
Triplex is also pronounced, and sometimes spelled triples or triple. fu Ecuador, triplex and
madera triplex seem to be more common in the Sierra andplywoodmore so in the Costa, but
many Ecuadorans from both regions are familiar with both sets oftenns.
Related terms: Seeparticle boardpanels in Appendix for infonnation on other types ofpanels used
in construction.
B1.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: compensado (F), contrachapado (C), contraenchapado (F), madera
compensada (F), madera contrachapada (C), madera contraenchapada (F), madera laminada (F),
madera terciada (F), madera triplex (F),panel (D), plywood(F), triplay (F), triplex (D), venesta (F).
DRAEdefinitions: contrachapado, "adj. Dicho de un tablero: Fonnado por varias capas finas
de madera encoladas de modo que sus fibras queden entrecruzadas. U. 1. c. s. m. [Usado tambien
como sustantivo masculino]"; contrachapeado, "contrachapado. U. 1. c. s. m."
Comments: TheDRAEhas basicallylimited itselfto describing Peninsular Spanishusage and
has left out most Spanish American words for plywood. It is not clear whether the reason for this is
ignorance of Spanish American usage on the part ofits editors or, perhaps more likely, the fact that
they find Anglicisms such as plyvvood and triplay too distasteful to include in a dictionary whose
motto used to be "fijar, limpiar y dar esplendor." The latter explanation, however, does not account
for the omission of terms such as madera compensada, madera contraenchapada and madera
terciada that are just as castizo as madera contrachapada.
B2.1 Summary
Alquitrcin and brea are General Spanish terms that can refer to tar and that seem to compete in most
parts of the Spanish-speaking world, but the evidence in this study suggests the two are not heard
everywhere with equal frequency. Aslalto and petroleo, though used less often than brea and
alquitrcin in the sense oftar, may also be General Spanish usages. Regionally marked terms include
chapopote and/or chapapote-in Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba and parts of Spain-and bleque in
Paraguay and perhaps in Argentina and Uruguay as well.
Note: Terms other than alquitrcin, brea, aslalto and petroleo appear in italics, and majority
regionalisms in boldface and italics.
B2.2 Terms by Country (c. 9 terms plus variants)
G U T ~ L
alquitran (14/17), brea (5/17), chapapote (2117), piche (2117).
chapopote (12/13), chapapote (1/13).
chapopote (12/12).
alquitrful (5/11), asfalto (4/11), brea (4/11), chapopote (2111).
brea (5/6), asfalto (1/6).
alquitran (11/11), asfalto (2/11), brea (1111).
brea (6/9), alquitran (5/9), asfalto (4/9), petr6leo (2/9).
brea (6/10), alquitran (5/10), asfalto (1/10).
chapapote (l 0/15), alquitran (2/15), asfalto (2/15), chapopote (2/15), asfaltil (1/15), brea
petr61eo (7/13), brea (5/13), sellalotodo (3/13), alquitr<in (2/13).
brea (19/20), asfalto (2/20).
asfalto (9/12), alquitran (3/12), brea (3/12).
brea (12/16), alquitran (4/16), asfalto (2116).
brea (8/8), asfalto (1/8).
brea (11/13), alquitran (2113), asfalto (1/13).
alquitrful (14/15), brea (3/15).
bleque (10/10), asfalto (4/10), brea (2110), alquitran (1/10).
alquitran (6/8), brea (2/8).
alquitran (10/14), brea (9/14), bleque (4/14), asfalto (2114).
alquitran (14/15), brea (4/15), asfalto (1/15).
B2.3 Details
General: The item described to respondents in lay terms was black tar: "Una sustancia negra y
pegajosa que, mezclada con gravilla 0 piedritas, se usa para pavimentar calles y carreteras."
When respondents gave as/alto, which happened not infrequently, I would then say
something like "Si, pero lque nombre Ie da usted a la materia base, sin las piedritas?" Some,
especiallyVenezuelans, would still sayas/alto, whereas most would then saybrea, alquitran
or a more regional term. More surveys need to be done with people who are clear on the
Asfalto: Although aslalto was offered by a number of respondents in the sense oftar and is defined
by the DRAE in this sense, it appears most Spanish speakers make a distinction between the
base material (alquitran, brea, or a regional term for tar), and the compound made oftar and
gravel (as/alto = "asphalt"). Note, however, that a majority of Venezuelan respondents
indicated aslalto when asked to name the base material.
.Bleque: The DEArg (Argentina) and the NDU (Uruguay) both define bleque as "Sustancia viscosa
y pegajosa, de color oscuro, que se obtiene por destilacion de madera y hulla" and indicate
that alquitran is used in this same sense in Spain (and in Argentina and Uruguay). TheNuevo
Diccionario de Americanismos e Indigenismos (Morinigo) defines bleque as "(Del ingles
black.) Arg., Par. y Uru. Preparado de alquitnin." In this study, two Argentines indicated that
bleque is an older term that is no longer used as often as alquitran or brea, but one stated that
bleque refers to a heavy, more viscous tar (alquitran pesado or brea pesada) than alquitran
or brea.
Chapapote: The DECu (Cuba) defines chapapote as "Asfalto espeso con que se pavimentan calles
y carreteras" and the DHAV(Venezuela) defines it as "Sustancia derivada del petroleo que
solidificada se aplica sobre el suelo de las carreteras para formar el pavimento." Inthis study,
chapapote was offered in the sense oftar by a majority ofCubans, by a couple ofSpaniards
from Galicia (Gallegos), and by one Mexican from Quintana Roo (in the Yucatan). Several
Cubans, who indicated chapapote is the most commonly used term for tar, stated that brea
and alquitran are technical terms not frequently used in everyday language.
Chapopote: In this study, chapopote was indicated for tar by a majority of Mexicans and
Guatemalans, and by a minority of Salvadorans. However, the DEUMex's definitions of
chapopote and brea indicate that the two may be distinct in Mexican usage. Chapopote is
defined in this source as "Sustancia negra, pesada y espesa que forma parte del petroleo; se
encuentra en distintos lugares, particularmente en el mar, y se utiliza para asfaltar caminos,
impermeabilizar techos y paredes, etcetera." Brea, in contrast, is defined as "1 Substancia
viscosa de color rojo oscuro que se obtiene por destilacion del alquitnin de ciertas maderas,
del carbon mineral y de otras materias de origen organico; es insoluble en agua" and "2
Mezcla de esta sustancia con pez, sebo y aceite que se usa para calafatear los barcos y
hacerlos impenneables." (It is not clear whytheDEUMex sometimes spells the Spanishword
for "substance" sustancia and sometimes substancia even within the definition of the same
Mene: Mene is defined in the DHAV(Venezuela) as "1 coloq Petr6leo. 12 coloq Asfalto," but in the
DRAE as "Ven. Manantial natural de petr6Ieo." How common are these three uses in
Piche: Piche was offered by two respondents from Galicia, Spain and probablyderives from English
"pitch" (pez, alquitran).
Sellalolodo: Sellalotodo was given by a few respondents from the Dominican Republic in the sense
of a type of liquid tar used as a sealant, but was pronounced sellaloto. See Dominican
Republic in section A16.3 above for information on the elision of intervocalic Idl and its
potential for lexicalization.
Technical terms: Technical terms for tar provided by a small number of respondents from different
countries include emulsion aslaltica,pintura aslaltica and membrana aslaltica. What are the
technical distinctions between them?
B2.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: alquitran (A), aslalto (A), bleque (F), brea (D), chapapote (B), chapopote (B),
petroleo (D), sellalotodo (F).
DRAE definitions: alquitran, "(Del ar. hisp. alqitran 0 alqatran). Producto obtenido de la
destilaci6n de maderas resinosas, carbones, petr6leo, pizarras y otros materiales vegetales y
minerales. Es liquido, viscoso, de color oscuro y fuerte olor, y tiene distintas aplicaciones
industriales"; alquitran de petroleo, "EI [alquitran] obtenido por destilaci6n del petr6leo. Se usa
como impermeabilizante y como asfalto artificial"; aslalto, "(Dellat. asphaltus, y este del gr....).
Sustancia de color negro que constituye la fracci6n mas pesada del petr6leo crudo. Se encuentra a
veces en grandes dep6sitos naturales, como en ellago Asfaltites 0 mar Muerto, 10 que se llam6 betlin
de Judea. Se utiliza mezclado con arena 0 gravilla para pavimentar caminos y como revestimiento
impermeable de muros y tejados"; betun de judea and betunjudaico, "asfalto"; brea, "Sustancia
viscosa de color rojo oscuro que se obtiene haciendo destilar al fuego la madera de varios arboles
de la clase de las Coniferas. Se emplea en medicina como pectoral yantiseptico"; chapapote, "(De
or. nahua 0 caribe). Asfalto mas 0 menos espeso que se halla en Mexico, las Antillas y Venezuela
112. Cantb. y Gal. [Cantabria y Galicia] alquitran.113. coloq. Ven. Sustancia viscosa de cualquier
tipo extendida por el suelo"; chapopote, "(Del nahua chapopotli). Mex. chapapote 01 asfalto)"; pez
elastica, "Mineral semejante al asfalto, pero menos duro y bastante elastico."
Comments: TheDRAEmakes a distinction between brea (a dark red substance derived from
wood) and alquitran (a dark substance derived from wood, coal, petroleum and other mineral or
vegetable matter), a distinction that does not appear to be made by most Spanish speakers who use
either brea or alquitran for black tar. What the DRAE fails to capture is that, in the everyday usage
of the different regions, terms such as alquitran, brea, chapapote, chapopote and bleque can refer
to the same thing. Alquitran, alquitran de petroleo and brea should be given full descriptions, and
the remaining terms should be cross-referenced to them.
B3.1 Summary
Burro is the most conunonly used tenn in about twelve countries and caballere in seven. In Spanish
America, the dividing line or isogloss seems to lie somewhere between Lima and Guayaquil. In
Ecuador and points north of Ecuador, burro is more common. From Peru to the south, caballere is
more common. Banco is also used in the sense of sawhorse in many parts ofthe Spanish-speaking
Note: Tenns other than burro, cabal/ere and banco (and variants of these) appear in italics; Costa
Rica's burra appears in boldface and italics.
B3.2 Terms by Country (c. 8 terms plus variants)
B3.3 Details
caballete (11/16), borriqueta(2I16), burro (2116), banco (1/16), burra (1/16), caballo (1/16),
pato (1/16).
burro (16/21), banco (7/21), cabal/(ir)o (4/21).
burro (14/18), burrito (2118), caballo (2/18), banco (1/18).
burro (9/15), banco (6/15), burrito (3/15), banquito (2115), burro de ttabajo(I/15),
sentadera (1/15).
burro (9/10), banco (1/10).
burro (11/13), burra (3/13).
burra (9/12), burro (3/12), banco de carpinteria (1112).
burro (8/10), burro de mesa (1/10), cabalJete (1/10), caballo (1/10).
burro (11/14), caballete (4/14), banco (3/14).
burro (10/14), banco (8/14).
burro (9/15), caball(it)o (de rrabajo) (4/15), banco (de soporte) (2115), cabalJete
burro (11/13), banco (1/13), caballete (1/13), caballo (1113).
burro (12/14), banco para carpinteria (1/14), burriquete (1/14), cabalJete (1/14).
burro (10/12), caballete (3/12), banco (1/12).
caballete (12/15), burro (2115), caballito (2115), banco (1/15).
caballete (13/14), caballito (1/14).
caballete (7/7).
caballete (9/9).
caballete (17/17).
caballete (13/13), banco (de trabajo) (2113), burro (1113). caballo (1/13).
General: The image respondents were shown and asked to identify was a standard, flat-top
carpenter's sawhorse with no board or panel on top, like the one on the left-hand side in
Figure B3 in lllustrations. The sawhorse on the right in Figure B3 is for sawing logs and this
was not shown to respondents. If the burro-cabal/ete isogloss lies somewhere between
Guayaquil and Lima, what theories can explain this?
Banco: Many respondents from different countries gave banco, banco de carpinteria or banco with
other modifiers when asked to identify a carpenter sawhorse (see General above), and
perhaps it can be argued that people who use banco in the sense of sawhorse are in fact
confusing the sawhorse itself with the work bench that is created when a board or panel is
placed on top of two sawhorses. However, such "confusion"-if, indeed, we want to call it
that-appears to be rather widespread, even among people who work with sawhorses, and
therefore the use of banco to refer to a sawhorse should probably be recognized as
commonplace even if technically incorrect.
Spain: The DRAE's definitions of asnilla, borrico, borriquete, burro, cabal/ete and, possibly,
pa/omilla include descriptions that appear to refer to different types ofsawhorses (see section
B3.4 below). In this study, the majority of respondents gave cabal/ete and a couple offered
borriqueta and burro.
Mexico: The use of burro in this sense is confirmed by the DEUMex, which defines it as "II 3
Armazon, generalmente de madera con dos pares de patas abiertas, que se usa para sostener
alguna cosa: 'Con dos burros y una tabla pusieron una mesa en el patio'."
Costa Rica: The NDCR confirms the use of burra, defining it as "4. Aparato de madera 0 de metal
que consta de dos sostenes en forma de A, unidos en su vertice por un larguero, el cual se usa
para apoyar 0 sostener objetos."
Venezuela: The use of burro is confirmed by the DV, which defines it as "Soporte de cuatro patas,
de madera 0 hierro, con solo un liston 0 barra encima."
Colombia: Burro was given bythe majorityofrespondents from diverse regions, but burriquete was
offered by one from the Atlantic Coast and cabal/ete by one from Antioquia.
B3.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: banco (D?), burra (A or B?), burro (A or D?), cabal/ete (A), cabal/o (A or
DRAE definitions: asnilla, "(Del dim. de asna). Sosten formado con un madero horizontal
apoyado en cuatro tornapuntas arriostradas que sirven de pies"; borrico, "(Del lat. burriicus,
buriicus, caballejo). 2. Armazon compuesta de tres maderos que, unidos y cruzandose en angulos
agudos hacia su parte superior, forman una especie de tripode que sirve a los carpinteros para apoyar
en ella la madera que labran"; borriquete, "borrico (II de carpintero)"; burro, "2. Armazon
compuesta de dos brazos que forman angulo yun travesafio que se puede colocar a diferentes alturas
por medio de clavijas. Sirve para sujetar y tener en alto una de las cabezas del madero que se ha de
aserrar, haciendo descansar la otra en el suelo"; burra, "5. C. Rica. burro (II armazon para sujetar
un madero que se asierra)"; cabal/ete, "(Del dim. de cabal/o). 4. asnilla (II sosten portatil)"; cabal/o,
"4. burro (II armazon para sujetar un madero que se asierra)"; pa/omilla, "9. Armazon de tres piezas
en forma de triangulo rectangulo, [sic] que sirve para sostener tablas, estantes u otras cosas."
