Definition of cacique in English:



  • 1(in Latin America or the Spanish-speaking Caribbean) a native chief.

    • ‘In matters of traditional religion, which encompasses much of what white people associate with government, a cacique among the Pueblos and a kikmongwi among the Hopi have serious responsibilities to the people.’
    • ‘She is traditionally represented with two other figures, that of a black henchman, el Negro Felipe, and of an Indian cacique, Guaicapuro.’
    • ‘They lived under nine independent caciques or chiefs, and possessed a simple religion devoid of rites and ceremonies, but with a belief in a supreme being, and the immortality of the soul.’
    • ‘By February the Indian caciques (leaders or chieftains) saw the Spaniards were at their mercy and refused to provide any more provisions.’
    • ‘The Guarani caciques exchanged women to formalize their alliance with the Spanish against the hostile peoples of the Chaco.’
    1. 1.1 (in Spain or Latin America) a local political boss.
      • ‘It was committed to class struggle in a country that had scarcely had a bourgeois revolution, and to political action in spite of the manipulation of elections by local landowners or caciques.’
      • ‘Many such communities are still ruled by caciques (local strongmen) according to ‘uses and customs,’ which may fly in the face of such constitutional rights as religious freedom.’
      • ‘Gifts of a pair of scissors or a looking glass were made to the caciques or village headmen from time to time to keep them friendly.’
      • ‘Others, such as caciques, used the mission system itself to improve their material interests and cultural autonomy.’
      • ‘A share tenant system has made most farmers captives of landlords, or caciques.’
      • ‘He said he had heard that nobody in the islands could stand up to the Admiral's power and so before he was deprived of his land and his authority as a cacique he wished to see the wonders of Spain.’
      • ‘Moreover, new caciques emerged in the wake of agrarian reform, as officials of the agrarian bank and ejidal bosses entrenched themselves locally.’
      • ‘Tlatoani (head honcho), cacique, and caudillo - these words glisten on the pages of the derisive gubernatorial lexicon.’
      • ‘As in Cuba, Jamaica's inhabitants divided their island into provinces, each ruled over by a cacique assisted by village headmen or sub-chiefs.’
  • 2A gregarious tropical American bird that has black plumage with patches of red or yellow.

    Genus Cacicus, family Icteridae: several species

    • ‘He observed that both species construct nests similar to those of some caciques and, curiously, they often nest together in mixed-species colonies.’
    • ‘In contrast, all analyses strongly supported the monophyly of the oropendolas and caciques together.’
    • ‘They included four oropendolas and four caciques in a molecular study of blackbird relationships using cytochrome-b sequence data.’
    • ‘Near the Panama Canal, explore Pipeline Road, which passes through the rainforest of the Soberania National Park and is home to 380 species including trogons, caciques, woodpeckers, and many more.’
    • ‘Well over 100 notable species can be easily spotted in the Carara Reserve, including the great tinamou, red-lored parrot, crimson-fronted parakeet and scarlet-rumped cacique.’


Mid 16th century: from Spanish or French, from Taino.