I read somewhere that ramada originally came from ramadan the Arabic word for hot month, so maybe the Spanish conquistadores borrowed this, altered it [gasp!] and lent it to the American Indians, who gave it to us for the cooling porch of the SW.ra·ma·da (r-mäd)
n. Southwestern U.S.
a. An open or semienclosed shelter roofed with brush or branches, designed especially to provide shade.
b. An open porch or breezeway.
2. An arbor or trellis made of twined branches.
[Spanish, from rama, branch, from Vulgar Latin *rma, from Latin rmus; see ramify.]
Regional Note: One of the words Spanish contributed to the English of the American Southwest is ramada, a term for an open shelter roofed with brush or branches, and by extension, an open porch or breezeway. Ramada can also mean an arbor of twined branches; this sense illustrates the derivation of the word from Spanish rama, meaning "branch," hence ramada, "arbor, mass of branches." The suffix -ada in Spanish denotes "a place characterized by (something)." Ramada might have remained a relatively obscure regional word were it not for its adoption in the name of a national chain of motels.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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