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Lluvia and Pluvial

The Spanish lluvia (for “rain”) comes Latin pluvia for the same — a change that may not be obvious because the -pl- of Latin sometimes became a -ll- in Spanish.

From the same root, we get the sophisticated English word pluvial which means… lots of rain!

The ll-v of lluvia clearly maps to the p-l of pluvial.

Enviar and Envoy

Enviar (Spanish for “To send”) comes from the Latin for the same, inviare. From that same root, we get the English… envoy. An envoy just sends a message, after all!

The e-n-v root is self-evident in both words. And the Latin inviare comes from the root via for “road”, from which we get endless English words, including… via!

Calor and Calm

The Spanish for “hot”, calor, sounds nothing like the English for the same.

But it does have a surprising relationship with the English calm.

Both come from the Latin cauma, which means “the heat of the sun in the middle of the day”. (What a specific concept! We need an English word for the same!). Cauma comes from the Latin calere, “to be hot.”

Thus, the word for heat has turned into, in English, the word for tranquility: calm! The heat, indeed, does calm us down!

We can see the pattern clearly if we map the root c-l of calor to the c-l of calm. The silent “l” in calm makes this less obvious than it should be!

Padecer and Passion

Padecer (Spanish for “to suffer”) comes from the Latin pati, meaning, “to suffer.” From that same root, we get the English… passion.

Yes, by definition, passion necessarily entails suffering.  Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know about love?

Mullir and Mollify

The Spanish mullir (“to soften”) comes from the Latin mollis, meaning, “soft.” From that same Latin root we get the English… to mollify. To mollify in English is usually used in the sense of, “to appease” — and it’s noteworthy that that appeasing IS softening. You need to be strong to not appease the bad guy, after all.

The m-ll root is clearly visible in both words.

Esperar and Despair, Speed

The Spanish esperar — the common word meaning “hope, wait, expect” — comes from the Latin sperare for the same.

So it’s unsurprising that its opposite in Spanish, desperar, parallels exactly the English, despair. Ahhhh!

Less obvious is that the Latin sperare comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *spe, meaning “to thrive”, from which we also get the English, speed.

Speeding and hoping are indeed both forms of thriving!

Pudrir and Foul

The Spanish pudrir, “to rot,” has a surprising connection to the English, foul, a word meaning the same but sadly very underused these days — although still when quoting Macbeth: fair is foul and foul is fair!

Both come from the same Indo-European root *pu, meaning, “to rot.”

But the English one sounds so different because, in the Germanic branch of Indo-European, the p- sound turned into the f- sound. But now in the Latin branch.

Thus the initial f+vowel of foul maps to the initial f+vowel of pudrir.

From the same root are more fun words including defile, putrid, and pus. What wonderful imagery!

Abrir and Overt, Aperture

Abrir, Spanish for “to open,” comes from the Latin aperire, for the same.

Less obviously, from the same Latin root we get two similar words in English: overt and aperture. Both are openings — and overt is a very metaphorical opening although, etymologically, a literal one!

In overt, we can see the o-v-r map to the a-b-r of abrir, and in aperture the a-p-r map to the a-b-r of abrir.

Sueldo and Soldier

Sueldo (Spanish for “salary”) comes from the Latin solidus for “gold coins” — that which you pay the salary in.

From the same root solidus we also get… soldier. Yes, a soldier is defined by the money he makes: a soldier is just someone who is in an arm for the pay.

The s-l-d root is clearly visible in both!

Hipoteca and Theme

The Spanish hipoteca for “mortgage” comes from the Greek hypo– (“down”) and tithenai (“to put, place”). Why? A mortgage is when you put down a deposit, and you put down your commitment to pay it off until it’s all paid down.

From the root tithenai we also get the English… theme. A theme is when you put down one topic you will consistently return to during the course of the event!

This etymology is almost as good as the English equivalent, mortgage… which literally means, pledge until you’re dead. Yup, the same mort- as in death! A mortgage is — literally — what you’ll be paying until you die!

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