Questions/Comments: The DRAEdefines asnilla and cabal/ete with one description (a four-
legged sawhorse), borrico and borriquete with another (what appears to be a type of three-legged
sawhorse), and burro, burra and caballo with a third (what appears to be a type of two-legged
sawhorse used for cutting wood such that one end of the wood is placed in the sawhorse and the
other end rests on the ground). Do Spaniards who work with different types of sawhorses generally
use these different names to refer to these types? These distinctions may correctly describe
Peninsular Spanish technical usage, but fail to paint an accurate picture ofSpanish American usage
in which, for example, burro and caballete can be synonyms but are regionally weighted terms:
speakers tend to prefer one term over the other depending on geographic region.
B4 FORM (for pouring concrete)
B4.1 Summary
Encofrado is the General Spanish term, but in a number of countries other words such as cimbra,
encajonado, encajuelado,forma,formaleta or tablero, etc. are used more often than encofrado.
Note: Terms other than encofrado appear in italics, and majorityregionalisms in boldface and italics.
B4.2 Terms b:y Country (c. 14 terms plus variants)
V ~ Z U L
encofrado (9/11), mollie (2111).
cimbra (11/25),forma (9/25), encajonado (5/25), cajon (3/25), dala (3/25),
armex (2'25), molde (2'25), caja (1/25), en1arimado (1/25).
formaleta (9/14),jorma (2/14), cajon (1/14), encajuelado (1/14), molde (1/14).
molde (7/14), encajonado (3/14), mo/dura (3/14),jorma (2114),formaleta (2'14),
cajon (1/14).
encofrado (4/8), encajue/ado (3/8),forma (2/8),formaleta (2/8).
formaleta (12/12).
formaleta (10/11), molde (1111).
formaleta (617), encofrado (117).
encofrado (11/13), molde (1/13),forma (1113).
molde(n) (8/13), cana(s)to (3/13), cana(s)ta (2113), cajon (1113), encofrado (1113),
marco (1113).
molde (8/1O),jormaleta (2110), cajon (1/10).
encofrado (12/12).
formaleta (9/12), armadura (1/12), encofrado (1/12), molde (1/12).
encofrado (12/15), tablero (6/15).
encofrado (919).
encofrado (5/6), encajonado (1/6).
encofrado (515).
encofrado (4/4).
encofrado (10/14), mo/de (3/14), encajonado (1/14).
molde (317), encofrado (217), mo/daje (117), forma (117).
B4.3 Details
General: In the technical language of each country, how (if at all) are different base terms applied
to different types of forms? These include forms for foundations, forms for sidewalks and
other slabs, forms for colwnns, and suspended forms such as those used to build an upper
floor of a building.
Mexico: The DEUMex describes cimbra as "Armazon 0 molde de madera, de fierro u otros
materiales sobre el que se lleva a cabo el colado de concreto 0 cemento de un techo 0 una
boveda y que se retira una vez que ha fraguado y endurecido." This indicates that in Mexico
cimbra is a type of form used to build an upper storey of a building, a vault, or some other
suspended structure, rather than to build a foundation. (The DRAE, in contrast, defines
cimbra as a "centering"; see section B4.4 below.) The DEUMex also defines the verb
cimbrar as "Colocar las cimbras en una construccion..." That encofrado is not listed as an
entry in this dictionary also lends credence to the notion that it is not part of"el espanol usual
en Mexico" and yet, ifcimbra is only used in the restricted sense ofa suspended form, what
terms in Mexico are applied to the form used for a foundation and/or other forms that fall
outside of :ie restrictions outlined in the DEUMex's definition of cimbra? In this study,
some respondents indicated that cimbra refers only to raised forms (up in the air, like that
described in the DEUMex' s definition), but others said cimbra can refer to any form used for
pouring concrete. The use of forma in the general sense of form was also given by a
nontrivial percentage of respondents. It should be noted, however, that most Mexicans
queried on this topic (and on all topics in this study) were Mexicans living in the United
States either temporarily or semi-permanently. Given its similarity to English "form," is
forma a term commonly used in this sense in Mexico, or is it only used by Mexicans living
in the United States who have been influenced by the English word "form"? Since many
generations ofMexicans have worked in the construction industry in the United States, some
ofwhom returned to Mexico, I suspect it is common in Mexico as well. We note that another
meaning ofthe wordforma, which also resembles English "form" in form and in meaning,
is defined by the DEUMex as "9 Hoja de papel impresa con las instrucciones que deben
seguirse y los datos que se requieren para efectuar algilll tcimite." This suggests that forma
in the sense of "form to fill out" (in other words, more or less equivalent to formu/ario) is
not an Anglicism that only uneducated Mexicans living in the United States use, as some
have alleged, but is part ofmainstreamMexican Spanish, though its use is no doubt criticized
by some Mexicans. It is possible that the use offorma, in the sense of a form for pouring
concrete is also part ofMexican Spanish, either general or regional, and is not limited to the
language of Mexicans living in the United States. If so, is its use in Mexico due to the
influence ofEnglish "form," is it the result of a narrowing of a more general sense offorma
(mo/de en que se vacia y forma a/go), or a combination of the two factors? The Nuevo
Diccionario de Americanismos e Indigenismos (Morinigo) defines da/a as "Mex. Viga de
cemento armado, encajada en una pared, a 10 largo, para darle mayor resistencia" Were the
three Mexicans who gave da/a in the sense of form confused (or misunderstood by me), or
is dala used by some Mexicans in the sense of form?
Costa Rica: The NDCR confinns the use offormaleta, defining it as "[Alb.] Armazon de madera que
sirve de molde para construir una viga 0 cualquier cosa de cemento" and definesfonnaletear
as "tr. Hacer formaletas."
Panama: Panameiiismos (Isaza Calderon) also confirms the use offonnaleta, defining it as "Molde
de diversas formas y tamanos dentro del cual se vacia el hormigon."
Dominican Republic: Many respondents in this study said molden rather than molde, though in
reality the pronunciation was often somewhere between molden and moiden. The moide and
moiden pronunciations were given mostly, but not exclusively, by respondents from the
Cibao. Is the addition of a word-final n to malde, and to other words ending in unstressed e,
common in other Spanish-speaking countries? Compare the use of naiden (nadie) that is
common in parts of rural Mexico (and perhaps elsewhere). In the case of naiden, there is
metathesis of d and i to form naide-which is a popular form of nadie in many parts of the
Spanish-speaking world (Lipski 1994: 148}-and, in addition, an n is added to the unstressed
word-final vowel e,just as in the case ofmoldenlmoiden molde). The addition ofthis [n]
in the Dominican Republic may also be a case of "hypercorrection" since phrase-final and
word-final In! is sometimes elided in this country (Lipski 1994: 238). The neutralization of
syllable-final liquids III and Irl in favor ofIl/ (whereby words such as alma and anna both
sound like alma) is widespread in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere in the Hispanic
Antilles (Lipski 1994: 231-232,239,332-333), and, at the vernacular level, the vocalization
ofthese liquids (such that alma and anna both sound like aima, or somewhere in between
alma and aima) is common in most ofthe northern half ofthe Dominican Republic (Lipski
1994: 239). Dominicans themselves sometimes refer to the pronunciation ofwords like aima
(alma) and mujei (mujer) as "hablar con la i." In the case ofcana(s)to and cana(s)ta, several
respondents pronounced these words with no aspiration (or [s]) that I could perceive, but the
presence of lsi may have been marked by a compensatory lengthening of the preceding
vowel. Research needs to be.done to determine the extent to which the aspiration or elision
ofsin canasto and canasta mayhave become lexicalized giving canato and canata (perhaps
pronounced canaato and canaata), respectively. For information on these issues and a
discussion of the possible causes ofthe vocalization ofliquid consonants in the Dominican
Republic (including theories on a possible African, Haitian, Canary Island and/or Murcian
origin), see ''Nuevas perspectivas sobre el espanol afrodorninicano" (Lipski 2004c).
Puerto Rico: The majority of respondents indicated molde, but one said afonnaleta is a fonn used
for pouring a sidewalk and a molde one for a building's foundation.
Colombia: The NDCol defines formaleta as "Molde para hacer tapias, adobes, ladrillos 0 tejas. I
Armazon metaIico 0 de madera que sostiene el peso de un arco 0 de otra construccion, en
tanto esta no se halla en condiciones de sostenerse a sl misma"; cimbra is offered as the
Peninsular Spanish equivalent for sense two. Thus this source states thatfonnaleta can refer
to a fonn or mold for making bricks, tiles, etc. (sense one) and to a "centering" or frame that
holds up an arch or other suspended structure while it is being built (sense two). In this study,
however, a majority ofrespondents indicated that fonnaleta can refer to a form for pouring
Ecuador: The term tablera was offered by Ecuadoran masons from the Costa all ofwhom indicated
tablera and encofrado are synonyms and that the former is used more often than the latter.
Is tablero also used in the Sierra in the sense of form?
Argentina: The majority ofrespondents indicated encofrado, a few molde, and one said molde is the
form by itself and encofrado or rnolde encofrado is the form once it is filled with concrete.
Related concept: The DECu defines zapata as "En un edificio, parte subterranea que sirve de soporte
ala construccion" and indicates that cimiento is an equivalent used in Spain and Cuba. Inthis
study, Dominicans and Puerto Ricans also confirmed the use of zapata in the sense of
B4.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: cimbra (D), dala (D), encajonado (D), encajuelado (F), encofrado (A),forma
(D),formaleta (B), rnolde (D), tablero (D).
DRAEdefinitions: encofrado, "(Del part. de encofrar). Molde formado con tableros 0 chapas
de metal, en el que se vacia el hormigon hasta que fragua, y que se desmonta despues"; cirnbra, "(De
or. inc.; cf. cat. cindria). 2. Constr. Armazon que sostiene el peso de un arco 0 de otta construccion,
destinada a salvar un vano, en tanto no esta en condiciones de sostenerse por sf misma"; dala, "(Del
fro daIle, y este del neerl. daal, tubo). Mar. Canal de tablas por donde salia a la mar el agua que
achicaba la bomba";forma, "3. Molde en que se vacia y forma algo";formaleta, "(Del cat.formalet,
arco de medio punto). Armazon que sostiene un arco. II 2. C. Rica. Armazon de madera con que se
construye una viga 0 cualquier pieza de cemento"; rnolde, "(Del cat. ant. motle). Pieza 0 conjunto
de piezas acopladas en que se hace en hueco la forma que en solido quiere darse a la materia fundida,
fluida 0 blanda, que en el se vacia, como un metal, la cera, etc."; zapata, "8. Cuba. Zocalo de fabrica
en que se apoya una pared 0 tabique."
Questions/Comments: Formaleta and the other commonly used regional synonyms (such as
cirnbra,forma, encajonado, encajuelado, rnolde and tab/ero) should be cross-referenced to General
Spanish encofrado. We also note that theDRAE's definitions ofcimbra (sense two) andformaleta
(sense one) are very similar to each other and correspond to what in English is called a "centering"
(defined bytheAHD as "A temporary, usuallywooden framework on which an arch, vault, or dome
is supported during construction"). Can cimbra andformaleta be synonyms in Peninsular Spanish
usage? If so, they should be cross-referenced.
BS WASHER (metal washers for screws and bolts)
BS.l Summary
Arandela is the most commonly used word for metal washers (used with screws and bolts) in over
half the Spanish-speaking world and can be considered the General Spanish term. Guacha, and its
variants, are used in five countries, and Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile have unique usages not common
in any other country.
Note: Terms other than arandela appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in boldface and italics.
The item addressed in this section is the metal washer used with screws and bolts, not the rubber or
plastic washer used in plumbing. See washers in Appendix for some limited information on the
regional variation in the names for the latter type.
B5.2 Terms by Country (c. 8 terms plus variants)
B5.3 Details
arandela (15/15).
rondana (19/23), arandela (3/23), guacha (1/23), guasa (1/23).
guasha (7/14), roldana (5/14), rondana (2114), arandela (1/14), guacha (1/14).
guacha (12/15), arandela (4/15), guasha (1/15).
guacha (13/13).
arandela (12/12).
arandela (13/13), guacha (1/13).
guacha (9/13), arandela (6/13), guasha (2113).
arandela (17/17).
arandela (14/14).
arandela (18/18).
arandela (15/15).
arandela (22/22), guasa (1122).
anillo (10/22), arandela (10/22), rodela (10/22).
guacha (16/21), arandela (5/21), anillo (3/21), guasha (1/21).
bolandalvolanda (11/14), arandela (4/14).
arandela (6/6).
arandela (12/12).
arandela (20/20).
golilla (18/18).
General: The modifiers plano and de presion get added to the base terms for metal washers when
one wants to refer specifically to "flat washers" (arandela plana, guacha plana, etc.) vs.
