This page provides a basic understanding of the Taino language. Words and phrases will be updated periodically so check back to see what
new word you can master. Please be aware that the Taino language is considered by many a "Lost Language". The Taino were so decimated by the Spaniards that much of the culture as well as the language has been lost to time and the great spirits.

    Many words have been mutated due to the ethnic entertwining of the Spanish as well as the African dialetic. Most words are very straight foreward and are not debated at all. Other words are debated by scholars who assign their best educated spellings and meanings to them.  Disagreements are bound to happen in both professional and laymans circles.

    The intent is to provide a basic understanding of words and phrases and is in no way presented to be the definitive version of the language. For more information on the subject, I highly recommend you click on the "Resources" link to the right. There you will find links to other pages with more detailed information on the subject.
-A-
Abacoa - Borinken name of the grand river in                    Arecibo, P.R.
Abey - Tree native to Cuba
Abuje - lice, also called  "babuje",  More  commonly known in P.R. as "abuse"
Achiote - Tree, mexican origin from "achiohtle,               Taino name "bija", seeds are used as facial coloring as well as tinting cloth,tree can produce red or yellow seeds
Acuba' - fruit from the Mamey tree
Acu' - eye
Agueybana - Name of the primary cacique of  Boriken (Puerto Rico) during 1514
Agueat - money
Aje - vegetable, incorrectly named  name by  Christopher Columbus s this is the word he first heard it called in  haiti
Aji - hot pepper
Ajiaco - applied to a bowl cosisting of pumpkin,            plantane, sweet yuca and other vegetables   with corn and pork added
Akani - enemy
Amaraca - a sacred ceremonial wooden rattle made of black Capa wood
Ama' - river or body of water
Amona - island of "La Mona" just off P.R. coast
Ana - flower
Anacaona - golden flower
Anana - pineapple (see "yayama")
Anani - water flower
Anaiboa - starchy white juice made from the   sweet yuka plant, used for making a sweet drink (see "naiboa")
Anamu - local plant
Anibon - areai in Morovis, P.R
Anon - fruit from the tree of same  name
Anki - evil person
Ao'n - dog or little dog
Apito - infinite, without beginning or end
Ara' - people
Ara - a small red bird also called the Guacamayo
Aracoel - grandmother
Ara'quaca' - dance
Ara'guacu - the sacred people, a name from   where the word Arawak originated
Arecibo - town in P.R. founded 1580, named  after the Cacique Arasibo
Areito - a traditional dance with historic songs
Arepa - corn cake
Ari' - invader
Arijua - forigner
Arike - line or cord useed to carry bulk fish made from a strip of Yagua of the Royal   Palm Tree
Aracoel - grandfather
Atabey - Mother Earth
Atibuineix - type of potato (batata)
Ausubo - tree native to P.R.

-B-
Baba - father
Bacupey - country areas in the area of Arecibo, P.R.
