[ kaw-deel-yoh, -dee-oh; Spanish kou-th ee-lyaw, -th ee-yaw ]
/ kɔˈdil yoʊ, -ˈdi oʊ; Spanish kaʊˈði lyɔ, -ˈði yɔ /

noun, plural cau·dil·los [kaw-deel-yohz, -dee-ohz; Spanish kaw-th ee-lyaws, -th ee-yaws] /kɔˈdil yoʊz, -ˈdi oʊz; Spanish kɔˈði lyɔs, -ˈði yɔs/.

(in Spanish-speaking countries) a head of state, especially a military dictator.

Nearby words

  1. caudate nucleus,
  2. caudate process,
  3. caudatum,
  4. caudex,
  5. caudillismo,
  6. caudine forks,
  7. caudle,
  8. caudle cup,
  9. caught,
  10. caught dead, wouldn't be

Origin of caudillo

1850–55; < Spanish < Late Latin capitellum, equivalent to Latin capit- (stem of caput) head + -ellum diminutive suffix; see -elle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for caudillo

British Dictionary definitions for caudillo


/ (kɔːˈdiːljəʊ, Spanish kauˈðiʎo) /

noun plural -los (-jəʊz, Spanish -ʎos)

(in Spanish-speaking countries) a military or political leader

Word Origin for caudillo

Spanish, from Late Latin capitellum, diminutive of Latin caput head

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for caudillo



dictator in Spain or Latin America, 1852, from Spanish caudillo, cabdillo "leader, chief," from Late Latin capitellum, diminutive of caput (genitive capitis) "head" (see capitulum). Later in Spain taken by Franco as a title in imitation of German Führer, Italian Duce.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper