Want more Spanish etymologies? Let us know!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

logo

Buitre and Vulture

The Spanish buitre doesn’t obviously look like the English word it means: “vulture,” both of which are from the Latin vulturis.

But looking below the surface, we see the similarity: the b‑t-r of buitre maps to the v-(l)-t‑r of “vulture.”

This isn’t obvious at first for two reasons. First, the b- to v- transition: the sounds are identical in Spanish and often interchanged with each other, so it makes sense that they swap here.

But more subtly, the ‑l- between the vowels disappeared in the Spanish version, with the ulu becoming u‑i. The vanishing of the ‑l- between the vowels is much more characteristic of Portuguese than Spanish (see almost every example in Portuguese, like comparing the Spanish vuelo with the Portuguese voo — an observation I first made in the Rio de Janeiro airport years ago!).

logo

© 2022 - All Rights Reserved | Contact | Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions | Sitemap| Resources | Etymology Dictionaries To Help Us Learn Spanish

Hat Tip 🎩 to The Marketing Scientist