The Spanish for “beautiful”, hermosa, seems unrelated to the English for the same. Or is it?
Hermosa comes from the Latin for “beautiful” formosus.
We can see this pattern because it is an example of the Initial F to H pattern, where many Latin words that began with F- turned into H- in Spanish.
Ahhh, that makes sense: Formosa, in Argentina really means, “Beautiful”, and this also explains the Portuguese for beautiful (also formosa) as well: Portuguese never lost that initial F.
The Latin formosus itself comes from the root forma, meaning, well, “form”. So, beauty, itself, is just your pure form. At least in Spanish.
“Fig” comes from the Latin “Ficus” — obvious enough!
But, curiously, the Spanish word is “Higado”. Huh?
This is just a simple example of the Initial F to H pattern. In lots of Latin words, the first F became an H when Latin evolved into Spanish. Think fact/hecho or hablar/fable.
An easy way to figure out what an H- word in Spanish is: change the initial H to an F and see what English word sounds similar.
Fervor is really just an intense passion heating up. Thus we shouldn’t be surprised that it comes from the Latin root fervere (“to boil”), from which we get the Spanish for the same (“to boil”), hervir.
The seemingly unrelated words are connected through the common transformation of Latin words beginning with an f- into an h- in Spanish, such as fig and higo, and fable and hablar.
Thus, the f‑r-v of fervor maps to the h‑r-v of hervir.
Hervir (Spanish for, “to boil”) comes from the Latin fervere (“to be hot, burn, boil”).
The best part: from this same root, we also get the English… fever!
This is thus another example of the pattern where Spanish lost the initial F and replaced it with the (unspoken) “H”: Hoja-Foliage, Huir-Fugitive, etc.
Hierro is just Spanish for “iron”.
Here’s where it gets interesting: the Latin words beginning with f- generally turned into the silent h- in Spanish but not in the other Romantic languages, and thus hierro (from the Latin ferrum) is related to: