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n. pl. zo·ca·los
A town square or plaza, especially in Mexico.

[Mexican Spanish zócalo, from Spanish, socle, from Italian zoccolo; see socle.]
Word History: The grand zocalo of Mexico's capital, La Plaza de la Constitución, has been the heart of the city since Aztec times. In fact, this plaza was the first zocalo actually to be called a zócalo. The original meaning in Spanish of zócalo is "socle," a plain square block that serves as a pedestal for a sculpture or column. At the beginning of the 1800s, the Plaza de la Constitución was occupied by a statue depicting Charles IV, king of Spain from 1788 to 1819, seated on horseback. In 1843, General Antonio López de Santa Anna, then president of Mexico, ordered that the old statue be removed and replaced with a grandiose monument commemorating the independence of Mexico. A huge block of marble for the socle of the statue was placed in the square. Soon after, funds for the monument's construction ran short, and the project was indefinitely postponed. The block of marble, however, stayed put and became a local landmark, so that people began to refer to the whole plaza as el Zócalo, "the Socle." The socle was eventually removed, but the name for the plaza stuck. This use of zócalo spread from the capital to other parts of Mexico, and now the plazas of many Mexican cities are called zócalos.


n, pl -los
the main square or plaza in a Mexican town
References in periodicals archive ?
The protests closed more than 100 schools in Mexico City, and as many as 4,000 police officers took to the streets to keep demonstrators from flooding the city's central Zocalo square.
With 100-150 spots in and around Zocalo Square locked-off, a helicopter flew over cast and crew, executing acrobatic moves below roof level.
LOS ANGELES -- From a grand old hotels rooftop restaurant overlooking Mexico Citys Zocalo square and the National Palace, we recently had the best view of director Sam Mendes filming of the opening sequence of the latest James Bond movie, "Spectre.
Parents of the 43 male college students, who reject claims their sons are dead, led the march to the historic Zocalo square, in front of the National Palace.
Hundreds of participants in the demonstration in the Mexican capital marched from the Angel de la Independencia monument to the huge Zocalo Square.
Hundreds of officers flooded the Zocalo square after some 200 demonstrators disobeyed a deadline to vacate the area to make room for the nation's independence day celebrations this weekend after weeks of protests against education reform, AFP correspondents said.
Violent clashes took place to end the occupation of Mexico City's Zocalo Square, where furious teachers had set up a large protest camp for many weeks.
We stood side by side in Mexico City's Zocalo square, two journalists fidgeting uncomfortably, trying hard to maintain objectivity amid the agony around us.
The "Ottoman Clock" stands at the intersection of Venustiano Carranza and Bolivar streets at the Zocalo square in downtown Mexico City.
The city center is fine, there are people skating on the ice rink," Mexico City emergency services spokesman Manuel Mondragon said of the winter entertainment facility set up in the central Zocalo square.
Spencer Tunick's works have seen him snapping groups outside the Sydney Opera House and Mexico city's Zocalo Square, and on September 17 he massed more than 1,000 volunteers to float naked in the Dead Sea.
Felipe Calderon, the president, capped the evening by ringing the original independence bell from a balcony in the Zocalo square and delivering "El Grito," patterned on founding father Miguel Hidalgo's 1810 call to arms against Spain.