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!
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.
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 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:
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.
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).
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!
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?
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 (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!