BULLFIGHTING INFO

 

BULLFIGHTING GLOSSARY

 

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

Books and Other Media
About Bullfighting

 

GLOSSARY

  • abajo, pase por - low pass designed to keep bull's head down

  • 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

  • bajonazo - a safe, unfair sword thrust low in bull's neck

  • banderilla - 75cm darts with vari-colored paper and a barbed harpoon

  • banderillasnegras - (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 taurusibericus - 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

  • 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

  • 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 deopiniones - "division of opinions" of the crowd to a performance

  • doctorarse -to take the alternativa, the doctorate of bullfighting

  • 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

  • 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 pordetras, de - pass where cape is brought forward from behind back

  • fundon - large leather case containing matador's swords and muleta sticks

  • 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

  • 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

  • Iigualar - 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

  • kikiriki muleta swirled in front of bull's face in a figure of eight

 

  • 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

 

  • 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 detoros - "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 alpublico - 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 dela - "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,

  • 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

 

  • ojo de perdiz - "partridge-eyed", a bull with rings around its eyes

  • ole - bravo !

  • oreja - bull's ear

  • ovacion - standing ovation

  • 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 deconfianza - 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • salida - entrance of bull into the ring or exit of bull from a pass

  • salida enhombros - 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

  • 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

  • utrero a bull between two and three years old

  • 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

  • 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)