Bagua - sea
Baira - bow
Bajacu' - dawn, the morning light
Bajari - a title of distinction and high respect
-Bo-
Bo - large, round, as an island or a Bohio
Bo' - Great Lord
Bo'jike - meaning Great Lord of the Forest and                  Earth" as well as Bohiti
Bohio - roundhouse
Boniata - sweet Yuca
Boricu'a - The Valiant People of the Sacred                          House
Borinquen - Original Taino name for Puerto Rico,                also spelled by many as Buriquen,  Boriken, Burichena, Boriquen and  Boriqve
Bosiba - large rock

-C-
Cabuya - a thin cord or fishing line made from                   the fibers of the Majagua or Maguey                  plant (see jico)
Cacey - river tributary in Anasco, Puerto Rico
Cacike - Chief
Cacibajagua - The Black Cave
Cacona - reward
Caguabo - area in Anasco, Puerto Rico
Caguama - big sea turtle
Caguana - The fertility Mother, also known as  The Woman of Caguana
Caguax - name of Boriken Cacique. Name has  been corrupted from the indigenous and  is now the name of a town named Caguas, Puerto Rico
Caicu - reef or little island land bridge
Caguana - river tributary in Arecibo, a barrio in               Utuado, Puerto Rico
Caguama - type of sea turtle
Cagueara - small shell used to scrape the skin off  of the Yuca
Caduayo - the gecko
Calichi - fountain of the high maountain
Caimito - fruit tree also known as Caymito, used by the Taino to make bows
Cajaya - female shark
Ca'n - center (see "Huraca'n")
Canari - bowl made of clay
Caniba - Carib Indian
Caney - longhouse, house of the head Tribal Chief   or Village Elder,  square  construction
Caniaco - barrio in Utuado, Puerto Rico   
Canoa - small boat, embarcation, made from the         trunk of a tree, they could hold 50-100  people, some were so large they   could hold up to 150 people
Canocum - the number "3"
Caobana - tree indigenous to Puerto Rico, two  species known as the male and female
Caona - yellow gold
Caparra - name of the first Spaniard town in  Puerto Rico, 1508, given by Juan  Ponce de Leon
Caracuri - nose ring, jewelry, these were usually            made of gold
Carey - the green sea turtle
Cari' - Island of the Valiant, native name for what is known today as Trinidad
Carib - strong man
Caribe - Brave People
Caracuri - jewelry for the nose
Carey - species of turtle
Caribe - name given to a tribe that was warlike   and  caused great concern to the Taino, it is speculated that the Caribe were
Carib - Name erroneously given to Boriken                    (Puerto Rico) by Don Martin Fernandez               Navarrete in 1825 cannibals
Caricaboa - barrio in Utuado, Puerto Rico
Caryabo'n - designates the largest river in   Puerto Rico, not to be confused with the river Cayniabo'n in Luiza, Puerto Rico
Caona - gold
Casabi(e) - bread made from the Yuca plant Catibia - the Yuca plant once peeled, and pressed   with the juice squeezed out
Catey - disturb, bother
Cay - island
Cayajabo - a red matt color,  dull red
Cayaya - a shrub
Cayey - town in Puerto Rico, name meaning  "Place of Water"
Cayo - a pass between islands, Cay Island, a Pass or Key
Cayuco - boat made of one piece of wood, flat,  without a keel
Cemi - meaning "Forehead of the Lord", totem,               actual spelling is "zemi' "
Ceiba - tree, should actually be written as "seiba"
Chich - beer, a fermented drink mad of corn
Ciba - stone
Cibao - stone maountain
Cibuca'n - cylindrical device made of fibers used  to  squeeze out poisenous juices from  the Yuca Brava in the process of  preparing the Casabi bread, in the pure Arawak language is is known as  Matap
Cicheo - actual name of the small island called                  "Desecheo" off the west coast of Puerto               Rico, actual spelling is "Sibuco"
Cike'o - Land of the Stone Mountain
Cimu' - a persons forehead
Ciusa - mallet or board used to flip over the tortas of the casabi (casabi bread) as  they were being cooked over fire on the Bure'n (stove/oven)
Coa - a fire hardened wooden                                      instrument/tool/shovel used in farming, used to plant Yuca and batata
Coalibina - river in Aguada, Puerto Rico
Coamo - town in Puerto Rico
Cobo - marine sea shell
Cocuyo - lightning bug with blueish colored light              (see "Cucubano")
Cohoba - sacred ceremonial snuff made from the seeds of the Cojobana tree., name used  for the sacred Taino religious Cohoba ceremony
Cojiba - rolled tabacco, a Cojiba mix used during              the Cohoba ceremony
Cojibi - cigarette, small cigar
Coki' - small tree frog indigenous to Puerto Rico,            "Tree Spirit of the Earth", also spelled                by Spaniards as "coqui"
Colibri - hummingbird
Conu'co - farm lands, gardens for planting
Cori - guinew pig
Corasi - species of mosquito
Cotuy - town in San German, Puerto Rico
Cu' - sacred, sacred place (see "ku'")
Cucubano - large lighning bug with four wings  and two lights (see "Cocuyo")
Cuey - sacred object
