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Prestar and Presto

Prestar (Span­ish for “to lend”) has its Eng­lish equiv­a­lent in… presto!

It does make sense: Presto! Mon­ey just ap­pears out of nowhere!

There is a deep­er con­nec­tion. Both come from the Latin praesto, mean­ing, “ready”, which al­so came to mean, “pro­vide”. Pro­vide, over the years, turned in­to “lend” as Latin evolved in­to Span­ish: the lender is the provider, af­ter all. Thus, “ready” turned in­to “pro­vide” which turned in­to “lend”!

From the same Latin root, we al­so get the Eng­lish press–but not in the com­mon sense of press­ing a but­ton. But in the al­most for­got­ten, more es­o­teric sense of forc­ing in­to mil­i­tary ser­vice. I re­mem­ber learn­ing in an 18th cen­tu­ry British his­to­ry class that the British crown used the im­press men in­to mil­i­tary service–no, they weren’t try­ing to im­press them (make your­self sound great) but in­stead to im­press them (draft them!). This press and im­press, in these par­tic­u­lar sens­es, al­so come from praesto.


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