September 30, 2013
jerky (noun)
\JER-kee\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: meat preserved in long strips that are dried in the sun
How do you use it?
When we went hiking, we took trail mix and beef jerky with us for snacks.
Are you a word wiz?

What language do you think "jerky" ultimately comes from?

"Jerky" comes from the Spanish word "charqui," which describes meat that is dried and preserved. The Spanish, in turn, got this word from Quechua, the language of the indigenous peoples of Peru, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Quechua is not a very common language, yet it's given English some fairly common words. The most used are "llama," "condor," and "puma," all referring to animals found in that part of South America. Other examples include "quinoa" (a particular kind of grain) and "Inca." Because the region was conquered by the Spanish, most of our Quechua words came into English through Spanish.
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