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.
Both the Spanish cielo (“sky”) and the English celestial come from the same root: the Latin caelestis, meaning, “sky.” The c‑l root is evident in both.
Not all patterns are subtle; we just need to make the connection!
The Spanish for “light blue,” celeste, comes from the same root, for a reason so self-evident that it’s not worth saying. Just look up.
The Spanish for “bread,” pan, sounds nothing at all like its English equivalent.
But it is, indeed, a close cousin of another English word: companion.
All over the ancient world, bread was the sign of friendship and peace. Hence English phrases like, to “break bread.”
In Ancient Rome, your friend — literally, your companion — was someone you broke bread with. Companion, com — pan, con — pan = with bread.
Remolino (Spanish for “whirlpool” or “swirl”) comes from the Latino molinum, which means.… mill. This makes sense: a mill just moves around and around in a circular motion — for example, think of a wind-mill. In fact, the English mill comes from the same root! So we can see the m‑l root in both words!
Buscar (Spanish for “to ask for”) comes from the Latin poscere (“to ask urgently”). In the transition from Latin to Spanish, the word was definitely weakened since buscar doesn’t have any urgent implication.
From this Latin root, we also get the English word… postulate. Postulating is really just formulating a thesis and wanting responses — which is just a sophisticated form of asking a question!
We can see the b‑s-c of buscar maps to the p‑s-t of postulate.
Concurso (Spanish for “contest”) comes from the Latin concursus, (“running together”).
Why? A contest really is just a bunch of people… running together to see who gets tot the finish line first.
From that same Latin root, we get the English… concur. Why? It could also mean in Latin an “assembly”: a bunch of people might be running together, but might also be just talking together in an assembly, to which they come to a conclusion together, to which, they concur.
We can see the c‑n-c‑r root in both words clearly.
The Spanish plegar, meaning “to fold” comes from the Latin root plicare, meaning the same.
From plicare, we also get the English applicant. The connection makes sense if we think about both words in the sense of “attach”: when you apply, you want to attach yourself to an organization; and think of fold in the same metaphorical sense, “to bring into the fold.”
We can see the mapping clearly in the p‑l-g of plegar and the p‑l-c of applicant. The ‑c- was lost when it was shortened to just apply over time.
From the same root we also get the English ply, as in plywood — but that is a lot less common!
A coward is one who turns his tail and runs: literally!
The English coward comes from the old French coart. Coart, in turn, comes from coe, meaning “tail” (from the Latin, coda for the same), plus the ‑art suffix just refers to a person doing that (think, braggart). A coward show you his tail and turns the other way!
Interestingly, from the Latin coda, we also get the Spanish for tail, cola. And from the French coart, we get the Spanish word for coward, cobarde.
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.
Esmero, a Spanish word meaning “done with care” comes from the Latin prefix ex- combined with the Latin merus which meant, “unmixed; pure” (such as, pure wine — not diluted by water). Anything done with care will be pure, right?
From that same Latin root merus, we also get the English… mere. The interesting part is that, over the centuries, mere has gone on to almost take on the opposite of its original meaning: the original, more Latinate sense, was similar to “pure” and its Spanish derivative, done with care. But over time, in English at least, its become degraded and degraded to the point in which today, it means to do “just barely enough.” This is an example of a broader pattern: words tend to degrade over time.
We see the m‑r root clearly in both languages.