El Matador Jaime Bravo - The official Website of the late Matador Jaime Bravo. (born 1932  died 1970)

BULLFIGHTING GLOSSARY

 

The following is from Mundo-Taurino.org,
with only a few additions.

Books and Other Media
About Bullfightin
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GLOSSARY

A abanico - "fan", two-handed cape maneuver, usually to bring bull to picador
  abono - season ticket for full season or series of bullfights in a feria
  acero - "steel", another word for the matador's sword
  acometida - swift charge of bull, rapid and violent movement
  acoso - spilling young bulls in countryside with blunt lance
  adorno - a pose, such as touching bulls horns after series of passes
  afarolado - pass where the muleta is passed over man's head as bull charges by
  afeitar - "to shave", to illegally shorten bull's horns
  aficion - the love of bullfighting, aficionados as a group
  aficionado - fan of bullfighting
  aficionado practico - a fan who also practices as an amateur torero
  aguantar - to remain motionless before unexpected attack of the bull
  ajustarse - to fight the bull very close
  alarde - showing off, turning back on bull, touching horns, etc
  alegrar - to excite the bull to attack
  alegria - the seeming enjoyment of matador or bull
  alguacillo - mounted constable at head of paseillo, also presents trophies
  aliar - fighting with the muleta without adornment or artistic intent
  almohadillas - cushions
  alternando - "alternating", matadors who are appearing on a cartel
  alternativa - a ceremony in which a novillero graduates to matador de toros
  alto, pase por - high right-handed muleta pass
  andanada   upper floor of the gradas, the covered seating part of bullring
  anillo   "ring", actual part of arena where bullfight takes place
  ano   yearling calf
  apartado   separation of bulls prior to the bullfight into individual pens
  aplausos   applause
  apoderado   torero's manager
  apodo   "nickname", such as "El Cordobes" - "The Cordoban"
  apuntillar   the act of administering the puntilla
  aragonesa   pass like the gaonera but bull behind man rather than to one side
  arandela   metal ring on shaft of pica which stops it penetrating too far
  arena   "sand", another term for bullring
  areneros   men who smooth sand over prior to release of bull
  armadura   "armour", the bull's horns
  armamento   "armament", the bull's horns
  arpon   "harpoon", the barb of metal on a banderilla
  arranada   the attack of the bull
  arrancar   this is the first of the three stages of making the kill. this is the straight charge at the bull. the second stage is "cruzar"; the third stage is "salida".
  arrastre   the mules removing the dead bull from the ring
  arrimarse   matador fighting with great courage and truly doing his best
  arroba   about 25 pounds, an old method of estimating a bull's weight
  arrucina   pass invented by Arruza, muleta held in right hand behind legs
  asesor   technical advisor to the president of the bullring
  asta   horn
  astifino   thin, pointed horns
  astigordo   thick horns
  astillado   splintered horns
  atravesada   sword thrust which enters at an angle
  atropellado   trampled
  aviso   warning given to the matador that he is taking too much time
  ayudado   "helped", pass where muleta is helped with the sword in other hand
  azabache   shiny or velvety black
  azteca   adjective term used to denote Mexican
 
B bajo, pase por   low pass designed to keep bull's head down
  bajonazo   a safe, unfair sword thrust low in bull's neck
  banderilla   75cm darts with vari-colored paper and a barbed harpoon
  banderillas negras   (black banderillas) used when bull does not charge horse
  banderillero   matador's assistant who places the banderillas
  barrenar   when picador "drills" or twists pica to deepen wound
  barrera   fence encircling the bull ring, also first row of seats
  becerrada   calf fight
  becerrista   calf-fighter, pre-novillero
  becerro   calf up to three years
  bizco   "cross-eyed", one horn higher than the other
  blando   soft bull
  brindis   dedication by the matador of the bull to a person or the crowd
  bos taurus ibericus   scientific name for the fighting bull
  bota   wineskin
  bramar   to bellow, considered cowardly in a bull
  bravo   wild
  brega, capote de   technical name for the magenta cape
  brindis   salute to person(s), to whom the bullfighter is dedicating the bull
  brionesa   cape pass invented by Briones, same as pase de pecho with muleta
  brocho   horns curved close together
  bronca   strong demonstration of disapproval by the crowd
  bruto, en   weight of bull before dressing - see en canal
  bufido   snorting bull, again often considered cowardly
  burladero   "fooler" wooden shield in front of barrerra opening
  burriciego   bull with defective vision, can see distances but not close up
  buscar   (to look for) when bull is searching for the man behind the cloth
 
