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Re­van­cha and Vin­di­cate

The Span­ish re­van­cha (“re­venge”) comes from the Latin vin­di­care, mean­ing — sur­pris­ing­ly — “to vin­di­cate.”

Re­venge, af­ter all, is just one way to vin­di­cate your­self!

If we re­mem­ber the re­in­forc­ing re- pre­fix, we can see that the v‑n-ch of re­van­cha maps to the v‑n-(d)-c of vin­di­cate.

Cielo and Ce­les­tial

Both the Span­ish cielo (“sky”) and the Eng­lish ce­les­tial come from the same root: the Latin cae­lestis, mean­ing, “sky.” The c‑l root is ev­i­dent in both.

Not all pat­terns are sub­tle; we just need to make the con­nec­tion!

The Span­ish for “light blue,” ce­leste, comes from the same root, for a rea­son so self-ev­i­dent that it’s not worth say­ing. Just look up.

Pan — Com­pan­ion

The Span­ish for “bread,” pan, sounds noth­ing at all like its Eng­lish equiv­a­lent.

But it is, in­deed, a close cousin of an­oth­er Eng­lish word: com­pan­ion.

All over the an­cient world, bread was the sign of friend­ship and peace. Hence Eng­lish phras­es like, to “break bread.”

In An­cient Rome, your friend — lit­er­al­ly, your com­pan­ion — was some­one you broke bread with. Com­pan­ion, com — pan, con — pan = with bread.

Re­moli­no and Mill

Re­moli­no (Span­ish for “whirlpool” or “swirl”) comes from the Lati­no molinum, which means.… mill. This makes sense: a mill just moves around and around in a cir­cu­lar mo­tion — for ex­am­ple, think of a wind-mill. In fact, the Eng­lish mill comes from the same root! So we can see the m‑l root in both words!

Bus­car and Pos­tu­late

Bus­car (Span­ish for “to ask for”) comes from the Latin poscere (“to ask ur­gent­ly”). In the tran­si­tion from Latin to Span­ish, the word was def­i­nite­ly weak­ened since bus­car does­n’t have any ur­gent im­pli­ca­tion.

From this Latin root, we al­so get the Eng­lish word… pos­tu­late. Pos­tu­lat­ing is re­al­ly just for­mu­lat­ing a the­sis and want­i­ng re­spons­es — which is just a so­phis­ti­cat­ed form of ask­ing a ques­tion!

We can see the b‑s-c of bus­car maps to the p‑s-t of pos­tu­late.

Con­cur­so and Con­cur

Con­cur­so (Span­ish for “con­test”) comes from the Latin con­cur­sus, (“run­ning to­geth­er”).

Why? A con­test re­al­ly is just a bunch of peo­ple… run­ning to­geth­er to see who gets tot the fin­ish line first.

From that same Latin root, we get the Eng­lish… con­cur. Why? It could al­so mean in Latin an “as­sem­bly”: a bunch of peo­ple might be run­ning to­geth­er, but might al­so be just talk­ing to­geth­er in an as­sem­bly, to which they come to a con­clu­sion to­geth­er, to which, they con­cur.

We can see the c‑n-c‑r root in both words clear­ly.

Ple­gar and Ap­pli­cant

The Span­ish ple­gar, mean­ing “to fold” comes from the Latin root pli­care, mean­ing the same.

From pli­care, we al­so get the Eng­lish ap­pli­cant. The con­nec­tion makes sense if we think about both words in the sense of “at­tach”: when you ap­ply, you want to at­tach your­self to an or­ga­ni­za­tion; and think of fold in the same metaphor­i­cal sense, “to bring in­to the fold.”

We can see the map­ping clear­ly in the p‑l-g of ple­gar and the p‑l-c of ap­pli­cant. The ‑c- was lost when it was short­ened to just ap­ply over time.

From the same root we al­so get the Eng­lish ply, as in ply­wood — but that is a lot less com­mon!

Co­barde, Co­la — Cow­ard

A cow­ard is one who turns his tail and runs: lit­er­al­ly!

The Eng­lish cow­ard comes from the old French coart. Coart, in turn, comes from coe, mean­ing “tail” (from the Latin, co­da for the same), plus the ‑art suf­fix just refers to a per­son do­ing that (think, brag­gart). A cow­ard show you his tail and turns the oth­er way!

In­ter­est­ing­ly, from the Latin co­da, we al­so get the Span­ish for tail, co­la. And from the French coart, we get the Span­ish word for cow­ard, co­barde.

Ren­cor and Ran­cid

The Span­ish for “anger,” ren­cor, has a fun Eng­lish cousin: ran­cid.

Both words come from the Latin rancere, mean­ing “to stink.”

Thus, lit­er­al­ly, both rot­ten food stinks and, anger stinks.

We can see the re­la­tion­ship clear­ly if we see the r‑n-c map­ping be­tween the words.

Es­mero and Mere

Es­mero, a Span­ish word mean­ing “done with care” comes from the Latin pre­fix ex- com­bined with the Latin merus which meant, “un­mixed; pure” (such as, pure wine — not di­lut­ed by wa­ter). Any­thing done with care will be pure, right?

From that same Latin root merus, we al­so get the Eng­lish… mere. The in­ter­est­ing part is that, over the cen­turies, mere has gone on to al­most take on the op­po­site of its orig­i­nal mean­ing: the orig­i­nal, more Lati­nate sense, was sim­i­lar to “pure” and its Span­ish de­riv­a­tive, done with care. But over time, in Eng­lish at least, its be­come de­grad­ed and de­grad­ed to the point in which to­day, it means to do “just bare­ly enough.” This is an ex­am­ple of a broad­er pat­tern: words tend to de­grade over time.

We see the m‑r root clear­ly in both lan­guages.


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