Category Archives: Words

Náádamóo

Summary:

The Navajo word náádamóo is an expression of time. The word damóo, on its own, is the word for Sunday – a term adapted from Spanish domingo. The prefix – náá – signifies a repeat of some sort, or ‘another one just like it’. For example, náá’ahideeltsééh is a parting expression that means, “I’ll see […]

Tsís ná

Summary:

This Navajo word, which is also catalogued as tsís’ná, refers to the honey bee. With the help of a few changes, we can tweak the meaning. For example, tsís’nátsoh is ‘big or large bee’, meaning bumblebee. Tsís’náłtsooí appends the word for the color yellow, or łitso, to refer to the ‘yellow bee’. An already yellow […]

Honeezílí & Honeesk’ází

Summary:

In Navajo, there is a particle that denotes areas or spaces. The little prefix ho- indicates not an object, but a spacial concept which can be physical and figurative (“I have a space in my memory/heart, etc.”). If you take nizhóní and change it to hózhóní, you’ve now changed the meaning from “it is beautiful” […]

Ma’ii

Summary:

The Navajo word ma’ii (or mą’ii) is the coyote. In some literature ma’ii is described as the “Navajo trickster god”, which is a misnomer depending on how you look at it. Coyote is certainly a cunning figure in Navajo tradition. But tricks are only one facet of ma’ii’s character. The “god” qualifier is less certain, […]

Ałk’ésdisí

Summary:

The Navajo word ałk’ésdisí refers to something (a nominalized verb) that has been formed into a twist at either end. This comes from the period that merchants and traders began to conduct business with the Diné. They brought not only essentials like flour, meat, and clothing, but also some extras like candy. Ałk’ésdisí refers to […]