"spring washers" or "cut washers" (arandela de presion, guacha de presion, etc.). The terms
guacha, guasha and guasa are also sometimes written with initial hu (e.g. huacha) or, less
often, with an etymological w (wacha), but in section B5.2 above they are spelled with initial
gu because this appears to be the most common spelling and for the sake of uniformity. In
the case of loan words (prestamos) and also with popular and vulgar language, Spanish
continues to grapple with the issue of how the phoneme /g/ when followed by a semi-vowel
[u] should be represented graphically, whether by gu, hu or (less often) w. Although this
ambivalence occasionally crops up in word-internal positions-aguate-ahuate, aguautle-
ahuautle and giiegiienche-huehuenche are examples-it is especially frequent word-initially,
as the following pairs of terms illustrate: giiisqui-whisky, guizcala-huizcala, guaco-huaco,
guachar-huachar, guaje-huaje, guarache-huarache, guaso-huaso, giievada-huevada,
giiev6n-huev6n, giievonada-huevonada, giiisquil-huisquil, giiillin-huillin, giiilo-huilo, giiipil-
huipil, giiiro-huiro and giiero-huero. With the exception of huaso, and the gii spellings in
the words deriving from huevo, all ofthe preceding terms are listed with both variants in the
DRAE. In the case of some of these pairs, one spelling is generally preferred over the
other-Mexican giiero ('blond') is rarely spelled huerlrwhile in that of giiisqui-whisky,
Hispanized or Castilianized gilisqui may be preferred in Spain and etymological (English)
whisky or whiskey in Spanish America. The gil spelling is also used to represent cases in
which the phonemes Ig/ and fbi when followed by the semi-vowel [ul and (generally) lei get
neutralized in favor ofIg/, especially, though not exclusively, in popular language. This is
reflected in a number of nonstandard spellings used to depict uneducated speech such as
agiielo abuelo), giieno bueno), giielta vuelta) and giiey buey). See "El espanol que
se habla en el Salvador y su importancia para la dialectologia hispanoamericana" (Lipski
2000) for a detailed description of this neutralization and a discussion of its phonological
Spain: The DRAE defines rondana without regional specification as more or less a synonym of
arandela (see section B5.4 below), but in this study respondents offered onlyarandela. In
Spain, how common is rondana in the sense defined by the DRAE and, how is it
distinguished from arandela?
Mexico: The use of rondana in the sense of metal washer is confirmed by the DEUMex, which
defines it as "Pequena pieza circular y delgada, como un disco, generalmente de metal con
un agujero en el centro, que se utiliza para que haya un ajuste perfecto entre una tuerca y un
tornillo." Interestingly enough, the DEUMex defines arandela somewhat differently as
"Pieza metalica en forma de disco con una perforaci6n en el centro, que se utiliza para
impedir el roce entre dos piezas de una maquina, para afianzar 0 apretar algo, como un
tornillo, para impedir filtraciones de liquidos entres dos piezas, etcetera." In this study, the
majority ofMexican respondents indicated that rondana is the only term commonly used in
the sense ofmetal washer. The DEUMex indicates that rondanas are used "para que haya un
ajuste perfecto entre una tuerca y un tornillo" but, as anyone who has used metal washers
knows, they serve other purposes as well, such as to distribute the pressure of a bolt's head
or nut over a larger surface area and thus prevent them from digging into and damaging the
surface of the material that is being bolted down.
Guatemala: Why did English ''washer'' get Hispanized to guacha with a ch sound in most Spanish-
speaking countries that have taken the loan word from English (El Salvador, Honduras,
Panama, Peru), but in Guatemala guasha seems to be the most common pronunciation? Is
it because the sh sound is common in Quiche and other indigenous languages ofGuatemala,
and therefore Guatemalans, unlike most Spanish speakers, had no trouble maintaining the
sh sound of English ''washer'' since it was already part of their phonetic repertoire? Ifso, is
guasha also used in some regions ofPeru (such as the Highlands) that also have a substrate
language with an sh sound, Quechua? If not, why not? See Panama below.
El Salvador: The DS confirms the use of guacha, which is defined as "(lex. mec. [lexico de
mecanieos]) Arandela 0 especie de empaque que se pone entre la cabeza de un tornillo y la
pieza en la eual se mete. Sirve para que zoque mejor el tornillo." We note that the DRAE
defines the verb zocar as "Guat., Hond. y Nic. apretar (II oprimir)," but it would appear that
zocar is also used this way in El Salvador.
Panama: The use ofguacha is confirmed by the DTP (Higuero Morales), which defines huacha as
"Arandela. Proviene del termino ingles washer" and guacha as "Ver huacha." In this study,
two respondents gave the pronunciation guasha, but indicated they would spell the word
guacha. This is consistent with the fact that some Panamanians pronounce the affricate ch
as a fricative sh sound, especiallyword-internal intervocalic ch' s (Lipski 1994: 299). Inother
words, some Panamanians would sayguasha, but write the word with a ch just as theywould
say mushasho but would write muchacho. In Guatemala, in contrast, many people say and
write the wordguasha. More research needs to be done concerning this point. See Guatemala
Colombia: All ofthe respondents in this study indicated arandela as the term for metal washers in
general, except for one, a building engineer, who stated that arandela is the flat or regular
washer and guasa depresion the cut washer. See, however, the NDCol' s definitions ofguasa
and empaque under washers in Appendix.
Ecuador: Rodela is more common in the Sierra and anillo more so in the Costa. Arandela is used in
both regions, but is less popular than rodela and anillo in their respective regions. (Both
anillo and rodela could be considered majority regionalisms in their respective regions,
Costa Ecuatoriana and Sierra Ecuatoriana, respectively.)
Bolivia: Is the proper spelling yolanda or bolanda? In this study, eight out of eleven Bolivians
indicated they believed bolanda was the correct spelling while three preferred yolanda,
which is certainly not enough data to draw conclusions about prevailing usage. However,
from an etymological standpoint, yolanda is probably the "correct" spelling since the word
most likelyhas the same origin as volandera, which theDRAEdefines as "(Del Iat. volandus,
part. fut. pas. de volire, volar)... 5. Rodaja de hierro que se coloca como suplemento en los
extremos del ejedel carro para sujetarlas ruedas." IfamajorityofeducatedBolivians believe
the word is spelled bolanda, but based on etymology the word should be spelled yolanda,
should we say the majority is "wrong" and try to change their practice by including only the
word yolanda in dictionaries and teaching onlythis spelling to students, or should we go with
prevailing usage and admit bolanda? Or should both variants be listed in dictionaries and the
matter explained in a "usage note"? Like many language-planning issues, this is a
philosophical as well as a linguistic question.
Chile: The DECHconfirms the use ofgolilla and indicates that arandela is less commonly used in
the sense ofmetal washer. It defines golilla as "Anilla, volandera, estornija 0 arandela plana
y sin hilo que se emplea para ajustar un perno 0 una tuerca y evitar que deterioren la
superficie del material al que va adherida... Mas usual que los sins. [sin6nimos] academicos."
B5.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: anillo (D), arandela (A), bolanda (F), golilla (A), guacha (F), guasa (D),
guasha (F), huacha (F), rodela (D), roldana (A), rondana (C), yolanda (F).
DRAE definitions: arandela
, "(Del fro rondelle). Pieza generalmente circular, frna y
perforada, que se usa para mantener apretados una tuerca 0 un tornillo, asegurar el cierre hennetico
de una junta 0 evitar el roce entre dos piezas"; rondana, "Rodaja de plomo 0 cuero engrasado,
agujereada en el centro, que se utiliza para asiento de tuercas y cabezas de tomillos"; golilla, "Chile.
rondana"; roldana, "2. Guat. rondana."
Comments: The DRAE does not cross-reference rondana to arandela and defines the two
somewhat differently when, in fact, they can be synonyms. It also cross-references golilla and
roldana to rondana instead of to General Spanish arandela. With the exception of golilla and
roldana, the DRAE provides no information on the terms' regional distributions.
B6 BEARING (ball bearing, roller bearing, etc.)
B6.1 Summary
Rodamiento and cojinete can be considered General Spanish terms for ball bearing-rodamiento more
so than cojinete-but most countries have a more regional term that in everyday language is used
more often than either ofthese two. Balero is used in Mexico and El Salvador, balinera in Colombia
and several Central American countries, caja de bola(s) in the Antilles, and ruleman or ruliman in
a number of South American countries. Costa Rica, Venezuela and Peru have unique usages not
found elsewhere.
Note: Terms other than rodamiento and cojinete appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in
boldface and italics.
B6.2 Terms by Country (c. 10 terms plus variants)
rodamiento (9/10), cojinete (3/10).
baIero (14/17), rodamiento (2117), rulimtin (2117), balinera (1/17).
cojinete (8/1 0), balinera (1/1 0), rulemtin (1/1 0).
balero (13/13).
balinera (12/12).
balinera (13/13).
rol (11/12), balinera (2112), cojinete de rodamiento (1/12).
balinera (13/13).
caja de bola(s) (19/20), cojinete (3/20), rodamiento(2I20).
caja de bola(s) (20/20), roberi (5/20).
caja de bola(s) (16/17), cojinete (1/17), rodamiento (1/17).
rolinera (14/16), cojinete (1/16), rodamiento (1/16), rulinera (1/16).
baIinera (22/24), rodamiento (4/24).
ruliman (20/21), rodamiento (5/21).
rodaje (17/21), rodamiento (2121), rulimtin (2121).
rodamiento (14/15), rulimtin (1/15).
ruleman (7/11), mleman (4/11), cojinete (2111).
ruleman (12/12), rodamiento (1/12).
B6.3 Details
rulemtin (18/20), rodamiento (3/20), bolillero (2/20), cojinete (2/20), nileman (2/20).
rodamiento (18/18), cojinete (1/18).
General: The item tested on respondents was the ball bearing, the most common type of bearing.
However, a few indicated that the base terms they offered for ball bearings are also used,
perhaps with modifiers, to refer to other types ofbearings as well. Research needs to be done
to determine howother types ofbearings such as roller bearings or needle bearings are called
in different regions, whether by the same base term as those listed in section B6.2 above,
possibly with a different modifier, or by another term. For example, if a caja de bolas is a
ball bearing in the Antilles, would a roller bearing there be a caja de rodillos, a caja de bolas
de rodillos, a caja de bolas con rodillos, or perhaps some other term that is not derived from
caja de bolas? Other terms such as balero and balinera that derive from a word for ball (bala
and balin, respectively) pose similar questions, though the DEUMex's definition of balero
seems to resolve the matter in the case ofMexico (see Mexico below). In the case ofGeneral
Spanish rodamiento, which specific term for ball bearing is more common or preferred (and
where), rodamiento de bolas or rodamiento a bolas?
Mexico: The use ofbalero in the sense ofball bearing is confirmed by theDEUMex, which defines
it as "(Mec) Rodamiento con el que se protege de la fricci6n un eje 0 una flecha que rota; esta
formado por cierta cantidad de balines colocados entre dos pistas circulares y concentricas."
The definition goes on to describe two other types of bearings, baleros de agujas (needle
bearings) and baleros de rodillos (roller bearings). The fact that neither rodamiento, nor
cojinete is listed as a separate entry in the DEUMex also suggests that balero is really the
only term for this item that is part of"el espanol usual en Mexico."
El Salvador: The DS defines balero as "(lex. mec.) Cojinete 0 pieza en que se apoya un eje para
girar. 2. Bolitas de acero que en fOIma de anillo ayudan al movimiento circular de una pieza
3. Rodo." Although sense three ofthe definition is not very clear, by rodo the author ofthe
DS appears to be referring to rodillo, which the DRAE defines as "4. Pieza de metal,
cilindrica y giratoria, que forma parte de diversos mecanismos." Inthis study, all respondents
offered balero for the ball bearing, but several indicated that balinera refers to the circular
part ofthe device that is inside the bearing.
Nicaragua: The DUENconfirms the use of balinera, defining it as "Dispositivo formado por dos
cilindros metcilicos entre los cuales se coloca una corona de bolas que sirven para el
rodamiento. "
Cuba: The DECu confirms the use of caja de bolas, defining it as "Cojinete formado por dos
cilindros concentricos entre los cuales se intercala una corona de bolas que pueden girar
libremente en cualquier maquinaria."
Dominican Republic: All respondents offered caja de bola(s), though in this survey it was more
often pronounced caja de bola (this was also true for Cuba and Puerto Rico). However, a
handful of Dominicans also gave roberi and, ofthese, a couple said it was a roller bearing,
and one (each) said it was a ball bearing with smaller balls, a more technical (shop-talk)
synonym of caja de bola, or the part of the ball bearing that turns. However roberi is used,
English "ball bearing" appears to be its origin.
Colombia: The NDCol confirms the use of balinera, defining it as "Dispositivo mecanico,
consistente en una corona de bolas de acero contenidas entre dos anillos, fijo el uno a un eje
yel otro a una rueda" and indicates that cojinete and rodamiento de bolas are the Peninsular
Spanish equivalents.
Paraguav. Uruguay & Argentina: The DEArg (Argentina) defines rulemim, with the alternate
pronunciation ofrUleman, as "Pieza que cumple las funciones de cojinete, formada por aros
metalicos concentricos entre los que se intercala una corona de bolillas de acero, que gira
libremente" and indicates that the Peninsular Spanish equivalent is rodamiento de bolas. In
other words, it indicates that a ruleman or rUleman is specifically a ball bearing (as opposed
to other types of bearings such as roller bearings). The definition of ruleman in the NDU
(Uruguay) is almost identical to the DEArg's definition of this term. How common is the
pronunciation of this term with the stress on the first syllable (rUleman) as compared to the
stress on the third syllable (ruleman) in each of the three countries? See Ruliman vs.
Ruleman/Ruleman below. The DEArg also defines buje as "Pieza en la que se apoya y gira
el eje de una maquinaria,'; and indicates that it is synonymous with cojinete de una pieza,
which is used in Argentina and Spain, but the DRAElists buje as a General Spanish term (see
section B6.4 below).
Ruliman vs. Ruleman/Ruleman: Why did the spelling with an i ofruliman evolve in Ecuador (and
perhaps in Peru and Bolivia as well) when the spelling with an e (ruleman or perhaps
rUleman) is used in the River Plate region? We note that rulemcm is closer in spelling to its
French etymon, roulement; that French roulement has a secondarystress on the first syllable;
and that in rapid speech Spanish ruleman sounds just like ruliman. One possible explanation
for the spelling preferences in different Spanish-speaking countries is that ruleman took root
in Argentina and Uruguay (and by extension in Paraguay) because more people in Buenos
Aires and Montevideo were familiar with French and, when Hispanizing the word, theykept
the e thus partially retaining the French spelling. In Ecuador, on the other hand, the word
entered Spanish primarilythrough word ofmouth and was simply written as heard, ruliman,
without paying attention to the French spelling. The fact that ruleman can be pronounced
rUleman in River Plate Spanish also supports the notion ofa stronger French influence there.
See Paraguay. Uruguay & Argentina above.
Related terms: What are all the terms for the balls of ball bearings, such as balines, municiones,
bolitas, chibolitas, etc., and how, if at all, are they regionally distributed?
