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Ca­ma and Cam­era, Cham­ber

Ca­ma, Span­ish for “bed”, has many sur­pris­ing cousins in Eng­lish, in­clud­ing:

  • Cham­ber — This French word made its way in­to Eng­lish, mean­ing orig­i­nal­ly and still most com­mon­ly, “bed­room”. What is your bed­room if not the room with your bed? Cham­ber comes from the Latin, cam­era, mean­ing the same — from which we al­so get ca­ma it­self.
  • Cam­era — From the Latin for the same, room. If we think about how a cam­era works: there is a lit­tle dark room where the film is ex­posed.
  • Com­rade — The com­mu­nist word for “friend” came to Russ­ian and the world via French, but came to French via the Span­ish ca­ma­ra­da, lit­er­al­ly, “cham­ber mate” — the per­son you shared your room with. You and your com­rades have a clos­er re­la­tion­ship than you thought!

In all these words, we can see a c(h)-m to c‑m map­ping, so the re­la­tion­ships are clear!


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