Curi'a - medicinal grass, plural version "Curias" denotes small river in Rio Piedras, Puerto  Rico
Curujei - parasitic plant
Cuyo - light

-Ch-
Cha'gara - small black river crayfish
Choreto - abundance
Chemi'n - totem, variant of Cemi
-D-
Da - I or my
Daca - I am
Daea-ababa - I am a father
Dagiey - barrio in Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Daguao - barrior in La Ceiba, Puerto Rico
Dajao - river fish, barrio in Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Datiao - my friend or I am a friend
Datijao - my lord, expression of esteem
Demajagua - barrio in Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Diaiaca - freshwater fish
Digo - soap made from a plant used to wash the body
Diley - river in Yauco as well as a river in San German,  Puerto Rico
Dita - eating bowl made of the Higuera gourd (tree)
Dujo - a ceremonial chieftain chair, original name is "duchi"

-E-
Ector - Soft corn/sweet corn
Eieri" - Men, specifically ued in the  Taino womans language
Eraera - House, alternate for Bohio
-F-
Fotuto - a musical instrument made from   a sea shell, the word is a Taino Mestizo  for Guamo
-G-
Goeiz -  The spirit of a living person
Gua - art, "The" or "Her", used with high rankin people, example: "The"  King or "Her Majesty", also  equivalent to some times, place
Guaba' - spider
Guabasa - the fruit  which is eaten and  sustains the dead   in the afterlife
Guaca - tree native to Puerto Rico, part, region or   nearness
Guabate - barrio and river that runs thru Cayey, Puerto  Rico
Guabina - freshwater fish
Guacacoa - tree used primarily for textiles
Guacara - lie
Gua'cara - cave or the region of the persons birthplace
Guacabina - Provisions  used when traveling
Guacio - barrior in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico
Guaco - medicinal plant
Guaconax - tree used to make torches because it burned   brite, used to go fishing at night in rivers for  hueyes (crabs)
Guada - garden
Guagua - hua'-hua' (son), bus or van,, a modern Taino  term for method of transportation
Guaguao - hot pepper
Guaica'n - small fish used by the Taino to catch turtles
Guamo - trumpet also known as "Fotuto", made of shell
Guainabo - town in Puerto Rico
Gualiba' - go or leave
Guaili - boy or small infant child
Guaitiao - friend or friends
Guajey - gord scraper, a musical instrument also known  as a Guiro
Guake'te - gathering or joining of the people of the eath  such as in a festival
Gua'kia - we or our
Guali - son, sons, children
Guama - Head or Superior, a type of Head Man of the  tribe
Guama - large shade tree/fruit tree
Guami' - Lord or Sir
Guami'ke'ni - The Lord of Land and Water, name given  to Christopher columbus by the Taino
Guami'ke'na - The Great Lord, name assigned to the  Superior Chiefs, also used to identify the  Spaniards
Guamo - trumpet made from the large sea shell
Guanajo - The Turkey
Guani - Noble Man
Guani'n - the Chiefs golden chest medallion made of thre metals; gold, silver and copper, symbol of  authority of the village chief
Guanime - corn bread made in the form of a small round  ball
Guara - The Place
Guaraguao - Red Tailed Hawk
Guare - Twins
Guarico - come, come here
Guaroco - remembrance, to know
Guata - lie, liar
Guatiao - Taino naming ceremony where names were exchanged, adopted person
Guatu' - fire
Guay - an expression of emotion or pain such as when you say "Ouch! it hurts!", admiration or to yell, "Yucayeke' Guay" meaning "attention village people"
Guayo - grating board used to grate the Yuca plant when             preparing Casabe
Guazabara - war, warrior
Guey - sun
Guiro - plant,  used to make a musical instrument with the            same name as the plant, the original Taino name for this instrument is "Guajey"

-H-
Haiti - original name of the island of Santo                   Domingo/Haiti
Hamaca - hanging bed (hammock) made of  cotton and hung with ropes at each   end, made of twisted cotton,  original spelling is "Jamaca"
Han - yes
Mam Han - yes,this way
Higuera - tree,  today in Puerto Rico the tree   is called jiguera and the fruit is  called jiguera, the Taino made bowles  and other utencils from the          casing of the fruit
Higuana (Iguana) - large lizard which was                                     hunted for food
Hequiti' - number one (1)
Hekiti - one
Humacao - city in Puerto Rico
Hupia - ghost, the spirit of the dead person (see "opia")
Hura - wind
Huraca'n - tempest, the malignant spirit,   center of the wind (hurricane), Hura, wind and Ca'n, center
Hutia - carribbean rabbit

-I-
I' - spirit as in the word "Operi'to, spirit of a dead person or Hupia  ghost spirit of the night
Iguaca - green parrot
Iguana - large green lizard
Inagua - long loin cloth made of white  cotton worn by married women
I'Naru' - women or spirit of women
Inriri - wood pecker
I'ro - man or spirit of man
Ita - red
ita' - don't know
-J-
Ja' - sound used in emotion or admiration  such as in "wow!"
