chi·​la·​qui·​les ˌchē-lä-ˈkē-lās How to pronounce chilaquiles (audio)
: a Mexican dish of fried corn tortilla pieces simmered with salsa or mole and typically topped with cheese and other accompaniments (such as sliced onions, shredded chicken, and fried or scrambled eggs)

Word History


borrowed from Mexican Spanish, plural of chilaquil, borrowed from Nahuatl *chīlaquilli, from chīl-, stem of chīlli chili + -aquilli, noun derivative from the passive stem of aqui "enter, fit in," aquia "cause to enter, insert"

Note: This analysis of the Nahuatl word is from Ángel María Garibay Kintana, En torno al español hablado en México (México, 1997), pp. 101-04. Garibay K. rejects as improbable the oft-repeated analysis of the word as chīlli + ātl "water" + quilitl "greens, vegetables" (as in, for example, José Ignacio Dávila Garibi, Del nahuatl al español, Tacubaya, 1939, pp. 88-89).

First Known Use

1935, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chilaquiles was in 1935

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Cite this Entry

“Chilaquiles.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

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