Where Does the Word “Chocolate” Come From?

Question: Where Does the Word “Chocolate” Come From?

Answer: The word “Chocolate” is a bit of a funny word since it doesn’t seem to have any relation to any other word. For this reason people often ask us: Where Does the Word Chocolate Come From? The word “chocolate” probably comes from the Spanish. The most likely scenario is that the Spanish combined the Maya word chocol, meaning “hot”, and the Aztec atl (“water”) to form chocoatl. The correct pronunciation of “tl” is “te” (“tay” in Spanish). It is suggested that the Spanish created this word instead of using the Aztec word cacahuatl, because “caca” is a vulgar Spanish word for feces. The True History of Chocolate authors, Sophie Coe and Michael Coe, surmise that the Spanish substituted the Maya chocol because they were uncomfortable with a thick, dark brown drink that began with “caca”.

We may never really know where the word “chocolate” comes from. The Europeans have had some form of chocolate for over 500 years now. It is also possible that the word “chocolate” could have come from the Maya, Aztecs, or even the Olmecs much earlier. On the other hand, there is always new research being done and it is surprising to see how much we’ve learned about ancient cultures in the last 100 years. It is always possible that someday the question: “Where does the word ‘chocolate’ come from?” may actually have an answer.