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Ladrón — Bur­glar

The Span­ish ladrón, for thief, sounds un­re­lat­ed to any Eng­lish word.

But, it does have an in­ter­est­ing con­nec­tion to the Eng­lish for the same, Bur­glar.

Bur­glar comes from the Latin bur­gus, which meant “cas­tle” or a “for­ti­fied town” — think about the ‑burg end­ing in many place names, like Pitts­burgh or Ed­in­bor­ough.

But, if bur­glar comes from bur­gus, then where did the ‑l- in the mid­dle come from?

Well, the ‑l- was in­sert­ed slow­ly over time un­der the in­flu­ence of the Latin for thief, la­tro. The word for “thief” was, un­con­scious­ly, made to sound sim­i­lar to the oth­er word for thief! And from la­tro we get, di­rect­ly, the Span­ish ladrón.

Thus, al­though bur­glar is­n’t di­rect­ly de­scend­ed from ladrón, they are in­ces­tu­ous cousins.

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