Learning Spanish & Etymology Pattern-Matching for Nerds

Empatar (Spanish for “to tie” — in the sense of, both teams scoring equally) comes from the Latin pactum for, well, “pact, deal”.

The connection between teams being tied and a pact is interesting: both imply an equality. A pact is a deal that both teams benefit from equally, because if they didn’t, they just wouldn’t enter into the pact! Without equality between the sides, it’s not a pact; it’s a “treaty”!

The p‑t of empatar maps to the p‑ct of pact, with the ‑ct- sound being simplified into just ‑t-, as often happened.