Jaba - basket used to carry things which was  made from bijaos or the  leaves of the  Yarey palm tree, also used to carry a  hammock
Ja'bao - three stringed musical gourd  instrument made from the fruit o the Higuera tree, strings made from the  Yamuey, or cat intestines
Jagua - black dye used to color cotton fabric, also used as body paint
Jagua - fruit tree, white juice  which turns   black with aging, used for body paint  and dye to color cotton materials
Jaiba - river crab, freshwater crayfish
Jan - yes
Ja'tibonicu - The Great High Place of the Sacred Waters, the ancient village of Chief orocobis in the central mountains of Puerto Rico
Jauja'u - the white yuca bread but thinner
Jayuya - town in Puerto Rico
Jeiticacu' - black eyes, also meant as an insult between the Taino
Jeje'n - mosquito
jiba - forest, bush country
Jibaro - man from the forest, today most  associated with the word hillbilly
Jibe - sieve used to extract from the Yuca flower
Jibiria - watermelon
Jico - cord, rope, used to hang a hammock (see "Cabuya")
Jicotea - land turtle
Jimagua - twins
Jubo - snake

-K-
Kachi - sun
Kai - food, nourishment
Karaya - moon
Ke' - earth, land
ki' - earth spirit
Ku' - sacred temple, place of worship (see "Cu'")
Kuki'yo - Spirit of the White Earth Mountain, sacred mountain  and forest in Puerto Rico. corrupted from the original Taino word Yuke'yo
-L-
Li - him, they, them
Liani - wife
Liren - fruit
Luquillo - highest mountain in Puerto Rico, corrupted from the  riginal word "Yukiyo"
-M-
Ma - big
Mabi' - fermented drink derived from the peel of the Mabi' tree fruit
Mabiya - barrio and river in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico
Maboya - ghost bad spirit
Mabuya - club, war club
Maca - tree
Macabuca - what do I care?
