chi·​la·​qui·​les | \ ˌchē-lä-ˈkē-lās How to pronounce chilaquiles (audio) \

Definition of chilaquiles

: 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)

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of chilaquiles

1935, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chilaquiles

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).

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chilaquiles

Time Traveler for chilaquiles

Time Traveler

The first known use of chilaquiles was in 1935

See more words from the same year

Statistics for chilaquiles

Cite this Entry

“Chilaquiles.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on chilaquiles

Spanish Central: Translation of chilaquiles

Comments on chilaquiles

What made you want to look up chilaquiles? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!