The word used for "banana" seems to differ a lot depending on the country. For example, it is "banano" in Colombia, "cambur" in Venezuela, "guineo" in El Salvador, "plátano" in Mexico, and "banana" in Guatemala. (Source: what are three words for banana in spanish?.)


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    Words used for common food vary locally to a great extent, depending on details like varieties (e.g, naranja in Yucatec Spanish refers to sour (cooking) oranges, while an eating orange is called a china), or local specialties (Moxie, Coke; chilaquiles, migas). Food words are among the most variable, since food types and distribution are prototypical social variables.
    – jlawler
    Feb 15, 2017 at 13:30
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    This is even true in English. Compare pop versus soda, eggplant versus aubergine, etc. Feb 16, 2017 at 16:44

1 Answer 1


Interestingly, all the words you mention have very different origins.
Plátano, which is also the word used in Spain, clearly comes directly from latin platanus. There is the possibility that this had its origin, ultimately, in greek πλατύς ("broad", as a reference to the leaves), but as far as I know it is unclear.
Banana (or banano) entered Spanish/Portuguese through Wolof.
Guineo quite probably comes from the toponym itself, the country in África, but I cannot be sure. I actually had no idea they used this word in El Salvador.
Cambur is quite interesting! It comes from Guanche, a language native to the Canarian Islands that must have died out at some point during the XVIII century, due to the colonial activities of the Spanish empire. Not many words are preserved from Guanche and much is unknown about it, so that makes Cambur more interesting. Why did it arrive to Venezuela and never to Spain (where it is an unknown word except for specialists) is unknown to me. I would be interested to know.

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