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Sel­lo and Seal

Sel­lo (Span­ish for “stamp”) is a cousin of the Eng­lish seal — not the an­i­mal, but the, umm, stamp that is put on­to of­fi­cial doc­u­ments.

Bot come from the Latin sig­illum mean­ing, “small, en­graved pic­ture” be­cause a stamp or seal re­al­ly was just a small, en­graved pic­ture.

The ‑gl- sound of the orig­i­nal sig­illum van­ished in­to Eng­lish so that the Eng­lish word seal is left with just the vow­els around it (e, a) (in Eng­lish) while in Span­ish, the ‑gl- evolved in­to the sim­i­lar ‑ll- sound. This is in the same class of evo­lu­tions as pl- to ll- (plen­ty, lleno), fl- to ll- (flare, lla­mar), and cl- to ll- (call, lla­mar) as well, al­though less com­mon than those.


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