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Rec­haz­ar and Cazar

The Span­ish rec­haz­ar (“to re­ject”) does­n’t sound like any­thing in Eng­lish. At least not ob­vi­ous­ly.

The word, how­ev­er, comes from more ba­sic Span­ish word cazar (“to hunt”), which we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly dis­cussed here — re­lat­ed to the Eng­lish “chase.”

But how did the word for “hunt” be­come “re­ject”?

Well, lets think about it: you hunt af­ter your op­po­nent, your en­e­my, the big bad bear you’re try­ing to kill. You hunt af­ter that which you re­ject. Hunt­ing could then be seen as the strongest form of re­jec­tion!

Bra­zo and Bra, Bracelet

The Span­ish bra­zo (“arm”) comes from the Latin brac­chi­um mean­ing, “up­per arm.” The Latin it­self comes from the Greek brakhion. From these, we get Eng­lish words such as bra (more rec­og­niz­able if we re­mem­ber the old­er, and orig­i­nal French, form of the word, bras­sière) as well as bracelet

We can see the br‑c and its vari­a­tions (br‑z, br‑s) in all the ver­sions of the word.

Sospe­choso — Sus­pect

Sus­pect and the Span­ish equiv­a­lent, sospe­choso, are easy to iden­ti­fy and ob­vi­ous­ly the same word, both from the same Latin root, sus­pec­tus.

That’s not the in­ter­est­ing part. Rather, as Latin evolved in­to Span­ish, the Latin sound ‑ct- turned in­to the Span­ish ‑ch- sound. Think lac­tose/leche or oc­ta­gon/ocho.

And sus­pect falls ex­act­ly in­to this pat­tern: the Eng­lish s‑s-p-ct maps ex­act­ly to the Span­ish s‑s-p-ch.

Hi­er­ro and Fer­rari

Hierro ferrari english spanish

Hi­er­ro is just Span­ish for “iron”.

Here’s where it gets in­ter­est­ing: the Latin words be­gin­ning with f- gen­er­al­ly turned in­to the silent h- in Span­ish but not in the oth­er Ro­man­tic lan­guages, and thus hi­er­ro (from the Latin fer­rum) is re­lat­ed to:

  • Fer­ro­car­ril — Span­ish for rail­road. It maps al­most per­fect­ly to the Eng­lish: fer­ro for fer­rum, “iron”; and car­ril for road, way, or path (think of the com­mon Span­ish word for path or way, car­rera).
  • Fer­rari — the lux­u­ry sports car from Italy, is named af­ter their found­ing fam­i­ly’s last name. And that last name, in Ital­ian, orig­i­nal­ly meant… iron-work­er.

Am­bos and Am­bi­tion, Am­biance

The Eng­lish Am­bi­tion comes from the Latin root am­bi- (mean­ing “around”) plus the Latin verb ire (mean­ing “to go”): some­one who goes around. Some­one with am­bi­tion was, lit­er­al­ly, some­one who went around so­lic­it­ing votes and sup­port.

Am­biance al­so comes from the same root, am­bi-: Am­biance is re­al­ly what’s go­ing around the place you’re in. That is, the en­vi­ron­ment.

The best part: the very com­mon Span­ish word mean­ing “both”, am­bos, al­so comes from the same root, “around” — but on­ly when there are two around.

Jabón — Soap

Soap and the Span­ish for the same, jabón, sound like they have noth­ing in com­mon. But sounds can be de­ceiv­ing.

Both come from the same root: the Latin se­bum, mean­ing “grease”.

How can such dif­fer­ent words be so re­lat­ed? Easy: the Latin s- sound and its vari­a­tions (sh‑, ch- and sy- for ex­am­ple) usu­al­ly be­came, un­der the ara­bic in­flu­ence, a j- sound in Span­ish but re­mained more in­tact in Eng­lish.

Thus, the s‑p of soap maps al­most ex­act­ly to the j‑b of jabón. The “p” and “b” are of­ten eas­i­ly in­ter­changed as well.

Less fun is al­so not­ing that, from the same Latin root, mean­ing “grease” we al­so get se­b­or­rhea (a med­ical con­di­tion of hav­ing too much grease on your skin).

Morder — Re­morse

The Span­ish morder, “to bite”, sounds com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent than any­thing in Eng­lish (ex­cept for ob­scure SAT words like mor­dant — which lit­er­al­ly means, bit­ing!).

But who would’ve thunk that it’s re­lat­ed to re­morse.

Re­morse comes from the Latin re­mordere, which means, “to bite back” — from the ear­li­er re- (the pre­fix mean­ing “back” in this case) and mordere, from which we get, morder.

The re­morse­ful do bite back in­deed!

Es­trel­la Fugaz and Fugi­tive

A “shoot­ing star” in Span­ish is an es­trel­la fugaz. Since es­trel­la means “star”, then fugaz is the par­al­lel to “shoot­ing.”

Fugaz comes from the Latin fugere which means, “to run away; flee” — from which we get the Eng­lish fugi­tive.

The map­ping is ob­vi­ous with the f‑g re­tained in both ver­sions.

Thus, in Span­ish, a shoot­ing star is lit­er­al­ly, a flee­ing star. But flee­ing from what?

Fon­do, Hon­do and Pro­found

From the Latin fun­dus (“bot­tom”), we get the Span­ish fon­do (“back­ground”) and hon­do (“deep”) — as well as the Eng­lish pro­found. Af­ter all, when some­one says some­thing pro­found, well, that’s deep.

The map­ping of the Span­ish f‑n-d (or h‑n-d) to the Eng­lish (pro)-f-n‑d is straight­for­ward. How­ev­er, it’s cu­ri­ous that, in hon­do, the ini­tial F trans­formed from Latin in­to Span­ish to an ini­tial H. This is a com­mon pat­tern, unique to Span­ish, that we see in many Latin words as they trans­formed in­to Span­ish, such as hi­jo and fil­ial, refuse and re­husar, and hi­ga­do and fig.

To­do and To­tal

To­do (Span­ish for “all; every­thing”) comes from the Latin for the same, to­tus. From that same Latin root, we al­so get the Eng­lish… to­tal. Any­thing that’s to­tal is re­al­ly all-en­com­pass­ing, right? Han­nah Arendt would cer­tain­ly say that about a to­tal­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ment!

We can see the t‑d to t‑t map­ping very clear­ly!


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