1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Thanksgiving Vocabulary

Words for the Holiday


Thanksgiving turkey (pavo asado)

Pavo asado

Original photo by Tim Sackton used under terms of Creative Commons license.

Prepare to speak Spanish on Thanksgiving by learning these words related to the holiday.

Keep in mind, though, that names of foods don't necessarily translate well, or might not be understood in Spanish-speaking countries, due to cultural differences. For example, the various words that can be translated as "pie" include pastel, tarta, empanada, and even pay. All of those words except the last also refer to other types of desserts, and it might take an explanation or picture to make the meaning clear to someone not familiar with the food being talked about. The flip side of that, as an example, is that while the word relleno would normally be used to refer to turkey stuffing, the same word can be used for just about any type of food filling. Someone unfamiliar with U.S. holiday cuisine may not know specifically what the word refers to without an explanation.

agradecido (por) — thankful (for)
el arándano rojo — cranberry
el budín, el pudín — pudding
la cazuela — casserole
la cena — dinner
comer — to eat
la cucurbitácea o la calabaza — squash (the same Spanish terms also are used for other related plants)
el Día de Acción de Gracias — Thanksgiving
la familiafamily
el fútbol americano — football (not soccer)
la festividad de la cosecha — harvest festival
gluglú gluglú — gobble gobble (turkey sound)
las gracias — thanks
el indio, la india, el/la indígena americano/a — American Indian, native American
el maíz — corn
la mazorca de maíz — corn on the cob
el noviembre — November
el ñame, la batata, el boniato — yam
el otoño — autumn, fall
el pavo — turkey
el pavo asado — roast turkey
el panecillo — dinner roll
los parientes — relatives
el pastel (o la tarta) de calabaza — pumpkin pie
el peregrino — pilgrim
el puré de patatas — mashed potatoes
el relleno stuffing, turkey dressing
la salsa para carne — gravy
las sobras, los restos — leftovers
las verduras — vegetables

Vocabulary notes:

el pavo, la pava: In Spanish, it is sometimes possible to distinguish between  male and female animals by using the masculine and feminine forms of the word. Thus a female turkey is una pava. Some other animal names follow a similar pattern: Una mona is a female monkey, una polla is a young hen (and also an off-color word with a different meaning), and una puerca is a sow. But don't assume that any feminine animal name refers to the feminine of the species. For example, una jirafa is a giraffe regardless of its sex.

Ñame: The word for "yam" is one of the few in Spanish to start with the ñ. Among the more common ones are ñoño (insipid or dull) and words derived from it, ñora (red pepper), and ñu (gnu).

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.