Want more Spanish etymologies? Fill out the form below and we will send you our favorites, Free!
logo

Deporte and Sport

Sport and the Spanish for the same, deporte, are closer than they seem.

The English sport comes from the French for the same… desporte — notice it is the same as the Spanish, except with an extra “s” (that’s a pattern that we’ll explain in the French version of this page one day!).

You can see the connection to the English clearly if we remember the “s” and we remember the de- prefix was lost over time. Thus, the s-p-r-t maps to the Spanish (d)-(s)-p-r-t.

The French desporte (and thus the English sport) and its Spanish equivalent deporte both come from the same Latin root: des- meaning “away” and portare, meaning, “to carry”.

Thus deporte, and sport, is also related to puerto (“port”) and portero (“super”, in the sense of, “superintendent”) in Spanish and port in English.

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Vendimia and Vintage

The Spanish vendimia (“a harvest of wine”) comes from the Latin vinum (“wine” — from which we get words like vino — “wine” — in Spanish) combined with demere, which meant, “to take out”. So the wine harvest is literally, the taking out of the wine.

The interesting part is that, from these same two roots, we get the English… vintage. You may think of vintage cars or vintage clothing — but it really just does refer to, taking out wine.

We can see the v-n-d of vendimia maps to the v-n-t of vintage.

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Quejar and Quash, Squash

Quejar, Spanish for “to complain” doesn’t seem related to any English equivalent.

But upon closer look, it is a first cousin of both quash and squash.

How so?

All come from the Latin quassare, meaning, “to shatter.”

The relationship is easy to see if we remember that the Spanish -j- sound used to be the Latin -s- sound (and many variants, like -ss-, -si-, -sy-, -sh-, -ch-, etc).

Thus, the qu-j for quejar maps to the qu-sh of quash and the sq-sh of squash.

Complaining, it seems, is a form of quashing (squashing?) your opponent!

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Estremecer and Tremor

The Spanish estremecer (“to shake”) comes from the Latin prefix ex– (which more commonly means “out of”, but can also add emphasis, as in “thoroughly”), with the Latin verb tremere which means the same: “to shake”.

From the same Latin root, we get the English… tremors. That is when the earth shakes, after all?

We can see the tr-m root clearly in both the Spanish and English words. But it’s easy to miss because of the misleading es prefix!

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Iglesia and Ecclesiastical

Both Iglesia (Spanish for “church”) and Ecclesiastical (also similar English words: think of the book of the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes) come from the same root: the Latin Ecclesĭa for “church”, which comes from the Greek ekkalein (“to call out”). After all, a preacher does call out to God. That is his vocation, what he professes!

This pattern is not obvious because both the Spanish i-g-l-s maps to the English e-c-l-s. The I/E vowel shift isn’t particularly common while the g/c vowel shift is more common, but sometimes harder to recognize.

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Azul and Azure

The Spanish for “blue,” azul, is originally an Arabic word referring to a particular type of valuable blue stone, the lapis lazuli. In Spanish, the word degraded over time, and the l- was lost (as though it was the the french l’ for “the”) and we were just left with azul for just “blue.”

The English for azure — which is really just a shade of blue! — comes from the same root, although azure still retains a luxury connotation that was lost with the simple blue implication of azul in Spanish.

Many languages, including Spanish, have an -l- and -r- shift, where, over time, the -l- and -r- sounds are swapped. We see this here, as the a-z-l root of azul maps to the a-z-r root of azure.

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Cama and Camera, Chamber

Cama, Spanish for “bed”, has many surprising cousins in English, including:

  • Chamber — This French word made its way into English, meaning originally and still most commonly, “bedroom”. What is your bedroom if not the room with your bed? Chamber comes from the Latin, camera, meaning the same — from which we also get cama itself.
  • Camera — From the Latin for the same, room. If we think about how a camera works: there is a little dark room where the film is exposed.
  • Comrade — The communist word for “friend” came to Russian and the world via French, but came to French via the Spanish camarada, literally, “chamber mate” — the person you shared your room with. You and your comrades have a closer relationship than you thought!

In all these words, we can see a c(h)-m to c-m mapping, so the relationships are clear!

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Lejos and Leash

We recently discussed the relationship between dejar and relax, both from the same Latin root, laxare, from the Latin laxus. Other modern words come from these same roots, let’s see…

In Spanish, another interesting word from the same root is lejos, meaning, “far.” This underwent the same sh to j transition documented in the other post. That which is far away, after all, is what we can be relaxed about, what it’s easy to be loose about.

Some additional English words that come from this same root include:

  • Lease — think about it this way, the English say “to let”, that is, to let people do something with your property, to be relaxed and distant about it.
  • Lush — the lush man is someone who is relaxed about his diligence drinking.
  • Leash — a leash is precisely what you use to try to not let anything get relaxed!

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Sentir – Resent, Sentence, Send

The Spanish sentir (“to feel”) doesn’t bear an obvious relation to the same English word. But looks can be deceiving:

Sentir comes from the Latin for the same, sentire, which in turn comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *sent, meaning, “to go” — feels are thus, definitionally, fleeting, things that come and go.

From the Latin sentire, we get a bunch of similar words in English, including:

  • Sentence — which originally meant, “a thought, judgment, opinion.” A sentence is a judgment indeed!
  • Sense — which is a feeling!
  • Resent — these are just your feelings, magnified with a re!
  • Scent — to smell something is to have a feeling for it, too!

And a few others, including assent, consent, dissent and, most obviously, sentiment.

From the original Proto-Indo-European root *sent, meaning “to go” — via German, that turned into some simpler English words that we can now consider distant cousins of Sentir: send. Feelings do come and go!

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Destacar and Detach

Destacar (Spanish for “to stand out”) comes from the French destachier (“to detach”) which, in turn, comes from the Latin de- (of, from) plus the old French stakon, meaning a “stake” (literally, as in a pole!).

Thus, “standing out” (destacar) is literally just detaching yourself from the rest around you — who are, presumably, much lower quality than you are!

We can see the root clearly in the d-(s)-t-c (for destacar) to d-t-ch (detach) mapping.

Don’t forget that the de- prefix in French and sometimes Spanish is just another form of the de- prefix. Thus, explaining the extra -s-. And — clearly! — attach comes as well from the same root, just without the de/des negation!

But the best modern English word from the same root is… staccato. Yup: playing the piano in staccato fashion is just, when you play each note really separated from the others!

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

logo

© 2017 - All Rights Reserved | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Sitemap | Etymology Dictionaries To Help Us Learn Spanish | Resources