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Men­ti­ra and Amend­ment

Span­ish for “lie” (Men­ti­ra) comes from the Latin man­daci­um for the same, which in turn, comes from the ear­li­er Latin men­da for “de­fect; fault”. But the Latin Men­da comes from the Pro­to-In­do-Eu­ro­pean root *mend- mean­ing the same, fault or de­fect.

Thus we see an in­ter­est­ing tran­si­tion over time: de­fect turned in­to lie. The word took on more and more agency: the prob­lem did­n’t just hap­pen; it was an ex­plic­it lie!

The same PIE root *mend‑, in Eng­lish, took a dif­fer­ent route: via French, it turned in­to the mod­ern Eng­lish amend and amend­ment. Thus, in Eng­lish, “de­fect” turned in­to the more ac­ci­den­tal, less bad, “lets make a change!”.

We can see the par­al­lels eas­i­ly: the m‑n-t of men­ti­ra map to the (a)-m-n‑d of amend. The d- and t- trans­for­ma­tion is very com­mon and the sounds of­ten in­ter­change­able.

We al­so have the Eng­lish men­da­cious that is a di­rect par­al­lel to men­ti­ra… but every­one seems to have for­got­ten that word.


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