Tripulación (Spanish for “crew”, such as on a boat or plane) comes from the Latin prefix inter- (“between”) and the Latin root polire (“to polish” in Latin). A crew probably spends much of their time polishing the ship to perfection, right?
From the same Latin root polire, we get another Spanish word: pulir which means… “to polish”. Surprise, surprise!
From this root, we also get the English polish as well, in addition to the less obvious: interpolate. How did that transformation of meaning happen? Remember that in interpolating, you’re really polishing up the data! You’re taking data from the dusty bins of forgotten files, dusting it off and reusing it: just like polishing up a ship.
The p‑l root is clear in all variations as well.
Both the common Spanish comprar (“to buy”) and the similar-sounding-but-different-meaning compare in English come from the same Latin root: comparare, meaning “to make equal with; bring together for a contest.”
How could one word evolve into two very separate meanings? Well, the original Latin comparare comes from the root com (“with”) + parare (“prepare”); what do you do with a pair of things other than prepare to make a choice between them by comparing them to find similarities and differences — these either turn into a conflict between them, or become the same… or both?
So, the English compare preserves the original sense, although with less rivalry within the pair. But the Spanish basically tells us that shopping is just an exercise in comparative shopping — comparative, literally! Just comparing existing products and choosing the best.
And it’s noteworthy that the Spanish comprar implies much more preparation than the English does. Those Spanish are careful shoppers!
So he who buys without comparing it to the other alternatives really isn’t buying (or at least, comprar-ing), in the original sense.
Sierra (Spanish for “mountain range” — think of the Sierra mountains out west!) comes from the Latin serra, meaning “saw” (no, not the verb; the tool you use to cut wood apart!).
From the same root we get the English… serrated. Think of the serrated edges of cut paper! It does look a bit like a mountain, doesn’t it?
The s‑rr root is clearly visible in both.
Pioneer is literally, one who does something… on foot. Thus it’s related — via the French paonier, from which we get the word — to the Spanish for “foot”, pie. Thus the p‑i-vowel opening both words!
Huevo (Spanish for “egg”) comes from the Latin ovum for the same. From that Latin root, we get the English… ovaries. The ue‑v of huevo clearly maps to the o‑v of ovary! The eggs are both literal and metaphorical!
From the same root we also get ovulate and even… oval An egg is oval, isn’t it?
Gama (Spanish for “range”) comes from the Greek gamma, the third letter of the alphabet: alpha beta gamma. But it came to mean “range” in an interesting way: music. The traditional musical note gamma — which today is just ‘g’ — was used, in classic musical notation, and still today — to refer to the note that is both just below the primary starting letter ‘a’ (hence, on a piano, the ‘g’ key is immediately to the left of the ‘a’ key), as well as the highest note that ends the octave on the other side. Thus, the gamma refers to the whole range of notes!
From the same root, and with the same musical history, we also get the English SAT-synonym for “range”… gamut.
The g‑m root is clearly visible in both.
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!
The Spanish correr, “to run” seems completely unrelated to the English horse. Looks can be deceiving.
Correr comes from the Latin for the same, currere. Currere, in turn, comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *kurs, which also means, “to run” — just like horse does! Both have the same common ancestor.
The weird thing is: how did the PIE *kurs turn into horse, they sound so different.
The explanation is that, in the Germanic languages like English, the k- sound turned into the h- sound. But in Spanish, the original k- sound remained, although usually written with a c-.
This explains many parallel words that have c- and h- sounds that map to each other between Spanish and English, like heart/corazon and head/cabeza.
Spanish for “lie” (Mentira) comes from the Latin mandacium for the same, which in turn, comes from the earlier Latin menda for “defect; fault”. But the Latin Menda comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *mend- meaning the same, fault or defect.
Thus we see an interesting transition over time: defect turned into lie. The word took on more and more agency: the problem didn’t just happen; it was an explicit lie!
The same PIE root *mend‑, in English, took a different route: via French, it turned into the modern English amend and amendment. Thus, in English, “defect” turned into the more accidental, less bad, “lets make a change!”.
We can see the parallels easily: the m‑n-t of mentira map to the (a)-m-n‑d of amend. The d- and t- transformation is very common and the sounds often interchangeable.
We also have the English mendacious that is a direct parallel to mentira… but everyone seems to have forgotten that word.
Maroon (in the sense of “being stranded”) comes from an old Spanish word cimárron (via French) which used to mean “wild”. Although this original Spanish word is no longer in use, it comes from cima meaning “summit (such as of a mountain)” — which is still a common word. Wild animals, after all, stayed at the tops of the mountains since humans encroached from the bottom.
The ‑m- (finishing up cima and starting maroon) is the only surviving commonality between both words today.