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As­queroso and Scar

As­queroso is the com­mon Span­ish word mean­ing “dis­gust­ing.” ¡Qué as­queroso! is the com­mon Span­ish ex­cla­ma­tion of dis­gust, as is its close­ly-re­lat­ed cousin, ¡Que as­co!

As­queroso (and as­co) come from the Latin es­chara, mean­ing, “scab” (which it­self is from the Greek es­khara mean­ing the same).

From the same Latin (and Greek) root, we al­so get the Eng­lish… scar.

So, in Span­ish, some­thing that is so dis­gust­ing lit­er­al­ly scars you!

We can see the map­ping in the s‑qu‑r of as­queroso to the s‑c-r of scar.

Demo­ra and Mora­to­ri­um, De­mure

The Span­ish demo­ra means “de­lay” and comes from the Latin pre­fix de- with mo­ra (“de­lay; hin­der­ance.”)

From the same Latin root, we get two re­lat­ed Eng­lish words: mora­to­ri­um (a mora­to­ri­um, af­ter all, is just an in­def­i­nite de­lay!) and de­mure (some­one who is de­mure or shy just de­lays in show­ing their re­spons­es!).

The m‑r root is vis­i­ble clear­ly in all of these words.

Apre­tar and Pec­toral

Apre­tar (Span­ish for “to squeeze”) comes from the Latin pec­tus, mean­ing, “chest.” Think of hav­ing a heart at­tack: your chest feels squeezed. It’s not a co­in­ci­dence that doc­tors in the USA to­day still call a heart at­tack, angi­na pec­toris — that is, “angi­na of the chest” since pec­toral in Eng­lish to­day still means “re­lat­ing to the chest”! The p‑t maps to the p‑ct, with the ‑ct- just sim­pli­fy­ing in­to its first ‑c- sound.

Re­lat­ed: see al­so Pecho/Pectoral. From the same pec­tus root, we see oth­er in­ter­est­ing words, fol­low­ing the ch/ct pat­tern.

Bara­to and Barter

The Span­ish for “cheap,” bara­to, and the Eng­lish barter both come from the same root, the Old French barater, mean­ing, “to barter, cheat, de­ceive, hag­gle.”

The word, over time, lost most of its neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion in both lan­guages — nei­ther bara­to nor barter are par­tic­u­lar­ly strong neg­a­tive words — al­though both have that touch of un­easi­ness, that we try to feel we are bet­ter than.

Acatar and Cap­ture

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:

  • Cap­ture — sur­prise, sur­prise.
  • Ca­pa­ble — if you’re ca­pa­ble, you take hold of the so­lu­tions!
  • Cap­tive — if you’re cap­tive, some­one else has tak­en hold of you!
  • Cater — the cater­er is lit­er­al­ly the per­son who takes hold of the food for you.

The c-℗t root is vis­i­ble in all, al­though the ‑p- in the ‑pt- has been lost in a few vari­a­tions.

Ubicar and Ubiq­ui­tous

Ubicar (Span­ish for “to put some­where” or “to place”) comes from the Latin ubi, mean­ing “where.”

From the Latin ubi, we get a bunch of lo­ca­tion-re­lat­ed words in Eng­lish, such as, ubiq­ui­tous — which ac­tu­al­ly means, “every­where!” Some­thing that is ubiq­ui­tous re­al­ly is every­where.

The u‑b-c of ubicar maps clear­ly to the u‑b-qu of ubiq­ui­tous.

Ceniza and In­cin­er­ate

Ceniza (Span­ish for “ash­es”) comes from the Latin ci­nis, mean­ing the same.

From the Latin root ci­nis, we get the Eng­lish… cin­der as well as in­cin­er­ate. That makes sense: these are ei­ther the cause or the re­sult of the process that caus­es ash­es!

The most in­ter­est­ing part is.… this al­so ex­plains why the Cin­derel­la fairy tale, in Span­ish, is called… Ceni­cien­ta!

We can see the c‑n root clear­ly in all these vari­a­tions.

Gestación and Ges­tate

Gestación (“to de­vel­op”) comes from the Latin gestare (“to bear, car­ry, ges­tate”) from which we al­so get — not that sur­pris­ing­ly — the Eng­lish word ges­tate. While the orig­i­nal word and the Eng­lish ver­sion fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing a ba­by, in Span­ish it has come to be used more broad­ly: like a busi­ness idea de­vel­ops. The g‑st root is clear­ly vis­i­ble in both words.

Caer — Case, Ca­dav­er, Ca­dence

The Span­ish caer, “to fall”, sounds weird to Eng­lish ears. But it is clos­er than it sounds to many Eng­lish words.

Caer comes from the Latin cadere — mean­ing “to fall, sink, die” — and the mid­dle ‑d- was lost as Latin grew in­to Span­ish.

From this same Latin root cadere, we get a bunch of Eng­lish words — most­ly that came from the Latin to Eng­lish via French — in­clud­ing:

  • Ca­dav­er — The most ob­vi­ous con­nec­tion is Ca­dav­er, a dead body.
  • Ca­dence — The ca­dence of your voice does go up and down!
  • Ca­den­za — The ca­den­za is the dra­mat­ic falling off of the mu­sic at the end!
  • Case (in the sense of, some­thing that hap­pens: a de­tec­tive’s case or “in case of”; not in the “box” sense) — Case is the least ob­vi­ous con­nec­tion. Cadere turned in­to the Latin ca­sus, mean­ing “an event, an ac­ci­dent” which then that turned in­to the more stan­dard, “some­thing that hap­pens.” So, falling/death turned in­to an ac­ci­dent which turned in­to some­thing that just hap­pens — talk about words be­com­ing eu­phemistic over time!

Cin­co — Five

The re­la­tion be­tween “five” in Span­ish (cin­co) and Eng­lish is one of the more sur­pris­ing re­la­tion­ships: they are in­deed di­rect sec­ond cousins!

Both come from the same Pro­to-In­do-Eu­ro­pean root, *penkwe, mean­ing the same, five. (The greek for five al­so comes from the same: think about pen­ta­gon, for ex­am­ple).

The in­ter­est­ing part is this: the p- sound in Pro­to-In­do-Eu­ro­pean evolved in­to the Ger­man­ic and then Eng­lish f- sound. Think about fa­ther and padre, for ex­am­ple or foot and pie. Five and cin­co fol­low this pat­tern too, but in a more sub­tle way.

The Pro­to-In­do-Eu­ro­pean for the same, *penkwe, evolved in­to the Latin word for “five”: quinque. The qu- was pro­nounced in a hard way like a k- and then, as Latin evolved in­to Span­ish, the k- was soft­ened in­to the soft c- in cin­co. So p- to k- to c-. You can see it through the sim­i­lar sounds.

In­deed, the pat­tern is most ob­vi­ous in the rep­e­ti­tion of the sounds in both works cin-co as the c/k sound twice, at the start of each syl­la­ble. And the fi-ve as the f- sound (and its close­ly re­lat­ed, usu­al­ly iden­ti­cal and of­ten in­ter­change­able sound of v-) at the start of each of its syl­la­bles as well.


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