B6.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: balero (F), balinera (B), caja de bolas (F), cojinete (A or D?), rodaje (D),
rodamiento (A), rol (D), roberi (F), rolinera (F), ruleman (A), ruliman (F).
DRAEdefinitions: rodamiento, "Mec. Cojinete formado pordos cilindros concentricos, entre
los que se intercala una corona de bolas 0 rodillos que pueden girar libremente"; cojinete, "5. Mec.
Pieza 0 conjunto de piezas en que se apoya y gira el eje de un mecanismo"; balero de rodamiento,
"Mex. Rodamiento a bolas"; balinera, "(De balin). Nic. rodamiento"; buje, "(Del lat. buxis, caja).
cojinete (II pieza en que se apoya y gira un eje)"; ruleman, "(Del fro roulement). Arg., Par. y Ur.
Comments: With respect to this item, the DRAE has described usage fairly accurately in
about halfthe Spanish-speaking world, most notably Spain, the Southern Cone and possibly Mexico
(it should, however, define balero more generally, without the qualifier de rodamiento), but the
DRAE is pretty much in the dark with regard to usage in the rest of the Spanish-speaking world.
B7.1 Summary
Aplanadora is the General Spanish term commonlyused in all ofSpanish America with the possible
exception of the Dominican Republic. Spain has a unique term not common elsewhere.
Note: Terms other than aplanadora appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in boldface and
B7.2 Terms by Country (c. 9 terms plus variants)
R G ~ T I N
apisonadora (9/1 0), ap!anadora (1/10).
aplanadora (13/14), plancha (2/14), compactadora (1/14).
aplanadora (9/10), apalmazador (1/10), rolo (1/10).
aplanadora (717).
aplanadora (6/8), aplanador (118), compactadora (1/8).
aplanadora (9/10), planadora (2/10).
aplanadora (12/13), planadora (1/13).
aplanadora (717), rodillo (117).
aplanadora (10/12), cilindro (aplanador) (4/12), planadora (1/12).
rodillo (13/14), aplanadora (2/14), planadora (1/14).
aplanadora (14/21), rolo (6/21), cilindro (4/21), aplanador( 1121 ),p/anadora (1121).
aplanadora (6/8), compactador (1/8), rodillo compactador (1/8).
aplanadora (13/16), compactador(a) (2/16), cilindradora (1/16), motoniveladora (1/16).
aplanadora (8/11), rodillo (5/11), planadora (1/11).
aplanadora (8/11), rodillo (3/11), compactadora (1/11).
aplanadora (9/1 0), compactadora (1/10).
aplanadora (517), compactador (117), rodillo (117).
aplanadora (6/6).
aplanadora (14/14).
aplanadora (10/12), bicicleta del alcalde (1112), compactadora (1/12), rodillo (1/12).
B7.3 Details
Compactador(a): The terms compactadora or compactador were offered by a handful of
respondents from different countries in the sense of steamroller. However, many other
respondents indicated that a compactador(a) is not a steamroller but a vibrating machine
(also called a vibradora, according to some) that is used to further compact the ground after
the steamroller has gone over the terrain. A Google image search ofcompactadora conducted
in mid 2005 turned up mostly pictures of machinery other than steamrollers, though at least
one was of a machine that looked similar to a steamroller but appeared to have grooves in
the wheels. Is the use ofcompactador(a) in the sense ofsteamroller prevailing usage in some
circles? This question needs to be researched.
Mexico: In this study, all respondents gave aplanadora and a couple also indicated that plancha was
used in this sense. The DEUMex, however, lists only plancha, which is defined as "3
Maquina provista de un gran rodillo metilico, muy pesado, que se hace pasar sobre la tierra
de una calle, un terreno, etc., para aplanarla y darle firmeza; aplanadora" and does not list
aplanadora as a separate entry. The fact that aplanadora is not an entry in the DEUMex is
somewhat odd since it is not a dictionary solely of Mexican regionalisms but a general
dictionary written from the Mexican perspective, and since aplanadora, in the sense of
steamroller, seems to be more "mainstream Mexican usage" thanplancha. How common is
the use ofplancha as compared to aplanadora in the sense of steamroller in Mexico?
Guatemala: Although the majorityofrespondents indicatedaplanadora, one gave apalmazador, and
we note that the DRAE defines the verb apelmazar as "(De pelmazo). 2. tr. El Salv., Hond.
y Nic. apisonar." Where else in Central America (and perhaps elsewhere) might
apelmazador(a) and/or apalmazador(a) be used in the sense of steamroller?
EI Salvador: The DS confinns the use ofaplanadora, defining it as "Maquina con rodillos pesados,
usada en la construcci6n de calles para alisar y compactar el suelo."
Nicaragua: The DUENalso confinns the use of aplanadora, defining it as "Maquina de gran peso
que se usa en la pavimentaci6n 0 reparaci6n de carreteras y calles."
Costa Rica: Aplanadora was offered by the majority of respondents in this study. However, the
NDCR does not list aplanadora and defines planadora as "Vehiculo que con un cilindro de
hierro en la parte delantera sirve para aplanar las calles." Perhaps this is b.ecause the author
does not consider aplanadora to be especially regional or Costa Rican. How common is
planadora vis-a.-vis aplanadora in Costa Rica?
Cuba: The DECu confirms the use of both aplanadora and cilindro, defining them as "Maquina
provista de rodillos grandes y pesados, que se emplea para apisonar y alisar calles, caminos
y terrenos" and indicates that the Peninsular Spanish equivalent is apisonadora.
Venezuela: The DHAVconfirms the use ofaplanadora, defining it as "Maquina con ruedas a modo
de rodillos grandes y pesados, usada en la construcci6n y reparaci6n de vias publicas."
Colombia: The NDCol defines cilindradora as "Maquina locom6vil, con ruedas a modo de rodillos
grandes y pesados, usada en la construcci6n y reparaci6n de vias publicas," and defines
aplanadora almost identically. TheDRAEalso confirms the use ofcilindradora in Colombia
(see section B7.4 below). In this study, however, only one Colombian was found who
acknowledged the use ofcilindradora in the sense ofsteamroller, and he indicated it was an
old term that is no longer common in his country. A Google search ofthe terms cilindradora
andpavimenlo, however, produced several texts, not all from Colombia, in which the former
term appears with the meaning of steamroller. For example, the following quotation is from
the technical specifications of a public works project: "A 10 largo de andenes, muros,
cabezotes, sardineles y otros lugares inaccesibles a la cilindradora, la mezcla se compactarci
cuidadosamente mediante el uso de pisones de mano calientes 0 compactadores mecanicos
que apliquen una compresi6n equivalente" (Alcaldia Mayor de Cartagena de Indias;
emphasis on cilindradora added). Interestingly enough, a very similar quotation was found
in what may be a Mexican Internet document authored by an Argentine called Pavimentos
which states: "En las zonas inaccesibles para la cilindradora se obtendra la compactaci6n
de la mezcla mediante compactadores portatiles mecamcos adecuados" (Liberatore). The
question remains as to how frequent the use ofcilindradora is in the sense ofsteamroller (or
some other type of compacting roller machine) in Colombia and beyond.
Ecuador: The HEDE confirms the use ofaplanadora, defining it as "Rodillo, maquina movida por
motor que lleva un pesado rodillo para compactar 0 aplanar el suelo destinado a calle, plaza,
carretera, pista, etc.; apisonadora." The HEDE does not define rodillo, but the preceding
definition seems to confirm the data from this study, which indicate that rodillo is used in
Ecuador in the sense of steamroller.
Argentina & Uruguay: The DEArg (Argentina) and the NDU (Uruguay) both confirm the use of
aplanadora, which theydefine as "Maquinacon tracci6npropia, provista de rodillos grandes
y pesados, que se emplea para apisonar y alisar calles, caminos y terrenos en general" and
indicate that apisonadora is the Peninsular Spanish equivalent. One Argentine respondent
indicated that rodillo macizo refers to one of the heavy wheels ofthe aplanadora.
Chile: The DECHconfirms the use ofaplanadora, defining it as "Apisonadora; maquina locom6vil
armada sobre rodillos grandes y pesados que se utiliza para apisonar y aplanar calles,
caminos y terrenos... Sin. [sin6nimo] bicicleta del alcalde, 1a acep. No es usual el sin.
academico" (i.e. apisonadora is not common in Chile), and it defines bicicleta del alcalde
as "fest. [festivo] fam. [familiar] Aplanadora..." In this study, one respondent also indicated
that bicicleta del alcalde is used as a humorous and colloquial equivalent of aplanadora.
B7.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: apisonadora (C), aplanadora (A), cilindro (B), planadora (B), rodillo (D),
rolo (D).
DRAE definitions: apisonadora, "Maquina autom6vil que rueda sobre unos cilindros muy
pesados, y que se emplea para allanar y apretar caminos y pavimentos"; aplanadora, "Am.
apisonadora (II maquina)"; cilindradora, "Col. apisonadora (II maquina)"; cilindro, "8. Cuba.
apisonadora (II maquina)"; planadora, "e. Rica. apisonadora (II maquina)"; rodillo, "2. Cilindro
muy pesado de piedra 0 de hierro, que se hace rodar para allanar y apretar la tierra 0 para consolidar
el firrne de las carreteras"; rodo, "Cilindro muy pesado para allanar el suelo."
Questions/Comments: The DRAE states accurately that aplanadora is used in Spanish
America, but needs to fine-tune the definitions and/or regional specifications of some of the other
terms so that the dictionary user is provided correct information about where terms such as rodillo
and planadora are commonly used in the sense of steamroller. Apisonadora would be an excellent
candidate to receive the "Esp." (Espana) regional specification, a designation which appears in the
DRAE's list of abbreviations but needs to be used much more liberally. The phrase "sobre linOS
cilindros muy pesados" that appears in the DRAE's definition of apisonadora does not accurately
describe those steamrollers that have just one of these cilindros or rodillos in the front end of the
machinery and have rubber tires (or some other locomotion device) in the rear end. The definitions
of aplanadora in the DEArg ("provista de rodillos grandes y pesados"), the DHAV ("con ruedas a
modo de redillos grandes y pesados") and the DECH("armada sobre rodillos grandes y pesados")
suffer from the same limitation. See Figure B7 in lllustrations and the DEUMex's, the NDCR's and
the HEDE's defmitions ofplancha and (a)planadora in section B7.3 above to confmn this.
B8.1 Summary
Tarugo appears to be the most commonly used term, followed by taco.
Note: Terms other than tarugo and taco appear in italics, and majority regionalisms in boldface and
B8.2 Terms by Country (c. 14 terms plus variants)
taco (6/11), tarugo (2111), expansion (1/11), tojino (III I), tugino (1111).
taquete (10/10).
tarugo (6/7), taquete (1/7).
ancla (6/6).
taco ficher (4/4).
espiche (5/8), expansor (1/8), taco de expansion (1/8), tarugo (1/8).
espander/expander (9/10), tarugo (1/1 0).
taco (9/10), anclaje de p/ztico (1110), casquillo (1/1 0).
expansiOn (5/7), taco (2/7).
tarugo (10/10).
expansiOn (12/12).
ramplli (12/16), ramp/ug (2116), ramp/un (2116), ramp/ex (I/16), ramp/ux (1116).
chazo (12/12).
taco fisher/taco ficher (7/8), tarugo (3/8), taco (1/8).
tarugo (9/10), taco (Ill 0).
ramplu (5/9), tarugo (3/9), ramplug (1/9).
tarugo (5/5).
taco fisher (6/7), taco (dejijacion) (2/7), tarugo (1/7).
tarugo (15/15), taco fisher (5/15),jisher (1/15).
tarugo (9/9).
B8.3 Details
Ancla(je): The word anclaje (anclaje pkistico, anclaje metalico, etc.) appears to be a technical
General Spanish tenn for this item, as it appears in web sites from different Spanish-speaking
countries. See, for example, "Hilti Espanola S.A." (Spain), ''Boletin de Aclaraciones No.
D164-2 Licitaci6n Publica Internacional..." (Honduras) and "Durlock" (Argentina) in
References. Is the use ofanclaje and ancla (see EL SALVADOR in section B8.2 above) in the
sense of screw anchor a calque of English "(screw) anchor," or does it represent a parallel
development that is unrelated to the evolution ofthe meaning of anchor in English?
Chazo: The NDCol (Colombia) defines chazo as "Pedazo 0 taco de madera que se introduce en una
pared para fijar algo en e1." Although chazo no doubt still has this meaning, the tenn now
also refers to the factory-made plastic screw anchor. Some Colombians, including college-
educated ones, believe this word is spelled chaso.
Rampl';' or ramplug: The DBAV (Venezuela) confinns the use of ramplug, defining it as "Pieza,
generalmente de plastico, que se empotra en una pared para sujetar clavos 0 tomillos." In this
study, the majority of Venezuelans indicated that ramplu was both the spoken and written
fonn of the word, but one stated that the term should be written ramplug but is generally
pronounced as if written ramplu. The origin of ramplu and ramplug, also used in Bolivia,
may be English "rawplug" or "rawplug anchor." (See, for example, "Er Maracucho Rajao...
Conozca sobre la Real Academia del Habla Maracucha. Vocablos de uso comun en
Maracaibo y zonas circunvecinas" and Maria Julia Brunette's Diccionario de Construccion,
among other Internet sources.)
Taco fisher. taco ficher, etc: These tenns most likely derive from a brand name (Fisher?). The
Honduran respondents (only four) pronounced the word as if spelled taco ficher; the
Argentines and Uruguayans tacofisher; and the Ecuadorans were mixed, some pronouncing
it with an affricate ch and some with a fricative sh sound. A few Ecuadorans and Hondurans
left out or elided the r offisher/ficher, but in all cases, the stress was on the first syllable, [FI-
cher], [FI-che], [FI-sher] or [FI-she]. How should this word be spelled? Ficher andfisher are
possibilities, but Hispanizing the word into River Plate p ~ s could also yieldfiyerorfiller
sincey and II (which correspond to a single phoneme in most ofthe Spanish-speaking world
including the River Plate region) are pronounced there like the g in English beige, or as an
sh sound.