Macana - large chunk of wood formed to be held and swung,  offensive weapon used in combat,
Macu' - big eyes
Macuto - deep basket woven from vines
Magu'ey - big sun, a dream (See "Mayohuacan")
Maguayo - barrio  in Dorado, Puerto Rico
Maguey - testile plant
Maguey (accent on the "u" - musical instrument, drum made   from hollowed out tree trunk
Mahite - toothless, missing teeth
Maisi' - corn
Maja - large snake
Manaya - hatchet made of stone
Malanga - vegetable, african origin
Mamey - fruit tree
Manaca - Royal Palm tree
managuis - bag made from the Yagua to transport Casabe
Manati' - sacred sea cow, Big Woman of the Spirit Waters, the animal called "Manatee", also town in Puerto Rico
Manicato - bold person, valiant of good heart
Mapuey - root,usd for food, known today as name
Mao - cotton bib made to protect the thorax, used only by  Chiefs and underchiefs, worn on the shoulders of the  Chiefs when they went on long sea travels in the    Caribbean seas
Maraca - rattle usually made from a small gourd from the  Higuera tree, musical instrument, word still used   today in the english language
Matu'm - generosity, a cultural streak within the Taino culture
Matu'n -  generous
Mayohuaca'n - Taino sacred ceremonial drum (see "Magu'ey")
Mime - small fly, gnat
Mini - fountain of spring water
Moin - blood
Mu' - head (see "Cimu")
Mucaru - owl, bird of night, called "Night Eagle" and is a good spiritual symbol for the Taino
-N-
N - Noble Lord
Na - thing, me
Nabori - tribesman
Naca'n - center
Nagua - small loin cloth woven from cotton primarily worn by married taino women but also worn today by the Taino Men
Nailboa - poisenous juice from the Yuca brava   used for river fishing (see "Anaiboa")
Naguabo - town in Puerto Rico
Naje - oar used for rowing
Nana' - girl
Nanichi - my heart, my love
Naniki - spirit, being active
Natiao - brother, brothers (related by blood)
Naua - pineapple
Ni - water
Nigua - insect similar to the flea
Nitabo - fresh water lake
Nitayno - sub-chief
Nubaga - a species of Yuca
Nukay - incorrect word by Christopher  Columbus for gold, correct term is  "Caona"
-O-
O - maountain
Ocama - lieten
Oconuco - mountain farmland
Operi'to - dead, dead persons spirit
Opi'a - spirit (see "Hupia")
Osama - attention
Otoao - correct name for the town of Utuado, Puerto Rico
Oubao-monin - Island of Blood
-P-
Piragua' - long or war boat
Pu - color, scarlet red
-Q-
Qu'emi - Caribbean rabbit much like the               Hutia but larger
-R-
Ra - place, place of birth
Rahe - daughter
Rahu - children
Ri' - valiant, valor, brave spirit
Ris - red, color red
Roco - remember, know
-S-
Sabana - big valley, large plain
Sarajiley - plant
Siba - rock
Sanaco - clown, dope, stupid
Sao - small plain
Sarobey - cotton
Serra - barter, exchange
Siani - married woman
Sibucan - small pouch made of palm tree  filaments, used to  place and  flatten the scraped Yuca
Seti' - small fish recently born that enter the rivers of  Puerto Rico during the months of August, September and October
Sigua - small costal sea shells 
Susu'a - barrio and river in Yauco, Puerto Rico
-SH-
Shingu - Amazon river
-T-
Tabacan - sixth and last variant of the Yuca plant
Tabacu' - tobbaco
Taguaga - ear jewelry made of gold
Taicaraya - used as good night, and good morning much as "Aloha "                         (Hawaii) is used for hello and goodbye
Taiguey - good day, good sun
Taino - good
Taino-ti' - "May the Good Great Spirit bBe With You", commonly  used today
Taiuaitiao - good friend
Tanama - butterfly
Tao - metal plate of gold and copper formed in the shape of a cross
Tatagua - ear ring made of gold or sea shell(s)
Tau - hello, hi, modern day Taino greeting
Tau-tu'a - good purgative, to purge
Teitoca - stay still
Ti' - hight, tall, big spirit as in "The Great Spirit
Tibe - barrior in Ponce Puerto Rico, location of the Indigenous  Ceremonial park of Tibes
Tibisi - vegetable
Tiburon - shark (still used today in the Spanish language)
Tonina - dolphin
Tuna - of water (see "Ni")
Ture - chair with short legs
Turey - sky
Tureygua - celestial
-U-
Ya' - no
Uara' - you
Uicu (Uiku')- fermented drinl produced from the Yuca plant
-V-
Veycosi - juice from the Yuca plant
-W-
Warishe -  base Arawakan word for "woman"
Wu'a - no with a strong emphasis such as NO!
