(Sp. model spelled same [t∫ója] 'head' or 'good judgment,' a popular and affective term of uncertain origin, perhaps from antiquated dialectal French cholle 'ball' < Frankish keula 'mace' [weapon])
   California: 1846.
   1) A common cactus, known for its long sharp spines that are so loosely attached to the plant that they seem to jump onto any person or thing that brushes them. Adams notes that the cactus can grow to up to eight feet; he indicates that the branches of the cactus, rather than the spines, are easily detached from the plant and seem to jump onto passersby. The OED defines cholla as one of several species of Opontia cacti. The DARE says that it is the prickly pear cactus. Santamaría glosses cholla as the common name used in northern Mexico for various native cacti of the same genus. He gives O. cholla and O. thurberi as examples. Cobos glosses it as the "buck-horn or cane cactus." Sobarzo describes the plant as a cactus with a vascular, pulpy stalk divided into sections about four inches in length and covered with very sharp spines. Its fruit is like that of the prickly pear, but quite small. It grows to a height of approximately four feet. Sobarzo suggests that the plant gets its name from the shape of its fruit. This variety of cactus is also commonly depicted in western films.
   Alternate form: choya.
   Also called jumping cholla, staghorn cholla, tree cholla, deer brush.
   2) The term also has figurative meanings in the Southwest. Smith notes that it may be a colloquial term for 'skull,' or it may refer to a dull or stupid person. No Spanish source references the latter meaning.

Cowboy Talk. A Dictionary of Spanish Terms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cholla — can refer to the following things: Cholla cacti, a genus of cyllindrically stemmed cacti Cholla (horse), a painting horse born in Nevada Jeolla (Chŏlla), former Korean province Jeollabuk do (North Jeolla), province in the southwest of South Korea …   Wikipedia

  • cholla — 1. f. Entendimiento, juicio. 2. coloq. cabeza (ǁ parte superior del cuerpo) …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • cholla — ☆ cholla [chōl′yä, chō′yä ] n. [MexSp < Sp, lit., skull, head] a spiny cactus (genus Opuntia) with cylindrical stems, growing in the SW U.S. and Mexico …   English World dictionary

  • cholla — /chohl yah, yeuh/; Sp. /chaw yah/, n., pl. chollas /chohl yahz, yeuhz/; Sp. /chaw yahs/. any of several spiny treelike cacti belonging to the genus Opuntia, esp. O. fulgida of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico, having knobby outgrowths and yellow… …   Universalium

  • cholla — ► sustantivo femenino 1 ANATOMÍA coloquial Cabeza humana: ■ al salir del coche se dio un golpe en la cholla. 2 coloquial Inteligencia, entendimiento o talento. 3 Colombia, América Central Pereza, cachaza: ■ con esa cholla no va a conseguir… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • cholla — noun Etymology: Mexican Spanish, from Spanish, head Date: 1846 any of numerous shrubby opuntias chiefly of the southwestern United States and Mexico that have needlelike spines partly enclosed in a papery sheath and cylindrical joints called also …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cholla — [ tʃɔɪə] noun a cactus with a cylindrical stem, native to Mexico and the south western US. [Genus Opuntia.] Origin C19: Mex. Sp. use of Sp. cholla skull, head …   English new terms dictionary

  • cholla — chol•la [[t]ˈtʃɔɪ ə[/t]] n. pl. las pln any of several cylindrical treelike cacti of the genus Opuntia, of Mexico and the southwestern U.S., having yellow spines • Etymology: 1855–60, amer.; < MexSp cholla head …   From formal English to slang

  • cholla — noun arborescent cacti having very spiny cylindrical stem segments; southwestern United States and Mexico • Syn: ↑Opuntia cholla • Hypernyms: ↑cactus • Member Holonyms: ↑Opuntia, ↑genus Opuntia …   Useful english dictionary

  • cholla — noun Any of several species of cactus in the genus Cylindropuntia, having very spiny, cylindrical stem segments …   Wiktionary