Taquete: The use of taquete in Mexico in the sense of screw anchor is confinned by the DEUMex,
which defines it as "Pedazo cilindrico ypequeno de madera, plastico 0 metal, que se encaja
en un hueco hecho para tal efecto en una pared para luego fijar a el clavos, tornillos, etc. de
los que se han de colgar 0 fijar objetos pesados..." Tarugo, however, is defined in the
DEUMex as a different object, made exclusively ofwood, in which screws are not inserted:
"2 Pedazo de madera corto y grueso que sirve como pieza de sosten 0 refuerzo en obras de
B8.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: ancla (D), chazo (D), espiche (D), expander (F), expansion (D), ramplli (F),
taco (A or C?), tacofisher (F), taquete (F), tarugo (D).
DRAE definitions: chazo
, "nudillo (II zoquete de madera)"; nudillo, "3. Arq. Zoquete 0
pedazo corto y grueso de madera, que se empotra en la fcibrica para clavar en el algo; como las vigas
de techo, marcos de ventana, etc."; espiche, "(Etim. disc.). 2. Estaca pequefia que sirve para cerrar
un agujero, como las que se colocan en las cubas para que no salga elllquido 0 en los botes para que
no se aneguen"; taco, "14. coloq. Trozo de madera 0 de plastico, de forma mas 0 menos alargada,
que se empotra en la pared para introducir en el clavos 0 tomillos con el fin de sostener algiln
objeto"; tarugo, "Trozo de madera 0 pan, generalmente grueso y corto. 115. El Salvo y Nic. Pedazo
de madera, trapo u otro material que sirve para tapar un agujero."
Comment: The DRAE lists older, more traditional senses ofchazo, espiche, taco and tarugo
(such as wooden plugs) that can be viewed as antecedents ofthe modem screw anchor, but it needs
to update its definitions of these and other terms so that this modem sense is also covered.
B9.1 Summary
Most Spanish-speaking countries have a regional name for (generally small) shops that fix and/or
retread tires.
Note: Regional words appear in italics and where they are the majorityterms, in boldface and italics.
B9.2 Terms by Country (c. 11 terms plus variants)
no specific regional term (6/6).
vulcanizadora (13/15), talachera (7/15), vulka (2115).
pinchazo (10/11), reencauchadora (1/11).
llantera (6/8), llanteria (2/8).
llantera (9/9).
vulcanizadora (9/9).
no specific regional term (5/8), llantera (2/8), reencauchadora (1/8).
no specific regional term (4/6), llantero (1/6), reencauchadora (1/6).
ponchera (6/6).
gomera (9/15), gomero (8/15), gorneria (3/15).
gomera (6/7), no specific regional term (1/7).
cauchera (11/11).
montallantas (4/7), vulcanizadora (3/7), reencauchadora (1/7).
vulcanizadora (10/1 0).
vulcanizadora (4/7), llanteria (3/7), reencauchadora (1/7).
B9.3 Details
llanteria (8/8), gomeria (2/8),parchadora (1/8).
gomeria (5/5).
gomeria (SIS), recauchutadora (liS).
gomeria (919).
vulcanizacion (919).
General: The tenns presented in section B9.2 above were the ones offered with the meaning ofa tire
shop that is generally a small family-owned business. Larger garages or factories where tires
are retreaded are often called reencauchadoras, recauchadoras or recauchutadoras,
depending on which base verb (reencauchar, recauchar or recauchutar) is used; see retread
in Appendix for limited infonnation on the distribution of these verbs, and the DRAE's
definition ofreencauchadora in section B9.4 below. However, a handful ofrespondents, a
minority in each case (see section B9.2 above), indicated that the tenns reencauchadora or
recauchutadora are used in the sense ofthe small tire repair shops. In Spain, Costa Rica and
Panama, a majority of respondents gave no specific (short) name for this type of shop, but
some gave longer descriptive names such as taller de reparacion de llantas, taller de
neumaticos y recauchutados, etc. In a number ofSpanish-speaking countries where llantera
is not commonly used in the sense of a small tire repair shop, this term is used to refer to
larger businesses that sell and install tires, rims, hubcaps, etc. and do balancing and
alignment oftires but do not necessarily fix flats.
Spain: Do these types of shops exist in Spain and, if so, how common are they and what are they
called? It is noteworthy that the DRAE does not indicate a compact Peninsular Spanish
equivalent of llantera, nor does it provide one for sense two of gomeria (see section B9.4
below). Also suggesting a lack ofa Peninsular Spanish equivalent is the fact that neither the
DECu nor the NDCol provides one for the Cuban and Colombian names for this item (see
Cuba and Colombia below). However, the DEArg indicates that taller de vulcanizacion is
the Peninsular Spanish equivalent ofArgentinegomeria (see Argentina & Uruguay below).
Mexico: Half a dozen respondents said that vulcanizadora and talachera both refer to tire repair
shops, and a couple also indicated that vulka, spelled with a k, is the short form for
vulcanizadora. Manyother Mexicans, however, stated that a talachera is a more rudimentary
shop that only fixes flats but does not do retreading, whereas a vulcanizadora is a larger,
higher-tech operation that also does retreading. Still others said a talachera is a shop that
does any type ofminor car repairs, or even minor repairs ofany sort, and that the expression
hacer talacha can mean fixing flats or doing general repairs. The following examples,
provided by respondents in this study, suggest that hacer talacha and talachar can refer to
work in general: "Ayer estuve en la talacha hasta las 12 de la noche." "-i,Ad6nde van?-A
talachar (a trabaj ar)." The DEUMex does not list talacha, talachera, talachar or talache (see
section A15 - pick/pickax above).
Guatemala: The Guatemalan use of pinchazo in the sense of tire repair shop is an example of
metonymy in which a word for '(tire) puncture' has come to be used to refer to something
associated with tire punctures, namely, the shop that fixes them. This usage is confirmed by
the following citations from Guatemalan Internet documents, although the fact that pinchazo
appears in quotation marks in the first example may suggest that some Guatemalans are not
entirely comfortable with it: "A pocos pasos, entre ambas edificaciones hay un 'pinchazo',
uno de estos hospitales de llantas que abundan en caminos y calles del pais" (Hernandez),
and "Como tambien se tiene alguna pequeiia industria, un taller de herreria en el cual se
ocupa el senor, 0 pone un pinchazo cerca del paso de la carretera, se pone una venta de
helados, de aguas, entonces hay no solo actividades agricolas pecuarias en la comunidad
campesina, tambien se incursiona en actividades comerciales y servicios..." (Galicia;
emphasis on pinchazo added).
Cuba: The DECu defines ponchera as "Taller en el que se arreglan los ponches de los nemmiticos"
and defines ponche as "2 Pequeno orificio en un neumatico, causado generalmente por un
objeto punzante, que produce perdida de aire." It indicates that the Peninsular Spanish
equivalent of Cuban Spanish ponche (sense two) is pinchazo, but provides no Peninsular
Spanish equivalent for ponchera which (like the data in this study) suggests that there may
not be one. The DECu also defines vulcanizadora and recapadora as "Taller en que se
vulcanizanlrecapan los neumaticos."
Dominican Republic: The majority ofrespondents in this study said that both gomera and gomero
can refer to a tire repair shop, and that gomero could also refer to the man who fixes tires.
A few indicated that gomeria refers to a tire repair shop, but others said this was a place that
sells tires but does not repair them.
Venezuela: The DHAVconfirms the use of cauchera, defining it as "Establecimiento dedicado al
expendio, montaje y reparacion de cauchos" and defines caucho as ''Neumatico que se
coloca en las ruedas de los vehiculos automotores y de otros, como por ej. una bicicleta." The
DVdoes not define cauchera in the sense oftire repair shop, but does define cauchero as "2.
Persona que cambia y repara neumciticos."
Colombia: The NDCol defines montallantas as "Lugar donde se arreglan y montan los neumaticos
de los vehiculos" and indicates that vulcanizadora is used in this same sense in the
departments ofCauca, Narifio and el Valle (southwestern Colombia), and that llanteria is
used in the Atlantic Coast region.
Ecuador: The HEME defines /lantera as "Fabrica de llantas 0 neumaticos. II Establecimiento en el
que se reparan llantas y tuhos neumaticos. cf. vulcanizadora," but since vu/canizadora is not
listed as an entry in this dictionary, it is not clear where, or in what definition, the reader is
being directed to make this comparison.
Peru: One respondent indicated that a llanteria is a smaller, more primitive tire repair shop than a
UruguaY& Argentina: The DEArg (Argentina) and the NDU(Uruguay) confirm the use ofgomeria,
which they define as "Taller de venta, reparacion y vulcanizacion de neumaticos para
vehiculos automotores" and the former indicates that taller de vulcanizacion is the Peninsular
Spanish equivalent.
Chile: The DECHdefines vulcanizacion as "2. fig. [figurado] Establecimiento donde se vulcaniza:
'Una vulcanizacion y nueve restaurantes' ..." but it is not clear from this definition whether
these establishments retread tires, fix flats or do both, or what is meant by the abbreviation
"fig." Perhaps the DECHwrite;:s mean that the use ofvulcanizacion to refer to one ofthese
shops is figurative insofar as such shops do not actually vulcanize rubber but just fix tires.
In other words, the regional meaning of vulcanizacion may be another example ofa type of
metonYmY in which the name of a process, vulcanization, is applied to another related
meaning, fixing and retreading tires. See Guatemala above.
Related terms: A number of the terms for tire repair shops derive from words that are regional or
have regional meanings (ponche, talacha or vulcanizar), while others derive from a word for
tire that is regionallyweighted (llanta, goma or caucho). The tenns used for tire puncture/flat
tire, such aspinchazo,pinchadura andponche, also appear to be regionallydistributed and/or
used differently indifferent countries. For information on the regional distribution of the
words for tire, see "Car terminology in the Spanish-speaking world" (Moskowitz: 338).
United States English: Small low-tech tire repair shops, like those found in Latin America, are not
common in the United States, and therefore there is no United States English equivalent
other than "tire repair shop" or some other descriptive term.
B9.4 Real Academia Regional Review
DRAE grades: cauchera (0), gomera (0), gomeria (A), llantera (B), llanteria (0),
montallantas (F),pinchazo (D),ponchera (D), talachera (F), vulcanizacion (D), vulcanizadora (F).
DRAE definitions: gomeria, "Arg., Bol., Par. y Ur. Lugar de venta 0 reparacion de
neumaticos"; llantercr, "Ecuad. Fabrica de llantas (II neumaticos). 2. Hond. Establecimiento que se
dedica a arreglarpinchazos de las llantas (II neumaticos)"; reencauchadora, "A. Andes [area de los
Andes], EI Salv., Guat. y Hond. Instalacion industrial para recauchutar llantas 0 cubiertas de
automoviles, camiones, etc."; vulcanizar, "2. tr. Cuba yNic. Reparar neumaticos."
Comment: The DRAEis almost entirely in the dark on usage as it relates to tire repair shops.
Is this because the phenomenon is not common in Spain?
The following is a small selection ofmiscellaneous Spanish lexical dialectology topics relating to
carpentry, masonry, plumbing, heating, electrical, auto mechanics, and other trades in which tools,
construction, repairs and maintenance playa role. The issues have not been thoroughly examined
in this study (either through field research or by reviewing existing literature), and are presented
merely to call attention to their existence as possible dialectal and/or lexicographical topics that
await in-depth investigation.
Note: A country followed by a question mark means that in this study only one or two respondents
from that country gave a particular response.
auto body shop / body shop. 'What are the names in Spanish for shops (garages) that fix the body
of a vehicle, especially after it has been in an accident? They often do car painting and
detailing as well. Only a handful of respondents were queried on this topic, but their
responses varied: lateria and hojalateria (Mexico), latoneria (Venezuela), taller de
carroceria and chaperia (Argentina), taller de chapa y pintura (Uruguay), taller de
enderezado y pintura (Costa Rica), taller de latoneria y pintura (Colombia). The DHAV
confirms the use of latoneria in Venezuela, defining it as "2 Taller donde se repara la
carroceria de los vehiculos automotores."
balance I balancing. The NDCR (Costa Rica) defines balancear as "tr. [Aut.] Ajustar las ruedas de
un vehiculo para que giren correctamente" whereas the DRAE provides only a general
definition ofbalancear: "tr. 19ualar 0 poner en equilibrio, contrapesar." A cursory survey of
Spanish Americans suggests that balanceo is widely used in Spanish America in the sense
ofbalancing in phrases such as alineacion y balanceo ('balancing and alignment'), whereas
a Spaniard indicated that the Peninsular Spanish equivalent would be alineacion y
equilibrado. However, the question remains as to who says balanceo, who says equilibrado,
and who uses other phrases. Other issues include whether or not some Spanish Americans
say alineamiento instead of alineacion for alignment and whether some say balanceo y
alineacion instead ofalineacion y balanceo.
bars. What terms are used in Spanish for a "flat bar" (sometimes called a "wonder bar") and a "nail
puller" (often called a "cat' s paw")? A flat bar is a type ofwrecking bar with a claw used for
prying and pulling nails that has a flat shaft. The advantage a flat bar has over a crowbar or
regular wrecking bar, which has a round or hexagonal shaft, is that the former does less
damage to the wood or other surface in which the nail is lodged when extracting the nail
from it; the flatbar's disadvantage is that it is not as strong as a crowbar. A ''nail puller" or
"cat's paw" is a bar in which the claw is tapered and at a right angle to the shaft. One uses
it with a hammer to extract imbedded nails and it damages the wood. For information on
crowbars/wrecking bars, see section Al 0 above.
blocks (for building). The DEUMex defines tabique as "Cualquier pieza de caras rectangulares
hecha de arcilla cocida que se usa como material de construccion: una pared de tabiques."
Tabique is one ofthe most popular building materials used in Mexico among those who are
not affluent. What are all the regional names in Spanish for all of the different types of
cement or clay building blocks in all ofthe different regions?
bolt. The DEArg defines bulon as "Tornillo grande, con tuerca fuerte yresistente" and indicates that
the Peninsular Spanish equivalent is perno. What other terms are used for ''bolt'' other than
tornillo and perno, and what are their distributions?
brakes, shocks, mufflers (and various other regional Anglicisms that refer to car parts). The DS(EI
Salvador) defines chocausol, chocacsol and chocansol as "(lex. mec. [lexico de mecamcos])
Amortiguador. Del ingles shock absorber." What other regional Anglicisms, such as las
brecas and los breques (los frenos), and el mofle or la mufla, etc. (el silenciador), are used
and where?
break down. The DRAE defines encangrejar as "pm!. coloq. Cuba. Dicho de un mecanismo, de un
motor, etc.: Dejar de funcionar" and this is confirmed by the DECu, which defines the verb
as "coloq Dejar de funcionar un vehiculo automotor: un vehiculo automotor se encangreja.
