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Som­bra and Som­brero

Every Eng­lish speak­er knows the Span­ish word for the big Mex­i­can hats, som­brero. This word makes it easy to re­mem­ber the word from whence it came: som­bra, the Span­ish word mean­ing… shade. The s‑mb‑r root is clear in both words!

For those of us, in­clud­ing me, who love less com­mon words, an­oth­er cousin word is the Eng­lish penum­bra, for some­thing that’s par­tial­ly cov­ered by a shad­ow. The um­bra is from the Latin for “shad­ow”, from which we al­so got som­bra in Span­ish, with the sub- pre­fix.


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