Last week we looked at words from Spanish describing land-formations. Here are some more-general words English has acquired form Spanish.
camarilla – a body of secret intriguers
[Spanish, literally, 'small room']
Although many dictionaries define the term as a body of scheming advisors, it is not limited to 'advisors' (see second quotation).
– Paul K. Eiss, Journal of Social History, Summer, 2003
The shift of power from parliament to the army and the court camarilla was completed in Yugoslavia, whose parliament functioned either as a mere talking shop or not at all.
– Bosnian Institute News, UK, May 31, 2006
Today's word traces back to Latin salvus safe; salvare make safe (as in 'salvage').
A king's food was pre-tasted to assure it was 'safe' – not poisoned – and thus 'saving' the king. After this testing (pregustation) the food was presented to the king on a special, identifying tray. In Spanish the pre-tasting, and the tray itself, were named salva from the Latin. When the word passed into English (perhaps through French), an -er ending was attached, akin to platter.
salver – a tray, usually silver, for formal serving of food or drink
– Louisa May Alcott, Little Men
It's fitting that Venus Williams keeps winning the gilded, silver salver that has been awarded to the ladies' singles champ at Wimbledon since 1886. Like Williams, the Venus Rosewater Dish is named for a goddess.
– Philadelphia Inquirer, May 28, 2006
morocco – fine flexible leather made (originally in Morocco) from goatskins tanned with sumac
vaquero – a cowboy; a cattle-driver [esp. used in Texas] [from Spanish vaca cow]
buckaroo – a cowboy; a cattle-driver [an Anglicized version of vaquero, from California]
The second quote uses buckaroo as a verb, a usage I have not found in the dictionaries.
– Russell Freedman, In the Days of the Vaqueros: America's First True Cowboys
He left home at age 15 to buckaroo for a number of large open range outfits in Nevada and southern Idaho.
– obituary for Wayne Hage, Eldrige (Iowa) North Scott Press, June 14, 2006
Now hold on, partner. I'm not the young buckaroo that I once was, but I have been on MySpace.
– Motley Fool, May 26, 2006
The dictionaries define today's word as "inspiration, magic, fire" (OED) or as "power to attract by personal magnetism and charm" (AHD; MW). I believe these definitions are too broad (the latter would apply to Bill Clinton). Rather, the term is for a performer.
duende – a performer's fiery intensity that sweeps away the audience
[think of a powerful flamenco dancer] [Sp. dialect, from Sp. for 'ghost; goblin]
– Daily Telegraph, Mar. 31, 1970 (credit OED)
It was genuine flamenco too, none of your tourists' stuff. But there was no duende. The majority of our group were far too caught up in their own class, culture and language to appreciate the efforts of a couple of stamping gypsies, and we just sat there like a row of gargoyles. Most of us didn't even clap.
– Jeremy Clarke, The Spectator, June 10, 2000
vamoose – informal: to depart suddenly and hurriedly
[from Spanish vamos let's go]
– Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife
sympatico – likeable; congenial 2. of like mind or temperament; compatible
[Spanish simpático or Italian simpatico]
Note that this word can describe either a person, or a relationship between people. The latter sense implies, I would think, a close mental harmony; see last two quotes.
He liked being put to work, feeling useful, and my grandmother liked to use him. They were a simpatico team. – Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones: A Novel
It was like an ultimate simpatico, being two people at once: not telepathy, but mutual awareness. – Frank Herbert, Dune
quinella – a bet where the bettor must name the top two finishers
perfecta – a bet where the bettor must name the top two finishers, in order (also called exacta)
trifecta – a bet where the bettor must name the top three finishers, in order
[Am. Spanish quiniela. Spanish, a 'perfect' or 'exact' quinella.]
Trifecta is much more interesting when used figuratively, as in our example quote. It was claimed that a candidate will do well by adopting the issue-positions of the winner of a recent election.
– Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2006