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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -los
the main square or plaza in a Mexican town
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in periodicals archive ?
#YoSoy 132 is the silence that burst into shouts when we took the zocolo during el veto electoral (the 24 hour period before an election when campaign activities are prohibited).
You've got some of the best restaurants in the region, especially around 20th Street: Zocolo, The Press, the LowBrau Bierhall, and Mulvaneys B&L, which makes a great pork chop.
(14.) Brugnera MF, Miyata M, Zocolo GJ, Fujimura Leite CQ, Boldrin Zanoni MV.
Every so often he paid a visit to the church on the zocolo. The church was probably the only part of him not to fully unglue from his mother's ways.
Vessecchi, R., Zocolo, G.J., Gouvea, D.R., Huebner, F., Cramer, B., Rodrigues, M.R., Humpf, H.U., Lopes, N.P., 2011.
Some say Patzcuaro has one of the prettiest Zocolo's in the country, and this town of about 50,000 inhabitants has two.
Those genuine Mexico City-style tacos will take you straight back to the Zocolo. And they're just the beginning at Cantina Latina.
Stephenson and Rushard are currently in negotiations to do acrylic overlays for the 48,000-SF Zocolo Plaza that is being built in Rogers.
A lawyer's son who grew up in one of Mexico City's oldest neighborhoods near the Zocolo, or city plaza, he studied at Instituto Patrio, a Jesuit elementary school, and followed an upper-middle-class path through law school.
The Zocolo is Mexico City's physical and emotional heart, its focus and origin.
A 1955 map shows a "Mexican Bandstand:" a place for "Mexican music," a "Mexican Imports" store and Casa de Fritos restaurant--four different attractions, gathered around a central space called "El Zocolo." Today all you find is Casa Mexicana restaurant, closed for renovations.
Mexicans find the Zocolo, the Mexican term for central square, the perfect setting in which to criticize the government, complain about the economy, and protest injustice.