Definition of Quechua in US English:


(also Quecha, Quichua)


  • 1A member of a South American people of Peru and parts of Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador.

    • ‘Later I'd hear that Aymaras from the highlands would fight Quechuas from the river, but also that in the contest of tinku, the rules of engagement between ayllus were far too intricate to summarize.’
    • ‘He wrote seminal papers on topics as diverse as colonial architecture in the Caribbean, the Quechua in the colonial world, and the design and space of Maya architecture, to name but a few.’
    • ‘In 1572, the Spanish prohibited the Quechua from wearing native Inca tunics and wrap-around dresses.’
    • ‘For more than 500 years we, the Quechuas, Aymaras and Guaranis, the Indians who are native to this noble land, have been subject to slavery.’
    • ‘The rest of its people are Indians, mainly Quechua and Aymara who are subsistence farmers in the mountains.’
    • ‘Perhaps the most distinctive dress in the Andean region is worn by the Otavalo Indians, a subgroup of the Quechuas of Peru.’
    • ‘Above all, the ‘rule of law’ means the accusations that we, the Quechuas, Aymaras and Guaranties of Bolivia keep hearing from our governments: that we are narcos, that we are anarchists.’
    • ‘The largest ethnic groups are the highland Indians - the Aymara and the Quechua.’
    • ‘Other tribes populating the area included the Incas in the northwest, the Charrúas in the east, and the Quechuas, Tehuelches, and Huarpes in the central and western regions.’
    • ‘The word ‘Pisco’ comes from the Andean language Quechua and refers to the clay pots that the Quechua store their spirits in.’
    • ‘It was like that under the Spanish, when tens of thousands of Quechua and Aymara died working the great silver mountain at Potosi to fund the Spanish empire.’
    • ‘Along with the descendants of the colonial Spanish, Bolivia is home to diverse ethnic groups of pre-Hispanic origin, such as Quechua, Aimara, Chiquitano and Guarani among others.’
    • ‘Her current research examines land use, economic activities, and demographic patterns of the Huaorani, Cofa, Shuar, Quichua, and Secoya of Ecuador.’
    • ‘But the campesinos in the market, the indigenous Quechuas and Aymaras, stare right through me.’
  • 2The language or group of languages of the Quechua.

    • ‘The two official languages of Peru are Spanish and Quechua.’
    • ‘Quichua includes the northern dialects of Quechua, the language of the imperial Inca.’
    • ‘More than 50 percent are Amerindians who speak mainly Quechua or Aymara as well as Spanish.’
    • ‘Last Sunday, it was the Polish songs of Chopin, which were linguistically challenging enough, but on this concert she sang not only in Spanish but in Indian languages like Canichana and Quechua.’
    • ‘They have announced plans to provide versions of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office in Quechua, the language of the Incas.’
    • ‘The Andes, home of the Incas, remain predominantly Indian, the language Quechua spoken more often than Spanish.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the local radio stations often broadcast programs in local languages, e.g. Quechua and Aymara, in addition to programs in the national language, i.e. Spanish.’
    • ‘Although the Incas generally left the social and political hierarchy of conquered kingdoms in place they required the rulers' sons to go to Cuzco to learn the Inca language, Quechua.’
    • ‘However, a significant proportion of Ecuador's Andean population speaks the ancient Incan language of Quechua and a variety of related dialects.’
    • ‘Once the capital of the great Inca empire, Cusco means ‘navel’ in the ancient Inca language, Quechua, and refers to the Incan belief that it lay at the centre of the world.’
    • ‘Traditional languages still spoken include Quechua, Aymara and numerous Amazon indigenous languages.’
    • ‘Originally spoken during the Incan empire, Quechua is still spoken by about 13 million people in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, and Chile.’
    • ‘Many serranos speak the Indian language Quichua (descended from the Quechua of the Incas) and some speak no Spanish.’
    • ‘The road is known as the Gran Ruta Inca in Spanish or Capaq Ñan in Quechua, an indigenous language of central Peru.’
    • ‘Quechua speakers perceive Quechua to be the language for community/family/home, and Spanish the language for everything outside those domains.’
    • ‘Ayahuasca is a Quechua word, Quechua being the language of the Inca Empire which is still spoken by many people throughout Peru.’
    • ‘The first polyphonic composition published in the New World, a delightful marching song for mixed choir with a text in Quecha, the language of the Incas, appeared at Lima in 1631.’
    • ‘Native American communities still maintain their indigenous languages such as Quechua, Aymara, and the lesser known Indian languages spoken by the Amazon groups.’
    • ‘They showed not only ancient ruins in great detail, but also the geology and topography of the Cusco Valley and the daily life of the local Indians, who spoke Quichua, the language used by the Inca.’
    • ‘They speak Quechua, the language of the Incas, herd alpaca and llamas and grow potatoes and beans, which they trade with their lowland neighbours for corn.’


