Glossary

These are some of the words used in stories and other works about the Maya that you might come across.

GLOSSARY

baktun  — A period in the Maya long Count of 144, 000 days or approximately 394.5 years.

cacao — Ka Ka Wa – the plant from which chocolate is made. The Maya didn’t eat it with sugar so it tasted very bitter.

Calendar Round  — A complex calculation of a day’s place in the interlocking Maya calendars

cenote  — underground well where water accumulates in the geological areas of karst. Often found in the the Maya region of Mexico

censor  –A delicately carved ceremonial apparatus for burning incense.

ceremonial center  — Maya cities where temples, the king’s palace and burial sites are found

codex  –modern name given to the few remaining Maya bark-paper books.

comal  –A flat clay or metal plate for cooking

danta — a large boar like animal found in the forests of Guatemala, and Mexico

ex  — (loincloth) Cloth worn by Maya priests and kings. Usually of cotton.

Hieroglyphics — A form of writing in which pictures and symbols form syllables in a spoken language

huipil Maya blouse worn by women, usually delicately embroidered with multicolored traditional symbols

Itzamná — Maya creation god

karst — a type of porous stone that is found in many areas of Mexico

katun  — a period of 7,200 days in the Maya Long Count

kin — one day

limestone  — a kind of porous rock that is found in many areas of Mexico.

lineage — the tracing of a line of ancestral decent, important especially among royal families

loin cloth  — see ex – Cloth worn by Maya priests and kings. Usually of cotton.

Long Count  — A count of starting with the first day of creation according to the Maya, August 11, 3114

maize —  the Maya word for corn

mano — (Spanish for hand); also the lon cylindrical stone used by Maya women and girls to grind prepared corn kernels into dough.

metate — used with the manao; the stone tablet used by Maya women and girls to grind prepared corn kernels into dough

myth — stories in which cultural religious or foundational beliefs are recounted.

rainforest — a type of forest found in tropical areas of the world characterized by high levels of rainfall

scribe — a person trained to read and write with glyphs; see hieroglyphics.

stucco — A type of whitewash or plaster used throughout the Maya region to coat the walls of buildings, both interior and exterior.

tapir  — a large boar like creature found in the Maya region.  See danta

tribute — a gift given to the ruler

tun –a period of 360 days in the Maya Long Count

unial a period of 20 days in the Maya Long Count, similar to a month in our calendar

vague year — the five-day period at the end of a tun, much like a Leap Day, but occurring every year

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About 2012therealdeal

I am a writer and a school librarian who has a passion for all things Maya.
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