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Mostrar and Mon­ster, Demon­strate

Mostrar (Span­ish for “to show”) comes from the Latin root, mon­strare (“to point out”), which comes from mon­strum, an “omen from God; a won­der.”

From that root mon­strum, we get two re­lat­ed Eng­lish words:

  • Demon­strate — A demon­stra­tion, af­ter all, is just a show­ing!
  • Mon­ster — A mon­ster was orig­i­nal­ly a mes­sen­ger from God. But just a bad one!

We can see how the m‑n-st‑r root in the orig­i­nal Latin was pre­served in the two Eng­lish de­scen­dants, but turned in­to m‑st‑r in the Span­ish mostrar, los­ing the mid­dle ‑n-.

It’s cu­ri­ous how the sense of awe and won­der, of a God-giv­en mes­sage, has been lost as mon­strum — the di­vine omen! — turned in­to mere­ly demon­stra­tions or just show­ing, mostrar. Sounds like the mod­ern world, in a nut­shell.

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