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Re­husar — Refuse

The Span­ish re­husar — lit­er­al­ly, “refuse” — sounds odd to Eng­lish ears: it’s the same word, but the ‑f- be­came an ‑h-. Huh?

This is ex­plained via the pat­tern of Latin words that be­gan with an f- tend­ed to turn in­to an h- in Span­ish and on­ly in Span­ish. See famine/hambre, and huir/fugitive for ex­am­ple.

Refuse and Re­husar fol­low the same pat­tern. Both come from the Latin re­fun­dere — from which we al­so get the Eng­lish, re­fund. They are all ways of giv­ing back.

This f‑to‑h pat­tern usu­al­ly hap­pens with the first let­ter of the word. But here it is the first let­ter of the sec­ond syl­la­ble — be­cause the re- is of course the stan­dard pre­fix so it did­n’t ef­fect the sound pat­tern change.


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