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Sen­tir — Re­sent, Sen­tence, Send

The Span­ish sen­tir (“to feel”) does­n’t bear an ob­vi­ous re­la­tion to the same Eng­lish word. But looks can be de­ceiv­ing:

Sen­tir comes from the Latin for the same, sen­tire, which in turn comes from the Pro­to-In­do-Eu­ro­pean root *sent, mean­ing, “to go” — feels are thus, de­f­i­n­i­tion­al­ly, fleet­ing, things that come and go.

From the Latin sen­tire, we get a bunch of sim­i­lar words in Eng­lish, in­clud­ing:

  • Sen­tence — which orig­i­nal­ly meant, “a thought, judg­ment, opin­ion.” A sen­tence is a judg­ment in­deed!
  • Sense — which is a feel­ing!
  • Re­sent — these are just your feel­ings, mag­ni­fied with a re!
  • Scent — to smell some­thing is to have a feel­ing for it, too!

And a few oth­ers, in­clud­ing as­sent, con­sent, dis­sent and, most ob­vi­ous­ly, sen­ti­ment.

From the orig­i­nal Pro­to-In­do-Eu­ro­pean root *sent, mean­ing “to go” — via Ger­man, that turned in­to some sim­pler Eng­lish words that we can now con­sid­er dis­tant cousins of Sen­tir: send. Feel­ings do come and go!


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