12 coloq Presentar deficiencias en su funcionamiento un sistema, un mecanismo 0 un motor:
algo se encangreja." The DECu indicates that cancanear and encasquillarse are also used
colloquially in Cuba in sense two (algo cancanea, algo se encasquilla).
ceiling. Are cielo raso (or cielorraso) and the less technical and more ambiguous techo used
universally in the sense ofceiling? In Ecuador, the term tumbado is used in this sense. Where
else is tumbado used, and what other regional terms exist? Techo raso, plafond or pIa/on?
What else and where?
cement or concrete. The DRAEdefines concreto
as "(Del ingl. concrete.) Am. bormig6n (II mezcla
de piedras, cemento y arena)," which suggests that concreto is not commonly used with this
meaning in Peninsular Spanish. The sense "Am. bormig6n (II mezcla de piedras, cemento y
arena)" should probably also be added to the definition ofcemento, which in many varieties
of Latin American Spanish can, like cement in English, refer to the powder used to make
concrete, the powder plus the water and sand, etc. that is the concrete or mortar used in
masonry, and this mixture once it has hardened. The DRAE also defines mazacote with no
regional specification as "bormig6n (II mezcla compuesta de piedras, cemento yarena)."
Where is this term commonly used? The DUEN (Nicaragua) defines caliche as "Pasta de
cemento con que se juntan los ladrillos de un piso 0 pared." Is this term used elsewhere in
this sense? It would be interesting to determine, throughout the Spanish-speaking world, the
relative frequencies ofconcreto, hormigon, cemento and mazacote in the sense ofconcrete,
and mezcla, mortero and argamasa in the sense ofmortar. In English, ''mortar'' often refers
to "concrete" to which lime or a latex-based substance has been added so that it will have
greater bonding properties. Mortar is used for patching, pointing and binding bricks, blocks,
stones, etc.; concrete (usually "reinforced concrete" = hormigon armado or concreto
armado) is for pouring forms.
cement/plaster (verbs). The DRAEdefines the following verbs that could mean to cement or plaster,
some with regional specifications, some without: enlucir (withno regional specification), "tr.
Poner una capa de yeso 0 mezcla a las paredes, techos 0 fachadas de los edificios"; enrasar,
"2. tr. Arq. Hacer que quede plana y lisa la superficie de una obra. Enrasar una pared. un
piso. un techo";fratasar, "(De or. inc.). tr. Igualar con el fratas la superficie de un muro
enfoscado 0 jaharrado, a fin de dejarlo liso, sin hoyos ni asperezas";fratachar andfletachar,
"tr. Ur. fratasar";jrisar, "(Del Iat. *frictiire, frotar). 2. tr. Ven. En albaiiileria, dar a una
pared friso (II capa de mezcla con cemento)"; tarrajear, "PerU. Enlucir con cemento." What
other regional verbs are out there, and what do they mean? Which are (regional) synonyms?
cement mixer. The DECu (Cuba) defines concretera as "Mciquina para hacer concreto" and
indicates that hormigonera is used in this sense in Spain and Cuba. In this study, the
following terms were offered by persons from the following countries: batidora (de
cemento/de concreto) (Costa Rica, Panama), concretera (El Salvador, Panama?, Cuba,
Ecuador), hormigonera (Spain, Uruguay, Argentina), ligadora (de cemento/de concreto)
(Dominican Republic), mezcladora (de cemento, de concreto, and/or de hormigon) (all of
Spanish America), mixiadora (Honduras), revolvedora (de cemento/de concreto) (Mexico),
tolvo de mezclado (Colombia?), trompo, trompo mezclador and/or trompo de concreto
(Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile). What are the frequencies ofeach term in each country?
cement mixing truck or ready mix truck. In this study, many ofthe same terms found to be used
in the sense of cement mixer were also offered for a cement mixing truck. The following
were given for a cement mixing truck by respondents from the following countries (some are
popular terms, some are more "official-sounding" technical "terms), but research needs to be
done to determine what all the terms are and which are most common in each country:
camion de cementolcamion de concreto (Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico,
Venezuela, Colombia), camion concretera (Cuba?), camion concretero (Colombia, Peru,
Chile), camion de hormigon (Spain), camion hormigonera (Spain, Bolivia, Chile), camion
hormigonero (Argentina, Chile), camion mezclador (de cemento, de concreto, de hormigon)
(panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Chile), camion mezcladora (de cemento, de
concreto, de hormigon) (puerto Rico, Ecuador, Peru), camion trompo (Chile), cementera
(Venezuela?), concretera (El Salvador, Panama, Cuba, Puerto Rico), concretero (peru),
chimbo (Honduras, popular), chompipa (CostaRica, popular), hormigonera (Spain, Bolivia,
Uruguay, Argentina), ligadora (de cemento) (Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico),
mezclador(a) (de cemento, de concreto, de hormigon) (Costa Rica, Venezuela, Colombia,
Ecuador), mixer (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru), revolvedora (de cemento, de concreto)
(Mexico), troc de cementa or truck de cementa (Puerto Rico), troca de cemento (Mexico?),
troque de cementa (Mexico?).
chisel (for cutting metal). The DRAE defines cortafrio as "Cincel fuerte para cortar hierro frio a
golpes de martillo" and defines cortafierro as "Arg., Par. y Ur. cortafrio."
drafting table. The DRAE defines restirador as "Mh:. Mesa 0 tablero para estirar el papel en que
se dibuja" and the DEUMex defines it as "Mesa alta, de superficie amplia y generalmente
inclinada, 0 capaz de inclinarse en diversos angulos, que utilizan los dibujantes yarquitectos
para colocar el papel sobre el que trabajan." What other terms do Spanish speakers other than
Mexicans use to refer to a drafting table? Mesa de dibujo? The DRAE defines tab/ero as "8.
Mesa grande de trabajo, como la del delineante 0 el sastre."
extension cord. The DECu (Cuba) defines extension as "Cable que se conecta al cable de un aparato
electrico para cubrir la distancia hasta el enchufe" and indicates that alargador is the
Peninsular Spanish equivalent. The DRAE defines extension as "8. Cuba y Mh:. alargador
(II pieza que sirve para alargar)." Several Argentines indicatedthat in Argentinaprolongador
is used in this sense. Which terms are generally applied to an extension cord in which
fire extinguisher. The DECu defines extinguidor and extinguidor de incendios as "Aparato de
forma cilindrica, que contiene en su interior una sustancia que evita la combustion y que se
emplea para combatir incendios" and indicates that extintor (de incendios) is the Peninsular
Spanish equivalent and is also considered the "official term" in Cuba as well. The DEArg
defines extinguidor (de incendios) and matafuego in identical terms.
float (of a tank, e.g. ofthe toilet). The DECu definesjlotante as "Dispositivo que sirve para detener
la entrada de un liquido en un deposito cuando este alcanza su altura maxima" and indicates
thatjlotador is the Peninsular Spanish equivalent. This information is also confinned in the
DRAE's definitions ofjlotador andjlotante. But looking at the question globally, who says
jlotante, who saysjlotador, and who says something else?
furnace I heater I boiler (heating systems ofa house or building). The DRAE defines caldera as "2.
Recipiente metaIico dotado de una fuente de calor, donde se calienta el agua que circula por
los tubos y radiadores de la calefaccion de un edificio." Calentador appears to be a General
Spanish term that could refer to a heater or a furnace, but many Mexicans in the United
States use the word calenton in this sense (a taboo word in some countries). Is this term also
used in Mexico in this sense? The DEUMex defines only cafentador in a waythat could refer
to furnace, heater or radiator: "3 Aparato domestico, fijo 0 portatil, que calienta la
temperatura ambiental; generalmente funciona por electricidad 0 gas; radiadoro"
gearo The DRAE defines engrane as "Mexo En una maquina, rueda dentada" and the DEUMex
defines it as "Rueda dentada que sirve para transmitir un movimiento de rotaci6n a otra rueda
semejante con la que se ajusta, como en el mecanismo de los relojeso" It seems the engrane
in Mexico is part of the engranaje.
hardware store (or type ofhardware store). The DEUMex defines tfapaferia as "Tienda en la que
se venden utensilios para electricidad, albaiiileria, plomeria, carpinteria y para otros oficios
semejantes; ferreteria: 'Compre la pintura en la tlapa/eria de la esquina', 'Mi hermano
trabaja en una tlapaferia'." The DRAEdefines tfapaferia as "(Del nahua tfapalli, liquido de
fuego, y -eria). Mex. Tienda de pintura, donde tambien se venden materiales electricos y
herramientas." Research needs to be done to determine how, if at all, Mexican usage
distinguishes between the termsferreteria and tfapaferia. What other countries have another
way of saying hardware store?
hinge. The DRAEdefines bisagra as "(De or. inc.). Herraj e de dos piezas unidas 0 combinadas que,
con un eje comUn y sujetas una a un sosten fijo y otra a la puerta 0 tapa, permiten el giro de
estas" and defines gozne as "(De gonce). Herraje articulado con que se fijan las hojas de las
puertas y ventanas al quicial para que, al abrirlas 0 cerrarlas, giren sobre aquel. II 2. Bisagra
metalica 0 pernio." Although both bisagra and gozne are listed as General Spanish terms in
the DRAE, albeit with slightly different definitions, the issue is whether, in everyday
language, both terms are used everywhere with more or less equal frequency in the sense of
hinge, or whether there are semantic distinctions or regional preferences between them.
hot water heater. The DEArg defines termotanque as "Artefacto de gas, con un termostato, que
permite calentar varios litros de agua y mantenerla a una determinada temperatura para,
mediante canerias, distribuirla en una vivienda" and indicates that the Peninsular Spanish
equivalent is cafentador. The DEArg also defines cafefon as "Aparato de gas 0 electricidad,
que sirve para calentar el agua que se distribuye por canerias a la cocina 0 al bano de una
casa" and indicates that the Peninsular Spanish equivalents are cafentador and termo. The
DRAE defines cafefon as "Argo, Bol., Par. y Ur. Aparato a traves de cuyo serpentin circula
el agua que se calienta para uso generalmente domestico."
hub (of a whe.el). The DEArg (Argentina) and the NDU (Uruguay) define maza as "Centro de la
rueda de un vehiculo" and indicate that cubo is used in this sense in Spain as well as in
Argentina and Uruguay.
intercom. The DEArg defines conmutador as "Aparato que, en oficinas, hoteles, etc., sirve para
poner en comunicaci6n las distintas dependencias entre SI 0 con la red general" and indicates
that centralita is the Peninsular Spanish equivalent. The DECu indicates that centralilla and
pizarra are the Cuban Spanish equivalents and defines them in very similar terms.
jackhammer. The AHD (United States) defines jackhammer as "A hand-held machine for drilling
rock and breaking up pavement or concrete, operated by compressed air." In this study, a
number of terms were offered by large numbers of Spanish speakers from countries that
pertain to at least two noncontiguous geographic regions (such as the Antilles, the Andes,
Mexico, Spain, etc.). Given their fairly broad distribution and the fact that they sound fairly
"official" and "technical" rather than "quaint" or "regional," there is reason to believe the
following terms/usages maybe part ofGeneral Spanish: martilladorde aire, martillo de aire,
martillo de aire comprimido, martillo hidraulico, martillo neuma!ico, martillo perforador,
perforadora, perforadora neumatica, taladro hidraulico, taladro mecanico, taladro
neumatico. Some respondents, a minority, believe the term neumatico (as in martillo
neumatico, taladro neumatico, etc.) should be spelled with an initialp,pneumatico, but the
majority indicated neumatico. In contrast to the first group ofterms for jackhammer listed
above, some ofthe following may be regional and/or popular terms, as they were offered by
a much smaller number of Spanish speakers who came from far fewer countries: chicharra
(Nicaragua, Costa Rica), chipijama / chipihamer / chipihamel (Cuba, Puerto Rico; from
English chipping hammer), demoledor de piso hidraulico (puerto Rico), guagua (Chile),
marrillo de calle (Chile), martillo demoledor (Spain), martillo de taladrar (Cuba), marrillo
pi/on (Spain), martillo rompepavimentos (Spain), muleta (Honduras),perforador(paraguay),
perforador neumatico (EI Salvador), rompepavimentos (peru), rotohammer ([rotojamer] EI
Salvador), taladradora (Spain), taladro de aire (Spain), taladro de demolicion (Panama),
yakama (panama, from English}ackhammer). None of the above terms, neither the more
general nor the more regional ones, is listed in the DRAEwith the meaning in question. Does
the fact that the jackhammer is not defined in the DRAEunder any ofthe terms listed above
constitute an unacceptable lexicographical lacuna, or is this absencejustified since the terms
are compounds whose meaning is more or less the sum of their constituent parts? The
argument that some ofthese terms are deducible and therefore superfluous may not hold up
to scrutiny since to say that a marrillo neumatico is simply a special type of manillo (a
compressed-air martillo) is not that much more persuasive than saying a ''jackhammer'' is
a special type of"hammer." Neither a martillo neumatico nor a ''jackhammer" is really a type
of hammer at all, and therefore, one can not assume that the dictionary user will be able to
deduce the meaning of the compound terms from their component parts.
lot. The NDCol defines lote as "Cada una de las partes en que se divide un terreno destinado a la
edificaci6n" and indicates that the Peninsular Spanish equivalents areparcela and solar and
that the latter term is also used in the Atlantic Coast region of Colombia. However, the
DRAE defines lote in this sense without any regional designation. How frequent is the use
of lote, parcela and solar in the different varieties of Spanish, and how do their meanings
machete. Regional names for (different kinds of) machetes include catana (Northeast Argentina,
according to the DEArg), and colin, cuma and pai/a (Nicaragua, according to the DUEN).