  • Relating to the Quechua people or their language.

    • ‘Having made their point, they returned to join thousands in the streets dancing to traditional Quechua music for five hours.’
    • ‘C. baccatum varieties are usually called aji and C. pubescens is known as rocoto from the name of the pepper in the Quechua language of the Inca.’
    • ‘Whenever she pulls it out, Quechua women descend on Muller and her spindle, each taking turns showing her how to properly transform her pile of fleece into a ball of yarn.’
    • ‘Most of the inhabitants are native Quechua Indians, descendants of the people who built the magnificent Inca buildings, the foundations of which still support the city and are now topped with Spanish colonial-era buildings.’
    • ‘The gas export proposal may have also stirred racial fault lines separating the Andean population - mostly Aymara and Quechua Indians - from the minority of whites and mixed whites who have historically held Bolivian wheels of power.’
    • ‘The highland Andean Quechua people consider the Milky Way to be a giant river, and accordingly, the surrounding constellations include animals like llamas, and different intensity star clusters form clouds.’
    • ‘The coca leaf, considered sacred in Quechua culture, has many healing properties, one of them being the reduction of nausea and headache from altitude sickness.’
    • ‘In fact, the plant is sacred to the Aymara and Quechua people who are indigenous to the Andes.’
    • ‘Donning replicas of Inca tunics, rather than contemporary Andean garb, Quechua Indians reenact the Inca sun-worshiping ceremony.’
    • ‘The march through central Lima lasted several hours and included workers, Aymara and Quechua Indians, peasants and students.’
    • ‘When the Inca conquered Ecuador in the fifteenth century, they introduced the Quechua language (which Rosa speaks at home) and imposed a tax system in which payments were made in human labor.’
    • ‘Others are Aymara and Quechua Indians forced off their lands by the crisis in traditional small-scale farming.’
    • ‘South America in pre-Hispanic times was dominated by the Inca culture, with a tendency to expand into the Inca Empire (or Tahuantinsuyo in the Quichua language).’
    • ‘Because of large migration within the country, Aymara and Quechua speakers are also found throughout the major urban centers of Peru.’
    • ‘Entre Culturas, their flagship ‘edutainment’ program, offers everything from Quechua music videos to history lessons on Amazon-based tribes to Aymara-language cartoons.’
    • ‘I decided to hitchhike my way toward it, and so in the first light I hopped into the bed of a dusty truck along with a group of Quechua farmers clad in pointed woolen caps and bright woolen sarapes.’
    • ‘Their Aymara and Quechua roots go back to the Inca Empire that was conquered by the Spanish conquistadors 500 years ago.’
    • ‘My companions will be two Quechua Indians, a 66-year-old man and his nephew, who will herd the llamas to a distant valley where the older man, Irineo, will barter the salt for grain and produce.’
    • ‘Many Jivaro now also speak the Quechua language, which is spoken throughout the Andes region.’
    • ‘In the film, the travellers meet Quechua Indians, miners, Communists on the run, and Guevara learns about power.’


Spanish, from Quechua ghechwa ‘temperate valleys’.