Want more Spanish etymologies? Let us know!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
logo

Abrir and Aperture

The common Spanish abrir, for “open”, comes from the Latin for the same, aperio.

From the same root — in an “ahhhh!” moment — is the English, aperture, the opening of the camera. The sort of word you learn if you ever try to figure out how to use an analog camera!

The a-b of abrir maps to the a-p of aperture, with the “b” and “p” being often and easiliy exchanged.

Alrededor and Round

The Spanish for “around”, alrededor”, comes from the same root as the English “round”: both come from the Latin rota, meaning, “wheel.”

The Spanish is a bit less obvious because of its al- prefix — which was originally a separate word, originally, “al rededor.” Thus, the r-(n)-d of round maps to the (al)-r-d of alrededor.

Abogado and Advocate

Spanish for “lawyer,” abogado is a cousin of the English uncommon synonym for the same, advocate (think of it in the noun sense).

Both come from the same Latin root: advocatus, which is a combination of ad- (“towards”) and vocare (“to call”: think of voice, vocal, vocation — literally, your calling!). So a lawyer, or advocate, literally meant, “one called [to help others]”.

Although the sound mappings may not be obvious at first, we can see that the a-b-g-d of abogado maps to the a-v-c-t of advocate.

Sospechoso – Suspect

Suspect and the Spanish equivalent, sospechoso, are easy to identify and obviously the same word, both from the same Latin root, suspectus.

That’s not the interesting part. Rather, as Latin evolved into Spanish, the Latin sound -ct- turned into the Spanish -ch- sound. Think lactose/leche or octagon/ocho.

And suspect falls exactly into this pattern: the English s-s-p-ct maps exactly to the Spanish s-s-p-ch.

Pie and Pioneer

Pioneer is literally, one who does something… on foot. Thus it’s related — via the French paonier, from which we get the word — to the Spanish for “foot”, pie. Thus the p-i-vowel opening both words!

Noche – Nocturnal

Scary house 1024x768 3 311x234

The Spanish for “night”, noche, is related (via the common Latin ancestor) nocturnal.

Here’s the interesting part: the Latin sound “ct” consistently changed to the “ch” sound in Spanish. Think “lactose” and “leche”, or “octagon” and “ocho”. And this is another example of that pattern: the “ct” in “nocturnal” is the same as the “ch” in “noche”!

Planchar and Plank

Planchar (Spanish for “to iron”) comes from the French for the same, planche, which comes from the Latin plancus, for “straight.” Ironing is making something straight!

From that same root, we get the English… plank. A plank, after all, is just a piece of wood that is… straight.

The mapping of the Spanish p-l-n-ch to the English p-l-n-k is quite clear.

Faro – Lighthouse

Lighthouse faron spanish english

Lighthouse in Spanish is Faro. Seems totally random, doesn’t it? Well…

The greatest and most famous lighthouse in history was, of course one of the 7 Wonders of the World, the infamous Lighthouse at Alexandria, in ancient Egypt.

And the ancient Latins — knowing all about and in awe of the amazing lighthouse- referred to it by the title of the man who built it which was, of course, the King of Egypt. And they called their Kings, Pharaohs!

Pharaoh — yes, the same Pharaoh featured in the Old Testament who enslaved the Jews and thus of course gave them the holiday of Passover — in Spanish is written faraón. Thus, giving rise to the word faro for lighthouse.

Incendio and Incendiary

Incendio (Spanish for “fire”) comes from the Latin for the same, incendium. From this same root, we get the English… incendiary. The English variation literally means the same — setting on fire — but now that definition is mostly forgotten, and we use it in a more abstract sense: causing massive problems. A fire is just a massive problem, after all.

Dorado and Aurora

Dorado, Spanish for “covered in gold” — think of McDonalds in Spanish. Los Arcos Dorados (the golden arches–literally!) comes from the Latin de– (“of”) and aurum, “gold”: gilded or gold-covered, literally means… from gold.

From the same Latin root we also get the English aurora, “dawn” or the Roman goddess of the dawn. The morning sun glittering in the distance is… shining, just like gold does.

We can see the a-r root in both words clearly!

logo

© 2020 - All Rights Reserved | Contact | Privacy, Terms & Conditions | Sitemap| Resources | Etymology Dictionaries To Help Us Learn Spanish