C cabriola   when bull dips horns into sand and flips over
  cacho, fuera del   passing the bull but keeping away from the horns
  caida   "fall" of the picador and/or horse
  cajon   reinforced crate in which a bull is transported to the bullring
  callejon   a narrow passageway between the barrera and the spectators' stands
  cambiado   movement in a direction other than the natural one
  cambio   "change" of direction of bull's charge/asking for change of a tercio
  canal, en   weight of a bull after being dressed by the butchers
  capa   "cape", magenta and yellow/blue or reference to bull's coat
  capea   free-for-all where amateurs are allowed to cape a bull
  capilla   "chapel" at bullring where toreros offer prayers before bullfight
  capote   same as capa, sometimes called capote de brega
  capote de paseo   special dress cape worn by toreros on foot in the paseillo
  cargar la suerte   matador's action/follow-through with bull's line of charge
  carpintero   bullring "carpenter" who repairs damage to wooden barrier
  cartel   poster advertising bullfight also term describing matador's prestige
  Cemsl   to pass the bull very close
  casta   the quality of breeding or strain of a bull
  castaño   "chestnut" coloured bull
  catedral   "cathedral", a very large bull
  ceñirse   to pass the bull very close
  chaquetilla   jacket of the suit of lights
  charlotada   comic bullfight, usually with midgets
  chicuelina   pass invented by Chicuelo, cape is pulled in tight against body
  chiquero   stall where bull awaits its entrance into the arena
  cintas   red cloth wound around matador's sword
  citar   to provoke the bull to attack
  clavar   to place the banderillas
  coger   to catch or to toss
  cogida   a tossing
  cojo   lame
  cola   another word for bull's tail, also queue of people for tickets
  coleta   torero's pigtail, nowadays artificial
  con peticion   with petition, as in when a crowd wants more trofeos given to the matador than the judge has authorized, then the award is said to be given "con peticion"
  con protestas   with protest, as in when a judge awards more trofeos than the crowd wants
  concurso   "competition" bullfight between ganaderias to find the best bull
  confirmacion   the confirmation of an alternativa in Madrid or Mexico City
  contrabarrera   the second row of seats in the bullring
  cornada   a goring, a horn wound corniabierto - wide and open horns
  corniadelatero   forward-set horns
  cornicorto   short horns
  corrida   bullfight where bulls are at least four years old
  corral   enclosure at bullring where bulls are kept after arriving from ranch
  corredores   the runners participating in the "running of the bulls"
  correr la mano   "to run the hand", prolonging a one-handed pass
  cortar la coleta   "to cut the pigtail", to retire from bullfighting
  cortas   short banderillas
  coso   old term for bullring
  cruz   the highest part of the bull's back or withers
  cruzar   this is the Second of the three stages of making the kill. this is the sword thrust, with the muleta in the left hand crossing at the same time beneath the sword arm to mark the bull's Salida or direction of exit from the confrontation. the first stage is "arrancar"; the third stage is "salida". "Cruzar" also refers to "crossing" in front of the animal, in order to reposition it.
  cuadrar   "to square" the bull's feet ready for the kill
  cuadrilla   the matadors's team of three banderilleros and two picadors
  cuna   "cradle" between the bull's horns where one is safer when being tossed
  cuarteo, al   the commonest method of placing banderillas
  cuerno   horn
 
