Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 09:54:00 +0000
From: Jim Rader jrader[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]M-W.COM
Subject: Re: hurache

I have been told that the English word hurache, which came into US
English through Mexican Spanish, originates in the Japanese word
*waraji* 'straw sandals', but I have no substantiating evidence. OED
indicate the word was in use in Mexican Spanish in 1887, and this is not
long after the first Japanese immigrants went to Mexico. That doesn't
leave much time for a borrowing to catch on and spread, but it may not
be impossible. I do not have easy access to a Mexican Spanish
etymological dictionary. Does anyone have any ideas on the origin of
this word.

The OED's listing for hurache begins thus:

huarache. Also guaracha, guarache, guarachi, huaracho. [Mex.-Sp.]
A leather-thonged sandal, orig. worn by Mexican Indians.
1887 F. C. Gooch Face to Face with Mexicans xii. 433 Leathern aprons and
sandals of the same, called guarachi.
1892 Dialect Notes I. 190 Huaracho, -s, a kind of sandals worn by
Indians and the lower classes generally. Used generally in the plural

Daniel Long, Associate Professor tel +81-6-723-8297
Japanese Language Research Center fax +81-6-723-8302
Osaka Shoin Women's College dlong[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]
4-2-26 Hishiyanishi
Higashi-Osaka-shi, Osaka Japan 577-8550

Mexican Spanish _huarache_ or _gaurache_ is borrowed
from Tarascan _kwar.a'c^i_ (initial labiovelar, retroflex r, stress
on second syllable, c^ is dental affricate); the retroflex flap does
not occur in loanwords from Spanish, so the word is almost certainly
native, not borrowed (per William Bright). The Tarascans (native name is
_pure'pecha_, I
think) are an important Indian people of Michoacan--though I don't
offhand know of any other generally used word in Mexican Spanish that
was borrowed from Tarascan. Seems this etymology has been known for
a long time; it's given by Santamaria (_Diccionario de mejicanismos-,
1959) who cites as a source Eustaquio Buelna, a 19th century scholar.

Sandals made out of one material or other were worn by Mexican Indians
before Cortes; a Japanese origin for such a word is wildly

Jim Rader