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Eta­pa and Sta­ple

Eta­pa (Span­ish for “stage, lev­el”) comes from old Dutch word (re­mem­ber, the whole Span­ish-Nether­lands 80 years war? They did in­flu­ence each oth­er a lot!) stapel mean­ing, “de­posit; store.”

The Eng­lish sta­ple comes from the Old Ger­man stapu­laz (“pil­lar”) — from which we al­so get the Dutch stapel and then the Span­ish eta­pa!

But how did a word mean­ing “pil­lar” be­come “stage” or “sta­ple”? Well, a pil­lar holds up the next lev­el — the next stage! (Think of floors in a build­ing as be­ing stages of de­vel­op­ment. Ul­ti­mate­ly we reach the pent­house!). Or think about the pil­lar — that which holds every­thing else up so it does­n’t fall — is the sta­ple of the build­ing, the most ba­sic build­ing block, to en­sure it does­n’t col­lapse!

We can see the t‑p root in both the Eng­lish and Span­ish words.


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