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Herir and In­ter­fere

Herir (Span­ish for, “to round”; most com­mon­ly heard in the form, “heri­do”, a wound) is a sur­pris­ing cousin of… in­ter­fere. How so?

In­ter­fere comes to us from the French en­tre- (“be­tween”) and ferir (“to hit”). In­ter­fer­ing with some­thing is re­al­ly just hit­ting it right in the mid­dle of it, break­ing it up! Ferir comes from the Latin, for the same, Ferire.

Cu­ri­ous­ly, Ferire evolved in­to Span­ish Herir — the Ini­tial “F” turn­ing in­to a “H”. It turns out, this is a com­mon pat­tern as Latin evolved in­to Span­ish — but in no oth­er lan­guage! Just look at Fil­ial and Hi­jo, or File and Hi­lo, or Fig and Hi­go.

Thus, the h‑r of herir maps to the (int)-f‑r of in­ter­fere.


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