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Apañar and Pane

The Span­ish apañar (“to fix, to rig”, as in “to fix the ju­ry”) comes from the Latin pan­nus, which meant “cloth, gar­ment or rag.” How did this trans­for­ma­tion hap­pen, as Latin turned in­to Span­ish? Well, you use a cloth to tie peo­ple, which is one way of ap­ply­ing pres­sure — phys­i­cal­ly and metaphor­i­cal­ly.

From the same Latin root pan­nus, we get the Eng­lish… pane. As in a win­dow pane. Here, the metaphor­i­cal meet­ing of the cloth or cloth­ing took on the mean­ing of a di­vider — which di­vides one sec­tion from the oth­er. Which is pre­cise­ly the op­po­site mean­ing of the Span­ish!

You can see the p‑n root in both. And it’s al­ways note­wor­thy that the Latin dou­ble n -nn- con­sis­tent­ly trans­formed in­to the ñ in Span­ish.


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