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The Nerdy Way To Learn: Spanish »

Ventana and Ventillation

Ventana, Spanish for “window,” comes from the Latin ventus, for “wind.” From the same root, we get the English… dum dum dum… ventilation. Vent and vent: both push back against the wind!

Coquetear and Cock

Coquetear, the Spanish verb meaning “to flirt,” comes from the French coq which means “cock” — in both senses — from which we also get the English word cock, albeit with a slightly different spelling.

It’s not that hard to figure out how a word that means “penis” came to mean “flirt” — but it is easy to smile every time you remember why.

From the same root, we also get the almost-forgotten English word for “flirting,” coquetry.

The c‑q to c‑ck mapping is clear between both words.

Elogio and Elegy

It should be obvious, but it wasn’t to me: the Spanish for “compliment; praise” (elogio) comes from the Latin elogium meaning “inscription; short saying.” The Latin elogium comes from the Greek elegeia, meaning, “elegy” — from which we get that same English word!

This should be clear, since the e‑l-o‑g of elogio maps to the e‑l-e‑g of elegy quite neatly. 

But how did we get from “short saying” to “compliment”? Easy: the short sayings that we used to say about other people, over time — centuries — got nicer and nicer and nicer, until everything turns into a compliment. Who wants to be remembered as the nasty guy insulting everyone, anyway?

Martes — Tuesday

Martes  tuesday  spanish  english

Last time, we saw that Lunes and Monday are from the same God, the moon. Now we will see the same for Martes and Tuesday.

Martes, the Spanish for Tuesday, is named after the Roman God of War, whom we all learned about in middle school mythology classes: Mars.

Tuesday is named after Tiw, who was the Germanic God of War — their equivalent of Mars!

Tuesday is thus, literally, “Tiw’s Day”.

More interestingly, the name “Tiw” comes from the Indo-European Root “Dye-us” (think of the T‑iw and D‑ye parallel with the final “-us” being lost) — from which we also get the Spanish word dios (for God) and the Sanskrit deva (we all know that that means!).

Lavar and Lavatory

We’ve already discussed how the Spanish lavar is related to other words in English like deluge.

But there’s a more obvious connection, that we’ll discuss today: lavar, meaning “to wash” is related to the English… lavatory. I guess there’s a reason why the British call it the “wash room”!

Both come from the Latin lavare, similarly meaning “to was”. And we can see the l‑v root clearly in both.

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