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Piedra and Pet­ri­fy

Piedra, Span­ish for “rock,” is a close cousin of the Eng­lish, pet­ri­fy: “to be very, very scared”. We see the con­nec­tion clear­ly if we map the p‑d-r of piedra to the p‑t-r of pet­ri­fy.

What is the con­nec­tion be­tween them? Well, when you get scared, you of­ten just freeze: you turn to stone! So next time some­one is so scared that they stop in the mid­dle of their tracks, just think, they are just, pet­ri­fied!

It’s in­ter­est­ing to note that, these words have a whiff, just a whiff, of Sodom and Go­mor­rah. Re­mem­ber the clas­sic scene from Gen­e­sis: Lot and his wife are flee­ing the city of Sin as they are be­ing de­stroyed, com­mand­ed by God to not look back as they run away. But Lot’s wife is so scared that, she turns back on­to it and is thus… turned in­to a pil­lar of salt. Her fear turns her in­to a stone (well, salt, but the same con­cept!). Lit­er­al­ly!

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