There are undoubtedly dozens ofregional Spanish names for different kinds ofmachete, but
what are they, what types of machetes do they refer to, and where are they used?
meter (gas meter, electric power meter, etc.). The DRAE defines medidor as "3. Am. Contador de
agua, gas 0 energia electrica" and the DEArg defines medidor as "Dispositivo que sirve para
medir el consumO de gas, luz 0 agua en una vivienda" and indicates that the Peninsular
Spanish equivalent is contador. The DECu indicates that contador and metro contador are
used in this sense in Cuba as well as relo} in the case ofthe electric meter.
nipple. The NDCR (Costa Rica) defines niple as "Tubo que sirve para unir dos tubos" and the AHD
(United States) defines "nipple" as "3b. A pipe coupling threaded on both ends." Where else
is niple (and variants such as niplo, neplo, etc.) used, and where are more "castizo" tenns
used such as tubo de conexion or boquilla de conexion, etc.
(electrical) outlet. The DRAEdefines tomacorriente as "Am. En instalaciones electricas, dispositivo
donde se inserta la clavija" and toma as "6. Lugar por donde se deriva una corriente de fluido
o electricidad." It seems many Spanish Americans use tomacorrientes (with an s at the end)
in this sense and it appears that Spanish speakers on both sides ofthe Atlantic use enchufe
to refer to both the plug and the outlet.
(electrical) plug. The DRAEdefines enchufe as "5. Electr. Dispositivo fonnado por dos piezas que
se encajan una en otra cuando se quiere establecer una conexi6n electrica." The DECu
defmes enchufle as "Dispositivo que conecta un aparato electrico a una red electrica" and
indictes that enchufe is used in Spain and Cuba in this same sense. Where else is enchufle
commonly used in the sense of plug, and how is its use socially stratified in different
particle board panels. What are the different names for "particle board panel" (often called
"particle board'')? This is a construction material made of ground up wood that is not as
strong or as expensive as plywood (see section Bl above). The terms madera prensada,
madera triturada, madera aglomerada, aglomerado and conglomerado were all offered by
Spanish speakers from diverse regions and maybe General Spanishusages. Some Argentines
indicated that madera enchapada refers to a particle board that has a high-quality wood
veneer surface; others said this is madera terciada (see section Bl above). Chileans offered
cholguan in the sense ofparticle board, which is defined in the DECHas "Maderaprensada
de pino insigne que se fabrica en fonna de planchas, moliendola en maquinas especiales y
mezc1andola con resinas... Procede del top6nimo Cholguan, localidad del depto. de Yungay
en Nuble, que es donde principalmente se fabrica." The DRAE defines cholguan as "Chile.
Madera prensada de pino, en fonna de planchas." One Argentine, a building engineer, stated
that in Argentinafibrofacil, also called guillermina, refers to a type ofpanel made with saw
dust, whereas aglomerado refers to a particle board panel made of virutas (wood shavings
or chips). What semantic differences exist between the above terms, and which are most
common in which countries?
panels (other types). What are the names ofother types ofpanels used in construction? The DEArg
(Argentina) defines machimbre as "Pieza de madera alargada y de poco grosor, con una
ranura a 10 largo de uno de sus lados y una lengiieta a 10 largo del otro, para ser ensamblada
con piezas similares." Respondents from several other Spanish American countries also
described machimbre in the sense of tongue-and-groove boards or panels. One Argentine
stated that durlock refers to sheetrock.
pliers. What terms are used in Spanish for "groovejoint pliers" or "tongue and groove pliers" (also
called "Channellock pliers," "pump pliers" or "water pump pliers), and where? These are
adjustable, noncutting pliers in which the grippers are curved and offset to one side. They
generally have more adjustment than regular 'joint pliers" or "slip-joint pliers," but can be
used for many ofthe same types oftasks (see Figures A6 and A6' in lllustrations and section
A6 above). This topic was not researched extensivelybut a few respondents offeredpico (de)
lora, alicate(s) pico (de) loro andpinza(s) pico (de) loro in this sense. What are "linesman
pliers" called in Spanish? These are nonadjustable, cutting pliers (see Figure A6" in
illustrations). A website that shows images and indicates technical names in Spanish for a
selection ofdifferent types ofpliers is Amongthe pliers and related
tools shown are different types of"needlenose type pliers" (such as alicates punta redonda,
alicates boca plana, alicates cigileiia recto, alicates cigileiia curvo), "cutting pliers" (such
as alicates corte lateral, alicates corte frontal, alicates corte sueco), wire-strippers
(pelacables), "locking pliers" (mordazas de presion}-in United States English generally
called by the most popular brand name ''vise-grips''-and "bolt-cutters" (cizallas; these are
not pliers at all but are used to cut padlocks and other metal bars). However, given that this
website is from Spain, one must wonder to what extent these terms are universal and to what
degree they primarily represent Peninsular Spanish usage. For information on "needlenose
pliers," see section A7 above.
power plant (and other types of industrial plants). The DECu defines planta electrica as
"Establecimiento industrial destinado a la producci6n de energia electrica mediante la
transformaci6n de otros tipos de energia" and indicates that central eIectrica is used in this
same sense in both Spain and Cuba The DEArg indicates that usina eIectrica is the
Argentine equivalent; its definition is identical to theDECu's definition ofplanta electrica.
The DRAE defines usina as "(Del fro usine). Arg., Eol., Chile, Col., Par. y Ur. Instalaci6n
industrial importante, en especialla destinada a producci6n de gas, energia electrica, agua
potable, etc." The DEUMex defines planta as "IV Instalaci6n en la que se produce energia
o se fabrican ciertos productos: una planta de luz, planta textil, planta petroquimica."
However, perhaps planta eIectrica is not as regional as the DECu seems to suggest, given
that the DRAE defines planta as "10. Fabrica central de energia, instalaci6n industrial." In
any case, the question remains as to which terms are most commonly used for power plants
(and other types of industrial plants) in which countries.
retread (verb). With regard to the retreading oftires, the NDCol (Colombia) defines reencauchar
as "Recubrir con una soluci6n de caucho las llantas de un vehiculo para evitar su desgaste"
and indicates that the Peninsular Spanish equivalent is recauchutar, and that vulcanizar is
used in both Spain and Colombia in this sense. The DECu (Cuba), however, defines
vulcanizar and recapar as "Cubrir con caucho la parte exterior de un neumatico" and
indicates the Peninsular Spanish equivalent is recauchutar. And the DUEN (Nicaragua)
defines vulcanizar as "tr. Reparar neumaticos." This is confirmed by the DRAE, which
defines vulcanizar as "tr. Combinar azufre con goma elastica para que esta conserve su
elasticidad en frio yen caliente" and "2. tr. Cuba yNic. Repararneumaticos." In other words,
the DRAE indicates that in General Spanish vulcanizar r ~ r s to the rubber manufacturing
process but not to repairing or retreading oftires. The DRAE also states that reencauchar is
used in Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru and Venezuela in the sense of
recauchutar, which it defines with no regional specification as "Volver a cubrir de caucho
una llanta 0 cubierta desgastada." The DRAE also lists recauchar in this sense with no
regional specification. The DUEN(Nicaragua) defines rencauchar as "recubrir de caucho
la llanta gastada." No doubt this "alternate" way of spelling reencauchar is not uncommon
given that reencauchar and rencauchar sound identical in rapid, and perhaps even in normal
speech (i.e. not "spelling bee speech"). We note that the DRAE no longer places an accent
mark on demonstrative pronouns (like esta in the definition ofvulcanizar above, "para que
esta conserve su elasticidad") unless there is a risk of amphibology, that is, ambiguity.
However, many educated Spanish speakers disapprove (or are unaware) of this reform,
continue to use accent marks on demonstrative pronouns such as esta and este, and correct
and/or criticize those who do not.
saw. For information on hacksaws, see section A5 above. In this study, numerous respondents from
all twenty Spanish-speaking countries indicated that serrucho refers to the standard manual
wood saw, consisting of a broad, usually tapered blade, no frame, and a handle at one end.
However, finer distinctions such as a "cross-cut saw" (used to cut against the grain of the
wood) or a "rip saw" (for cutting parallel to the grain) were not researched, nor were other
types ofmanual wood saws such as a "backsaw" ("A saw that is reinforced by a metal band
along its back edge" AHD; it is often used with a miter box for making precise cuts), a
"coping saw" ("A light handsaw with a slender blade stretched across a U-shaped frame,
used for cutting designs in wood" AHD), a ''buck saw" (handsaw with a blade stretched
across a frame for cutting branches or logs), or a ''two-man saw" (large handsaw with a
handle at each end for cutting logs). Would a backsaw be a sierra de lomo or a serrucho de
lomo, or some other term? The DRAB defines a serrim as "Sierra larga con un mango 0
manija en cada extremo" (two-man saw). Research also needs to be done to determine the
regional distributions and different meanings of the verbs aserrar, aserruchar, serrar and
serruchar. Serruchar also has an important regional meaning, which the DRAE defines as
"2. Ecuad., El Salv., Hond., Pan., PerU, P. Rico. y Ur. Trabajar secretamente en contra del
prestigio 0 posicion de alguien." I know this usage to be very common in Ecuador, having
lived there, but could it be common in Uruguay and not in Argentina (it has been confirmed
to me by Argentines), in Puerto Rico and not the Dominican Republic, in El Salvador,
Honduras and Panama, but in none ofthe other Central American countries? Cuesta creerIo.
sawdust. Is aserrin the predominant term in most ifnot all ofSpanish America andserrin the most
common one in Spain, or is the situation more complicated than that? The Hispanic Antilles
may be an exception to this rule for in the Lexico del habla culta de San Juan de Puerto Rico
(L6pez Morales: 158), serrin and aserrin were each given by five out oftwelve respondents.
septic tank and cesspool. The DRAE defines pozo negro as "EI que para deposito de aguas
inmundas se hace junto a las casas, cuando no hay alcantarillas" and defines pozo ciego as
"Arg. pozo negro." The NDUindicates that pozo ciego is used in this sense in Uruguay as
well. Which terms are most common in each country? See wastewater below.
shovel (or type of shovel). The NDCol defines garlancha as "Cund[inamarca], Huila, Tol[ima]
Variedad de pala pequefia, usada especialm. en albanileria."
shower hose, shower head and shower. The DEArg defines duchador as "Dispositivo de metal 0
de plastico, de forma alargada, que tiene en un extremo una flor
y que, mediante una
manguera 0 tubo flexible, se conecta con una canilla 0 caneria y sirve para ducharse
dirigiendo manualmente la salida de agua" and indicates that the Peninsular Spanish
equivalent is ducha de telefono. Since we are discussing showers, shower heads and shower
hoses, we also note that the DEUMex defines regadera as "I Utensilio provisto de multitud
de perforaciones que se coloca en la punta de un tubo de agua corriente para que esta salga
a presion y en varios chorros, particularmente el que se pone a cierta altura en un bano y sirve
para banarse: darse un banD de regadera, ponerle una regadera alfregadero" and "2 Lugar
del baiio, generalmente aislado por una cortina, donde se coloca este utensilio y donde uno
se baiia: meterse a fa regadera, 'Sufrio un accidente en la regadera'." Is regadera used in
preference to ducha in the sense ofshower elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world, besides
skylight. The DRA.E defines claraboya as "(Del fro claire-voie, y este del lat. clara via). Ventana
abierta en el techo 0 en la parte alta de las paredes" and tragafuz as "Ventana abierta en un
techo 0 en la parte superior de una pared, generalmente con derrame hacia adentro." Neither
tenn is listed with anyregional specification or cross-referencing, and yet the two definitions
are tantalizingly close; claraboyas obviously also have den-ame hacia adentro. What
semantic distinctions do Spanish speakers make between them-we note Antonio Buero
Vallejo's playwas calledEf tragaluz, not La claraboya-and are the tenns used more in some
regions than in others?
spare parts, spare tires, etc. The DEUMex defines refaccion as "Pieza que sirve para sustituir a otra
semejante enunamaquina; pieza de repuesto: refacciones automotrices,falta de refacciones,
llanta de refaccion"; the DRAEindicates that refaccion is also used in Honduras in this same
sense ofrecambio or repuesto. Is refaccion used elsewhere in this sense? The DEArgdefines
refaccion as "Accion de arreglar 0 componer algo viejo 0 deteriorado, especialmente una
casa 0 un edificio" and indicates that the Peninsular Spanish equivalent is restauracion.
However, refaccion is really a repair and is not synonymous with restauracion. The DRAE
defines refaccion, with no regional specification, as "2. Compostura 0 reparacion de 10
estropeado," which leads one to believe that this usage maybe universal rather than regional.
Is it general, as the DRAEseems to indicate, or is it regional, as Haensch and Werner claim?
switchman. The DECu defines cambiavia as "Empleado que se ocupa de los cambios de aguja en
las vias de ferrocarril" and indicates that guardagujas is the Peninsular Spanish tenn. The
DRAE, in turn, defines cambiavia as "(De cambiar y via). Col., Cuba y Mex. guardagujas."
The DEArg defines cambista and guardahi/os as "Empleado ferroviario, que recorre los
rieles y hace los cambios necesarios para que el tren pueda cambiar de via" and indicates that
cambiador, cambiavia and guardagujas are used in Spain, and that guardagujas,
guardahilos and cambista are used inArgentina. It would be interesting to knowwhich term,
guardagujas or cambiavia, is more common in Mexico, especially since there is a well
known short story called "El Guardagujas" by the Mexican writer Juan Jose Arreola.
