Meaning of Zapotec in English:


Pronunciation /ˈzapə(ʊ)tɛk/

nounplural noun Zapotec, plural noun Zapotecs

  • 1A member of an indigenous people living in and around Oaxaca in southern Mexico.

    ‘The Zapotecs of Mexico believed that the owl was associated with death, in that it gives notice when a man dies before flying off to retrieve his soul.’
    • ‘A major feature of the transnational movement was the formation of ethnic enclaves by both Mixtecs and Zapotecs in major employment centers at destinations.’
    • ‘The Aztecs arrived about 100 years after the Zapotecs did.’
    • ‘The Zapotecs are the largest group, comprising more than 90 percent of Juchitans urban population.’
  • 2mass noun The Otomanguean language of the Zapotec, with some 300,000 speakers.


  • Relating to the Zapotec or their language.

    ‘With no affordable alternative, Mixtec and Zapotec families lived for years in labor camps during the harvest season, returning to their native villages in the south when the work was done.’
    • ‘Spanish is a second language to many of region's Zapotec people.’
    • ‘I was in the jungle in Mexico, doing my undergraduate thesis on how the Zapotec Indians use plants for medical purposes.’
    • ‘The Ruiz Bazan clan, for example, has been weaving Zapotec rugs in Oaxaca, Mexico, for as long as they can remember.’


From Spanish zapoteco, from Nahuatl tzapoteca, plural of tzapotecatl, literally ‘person of the place of the sapodilla’.