-Y-
Yabisi - tree
Yabuna - local tree
Yabucoa - town in Puerto Rico
Yarima - anus
Yaguasa - duck
Yahutia - edible plant, original name is "Yajutia"
Yamoca' - two
Yamoca'n - three
Yamaguey - tree
Yara - place
Yarabi - small place
Yarari - a fine place
Yari - small gold jewelry such as a necklace made of gold
Yamuy - cat
Y'ay'a - the Creator or Great Spirit,  term Y'aY'a or I'I' means  Spirit of Spirits
Yaya - spirit of the tree
Yayael - son of Yaya
Yayama - pineapple (see "Anana")
Ynoa - poisenous juice
Y'ocahu - Spirit of the Sacred Mountain of the Yuca. Alternate name for The Creator
Yu' - white
Yucayeke - village
Y'u'kei'o - Sacred Spirit of the White Earth Mountain, benevolent spirit
Yuke' - White Earth, mountain in luquillo get's the name due to it  being in a constant white haze

-Z-
Zi - this, that
Zinato - irritated
Zuimaco - alternate name for "Mother of the                    Earth Spirits"
Zum-Zum - alternate name for "Hummingbird"
NOTE!!! The Internet and many computer programs do not recognize spanish accents. To work around this, the accent is placed after the letter in the word that has it. Example: Borike'n is actually Boriken with the accent on the "e". Pronounciations: Double "LL" is pronounced as "J". In many words such as "Yuca", the letter "Y" is pronounced as "J". In certain words such as "jibaro", the letter "J" is pronounced as an "H". Note that a word such as "Cajaya, the  "C" is pronounced as a "K", "J" is pronounced "H" and the "Y" as a "J'. Thus, the word "Cajaya is actually pronounced "Ka-ha-ja".
Bana - greatness or grand place
Baneque, Bu'aneque - and you?, who are you?
B-aneque - and why you?
Bairoa - river tributary from the toen of Loiza, P.R.
Bara - kill or death
Baracutey - solitary, an animal or person that travels alone
Barbacoa - a stand, a four legged stand made of sticks from Palm and                yagua and used in the cooking process of roasting meat. It  has many uses  such as a village look-out tower or in the planting fields as a stand to chase away animals
Barbecue - a meat roasting process, an altered form of the word                        between Spanish and English of the Taino word Barbicu'
Barbicu' - a meat roasting process using a fire pit and a barbacoa                       stand, the meat being placed upon it to roast, the emat was left to roast approximately 18 hours
Batata - a type of potato grown on the island
Batey - sacred ceremonial ball court or plaza, also used as the of the sacred batey ball game, also applies to the rectangular  living structure of the Cacique
Batu - ball, game the Taino played in the Batey
Bayabe' - cord/rope much thicker than the cabuya (string)
Bayamo'n - Town and river in P.R. near San Juan
Bayaney - country area in the town of Hatillo, Puerto Rico
Bejuco - variety of plants used for tying as well as for medicine, these              grow from the ground and are found around and hanging  from trees
Bi - life, beginning or first
Biaiaca - fish, Taino used the name "diahacas"
Bibi - mother, also river in Utuado, Puerto Rico
Bibijjagua - a species of ant
Bieke - small island, the island now known as Vieques, Puerto Rico
Bija - tree, red body paint made from the achote tree
Bijao - thatch made from the leaves of the Yarey Palm Tree and used              in the construction of the Bohios or Roundhouses
Bijirita - the cooling dove
Bimini - life of the spring waters
Bo - great, greatness or big
Boba - serpent
Bociba - great stone also cibabo
Bohiti - Shamen, a taino spiritual leader, one who is known for his                    wisdom of both the plant and spirit worlds
Boniata - sweet Yuca
Boniama - a variety of pineapple
Boria - work
Borik'en - Great Land of the Valiant and Noble Lord
Boya - evil spirit
Bure'n - a flat round plate made of clay used to cook the Casabe                     bread
Bucana - river in Ponce, Puerto Rico
Bure'n - type of cooking utencil made of clay, round, large, about ttwo              inches in hight,  used to bake bread, dough was placed and formed inside and then baked
Buruquena  (bruquena) - small crab on the edges of rivers, proper   spelling is "burukena"
Buticaco - shifty eyes, an insult between the Taino people
Sarobey - Cotton
email me
Tell a friend about this page
Add this page to your favorites.