AskDefine | Define cantina

User Contributed Dictionary




cantina f (plural cantine)
  1. cellar
  2. wine shop, wine cellar

Related terms



  1. saloon, speakeasy, bar

Extensive Definition

Cantina is a word that can refer to various places and establishments. It is similar in etymology to "canteen", and is derived from the Italian word for a wine cellar, winery, or vault. It is probably derived ultimately from the Late Latin canto, meaning "corner".
Cantinas are found in many towns of Italy. The cantina, being fresh and humid, is also used to store meat products such as salame.
The term cantina entered the French language circa 1710 as cantine. It was used originally to refer to the shop of a sutler. From 1744, cantine acquired the meaning also of a "small tin for water or liquor, carried by soldiers on the march." The English language also uses the term "canteen" to refer to this type of flask.

Cantinas in the Spanish-Speaking World

It entered the Spanish language unchanged in spelling as cantina during the second half of the 16th century. Cantina was one of the foreign words that entered in from Renaissance Italy. During the 16th century, the Spanish Empire included large holdings in Italy. Luis de Bávia wrote in his Tercera y Cuarta Parte de la Historia Pontifical y Católica (1621): "Perdiéndose en las cantinas y lugares baxos [sic] gran número de mercaderías..." ("Losing itself in the cantinas and places of ill repute a large quantity of merchandise...").
The cantina features in one of the sonnets of Francisco de Quevedo (1580-1645). This is a quatrain from that sonnet:
Esta cantina revestida en faz;
esta vendimia en hábito soez;
este pellejo, que, con media nuez,
queda con una cuba taz a taz.
This wine-cellar covered with a face;
this wine-harvest [clad] in filthy habit;
this wine-skin, which, with just a sip,
is happy to exchange it for a [whole] vat.
In the 1890s, cantina entered American English from the Spanish language in the Southwest United States with the meaning of "bar, saloon." The word cantina in the USA today is generally taken to mean simply a tavern with a Southwestern or Mexican motif that serves traditional alcoholic Mexican drinks.
In Spain today, the cantina refers to a bar located in a train station or any establishment located at or near a workplace where food and drinks are served.
In rural Mexico, cantina traditionally refers to a kind of bar that is normally frequented only by males for the purpose of imbibing alcohol and partaking of botanas (appetizers). They can often be distinguished by signs that expressly prohibit entrance to women (mujeres) and children (menores de edad), as opposed to a club, salon de bailar (dance hall), or salon de mariachi (typified by the Salon Tenampa, at the Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City) which are intended for socializing between the sexes. Some of the traditional restrictions on entry to cantinas are beginning to fade away. However, in many areas it is still viewed as scandalous for proper ladies to be seen visiting a genuine cantina.

Use in Star Wars

The term "cantina" gained stronger exposure in the United States through filmmaker George Lucas. The word was appropriated to refer to the drinking establishments found in his fictional Star Wars universe, of which the most well-known (in the real world, as opposed to in-universe) is the Mos Eisley Cantina. In this cantina, Han Solo and Chewbacca meet Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker for the first time (as seen in the 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope). In the Star Wars universe, cantinas vary considerably in quality and amenities available. At a minimum, drinks are served, but live bands and dancers such as Twi'lek slaves have been known to perform as well.
cantina in Spanish: Cantina
cantina in Dutch: Kantine
cantina in Norwegian: Kantine

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

automat, bar, barroom, beanery, bistro, buffet, buvette, cafe, cafeteria, canteen, chophouse, chuck wagon, coffee shop, coffeehouse, coffeeroom, cookhouse, cookshack, cookshop, diner, dining hall, dining room, dog wagon, drinkery, drive-in, drive-in restaurant, eatery, eating house, fast-food chain, gin mill, grill, grillroom, groggery, hamburger stand, hash house, hashery, hot-dog stand, kitchen, lunch counter, lunch wagon, luncheonette, lunchroom, mess hall, pizzeria, pothouse, pub, quick-lunch counter, restaurant, saloon, smorgasbord, snack bar, tavern, tearoom, trattoria
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