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Pe­lo and Fight

Pe­lo (Span­ish for “hair”) is a sur­pris­ing­ly mil­i­taris­tic word. Pe­lo comes from the Latin for the same, pilus–a hairy word, in­deed.

But pe­lo, in the an­cient lan­guage be­come a com­mon word to mean a tiny amount, like we might say a “spec” in mod­ern Eng­lish. Ap­par­ent­ly, the Ro­mans lost their hair ear­ly!

So, as a eu­phemism for “a tiny amount”, it be­came the stan­dard word in Latin for… a small group of sol­diers: a pilum.

Then, over the cen­turies, the word for a group of sol­diers came to mean the word for… fight­ing. Sur­prise, sur­prise. There­fore, that’s why the Span­ish for “to fight” is… pe­lear.

Thus pe­lo (“hair”) and pe­lear (“to fight”) are al­most the same word, in Span­ish! Who would’ve thunk!


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