Tag Archives: Guatemalan healthcare


As you chat with your Hispanic patient, he tells you that his “coco” hurts. You know he doesn’t mean chocolate, and you’re quite sure he doesn’t really mean “coconut”…In fact, you are nearly positive he means his “head” hurts and can get right to the heart of that matter. After all, you read about it in the English-Spanish section of Understanding the Guatemalan Patient last night. The best part? Your patient feels like you really can communicate together.


head (n.)

coco, morra, ayote, chirimoya, maceta, ñola, sesera, shola

give birth (v.)

This week’s post will be especially useful to midwives, OBs, and nurses serving expecting Hispanic women. You know the joy of walking women through a very special season of their lives and being a part of new lives enteringIMG_9973 the world. We hope Understanding the Guatemalan Patient helps you to communicate clearly so you can do the best possible job with your important work.

give birth (v.)

alentarse, dar luz, dar a luz, componerse

folk illnesses

Have you heard of these Guatemalan folk illnesses? Search our “Word(s) of the Week” archives to see some of the definitions or have them all at your fingertips after you pick up your own copy of Understanding the Guatemalan Patient on Amazon.

folk illnesses (n.)

aire, cir, ciro, empacho, mal hecho, mal ojo, pérdida del alma, pujo, susto

calf (of the leg)

calf (of the leg) n.

camote, pantorrilla (more formal), posta (also means a cut of meat)

The first 2015 “Word(s) of the Week”…

In 2014, you got a taste of the 600+ terms found in the Spanish-English section of Understanding the Guatemalan Patient. As we step into 2015, we’re excited to share some of the entries in the English-Spanish section. Don’t want to wait? You can hold all of these words in your hands within days by purchasing your book on Amazon.

May your 2015 be full of new learning experiences, more fun with words and great people with whom to share them!

Without further delay, here is your first “word(s) of the week” for 2015:

altitude sickness 

mal de montaña [lit. mountain sickness]