D delanteras   front rows of tendidos and gradas
  derechazo   a right-hand pass with the muleta
  derribo   knocking over bulls in the wild with a blunt lance
  derrote   an upward thrust of the bull's head
  desafiar   "to defy", when bull paws the ground and backs up before charging
  desarmar   "to disarm", when bull tears the muleta out of the matador's hand
  descabellar   method of killing bull by stabbing it in the back of the neck
  descabello   straight sword with crosspiece near end of blade
  desencajamiento   desencajonada - "uncrating" of the bulls at the bullring
  despedida   the farewell performance of a matador
  desplante   a pose where the bull is being dared to gore the torero
  diestro   another term for matador
  director de lidia   the "combat director", the senior matador on a cartel
  divisa   rosette of ranch colours on bull when it enters the ring
  division de opiniones   "division of opinions" of the crowd to a performance
  doctorarse   to take the alternativa, the doctorate of bullfighting
 
E embestida   the bull's charge
  embolado   bull's horns padded as in Portugal or knobbed
  empresa   the organisation that promotes a bullfight
  empresario   the manager of the organisation promoting a bullfight
  encastado   a bull that is representaitive of its particular strain of breed
  encierro   running of the bulls through the streets as in Pamplona
  encuentro, al   bull and man run to meet each other in the act of killing
  enfermeria   the bullring infirmary, usually with operating table
  entrada   term for a bullfight ticket
  entrar a matar   to "enter for the kill"
  eral   a two year old bull
  escalafon   "league" table(s) of rankings, of which there are seperate ones for matadors, novilleros, and rejoneadors
  espada   "sword", also another term for a matador
  espontaneo   amateur who jumps into the ring to cape bull illegally
  estatuario   statuesque muleta pass
  estocada   the plunging of the estoque sword into the bull
  estoque   curved sword used for killing
  estribo   the small step or platform jutting out from the barrera
 
F faena   all the work done with the muleta in the last part of the bullfight
  faja   torero's sash
  farol   two-handed cape pass where it is flipped over and round man's head
  feria   a fair
  fiesta brava   the "wild feast", another term for the bullfight
  fijar   to fix bull's attention or to place it in a spot
  firma   pase de la - pass of Granero where muleta is snatched from bull's face
  flamear   to shake or wave cape to attract bull's attention
  flojo   "weak", a bull without much power
  forcado   member of a Portuguese team which wrestle with bull
  fracaso   calamity or failure, used to refer to a flop performance
  franela   "flannel", another name for the muleta
  frente por detras, de   pass where cape is brought forward from behind back
  fundon   large leather case containing matador's swords and muleta sticks
 
G ganaderia   bull breeding ranch
  ganadero   the owner of a bull breeding ranch
  gaonera   pass where cape is held to one side behind matador's back
  garrocha   blunt lance used on ranches
  garrocha, salto de   seldom used stunt where torero pole vaults over the bull
  gitano   "gypsy" torero
  golpe   a blow or knock received by a torero
  gradas   covered seats in upper part of bullring
  grave   grave or serious wound
 
H herida   injury
  hierro   the brand given to a bull to designate its ranch
  hombreras   the epaulets on a matador's jacket
  hora de verdad   "the moment of truth", when entering for the kill
  huido   a bull with little desire to fight, especially against picador
 
I igualar   to place bull in best position for the kill
  indulto   "pardon" granted to a bull for exceptional bravery
  ingle   groin, common place for horn wounds
 
K kikiriki   muleta swirled in front of bull's face in a figure of eight
 
L lance   any cape pass, but generally a veronica
  larga   a pass where the cape is gathered in one hand and then thrown out
  larga cambiada   a cape pass usually done while kneeling
  lidia   "combat", everything done with the bull from start to finish
  llamar   to call the bull to charge
  llenazo   a full bullring, a complete sell-out
 
M maestro   used to describe an experienced matador
  mandar   to dominate the bull
  mano a mano   "hand to hand", two matadors perform, competing with each other
  manoletina   muleta is held behind one's back and lifted over bull's head
  manso   a bull which refuses to fight to some degree
  marcando los tiempos  

marking the different stages of the kill.

