Tag Archives: Latin American healthcare

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]



f. fontanelle; “Se le cayó las varillas” is an expression meaning a child’s fontanelle is sunken. In folk medicine, this situation can be caused by sitting a baby up when he is too young and is treated by holding him upside down and patting the soles of his feet or by pressing on his palate. Also treated by “palaguear” with “Miel de Chicoria” (Chicorium intybus) on the gauze.

tirar el caite

v. to die; lit. “to throw the sandal”;  “caite” is used commonly in Guatemala and El Salvador to mean “sandal”.


v. to cover; “Me tapa la respiración,” means “I can’t breathe.”


m. a fright; as a folk illness it is sometimes treated with a ritual (see ensalmar) or salty water; thought to cause diabetes