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Olvi­dar and Oblit­er­ate

The Span­ish for “to for­get”, olvi­dar, has an in­ter­est­ing cousin in Eng­lish: oblit­er­ate.

Both come from the same Latin root, oblit­er­are, which means, “to cause to dis­ap­pear; erase; blot out”, but was used in Latin slang to mean “to be for­got­ten.” You can see this in the o‑v-d of olvi­dar map­ping to the o-(b)-l‑t of oblit­er­ate.

That which is for­got­ten is, in a sense, oblit­er­at­ed. As the Greeks re­mind­ed us: Chronos was a mon­ster who ate his own chil­dren. All shall be for­got­ten!

Oblit­er­are, in turn comes from the Latin root ob- (“against”) and lit­tera (“let­ter”). Eras­ing is re­al­ly just go­ing against the let­ter it­self, af­ter all!

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