  1. the first stage is "arrancar", the straight charge in;

  2. the second stage is "cruzar", the sword thrust with the muleta in the left hand craossing at the same time beneath the sword arm to mark the bull's salida, or direction of exit from the confrontation;

  3. the third stage is "salir", the disengaging by the matador along the bull's flank once the sword is well in and the horns past, controlled with the muleta.
  mariposa   "butterfly", a spectacular pass with cape held behind one's back
  matador de toros   "killer of bulls"
  mayoral   ranch foreman who usually accompanies the bulls to the ring
  media estocada   when the sword enters the bull with only half the blade
  media veronica   pass where the cape is gathered up on the hip, ending series
  medios, los   the centre part of the ring
  metisaca   where the sword is thrust into the bull and pulled out again
  mirando al publico   cape or muleta pass performed while looking at the crowd
  molinete   muleta pass where matador spins round after the horns have passed
  mona   picador's leg armour
  monsabios   costumed ring servants who assist picadors and drag out dead bull
  montera   hat worn by matadors and banderilleros
  morillo   hump of muscle on top of bull's neck
  mozo de espadas   matador's sword-handler
  muerte, pase de la   "pass of death", matador stands motionless, muleta high
  muleta   red flannel cloth with stick inserted, used during faena
  muletazo   a muleta pass
  mulillas   team of mules used to drag dead bull from the ring
  murillos   the bull's powerful neck, tossing muscle,
 
N natural   usually refers to left-handed muleta pass without sword being used
  novillada   a bullfight for novilleros. the bulls are only three years old
  novillero   an apprentice matador who has not received the alternativa to become a matador. before an apprentice is a novillero, he, or she, is a becerrista
  novillo   a three year old bull fought in novilladas
 
O ojo de perdiz   "partridge-eyed", a bull with rings around its eyes
  ole   bravo !
  oreja   bull's ear
  ovacion   standing ovation
 
P padrino   "godfather", matador who gives the alternativa to a novillero
  palco   a box in the bullring similar to one in a theatre with several seats
  paletazo   a blow struck with the flat of the horn
  palos   "sticks", another word for banderillas
  palmas   "palms" of hands, hand claps
  panuelo   "handkerchief" used to petition trophies and by President to signal
  parar   "to stop", to stand motionless as bull charges by
  parte facultivo   medical bulletin on the condition of an injured torero
  pase   a cape or muleta pass
  pase de pecho   chest pass with muleta
  paseillo   when the toreros parade into the ring at start of the bullfight
  paseo   as paseillo
  pasodoble   style of music played by bullring bands
  pata   bull's hoof no longer awarded as a trophy
  patio de caballos   horse yard at the bullring... this is also where the toreros assemble before the walking into the ring for the bullfight... a small chapel is usually found in this area.
  pecho, pase de   "chest pass", muleta at chest height as bull passes
  peña taurina   a club devoted to bullfighting
  pendulo   "pendulum" pass, muleta held behind back and moved back and forth
  peon   another word for banderillero
  peon de confianza   the senior member of a matador's team
  percance   an accident or mishap
  perfilarse   "to profile", to position oneself for the kill
  perpendicular   a sword thrust which penetrates at a near 90 degree angle
  peso   the weight of the bull
  peto   mattress-like protection worn since 1928 by the picador's horse
  pica   picador's lance
  picador   lancer whose job it is to weaken bull's neck muscles
  picar   to wound the bull with the lance
  pinchazo   "prick", an unsuccessful sword thrust
  piton   the point of a bulls horn
  pitos   whistles, signifies a crowd's displeasure
  plaza de toros   the bullring plaza
  partida   bullring divided in half with different fights in each half
  poder a poder   style of placing banderillas, meeting bull almost head on
  presidente   controller of the bullfight, usually a town official
  pundonor   point of honour, depth of feeling of a matador
  puntazo   a light horn puncture wound or scratch
  puntilla   small dagger used by banderilleros to kill a downed bull
  puntillero   the banderillero who uses the puntilla
  puya   the point of a picador's lance
  puyazo   the wound given by the puya
 
