Tag Archives: Spanish


One glance at the baby tells you the diagnosis. “Tiene ictericia,” you tell the Guatemalan mother. Bewilderment covers her face. You carefully explain the causes and treatments for jaundice. All of a sudden, the mother smiles and says, “Pues, es como amarillo, verdad?” Amarillo? Yellow? That could make sense. That’s when you remember the pocket-sized book you stuffed in your bag a while ago. You find it and look through the English-Spanish section. There it is:

jaundice amarillo 

Now it’s your turn to smile. “Sí, es como amarillo,” you confirm. As you answer a couple of the mother’s questions, you make a mental note to look through that Understanding the Guatemalan Patient tonight.  


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

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. a folk treatment with a candle and a glass which creates suction on the skin; often leaves a circular bruise; can be used to remove “aire”; also means flatus