Definition of Mayan in English:


Pronunciation /ˈmʌɪ(j)ən/ /ˈmeɪ(j)ən/


mass noun
  • A large family of languages spoken in Central America and Mexico, of which the chief members are Maya, Quiché, and Tzeltal.

    • ‘When Monteczuma's envoys came to Tabasco to find out information about Cortes, they spoke only Nahuatl while Cortes's Spanish translator spoke only Mayan.’
    • ‘With songs in Spanish, English, Mayan, and Zapotec, it reflects the babel of voices that is our ever-expanding border region.’
    • ‘The movie will definitely be performed in Mayan, an ancient pre-Colombian language.’
    • ‘There was a fireplace to her left that had a few trinkets from a Mayan expedition on the mantle: a clay doll, a small clay tablet carved in Mayan, and a stone jaguar.’
    • ‘At first I thought it might be Mayan or another Latin-American indigenous language since these language groups are increasing in the area.’
    • ‘Apart from Mayan and Epi-Olmec, the language groups of most of the Americas are not dealt with.’


  • 1Denoting or relating to the Mayan family of languages.

    • ‘At the time it wasn't clear which of the many Mayan languages this might refer to, but now the situation has been clarified - sort of - by Gibson himself.’
    • ‘Language issues can be intimately linked with assimilation, as children sometimes reject both their Mayan language and customs.’
    • ‘We are Mayan people; we speak twenty-two different Mayan languages.’
    • ‘But this word still lives on, in many of the Mayan languages, not least for the games that children play with grass balls.’
    • ‘Approximately one-third of the indigenous population speaks only a Mayan language.’
    • ‘They looked more like Aztec or Mayan symbols, but in a Romanized kind of style.’
    • ‘Wall paintings and mummified owl remains of have been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs, and the owl motif was used in Egyptian as well as Mayan hieroglyphics.’
    • ‘The meaning, the authors report, as with all Mayan writing, is difficult to decipher.’
  • 2Relating to or denoting the Maya people.

    • ‘Further, the program had gained acceptance from dozens of Mayan communities.’
    • ‘Maya Gold is produced using cocoa grown by Mayan farmers in Toledo, an impoverished jungle region of southern Belize.’
    • ‘The great Mayan cities were all built around cenote and the Maya regarded them as sacred.’
    • ‘His work was further influenced by extensive travel and by Mayan, Chinese, Japanese, and Islamic traditions as well as his own Scandinavian roots.’
    • ‘Most of the indigenous groups are Mayan, although small numbers of Pipil Aztecs live in the southern and eastern areas and Xincas in the east.’
    • ‘The Spanish seized Mayan lands and enslaved their populations, sending many to labor in the mines of northern Mexico.’
    • ‘Frida Kahlo dramatized this feeling of being divided between cultures: the European and the Mexican Mayan.’
    • ‘Africa had its mini-empire in Ghana; Central America had its Mayan civilization.’
    • ‘Fiestas are the major form of public worship and sometimes conform to the 260-day Mayan religious calendar.’
    • ‘Gonzalez said the skeleton did not appear to be Mayan, but with no tools yet found, almost nothing is known of those first inhabitants.’
    • ‘The country's religions are Roman Catholic, Protestant, and traditional Mayan.’
    • ‘Virtually all of those killed were Mayan, who represent 82 percent of the local population.’
    • ‘Breaking up their beach vacation for a day, they visited some Mayan ruins nearby.’
    • ‘Other ancient and sophisticated calendars are the Athenian, the Egyptian, the Incan, the Aztec and the Mayan.’
    • ‘I remembered the Mayan naming system was based on a series of numeral days, as well as a repeating cycle of constellations.’
    • ‘Now this relic may have been the Mayan ruin it was purported to be.’
    • ‘The owl motif was used in Egyptian as well as Mayan hieroglyphics.’
    • ‘At the site today, all spheres of Mayan and Tolteca society are on display: administrative, religious and recreational.’
    • ‘It has beautiful countryside, with lakes and mountains, and a fascinating culture, both Mayan and colonial.’
    • ‘Profits from any commercialization of products from the project were to be split four ways, with a quarter going to participating Mayan communities.’



/ˈmʌɪ(j)ən/ /ˈmeɪ(j)ən/