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Chipotle or chip poultry?

Jack of the Box, Jewish Buddha and Not Shoepal wonder how to pronounce chipotle. The answer, of course, is "chee-POHT-lay".

My Diccionario de aztequismos (Ediciones Oasis, México DF, 1984) says:


CHILPOTLE. Nombre común a diversas especies de chile secado a humo o a fuego lento, con lo cual toma color rojo oscuro. El chilpotle se usa para toda clase de salsas, guisos o moles colorados. En el mercado se venden diversas clases de chilpotles, a saber: chile ancho, pasilla, mulato, rayado, morita, cascabelillo, etc., con los cuales se hacen diversas salsas o moles. Etimología: chile ahumado; de chilli, chile, y poctli, humo. Aun cuando ya no se usa el procedimiento de ahumar el chile para secarlo.

(CHILPOTLE. Common name of various species of chile pepper dried with smoke or slow fire, with which they take on a dark red color. Chilpotle is used for all sorts of red salsas, gravies and moles. A number of classes of chilpotles are sold in the market: chile ancho, pasilla, mulato, rayado, morita, cascabelillo, etc., with which different salsas or moles are made. Etymology: smoked pepper; from chilli, chile, and poctli, smoke. Applies even when smoke is not used to dry the pepper.)

See Chile Today's Chile Primer for more on the peppers used to make chipotles.


I gather that the -tl- in chipotle is the unvoiced lateral affricate commonly occurring in Nahuatl; it is similar to the unvoiced ll in Welsh.

Chipotle isn't in the mainstream Spanish dictionaries I have on hand. It's a shame that these dictionaries are so poor at reflecting Nahuatl- and other indigenously-derived words, but thankfully the Diccionario de aztequismos is a delight. It's not that good a guide to current Mexican usage, however; Google shows far more occurrences of chipotle in Spanish-language web pages than the dictionary-endorsed spelling chilpotle.

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