Want more Spanish etymologies? Let us know!
logo

Haber and Habit, Prohibit

Haber (“to have”, in the grammatical sense, and the root form of he, has, ha, hemos, etc) comes from the Latin for habere, meaning “to hold.”

From the same root, we get the English word habit. What is a habit if not something you hold so dear that you do it all the time? We also get prohibit (the same root with the prefix pro meaning “away”). What is a prohibition if not a habit that you’re trying to stop?

The h-b root is so obvious in all, it’s almost not worth mentioning. Almost!

Andar and Ambulance

Andar, the common Spanish word for “to walk”, usually in the metaphorical sense of “to go,” is cousins with the English… ambulance, as well as its cousin, to amble.

Both come from the Latin ambulare, meaning, “to walk.”

We can see the a-n-d of andar map to the a-m-b of ambulance and amble very clearly.

Gota and Gout, Gutter

Gota, Spanish for “drop” comes from the Latin gutta for the same. From this  root we also get the English gout and… gutter. What is gout, after all, if not a pain that is a constant drip or a gutter, if not a collection of dirty water drops? The g-l sounds are consistent among all variations.

Orar and Adore, Orate

Orar (Spanish “to pray”) comes from the Latin Orare (“to speak formally; pray”). From the same root, we get two similar English words, each of which takes on one of the two Latin senses: orate and adore, which adds in the ad– (“towards”) prefix.

The o-r root is clearly visible in all.

Cadena and Concatenate, Chain

Cadena (Spanish for “chain”) is a cousin of chain itself. Both come from the Latin for the same: catena.

The English chain is disfigured from the original for a few reasons. Since the English came to our language via the French, the initial c- changed into a ch-, as so often French does. French additionally has a tendency to drop letters: the middle -d- in this case. Thus, the c-(d)-n of cadena maps to the ch-n of chain!

From the same root, we have a more obvious connection–but a more obscure word. Concatenate, a nerdy word meaning “to add together” that really only software developers remember these days, comes from the same root. We can thus see the c-d-n of cadena very easily in the c-t-n of concatenate, remembering the very common -d- and -t- swapping. Concatenate begins with the con- prefix (“together” in Latin, like the Spanish “con”) — and what is a concatenation, if not just adding together a bunch of nodes in a chain?

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?

Tener – Tenet, -tain

Hold tener spanish english

The Spanish tener (to hold) comes from the Latin tenere for the same.

From the same root tenere, we get the English tenet — think about it, you hold your beliefs.

And it gets even better: from tenere, we also get the English suffix -tain, as in maintain, sustain, contain, detain, obtain, and entertain. And the -tain words map almost identically to the Spanish suffix of the same, the same -tener!

For example, mano, the Spanish for hand, is the same mano in maintain (or mantener, in Spanish) — which thus literally means, “to hold in your hand”!

Miedo and Meticulous

The Spanish Miedo (“fear”) comes from the Latin metus, for “fear.”

From that same root, we get the English… meticulous. Meticulous literally means, “full of fear”: and who is meticulous about every tiny little detail if not the person who is full of fear of messing up?

We can see the m-t of meticulous maps to the m-d of miedo.

Caldera and Cauldron

Caldera (Spanish for “pot”) comes from the Latin calderium meaning “warm bath”. From that same root, we get the English… cauldron. The witches’ boiling pot is both a pot and a warm bath of sorts, after all.

We can see the c-ld-r root clearly in all the words.

Leer and Religion

It seems like a paradox: leer (Spanish for, “to read”) is a cousin of religion! But they are actually closely related–despite the too-common belief that religion is thoughtless!

Religion comes from the Latin, re- (“again”) combined with legere (“to read.”) Thus, religion is literally, reading the same thing again and again: a form of reading ritual.

From the Latin legere, the -g- disappears over time and we get the Spanishleer, “to read.”

Thus the r-l-g of religion maps to the l- of leer.

It’s funny that, today, religion and reading are too often seem as opposites. For most of history, the educated classes were the priests and scholars; this is why the old American universities, for example, were predominantly founded by religious groups!

logo

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