Q querencia   area of the ring chosen by the bull where it feels secure
  quiebro, al   "on the dodge" style of placing banderillas at last moment
  quite   pass to turn attention of bull or passes following a pic
 
R rabo   bull's tail
  raya   chalk lines around the ring
  recibiendo   "receiving", bull's charge is provoked when killing
  recorte   any pass where the bull is turned so sharply it comes to a stop
  redondel   "circle", another word for the arena
  redondo, en   to pass the bull all around in a circle
  reglamento   official "rule" of bullfighting set by government
  rejon de castigo   lance used by rejoneador, top breaks off after placing
  rejon de muerte   lance used by rejoneador for the kill
  rejoneador   one who fights the bull from horseback, Portuguese-style
  rejoneo   a bullfight where the bull is fought from horseback
  remate   a finishing pass to a series of passes
  res   animal, beast
  revolera   a swirling remate pass with the cape
  revendadores   ticket touts or scalpers
  revista   a review or a review magazine
  rodillas, de   a pass done while kneeling
  rosette   the small, colourful decoration, which is attached to the bull's shoulders, before he enters the bullring, indicating the ranch which bred the bull
  ruedo   the ring
 
S salida   entrance of bull into the ring or exit of bull from a pass
  salida en hombros   leaving the bullring on the shoulders of the crowd
  salir   this is the Third of the three stages of making the kill. this is the disengaging by the matador along the bull's flank once the sword is well in and the horns past, controlled with the muleta. the first stage is "arrancar"; the second stage is "cruzar".
  saltillo   when the bull jumps out of the ring
  saludos   salutations
  semental   bull used for stud
  sen~al   ear-mark given to bull to distinguish its ranch
  sentado   "seated", pass given or banderillas placed while seated in a chair
  sentido   "sensed", the way the bull learns quickly during the fight
  serio   "serious", a bull with a stern face and good set of horns
  serpentina   "serpentine", a swirling cape pass
  sesgo, al   entering bull's terrrain to place banderillas
  silencio   silence
  sin verguenza   "without shame", describes a cynical performance by a matador
  sitio   "place", emplacement of bull
  sobrero   substitute bull after a bull is rejected
  sobresaliente   substitute matador in case one retires injured
  sol   "sun", the sunny less expensive side of the arena
  sombra   "shade", the shaded more expensive side of the arena
  sorteo   the drawing of lots to choose bulls by matadors' representatives
  soso   "dull", the perfomance of either bull or matador
  suave   "smooth", an ideal bull that charges clean amd straight
  subalterno   a member of a matador's team
  suerte   refers to either "luck" or an act of the bullfight
  suerte contraria   exiting from the kill towards the middle of the ring
  suerte natural   exiting from the kill nearer towards the fence
 
