Definition of Tzeltal in US English:


nounPlural Tzeltals

  • 1A member of an indigenous people inhabiting parts of southern Mexico.

    • ‘Turner in his study among the Tzeltals of Oxchuc, in turn argues that mass conversion in that municipality led to its transformation from the most backward to the most progressive municipality in Highland Chiapas.’
    • ‘The Tzeltal of Matsab are subsistence swidden horticulturists.’
    • ‘But in a follow-up to my musings on how many interpret such findings, I can't help imagining someone assuming that this meant that Tzeltals value eating more than other people.’
    • ‘Interestingly, Berlin, Breedlove and Raven found the Tzeltal also use the modifier vash (literally ‘green’) to denote high moisture content of wood, similar to the English concept ‘firewood that's too green to bum.’’
    • ‘This view implicitly includes features that are important to the Tzeltal, and these features are used as variables in ecological research.’
    • ‘Many of the Tzeltal in Highland Chiapas may not think about relict stands of evergreen cloud forest as undisturbed valuable habitat for regionally endemic species.’
    • ‘In many societies, from the Tamil of southern India to the Tzeltal of southeastern Mexico, laughter is a self-effacing behavior of both males and females who occupy subordinate positions.’
    • ‘The Tzeltal and Tzotzil characteristically employ fresh plant material in the production of herbal remedies and do not customarily use dried specimens.’
    • ‘I conducted interviews in Tzeltal along with a Tzeltal assistant who also spoke Spanish.’
  • 2The Mayan language of the Tzeltal.

    • ‘A favorite example of mine here is Tzeltal, which though having only about 3000 roots in its vocabulary (with morphology recruiting them as various constituents, of course), has a neat array of words for EAT.’
    • ‘All interview data were transcribed and analyzed in Tzeltal with the help of two native Tzeltal speakers who also spoke Spanish.’
    • ‘Just think - we only break out words like CRUNCH and GNAW for narrative extravagance, while to a Tzeltal speaker this seems downright crude.’
    • ‘Our teatro included a narrator who described, in Tzeltal, Tzotzil, or Tojolabal, a series of mimed skits performed by project members.’


  • Relating to the Tzeltal or their language.

    • ‘But the forest may have lost its most distinguishing features as understood by the Tzeltal community.’
    • ‘In Chiapas, Maya of the Tzeltal and Tzotzil tribes took part in the Zapatista uprising of January 1994.’
    • ‘Sanchez claims the same about the Tzeltal Protestants of Yajalon in Chiapas.’


Spanish name of one of the three regions of the Mexican state of Chiapas, of uncertain origin.