|Santa Fe Words & Lingo
Santa Fe Words & Local Lingo
This glossary includes a series of words people like you ask me about all the time. The list is updated and includes links to further expand on the meaning or story.
Acequia - A hand-made irrigation ditch for water maintained by a local community association organized to share the water and distribute it to its members. Spring cleanings of the ditch are major community events.
Acequia Madre - The main or mother ditch. A mural of the "acequia madre" can be found in the City of Santa Fe Hall Building.
Adobe - Hand-made sun-dried clay or mud in the form of bricks for use as a building material; a style of home as in pueblo adobe; a deep rich earth color.
Adobero - The name for a craft person who works with adobe.
Alameda - A road or path through cottonwood trees; the Spanish word for cottonwood trees.
Anasazi - Anasazi people were the early native people of the Southwest; the name of a local hotel and restuarant.
Arroyo - An arroyo means "dry creek" in Spanish is usually dry and quickly fills with water after a heavy rain storm.
Banco - In Santa Fe, a banco is not a bird, a bank or a graphic font. Here it is a sculptured curved bench made of adobe and often covered with plaster around the fireplace in adobe homes to display something of value or importance; an outdoor bench for seating or as a low exterior wall of a courtyard.
Bosque - An area of land near running water forested with cottonwood trees; the Spanish word for "woods"; the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most spectacular sites for bird-watching in North America.
Bulto - A carved and often painted representation of a Saint.
Bullnose Plaster - Plaster shaped into a curve around window or door openings.
Camino - The Spanish word for "way" and a frequent adjective in many street names.
Canale - A roof spout designed to carry water off the typical Santa Fe flat roof.
Casa - The Spanish word for house or home.
Corbels - Sculptured or decordated wood part of a post near the top; design feature that distributes the weight of the roof beams common in portals.
H Board - Slang for Historic Board and the Santa Fe's Historic Styles Ordinances which regulate the architectural style of all buildings within the Historic Districts.
Horno - A bee-hive shaped outdoor oven often blended into an exterior courtyard wall; a traditional Native American Pueblo free-standing adobe bread oven.
Nicho - A small niche carved into an adobe wall or interior wall or hallways of a home used to display pieces of art or other things of wonder or value or of a spiritual nature.
Portal - Outdoor covered patio or walk way connection attached to the home supported by posts with corbels.
Road-Runner - Adopted in 1949 as the State bird called "Paisano" (compatriot) by the Spanish is a long-tailed, long-neck bird with a crested head, olive brown body with legs built for running and is not a good flyer.
Saltillo Tile - Ubiquitous Santa Fe fired tile with many variations of color and shape made in Saltillo, Mexico.
Trombe Wall - A solar window-box structure built against a dark painted south facing adobe wall which acts as a thermosiphoning air collector named after Felix Trombe.
Viga - A horizontal roof beam; a round timber stripped of bark
Yucca - The State flower called by the Spanish "Las Velas de Dios" (the Candles of God) when in bloom bears many white cup-like blossoms hanging at the top of a solid stalk shooting from a clump of stiff and pointed green leaves.