Quech·ua (kĕchwə, -wä′) or Quich·ua (kēch-) also Kech·ua (kĕch-)
n. pl. Quechua or Quech·uas or Quichua or Quich·uas also Kechua or Kech·uas
1. The Quechuan language of the Inca Empire, now widely spoken throughout the Andes highlands from southern Colombia to Chile.
a. A member of a South American Indian people originally having been part of the Inca Empire.
b. A member of a Quechuan-speaking people.
[Spanish, from Quechua (Cuzco dialect) qhichwa, temperate valley (originally used in Spanish to designate the language of one Quechua-speaking ethnic group inhabiting the temperate valleys of the Andes and later extended to other groups).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.