The fun, and everyday, Spanish word borracho is.… drunk. Although it sounds nothing like the English “drunk” it does have a subtle cousin in English: inebriated. Although they don’t look the same we can see the parallel if we look with squinted eyes:
The b‑r-ch root of borracho maps to the b‑r in (in)-b-r‑t. The English version sounds more Latinate because we added the in- prefix for emphasis at the beginning.
Okay, put the Spanish for “moon”, Luna, being related to Lunatic, in the category of, “It’s so obvious you never realized it until someone once pointed it out to you!”.
Nighttime has historically, since ancient times, been associated with danger and the crazy riskiness that comes alongside it. This is manifested in many forms, including the Luna/Lunatic parallel.
Think, also, about parallel English cliches like, “shooting for the moon”: someone who is trying something that is so risky and unlikely to succeed that you must be insane to even try it!
The Spanish ladrón, for thief, sounds unrelated to any English word.
But, it does have an interesting connection to the English for the same, Burglar.
Burglar comes from the Latin burgus, which meant “castle” or a “fortified town” — think about the ‑burg ending in many place names, like Pittsburgh or Edinborough.
But, if burglar comes from burgus, then where did the ‑l- in the middle come from?
Well, the ‑l- was inserted slowly over time under the influence of the Latin for thief, latro. The word for “thief” was, unconsciously, made to sound similar to the other word for thief! And from latro we get, directly, the Spanish ladrón.
Thus, although burglar isn’t directly descended from ladrón, they are incestuous cousins.
Today’s pattern is another entry in the “obvious in hindsight” category.
Presupuesto is the common Spanish word for “budget.” Sounds arbitrary and hard to remember.
But it turns out, this is just a participle of presuponer, which is conjugated just like poner and means… to presuppose.
We see the relation between the words obviously in the too-clear pre-s-p‑s pattern.
A budget, after all, is just presupposing how all the money will be spent, right?
Chicle (Spanish for “gum”) gives us the English chiclets, the gum brand. Through a funny story: when Mexican general Santa Anna lost Texas, he fled — dressed up in drag, actually (true story!) — to Staten Island. There, he stayed with an inventor Thomas Adams and told him about the Mexican love of chewing chicle… the rest is history.
“To marry”, in Spanish, is casarse.
The funny part: casarse comes from the common Spanish word for “house”, casa. That makes sense: getting married is fundamentally about two people building a house together, metaphorically and literally.
In English, although marry is unrelated, two English words convey the same concept. Husband, in English, comes from the Old English “hus — bondi”, which mean, “House Dweller”: so the Husband is the one who lives in the house!
Even better: American slang hands down to us a lower version of the same concept, the slang phrase, “to shack up”, meaning, well, to either live together in sin — premaritally — or more recently, to have sex in a one-night stand. A shack, after all, is just a poor house.
Mientras (Spanish for “while”), comes from the Latin dum interim, meaning, “in the meantime,” which itself comes from the earlier basic prefix, inter-. Interim has entered formal English speech meaning the same, of course.
The n‑t-r root is visible in both mientras and interim — but it is less obvious because of the m- opening sound, from the lost prefix dum (“out of”).
The English foot comes from the Indo-European root *ped. Think pedal.
Interestingly, the “p” sound consistently transformed into an “f” in the Germanic languages — but remained a “p” in the Latinate languages.
This is why, foot is equivalent to pie.
Other examples of this pattern include father and padre, and the English far is from the same root as the Latin per.
Suelo is Spanish for “floor” although it is not too common (piso is the more common word). But, very common is subsuelo — the sub-floor, that is: the basement.
This is, unexpectedly, related to a few English words.
Suelo comes from the Latin solum, meaning “ground.”
From solum, we get two English words:
First, soil — yes, the soil is what is on the ground below you!
Second, sole — as in the sole of your shoe. This, too, is below you as you walk.
In both, we clearly see the s‑l root staying consistent.
Luego (Spanish for “later”) comes from the Latin locus (“place.”) From this same Latin root we get various place-related English words, including…
We can see the l‑g of luego map to the l‑c of locate clearly.
The interesting question is how “place” came to mean “later” in Spanish. It’s interesting. Basically, in ancient Latin (and even moreso in vulgar Latin), locus (“place”) was used in lots and lots of expressions related to time. So, over time, the word for “place” became more and more associated with the word for “time” — until, eventually, it became a type of time… being late. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that the Latins are always late — stereotypically, at least!