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Hal­lar and Flat­u­lence

The Span­ish hal­lar (“to find”) comes from the Latin af­flare (“to blow.”) From that same Latin root we get var­i­ous f‑l words in­volv­ing blow­ing, in­clud­ing:

  • Flat­u­lence — A fart, af­ter all, is just blow­ing some air!
  • Souf­fle — With the French pre­fix sous- (“un­der”), a souf­fle is cooked by blow­ing hot air un­der the foot!
  • Con­flate — To blow dif­fer­ent things to­geth­er!
  • In­flate — To blow-up the num­bers!

All of these share the f‑l root. But how did this turn in­to the Span­ish hal­lar? Well, first re­mem­ber that the ini­tial F- sound tend­ed to dis­ap­pear when Latin turned in­to Span­ish; see, fig and hi­go or fa­ble and hablar. Sec­ond­ly, note that find­ing some­thing is just blow­ing on it, un­cov­er­ing what was be­low the dust you blew away!

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