The days of the week in Spanish and English parallel each other in weird, eerie detail.
Lets start with the most obvious: Monday. It was originally the Moon-day — the day to worship the Moon.
The Latins felt the same way — and thus Lunes comes from Luna, the Latin for moon!
Stay tuned for the next installments, where it gets more interesting. A hint: Thursday = Thor’s Day; Jueves = Jove’s Day.
Last time, we saw that Lunes and Monday are from the same God, the moon. Now we will see the same for Martes and Tuesday.
Martes, the Spanish for Tuesday, is named after the Roman God of War, whom we all learned about in middle school mythology classes: Mars.
Tuesday is named after Tiw, who was the Germanic God of War — their equivalent of Mars!
Tuesday is thus, literally, “Tiw’s Day”.
More interestingly, the name “Tiw” comes from the Indo-European Root “Dye-us” (think of the T‑iw and D‑ye parallel with the final “-us” being lost) — from which we also get the Spanish word dios (for God) and the Sanskrit deva (we all know that that means!).
Sangre (Spanish for “blood”) comes from the Latin sanguis for the same.
From that root, we also get.… sangria. Yes, the classic alcoholic wine plus fruit drink looks a bit like blood!
We also get a bunch of less common words, such as, consanguine (cousin marriages!) and even just sanguine, which originally meant “bloodthirsty”. It’s only a small step from the intensity of bloodthirsty to the cheery optimism of sanguine!
Every English speaker knows the Spanish word for the big Mexican hats, sombrero. This word makes it easy to remember the word from whence it came: sombra, the Spanish word meaning… shade. The s‑mb‑r root is clear in both words!
For those of us, including me, who love less common words, another cousin word is the English penumbra, for something that’s partially covered by a shadow. The umbra is from the Latin for “shadow”, from which we also got sombra in Spanish, with the sub- prefix.
Bisabuelo (Spanish for “great-grandparent”) has an origin more obvious than it seems: the bis- that begins it (adding to just abuelo, grandfather) is the same bi- that means “two” in a variety of Latin words- bilateral, bifurcate, and many more. So, bisabuelo literally means, “grandfather — twice over!”
The Initial F, followed by a vowel, disappears: So, “hoja”, meaning “leaf” (in all senses: the autumn trees, the piece of paper) is thus, from the same Latin root as “foliage”, the green plant leaves!
This is one of my all-time favorite Spanish-English parallel etymologies.
The Spanish word desayuno, meaning breakfast, comes from the prefix des- meaning not- and ayuno, meaning fast (in the sense of a religious fast, during which you don’t eat). Thus, literally desayuno (breakfast) is “the break — fast”!
The Spanish word for “goose” ganso, comes from the Proto-Indo-European root for the same, ghans. From this same root, we get… the English goose itself! In fact, ganso entered Spanish via German (and the English word comes from German too) — it makes sense that they’re related.
Thus, we can see that the g-(n)-s of ganso maps to the g‑s of goose.
The Spanish apañar (“to fix, to rig”, as in “to fix the jury”) comes from the Latin pannus, which meant “cloth, garment or rag.” How did this transformation happen, as Latin turned into Spanish? Well, you use a cloth to tie people, which is one way of applying pressure — physically and metaphorically.
From the same Latin root pannus, we get the English… pane. As in a window pane. Here, the metaphorical meeting of the cloth or clothing took on the meaning of a divider — which divides one section from the other. Which is precisely the opposite meaning of the Spanish!
You can see the p‑n root in both. And it’s always noteworthy that the Latin double n -nn- consistently transformed into the ñ in Spanish.
Parecer, Spanish for “to appear”, comes from the Latin parere, meaning the same. As does the Spanish verb form, aparecer.
Obviously to some but not to others, from the same root comes the English appear as as well as… apparition. What is an apparition if not something that appears to you but doesn’t really exist?
We can see the relationship because the p‑r of parecer maps to the p‑r in both appear and apparition.