Vocabulary List of Weapons in Spanish
Perhaps you’ve never thought that one day you’d be learning about weapons in Spanish. But here you are, and this is an opportunity to increase your ever-growing Spanish vocabulary.
While this topic may be controversial, an objective, academic approach towards it makes it possible to learn about weapons in Spanish without getting involved in passionate debates that have nothing to do with the goals of this article.
That said, in this post you’ll learn about the amazing history of weapons in Spanish, the weapons used by the Spanish conquistadors in their campaigns of conquest across the Americas, and a comprehensive vocabulary list of weapons in Spanish.
An Academic Approach to Weapons
Let me start by saying that at Homeschool Spanish Academy we’re against any kind of violence and that our interest in writing this article about weapons in Spanish is merely academic. I’ll focus on the historic and cultural value of weapons, as well as the added value of learning weapon-related vocabulary in Spanish.
Museums are filled with weapons, and books have been written about them. Studying them with an open mind allows us to understand them better and, in the case of Spanish students, learn useful terms that may be a little bit hard to find.
Why You Should Learn About Weapons in Spanish
Because you have an interest in learning Spanish, this implies mastering as many areas of vocabulary in Spanish as possible.
Brief History of Weapons in Spanish
This is by no means an exhaustive study of all the weapons that have existed in human history—instead, in the following sections I share a brief but comprehensive history of weapons from prehistory to modern times.
From Spears to Nuclear Bombs
- According to the New Scientist, the first ever spears were used by humans in what is now Germany at around the year 400,000 BC.
la lanza – spear
- Around the year 40,000 BC the atlatl appears in Africa and quickly spreads around the world. It’s so effective and ubiquitous that it’s been called the “stone age Kalashnikov,” as the modern day Russian rifle. Curiously, the English name “atlatl” is a Nahuatl (Aztec language) word
el lanzadardos, la estólica – atlatl
- The earliest evidence of a boomerang used as a weapon dates back to 23,000 BC and it was discovered in Poland. Apparently, most boomerangs used as weapons weren’t designed to come back when thrown.
el bumerang – boomerang
- Around the year 20,000 BC, the bow and arrow appeared and displaced the atlatl as the weapon of preference for hunting at a distance.
el arco – bow
la flecha – arrow
- With the advent of the Bronze Age, the first metal daggers and swords were invented at around the year 5,000 BC.
la daga – dagger
la espada – sword
- Around the year 500 BC the Chinese invented the trebuchet, while the Greeks developed the ballista. Strictly speaking, a trebuchet is a kind of catapult.
el fundíbulo – trebuchet
la balista – ballista
la catapulta – catapult
- Around the year 800 AD, the Chinese invented gunpowder and revolutionized world affairs forever.
la pólvora – gunpowder
- Muslims invent hand cannons around the year 1200 AD.
el cañón de mano – hand cannon
- During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Chinese developed the matchlock, the musket, and the naval mine.
el cerrojo de mecha – matchlock
el mosquete – musket
la mina naval – naval mine
- The Indians introduced the use of rockets around the year 1750.
el cohete – rocket
- In 1775, an American engineer created the first submarine used as a weapon.
el submarino – submarine
- In 1836, Samuel Colt invented the revolver.
el revólver – revolver
- In 1851, the Belgian army invented the first ever machine gun.
la ametralladora – machine gun
- In 1903, the Wright Brothers invented the airplane. Soon after it would be used as a lethal weapon.
el avión – airplane
- In 1914, the British army created the first tank.
el tanque – tank
- In 1945, the first ever nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
la bomba nuclear – nuclear bomb
- In 2008, a laser was fired from an aircraft.
el láser – laser
Weapons of the Spanish Conquistadors
As this is a post about weapons in Spanish, it’s a fascinating gateway to learning about the weapons used by the Spanish conquistadors during the 16th century campaigns of conquest across the Americas.
The Spanish army was divided into two sections, foot soldiers and horsemen. The horsemen were equipped with lances and swords. The soldiers wore armors and metal helmets for protection, and besides their steel swords some of them also carried firearms known as harquebuses. Some of the conquistadors also used crossbows in their campaigns.
Some historians consider that the Spanish conquistadors used horses and dogs as weapons during their campaigns of conquest, but although they were definitely part of the advantages playing in their favour in the battlefield, there’s no consensus about their use as weapons.
Now, let’s learn the names of these weapons in Spanish:
la lanza – lance
la espada – sword
la armadura – armor
el casco – helmet
el arcabuz – harquebus
la ballesta – crossbow
Other Weapon-Related Vocabulary in Spanish
Now, let’s do a comprehensive recollection of terms about weapons in Spanish.
|el rifle de aire||airgun|
|la bomba de hidrógeno||H-bomb|
|el gas pimienta||pepper spray|
|el gas lacrimógeno||tear gas|
|la pistola semiautomática||semi automatic handgun|
|las armas de fuego||firearms|
|el portaaviones||aircraft carrier|
|el avión caza||fighter plane|
|el cuerno de chivo (known like this in certain parts of Latin America)||AK-47 Kalashnikov|
|las armas químicas||chemical weapons|
|las armas de destrucción masiva||weapons of mass destruction|
|el lanzagranadas||grenade launcher|
|la mina terrestre||landmine|
|el gas mostaza||mustard gas|
|el gas nervioso||nerve gas|
Final Thoughts About Weapons in Spanish
You can learn a lot about the history of humanity by studying the history of weapons. Notice how the invention of one particular weapon matches with the rise in power of the people or nation that invented it.
Remember that to introduce your newly acquired vocabulary about weapons in Spanish in real-life conversations, practice is the only way to keep growing your Spanish skills.
Sign up for a free class with one of our certified, native Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala, and start talking about all sorts of vocabulary topics in Spanish today!
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