(Because it is not a costumbrista story, even if cambiavia were more common in Mexico
than guardagujas, it makes sense that Arreola would have opted for the General Spanish
tenn.) Looking at the issue from a pan-Hispanic perspective, what are the relative frequencies
of all of the different tenns used in the sense of switchman in all of the different Spanish-
speaking countries?
tape measure. To what extent are cinta metrica, metro and/or centimetro General Spanish tenns for
tape measure? Which tenns refer to which type oftape measures in which countries (e.g. the
kind carpenters use vs. ones used by tailors and seamstresses)? The DRAE lists giiincha as
"(Voz quechua) Bol. cinta metrica." What other tenns are out there?
thread (of a screw or bolt). Rosca is the General Spanish tenn, but hi/a is defined in the DECHas
f i ~ Borde en espiral que sirve para encajar y desencajar un tornillo, perno, tuerca, cafieria,
tool. Herramienta is the General Spanish term for ''tool,'' but the DRAEdefinesfierro as "3. C. Rica.
herramienta (II instrumento de trabajo)." Yet there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that this
usage is common in other Spanish-speaking countries (besides Costa Rica) such as Ecuador,
Peru and Chile. Where else is fierro used in this sense?
walls (stone walls, brick walls, masonry walls) and fences. The DRAE defines barda
with no
regional specification as "(De or. inc.) Seto, vallado 0 tapia que circunda una propiedad" but
the DEUMex defines barda as "Muro de piedra, adobe, ladrillo, etc. que sirve para separar
un terreno 0 una construccion de otros y para protegerlos 0 aislarlos." Is the latter usage
distinctly Mexican, or is it found elsewhere, and if so, with what .frequency in different
regions? There is evidence to suggest that the use of barda in this sense is much more
common in Mexico than in other countries where people would just call this type of wall a
muro, a pared, or perhaps a tapia, a tapial or a verja. The lexico del habla culta studies
address the issue of'wall' in item 1125, and those of 'fence' and 'metal fence' in items 1427
and 1126, respectively. Nonetheless, more research needs to be done to determine how
different Spanish speakers use and interpret terms such as cerca, cercado, cerco, enrejado,
medianera, reja, tapia, tapial, valla, vallado and verja.
washers (e.g. rubber or plastic washers used in plumbing). The DRAE definesjunta as "7. Pieza de
carton, canamo, caucho u otra materia compresible, que se coloca en la union de dos tubos
u otras partes de un aparato 0 maquina, para impedir el escape del cuerpo fluido que
contienen" and zapatilla as "4. Pieza de cuero, goma, etc., que sirve para mantener
hermeticamente adheridas dos partes diferentes que estan en comunicacion, como cafierias,
depositos, etc." The DRAE also defines empaque as "3. Col., C. Rica y Hond. zapatilla (II
pieza para mantener hermeticamente adheridas dos partes diferentes)." The NDCol defines
guasa as "Pequena pieza en forma de disco de metal 0 de goma, con un orificio en el medio,
que se utiliza, p. ej., como zapatilla de una llave 0 grifo" and indicates that it is a synonym
ofwhat in Spain and Colombia is called arandela (?). The NDCol also defines empaque as
"Anillo de cuero, goma u otra materia compresible que se coloca en lajuntura de dos piezas,
p. ej. en los grifos y cafierias, para evitar que escapen los fluidos" and indicates that it is a
synonym ofwhat in Spain is called ajunta. With regard to washers used in plumbing, initial
evidence from this study suggests that empaque may be used in much of Spanish America,
junta and zapatilla in Spain, zapatilla in the Antilles, and cuerito in Argentina. For
information on metal washers (used with screws and bolts), see section B5 above.
waste water. The DRAE defines agua residual as "La que procede de viviendas, poblaciones 0
zonas industriales y arrastra suciedad y detritos. U. m. en pI. [Usado mas en plural]" and
defines aguas negras as "aguas residuales." The DRAE also defines aguas albanales as
"Cuba. aguas residuales" and aguas servidas as "Arg., PerU y Ur. aguas residuales." It
appears that the termaguas servidas is used in many more countries thanjust these three, but
which terms are used with which frequencies in which countries? See septic tank above.
winch. The NDCol defines hiiinche and giiinche as "Maquina de varios tipos, consistente
fundamentalmente en un cilindro en el cual se arrolla un cable, soga 0 cadena para elevar 0
mover pesos" and indicates that cabrestante is used in this same sense in Spain and
Colombia. The DRAE defines guinche (with no dieresis or umlaut on the u) as "Arg., Bol.,
Cuba y Ur. griia (II maquina para levantar y trasladar cargas)." If the initial sound of the
Spanish word which derives from English ''winch'' is labial like the sound ofthe win English
"weather" or labial and palatal similar to the sound of the grv in English "Gwen," then a
dieresis on the u seems to be necessary on the spelling with a g (gii.inche), but superfluous
on the spelling with an h, since hiiinche would be pronounced the same as huinche. Ifthe
initial sound is velar (like the g in English "gift"), then guinche is the logical spelling. See
section B5.3, General, above for a discussion of spelling issues involving gulgii vs. hUe
wrench A - flat wrenches or rigid wrenches. Like crescent wrenches (see section A8 above), flat
wrenches are used to turn nuts and bolts, but unlike crescent wrenches, flat wrenches do not
adjust ~ as a result, are generally sold in an entire set. Three common types of flat
wrenches are the "open-end wrench" (one having fixed open jaws), the "closed wrench,"
''box wrench" or "box-end wrench" (one with enclosed heads inside of which are gripping
angles), and the "combination wrench" or "combo wrench" (one with a box end and an open
end on opposite sides ofthe same wrench, with both ends usually the same size; see Figure
A8' in lllustrations). Combo wrenches are actuallythe most common type offlat wrench. The
"open-end wrench" seems to correspond to what the DRAE calls a /lave de tuerca, which it
defines as "Herramienta en forma de horquilla, que sirve para apretar 0 aflojar las tuercas en
los tomillos." In this study, the following terms were offered by respondents from the
following countries for "open-end wrenches": /lave abierta (Honduras?, Panama, Cuba?,
Dominican Republic), /lave boca fija (Colombia, Paraguay?), /lave de boca (panama?,
Colombia?, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay?, Argentina), /lave de cola (Guatemala), /lave
de perno (Bolivia), /lave de punta (Chile), /lave de tuerca(s) or /lave tuerca (Costa Rica,
Cuba?, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Ecuador?, Uruguay, Chile), /lave
espanola (Cuba, DominicanRepublic?), /laverzja (Spain, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua,
Costa Rica, Panama?, Puerto Rico, Venezuela?, Colombia, Bolivia?, Paraguay?, Uruguay,
Argentina), and /lavepara tuercas (Colombia). The following terms were offered for "closed
wrenches": /lave (de) corona (Honduras, Costa Rica, Ecuador), /lave de estre/la
(Colombia?), llave de estrias (Puerto Rico?), and /lave estriada (Argentina?). And for
"combination wrenches" respondents offered /lave mixta, llave combinada and llave de
combinacion; research needs to be done to determine if any of the latter three terms are
regionally weighted.
wrench B - lug wrench or tire wrench. The NDCol (Colombia) defines cruceta as "Herramienta
en forma de cruz, usada para ajustar las tuercas que aseguran las ruedas de los autom6viles"
and indicates that the Peninsular Spanish equivalent is /lave de ruedas. The DEArg defines
/lave en cruz as "Herramienta de metal, en forma de cruz, que se emplea para sacar y ajustar
los tomillos de las ruedas de un autom6vil 0 vemculo de carga" The Diccionario de
Guatemaltequismos (Morales Pellecer) defines /lave de chuchos as "herramienta que se usa
para aflojar 0 apretar los chuchos (V.) de las llantas" and defines chucho as ''tuerca de los
tomillos que sujetan las ruedas de un carro." The NDCR (Costa Rica) defines llave de rana
as "Llave en forma de cruz con abultamientos en cada extremo por donde se ajustan las
tuercas de las ruedas de los autom6viles." And the DHAV(Venezuela) defines /lave de cruz
as "Herramienta de metal formada por dos barras de hierro 0 acero cruzadas entre S1 con una
pieza en cada uno de sus extremos especial para tuercas, que se utiliza principalmente para
cambiar las ruedas de los autom6viles." In this study, /lave (de) cruz was also offered by
some Hondurans and Nicaraguans in this sense. What are the equivalents of tire wrench or
lug wrench in the other Spanish-speaking countries?
wrench C (other types ofwrenches). The DEArg defines llave California as "Herramienta de hierro
o acero, con muescas y agujeros, que se usa en el campo para estirar el alambre y ajustar
tornillos" and one Argentine in this study indicated that a llave cocodrilo is a V-shaped flat
wrench with grippers (like those on ajar-opener) that is used on ships to adjust large nuts and
lugs. Other types of wrenches that were not researched at all in this study include "allen
wrenches," "chain wrenches," "locking wrenches," "ratchet wrenches," "socket wrenches"
and "torque wrenches." A description of each of these can be found at www.acehard-
1. From Abstract. I would like to express my appreciation to Lucrecia Hug, ClaryLoisel and Sharlee
Merner Bradley for editing earlier drafts and making valuable suggestions, as well as to Virginia
Navarro for going out of her way to put me in contact with informants/respondents for this study.
I would also like to thank all those who generously gave oftheir time to answer questions on usage.
In addition to the works that appear in References below, information on items in other domains or
semantic fields whose names in Spanish vary by region is found in the following works by Andre
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theAmerican Translators Association, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A., November 8-12, 1995.
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"A box of office supplies: dialectological fun." The Georgetown Journal of Languages &
Linguistics. Vol 1.3. Ed. Richard J. O'Brien, SJ. 1990.315-344.
2. From Introduction (Section 0). Spanish speakers have not been extensively surveyed in this study
regarding the names for the claw of a hammer, but preliminary information suggests that the term
for this itemmayalso vary. Investigation needs to be done to determine who says la una del martillo,
who says la oreja del martillo, who says la pata de cabra del martillo, and who uses other terms.
3. FromIntroduction (Section 0), The termelectrical is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary
(pickett), the Encarta Webster's Dictionary (Soukhanov), and the NewOxfordAmerican Dictionary
(McKean) with various adjectival senses relating to electricity, but in none of these sources is it
defined as a noun with the meaning of "electrical system," "wiring and other electrical work" or
"electrical department." While one may certainly object to the use of electrical as a noun on the
grounds that the suffix -al is adjectival, I believe this is a gap in English-language lexicography that
needs to be filled since electrical can be a noun as the following examples illustrate: "The inspection
will cover all major elements of the home including the grounds, the exterior, the electrical, the
plumbing, the heating and air, the structural components, the foundation and/or basement, the
interior trim, flooring, kitchen/appliances, bathrooms, and much more..." ("Safe and Sound Home
Inspections, Inc."; emphasis on electrical added), and "The Ferrari management went in and
completelygutted the assembly lines, staging and work areas. They tore it all out - the electrical, the
plumbing, the works..." (Mandarano; emphasis on electrical added). Electrical in these examples
appears to be an ellipsis of"electrical system," but grammatically the word is functioning as a noun
just like plumbing, heating, air, andfoundation. Similarly, if you go into a hardware store and ask
an employee where you can find, say, wire nuts, he or she may very well give you an answer such
as "That's over in electrical. All the way down the aisle, then make a..." In this case, electrical is an
ellipsis of"electrical department." The process by which adjectives get converted into nouns is quite
common and productive in English. Consider such ubiquitous examples as e-mail ('an e-mail
message') and voice-mail ('a voice-mail message'). Who among us can say with a straight face that
he or she has never heard phrases like, "She left me a voice-mail"? And in the future, I suspect there
will probably be fewer and fewer of us who can say we have never used such phrases in our own
speech and even writing. A more recent example of this linguistic process now frequently used by
"computer people" (who in the United States seem to be an increasingly large percentage of the
population) is the use ofthe noun work-around in the sense of"a strategy or technique used to work
around some problemor difficulty." Here, work-aroundis an ellipsis ofwork-aroundstrategy, work-
around technique, etc.
4. From Introduction (Section 0.2), The Home Depot was a large chain home-improvement store in
the United States at the end ofthe second millennium A.D. and the beginning ofthe third offering
a broad selection ofproducts and low prices, though sometimes limited advice or guidance from its
personnel on where to find things or what was required for the job. The Home Depot epitomized
one-stop shopping in that customers who did not have a truck could rent one at the store by the hour
in order to haul away their building materials. And for those contractors or homeowners in need of
inexpensive day labor, Home Depot stores in many states had the added allure of allowing guys,
immigrants, without whom the construction industry (among others) would literally grind to a halt,
to hang out in their parking lot in the hopes ofbeing hired.
5. From Section AD.3, Ecuador. It is somewhat odd that theHEDE(CordovaMalo), in its definition
of bailejo, should refer to ''Norte'' as a region of Ecuador as it is more typical to speak of two
separate zones, the "Costa Norte" and the "Sierra Norte," which geographically, culturally and
phonologically have little in common. There may not be complete agreement, however, on how the
regions ofEcuador are to be defined. For example, El Gran Libro de la Cocina Ecuatoriana (Rojas:
4,28,92, 112, 144, 160, 176, 189) divides the country into eight regions consisting ofthe following
provinces: Costa Norte (Esmeraldas and Manabi), Costa Sur (Guayas, los Rios and el Oro), Sierra
Norte (el Carchi and Imbabura), Sierra Central (pichincha, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Chimborazo and
Bolivar), Austro (Cafiar and Azuay), Sierra Sur (Loja), Oriente (Zamora Chinchipe, Morona
Santiago, Pastaza and Napo) and the Galapagos. Lipski (1994: 247-249), however, viewing Ecuador
fromthe point ofviewofphonology, distributes the provinces into the following six regions: Coastal
Region (Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los Rios, Manabi), Extreme North-Central (el Carchi), Central
Highlands (from Imbabura to Chimborazo), Cafiar and Azuay (that is, Rojas' Austro), Loja (Rojas'
Sierra Sur), and the Amazonian Region (what Ecuadorans call el Oriente). Aside from omitting the
coastal province ofel Oro, which does not greatly affect the overall division, the main difference is
that Lipski 's "Sierra Central" includes Imbabura, since the speech of this province shares some
phonological traits with that ofQuito and points farther south, whereas for Rojas this province is part
of the Sierra Norte. With regard to the Oriente, we also note that the Amazonian province ofNapo
was recently divided into three new provinces: Napo, Orellana and Sucumbios.
6. From Section AI6.3, Venezuela. According to the list of abbreviations on pages LXXV-LXXVI of
the Diccionario de Venezolanismos (Tejera), "Centr" refers to the Centro or Region Central,
consisting of the Distrito Federal, i.e. Caracas, and the states of Miranda, Aragua and Carabobo,
"Llan" refers to the (Venezuelan) Llanos, consisting of the states ofCojedes, Portuguesa, Barinas,
Apure, Guanco and the western part ofthe state ofAnzoategui, "Truj" refers to the state ofTrujillo,
and "Dec" refers to the Region Occidental, consisting of the states of Zulia, Yaracuy, Falcon and
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. ~ = : . ; . . . . . : . = . -.-.--- WOODWORKING TOOLS

A great variety of tools was needed throughout the construction of the city.
Most were made in forges and workshops on the site. The more precise measuring
instruments and squares were brought from Rome.