T tablas   "boards", the outer rim of the ring
  taleguilla   torero's trousers
  tanda   a set or series of passes
  tantear   [tanteo] "to test", the first passes of a faena to see how the bull charges
  tardo   slow. a toro tardo is a bull that is slow to charge
  taurino   pertaining to bullfighting
  taurofilo   another term for aficionado
  taurofobo   one who detracts from the fiesta. an avid, "anti" bullfight fan. the best and most vociferous "detractors" of tauromaquia are those who invariably know the least about the subject they attempt to defame
  tauromaquia   the science and art of bullfighting
  tela   cloth or fabric. another word for the capote or cape
  telefono   a pose where the matador rest his elbow on the bull's forehead
  temeroso   a timid bull unwilling to charge
  templar   temper, moderate. translated erroneously by some authors as "to move the cape or muleta slowly and smoothly" (an interpretation of "suavizar") is correct only in part. templar means to moderate and to smooth the impetus in the attaack of the bull. to rectify the velocity of the animal by slowing it down when its velocity is too fast -- by accelerating if the velocity is too slow. to impose a control of the bull's pace. the relation between the two words "templar", to control, and "mandar", to command, is very close
  temple   using smoothness and rhythm
  temporada   the bullfighting season (March to October in Spain). a temporada is considered to be a series of functions predetermined and announced by a promoter. this could be a series of 30 events over a period of months -- or it could be, in some small villages, one bullfight. bullfights of various categories take place twelve months of the year in all countries where the fiesta is celebrated. the big season begins during Easter week in Spain and lasts until the first of November. in South America, it begins with the last of October until sometime in February. in the interior of Mexico, the season is not too well defined -- usually November through February . the season along the United States - Mexico border (frontera) is varied because of weather. the Tijuana season runs from May through October. These are the dry comfortable months; in the winter it becomes cool -- occasionally damp. in San Luis R.C., 150 miles East of Tijuana, the season, would have to be during the only comfortable months -- November through March.
  tendidos   section of seats directly behind the barrera/contrabarrera seats. the rows of seats from the barrera up to, but not including, the covered gallery at the top of the plaza. when a plaza is without covering of any type all seats are "tendidos". the tendidos may be divided in many sections depending on the various ticket prices. the origin of the covered section at the top dates back to when the royalty had reserved boxes in this elevated section. in present times, these elevated seats are general admission.
  tentadero   the testing of calves for bravery (also tienta)
  terciado   slanting, tilted, biased. a bull neither large nor small
  tercio   "a third", the divisions of the arena or the three acts of the fight (tercio de varas, tercio de banderillas, tercio del muerte)
  terreno   "terrain", both of the bull and the man
  testigo   the matador who acts as a witness at an alternativa
  testuz   bull's forehead
  tiempo, a un   matador and bull move forward at same time during the kill
  tienta   the testing of calves (also tentadero)
  tope   wooden shaft at base of puya, wrapped in cord
  toreador   archaic name for torero, not used these days
  torear   to bullfight
  toreo   art/style of bullfighting
  toreo de salon   "bullfighting in the living room", practising with no bull
  torero   a generic term for bullfighter
  toril   the place from where the bull comes into the ring... the corridor from the bull pens
  torito   a small bull
  toro   the bull, Bos Taurus Ibericus
  toro de casta   bull bred for bullfighting
  toros, los   Spanish term for bullfight or bullfighting
  traje de luces   "suit of lights", the costume of the torero
  trapio   the general physical aspect of the bull, how smart looking it is
  trasera   "rear", a sword thrust too far back in the bull
  trastos   "tools", the implements for killing, the muleta and sword
  tremendismo   almost foolhardy brave style which gets the spectators excited
  tremendista   a matador or novillero who uses tremendismo
  trincherazo   right-handed muleta pass
  trofeo   "trophy" such as the ears or tail of the bull
  trotar   to trot
  tuerto   "one-eyed", a bull with defective vision
  tumbo   a fall taken by a picador
 
U utrero   a bull between two and three years old
 
V vaca   cow
  valiente   "valiant", very brave
  vaquero   herdsman
  vaquilla   female calf
  vara   picador's lance
  varetazo   a blow with horn but not a wound
  veronica   the fundamental two-handed cape pass named after St.Veronica
  viento   "wind", the torero's worst enemy after the bull
  volapie   "flying feet", man runs toward the bull with sword to kill it
  volcandose   throwing oneself over the horns to kill the bull
  voltereta   when the bull tosses a torero through the air
  vuelta   a lap of the ring by the matador or dead bull
 
Z zapatillas   torero's shoes


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Glossary version 1.1 by Tim Hardman (April 1996)
with acknowledgement to "Barnaby Conrad's Encyclopedia of Bullfighting" (1962)

 

 

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