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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Maya \Ma"ya\ (m[aum]"y[.a]), prop. n.; pl. Maya or Mayas.

  1. the Indian people occupying the area of Veracruz, Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, and Yucatan, together with a part of Guatemala and a part of Salvador. The Maya peoples are dark, short, and brachycephalic, and at the time of the discovery had attained a higher grade of culture than any other American people. They cultivated a variety of crops, were expert in the manufacture and dyeing of cotton fabrics, used cacao as a medium of exchange, and were workers of gold, silver, and copper. Their architecture comprised elaborately carved temples and palaces, and they possessed a superior calendar, and a developed system of hieroglyphic writing, with records said to go back to about 700 a. d.

  2. the language of the Mayas.

Usage examples of "mayas".

But by secret stratagems and the friendship of two men of the Mayas I am able to send you this missive in the hope that your hearts will be lightened and you will not grieve for me as for a dead man.

Since I have lived with the Mayas I have come to know them, to speak their words and to think their thoughts, and so I know also why those stratagems came to naught.

Then he said he wanted my opinion on something that had just come in—it was a manuscript account by a Spaniard who had lived among the Mayas in the early sixteenth century and he wanted to know if it was genuine.

He hadn't got as much gold from the Aztecs as he expected, but the Mayas were dripping with it if the reports that came up from the south were true.

He didn't get much for his pains because the main strength of the Mayas wasn't on the Anahuac plateau at all but in the Yucatan Peninsula.

He had quite a respectable force but he found the Mayas a different proposition from the Aztecs.

They found that the Spaniards and the Mayas were living and working together side by side, each in his own culture.

But you must know, my sons, that I will never come out of this land of the Mayas nor out of this city called Uaxuanoc.

Twelve years have I been here and have seen many marvels, for this is the Great City of the Mayas, the prize we have all sought in the Americas.

When Hernan Cortes defeated the army of the Mayas on his journey to El Peten and the Honduras he was fighting on the uplands of Anahuac where the land is open and where all the noble resources of the art of war in which we are so advanced can be used.

He passed for a tall man among the Mayas though not as tall as would seem so in our eyes.

You must know that the Mayas are great workers in stone and gold, although much of their labour is directed to making their heathen idols, a task unfitting for Christian hands.

I observed that the Mayas were ignorant of the way of using wax which is common in Spain so I pleaded with the papas to give me gold and beeswax and to let me use a furnace to melt the gold.

The Mayas have none of the Parisian plaster so I was constrained to use well watered clay to put about the statue and to make the funnel on the top for the pouring of the gold.

But often in the nights I weep and wish I were back again in Spain even in a common tavern in Cadiz where there is music and singing, for these Mayas have but poor music, knowing only the pipe and drum and I have no knowledge of the musical art to teach them other.