The Spanish for “a hit”, Golpe, comes from the Greek for the same, Colaphus. We can see the transition in the g‑l-p of golpe mapping to the c‑l-ph of colaphus.
The more interesting part, however, is that, from the same root we also get the French, and English, word coup — as in, a coup d’état. Coup is just colaphus, but with the middle ‑l- sound disappearing in French.
So, a coup d’état is just a big hit against the state!
The Spanish Acatar (meaning “to follow, obey, respect”) comes from the Latin captare, meaning “to capture, take hold of”. From that root, we get a few English words, including:
The c-℗t root is visible in all, although the ‑p- in the ‑pt- has been lost in a few variations.
The Spanish eje for “axle” comes from the Latin for the same, axis. The English axle comes from the same common ancestor as the Latin axis, the proto-indo-european root *aks- also meaning the same.
The Spanish eje is easy to understand if we remember that most of the x/sh/ch sounds in Latin and the ancient languages became the throat-clearing ‑j- sound in Spanish. Thus, the e‑j of eje maps to the a‑x of axle pretty clearly.
It’s interesting how such a simple word has remained mostly unchanged for tens of thousands of years. Perhaps, the axle is one of the most fundamental discoveries in human history. It is, after all, what led to the wheel, which led to… civilization.
Sangre (Spanish for “blood”) comes from the Latin sanguis for the same.
From that root, we also get.… sangria. Yes, the classic alcoholic wine plus fruit drink looks a bit like blood!
We also get a bunch of less common words, such as, consanguine (cousin marriages!) and even just sanguine, which originally meant “bloodthirsty”. It’s only a small step from the intensity of bloodthirsty to the cheery optimism of sanguine!
The Spanish revancha (“revenge”) comes from the Latin vindicare, meaning — surprisingly — “to vindicate.”
Revenge, after all, is just one way to vindicate yourself!
If we remember the reinforcing re- prefix, we can see that the v‑n-ch of revancha maps to the v‑n-(d)-c of vindicate.
Abarcar (“to cover, take in, take on”) comes from the Latin brachium for “shoulder.”
From the same Latin root brachium, we get the English brachial: as in your brachial artery, the artery that runs down your shoulder!
The b‑r root is clearly visible from both.
Unsurprisingly, from the same root we also get the Spanish for shoulder… brazo as well as the English.… bra.
The Spanish creer, “to believe”, is easy to remember once we realize it comes from the same root as… incredible. Both are from the Latin credibilis (meaning “worth of believing”), and the in- prefix is a negation, so that which is incredible is literally… unbelievable. And thus creer is also a first cousin to being… credible. Ahhh!
Daño, Spanish for “damage”, comes from the Latin for the same: damnum. From the same root we get both the English condemn and damn. But what happened to that missing ‘m’?
Interestingly, the Latin m‑n sound tended to turn into a ñ sound in Spanish. This explains how autumn became otoño, for example.
We can still see this pattern preserved in the perfect mapping of d‑ñ in daño to the d‑mn of damn, and the same with condemn.
From the same root we also get the English indemnity, as well as damage itself, although the final ‑n was lost because damage entered English via French.
We can see the parallel but between daño, condemn, damage, and damnum — but how did it come to mean the formerly-vulgar, damn? Think of damn in the old sense of, sentencing someone for a crime they did: you are condemned to hell. A whole slew of English insults come from this same concept, including the word hell itself!
Sala, the common Spanish word meaning “room,” comes from the same root as two very similar English words: salon and saloon. All come from the old German sal meaning “hall” or “house” and thus it’s an interesting example of how words degrade overtime: something big and grand like a hall or a house is now just your little back room.
The s‑l root is clearly visible in all variations.
The Spanish for “anger,” rencor, has a fun English cousin: rancid.
Both words come from the Latin rancere, meaning “to stink.”
Thus, literally, both rotten food stinks and, anger stinks.
We can see the relationship clearly if we see the r‑n-c mapping between the words.