Definition of Totonac in US English:


nounPlural Totonacs

  • 1A member of an indigenous people of east central Mexico.

    • ‘With the students, I visited many mountains where Totonacs lived and planted many new churches.’
    • ‘His work was actually along the Coast in the bars, collecting Huaxtecan music, whereas mine was closer to the ruins of El Tajin and with the Totonacs and Mestizos.’
    • ‘Seeing that the gods made no resistance, the Totonacs were quite willing to embrace the new faith.’
    • ‘It blew the roofs off of most of the homes of the Totonacs and the poor; subsequent torrential rains that have continued to fall have destroyed all their possessions.’
    • ‘In 1427, the Aztecs conquered the Totonacs and discovered that the black beans used by the Totonacs for their scent and medicinal properties also offered a unique flavor.’
    • ‘But the real change is in the new self-confidence and pride of the Totonacs themselves.’
    • ‘The Huastecos and Otomíes occupied the north, while the Totonacs resided in the north-center.’
    • ‘The Totonacs have the dubious distinction of allying themselves with Cortes against the Aztecs.’
    • ‘Though most Totonacs are Catholics, ancient spirits are still venerated and traditional rituals still take place.’
    • ‘He convinced the Totonacs to seize the oppressors.’
    • ‘The Totonac also configured their architecture in such a way that time and space were integrated.’
    • ‘When organum was just coming to birth in Europe the Totonacs in the Veracruz region were already favouring quadruple and triple clay tube flutes that sounded four and three-note chords.’
    • ‘The local Totonacs, who Cortés was slowly convincing to turn on the Aztecs, were also in the Spanish corner.’
    • ‘It was later discovered that the Totonacs had been aware of this all along, & had used the same method hundreds of years before.’
    • ‘Descendants of the Totonacs still grow vanilla, or xanath, as it is called in their language.’
    • ‘The conquistador succeeded in making allies of the Totonacs, who were hostile towards the Aztecs.’
    • ‘For hundreds of years El Tajin was the political, religious and cultural capital of the indigenous Totonacs who still inhabit the balmy coastal lowlands of northern Veracruz state.’
    • ‘My explanation - admittedly speculative - is that the Totonacs identified the ritual with Christ.’
  • 2The language of the Totonac.

    • ‘At least a dozen of the Mexicans who have been through the program have produced books in Totonac, Nahnu, Zapotec, Chinantec, and Mazatec.’
    • ‘The mass was said in Totonac by a Nahuatl-speaking priest and nuns who had learned Totonac.’


  • Relating to the Totonac or their language.

    • ‘In the Totonac language from Mexico, this person would be described as ‘spleen-broken’.’
    • ‘No decision which affects the life of the Totonac people can be taken without their consent.’
    • ‘The same task used with the adult Totonac speakers was used with children, ages 4-10 years old.’
    • ‘Primarily farmers and tradesmen, the Totonac communities are well organized and politically active to ensure their rights.’


From Spanish Totonaca, from Nahuatl Totonacatl.