Ak’ah

This Navajo word, along with its other forms bik’ah and be’ak’ah, refer commonly to (its) fat.

It is also the word for lard, shortening, cooking oil, grease and related substances – sometimes even vaseline.

Another word, ak’ahkǫ’ (ak’ah + kǫ), is used to refer to motor oil, lamp oil (like kerosene), or lubricants related to machinery. But the phrase “Chidí be’ak’ah” is understood as “the vehicle’s oil.”

Food that has been fried can be described using “ak’ah bee sit’é.”

An example sentence can be: “Díí tązhii’ éí ak’ah bee sit’é” or in English “this turkey was (deep) fried in oil.”

Some older Navajo used to combine animal fat with dirt, such as the signature red dirt of the Painted Desert, and other ingredients to create a paste, which would then serve as a kind of sunblock when herding sheep.