Want more Spanish etymologies? Let us know!
logo

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.

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.

Pregunta and Count

Pregunta (Spanish for “question”) comes from the Latin per– (“through”) and contus (“pole”).

From the Latin root contus, we also get the English… count. But how do we get from “pole” to “counting”? Well, remember the Roman style of counting that you probably learned in elementary school, or at least I did back in the day — make a little pole on the paper for each number, and when you hit the fifth one, cross it through; then repeat — and we then remember that counting is really just lining up sticks to represent the total numbers!

We can see that the g-n-t of pregunta maps to the c-n-t of count.

Rueda and Rotate

The Spanish for “wheel,” rueda comes from the Latin rota (“wheel” as well) — from which we get English words like rotate and, via Spanish, rodeo (which, after all, is just a bunch of guys going around in a circle!). The r-d root of rueda maps clearly to the r-t root of rotate

Siesta and Six

The word Siesta — the famous long breaks! — comes from the Latin sexta hora (“sixth hour”), because it was the 6th hour after the 6am wake-up time when everyone would stop, take a break, and pray. We can see the s-s/x root in both — both coming from the same Proto-Indo-European word for “six.”

Interestingly, however, another English word comes from the same fountain: noon, which was originally nona hora, the 9th hour after the 6am wake-up time — time for another prayer! But — you must be wondering — noon is only 6 hours after 6am, not 9am hours! Excellent point, and the explanation is: the ninth hour prayers were originally at 3pm (9 hours after 6am), but over time, people started taking their breaks earlier and earlier and earlier…. surprise, surprise.

Lágrima and Lacrimal Sac

The Spanish lágrima (“tear”) comes from the Latin Lacrima, meaning the same.

From the same root we get the English… lacrimal sac. In case you forgot our high school biology class, that’s the bit by your eye that creates… tears.

The l-c-r of lacrimal sac maps to the l-g-r of lágrima.

Despedirse and Repeat

The Spanish despedirse (“to say goodbye; leave”) comes from the Latin petere (“to seek.”) With the des– prefix, despedirse literally means: to seek away from. You say goodbye when you’re looking for something else, away from where you are now.

From the Latin root, we get a few English words including:

  • Petulant. The petulant kid never stops seeking more and more.
  • Perpetual. What is doing something perpetually if not, looking for something and never getting what you want?
  • Repeat. That’s when you keep on looking for something over and over, and never find it.
  • Compete. It’s when you’re looking for something — and so is someone else.

Traba and Tavern

The Spanish for “obstacle”, traba, comes from the Latin trabis, meaning… “wood”.

The same Latin room, trabis, evolved in Latin to mean “timber or a beam of wood” and from there, over time, evolved into the English (via French) tavern. What is a tavern if not an old wooden house?

So next time you’re drinking in a tavern, remember that the tavern is an obstacle to your productivity! But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Rehusar – Refuse

The Spanish rehusar — literally, “refuse” — sounds odd to English ears: it’s the same word, but the -f- became an -h-. Huh?

This is explained via the pattern of Latin words that began with an f- tended to turn into an h- in Spanish and only in Spanish. See famine/hambre, and huir/fugitive for example.

Refuse and Rehusar follow the same pattern. Both come from the Latin refundere — from which we also get the English, refund. They are all ways of giving back.

This f-to-h pattern usually happens with the first letter of the word. But here it is the first letter of the second syllable — because the re- is of course the standard prefix so it didn’t effect the sound pattern change.

Boda – Vote

Boda, Spanish for “wedding,” comes from the Latin word votum, meaning a “vote, promise”.

This, indeed, makes sense: what is a wedding if not just a vote in the other person, and a promise to be with them? At least in Spanish it is. (The other word for wedding in Spanish, casamiento, is related to the Spanish for “home”, casa).

This one isn’t obvious, at all, based on the spelling, but it is based on the sound. One lesson is to guess parallel words based on the sounds more than the letters. But pay attention to the letters when they are unexpected or voiced weirdly.

logo

© 2018 - All Rights Reserved | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Sitemap | Etymology Dictionaries To Help Us Learn Spanish | Resources | 🚑 Privacy Products