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Aguan­tar and Bear

The very com­mon Span­ish word aguan­tar, mean­ing “to put up with”, comes from old Provençal for glove, guan­to.

We can see the evo­lu­tion: some­thing you put up with is, some­thing you (metaphor­i­cal­ly) car­ry around with you, a bur­den. And what is a glove if not some­thing you wear, some­thing you car­ry around, some­thing that helps you car­ry any­thing else?

There’s an in­ter­est­ing par­al­lel to the Eng­lish, bear — in this “put up with” sense, not the an­i­mal sense. Bear, from the Old Eng­lish be­ran, orig­i­nal­ly meant some­thing you “bring” or “car­ry”. So, bear fol­lows a par­al­lel et­y­mol­o­gy as aguan­tar, both orig­i­nal­ly mean­ing what you car­ry and be­com­ing what you force your­self to put up with.

Fun­ni­ly enough, the Old Eng­lish be­ran al­so be­came bore and born in Eng­lish: women do bear chil­dren, af­ter all. I guess chil­dren are re­al­ly just some­thing you need to put up with.


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