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 Diccionario etimologico de la lengua Castellana


The dictionary of etymology of the Castellan language, entitled Diccionario etimologico de la lengua Castellana, provides information about the origin of the word and cooking method known in Spanish as barbacoa.

The following includes an excerpt of the Spanish original, after which is the literal English translation and then the general English translation.

Spanish original

This is the original excerpt, at page 85:

B A R B A C O A, amer., 1518, nombre de armazones y andamios destinados a usos varios, procede de una lengua aborigen de la zona del Caribe;  de la ac. 'parrilla que se emplea para asar carne' mej., salv., procede el anglo-amer. barbecue 'lugar donde se asa carne'.

Translation by Hugo from Cuba

B A R B A C O A, amer., Americas, 1518, name of frameworks and scaffolds intended for various uses, originates from an aboriginal language of the Caribbean area; from the ac. 'grill which is used to roast meat' (México, Salvador), comes the Anglo-American barbecue 'place where meat is roasted'.

General translation

This is the general translation:

B A R B A C O A, an American Spanish word first used in 1518 for the name of frameworks and platforms designed for various uses.  It was derived from an aboriginal language of the Caribe Indians.  A second meaning of the word in the Americas [ac.?] is 'a grill which is used to roast meat', which is used in Mexican and Salvadoran Spanish.  The word became the American English word barbecue, which means 'the pit where the meat is roasted'.


  • Diccionario etimologico de la lengua Castellana (1973) 3rd ed.  Page 85.

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