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Anillo and Anus

Let’s try not to laugh with this one.

The Spanish ending -illo is a common diminuitive, meaning a smaller version of something. A vecino is a neighbor; a vecinillo is the cute word that Flanders calls his neighbors in the Spanish translation of the Simpsons.

So: anus means anus. And anillo — the very common Spanish word meaning “ring” — is thus really just “little anus.”

Yes, in Spanish, a ring is just a small anus.

Ligar and Allegiance

Allegiance is a very Roman idea: strong loyalty to your team, your empire.

So it’s not surprising that the word itself comes from the Latin, ligare — to bind. Your allegiance is what binds you or ties you to your team.

From the Latin ligare, we get the Spanishligar, meaning the same, tying or binding!

Thus, the l-g root is clearly visible in both versions.

Casarse – Husband, Shack Up

Casarse shack up spanish english

“To marry”, in Spanish, is casarse.

The funny part: casarse comes from the common Spanish word for “house”, casa. That makes sense: getting married is fundamentally about two people building a house together, metaphorically and literally.

In English, although marry is unrelated, two English words convey the same concept. Husband, in English, comes from the Old English “hus – bondi”, which mean, “House Dweller”: so the Husband is the one who lives in the house!

Even better: American slang hands down to us a lower version of the same concept, the slang phrase, “to shack up”, meaning, well, to either live together in sin — premaritally — or more recently, to have sex in a one-night stand. A shack, after all, is just a poor house.

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.

Elegir and Elect, Elegant

Elegir (Spanish for “to choose”) comes from the Latin for the same, eligere.

From the Latin root eligere, we get the English… elect. We can see the e-l-g map to the e-l-ct clearly; the “g” and hard “ct” sounds do sound similar. To choose, to elect–’tis the same!

More surprisingly, from the same root, we also get the English… elegant. We can see the e-l-g mapping preserved here. Is not something elegant just something that the elites have chosen?

Pegar and Pituitary and Fat

The Spanish pegar (“to paste”) comes from the Latin pix, meaning “tar.” That makes sense: “paste” looks like just a more diluated “tar.”

But pix itself comes from the Proto-Indo-European root pei(e), which meant, fat — think of animal fat, for example. It makes sense that this word evolved into a word meaning “tar”: that’s a bit what animal fat looks like.

From this same root pei(e), we get a few notable English words:

  • Fat — Fat itself comes from this root! This is through the PIE p- sound transforming into the f- sound as it evolved into German and English. Think about father/padre, for example.
  • Pituitary — The same root came back in, via an educated Latin, to mean, the pituitary gland. Why? Because the ancients believed that this slimy gland is what produced mucous/snot — the smile of the nose. A bit like tar, isn’t it? We can see the P- root preserved here, too.

Enviar and Envoy

Enviar (Spanish for “To send”) comes from the Latin for the same, inviare. From that same root, we get the English… envoy. An envoy just sends a message, after all!

The e-n-v root is self-evident in both words. And the Latin inviare comes from the root via for “road”, from which we get endless English words, including… via!

Quizás and Savvy

Continuing the recent saber and sage conversation

Quizás (Spanish for “perhaps”) comes from the Latin qui sapi — literally, “Who knows?”. The sapi in that phrase is from the Latin for “to know”, sapere, from which root we get the English… savvy. Someone who is savvy just knows a lot about the subject!

The final -s of quizás maps to the first s- of savvy. And the -p- in sapere, although vanished from quizás, maps to the -vv- in savvy.

Pudrir and Foul

The Spanish pudrir, “to rot,” has a surprising connection to the English, foul, a word meaning the same but sadly very underused these days — although still when quoting Macbeth: fair is foul and foul is fair!

Both come from the same Indo-European root *pu, meaning, “to rot.”

But the English one sounds so different because, in the Germanic branch of Indo-European, the p- sound turned into the f- sound. But now in the Latin branch.

Thus the initial f+vowel of foul maps to the initial f+vowel of pudrir.

From the same root are more fun words including defile, putrid, and pus. What wonderful imagery!

Cara and Cheer

The Spanish cara (“head”) comes from the same Latin word (cara), also meaning the same, “head.”

From that Latin, we get the English cheer (via French’s chere). Thus, the ch-r of cheer maps to the c-r of cara.

A face — after all — is the most human instead to make us thankful (to cheers a toast!) for life. And most faces fill us with enough happiness to make us cheerful!

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