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Ácaro and Scar

A Span­ish word that hope­ful­ly you don’t use much but un­for­tu­nate­ly some­times you need to is ácaro, mean­ing, “mite.”

Ácaro comes from the Latin for the same, acarus which ul­ti­mate­ly comes from the Pro­to-In­do-Eu­ro­pean root *(s)ker‑, which meant “cut.” Per­haps the word for “cut” turned in­to “mite” be­cause that’s what mites do, they cut you open?

From that same root, via Ger­man, Eng­lish gets a bunch of word of words re­lat­ed to cut­ting, such as… scar. That’s just a big cut, right? We al­so get the Eng­lish shore — that’s just where the land cuts the flow of the ocean.

We can see the c‑r map­ping in both lan­guages, with the ini­tial s- dis­ap­pear­ing in Span­ish.


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