from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Among the ancient Aztecs, a garden-bed assigned out of the communal land to a particular family.
  • n. A cultivated field, especially a field of maize.


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • The word milpa is a Mexican Spanish term meaning "field", and is derived from the Nahuatl word phrase mil-pa "to the field" (Nahuatl mil-li "field" + -pa "towards").

    October 3, 2010

  • When I lived in Mexico I was told by a farmer in the state of Guanajuato that people in that area occasionally unearthed clay figurines when they plowed their milpas before planting -- that their ancestors buried in hopes of a good maize crop. I was told they rebury them so as not to disturb the gods of their ancestors.

    July 24, 2010