Frenar (Spanish for, “to break”, particularly in the sense of, “to stop” — think of, the breaks on your car!) comes from the Latin frenare, meaning, “to restrain,” which itself is from the old Latin frenum for “birdle” — yes, the mouthpiece you put on a horse to, umm, restrain it.
From that same root, we get the English refrain. It is the same frenare root, with the re- added for emphasis. But we have the ‑ain spelling because it comes into English via French, with the refraigner, of course. We can see the f‑r-n maps to the (re)-f-r‑n very clearly as well.
The lesson here is: from restraining someone from doing something (the old sense of the word) to refraining completely from doing it (the new sense of the word) is just a minor step. At least linguistically.
Etapa (Spanish for “stage, level”) comes from old Dutch word (remember, the whole Spanish-Netherlands 80 years war? They did influence each other a lot!) stapel meaning, “deposit; store.”
The English staple comes from the Old German stapulaz (“pillar”) — from which we also get the Dutch stapel and then the Spanish etapa!
But how did a word meaning “pillar” become “stage” or “staple”? Well, a pillar holds up the next level — the next stage! (Think of floors in a building as being stages of development. Ultimately we reach the penthouse!). Or think about the pillar — that which holds everything else up so it doesn’t fall — is the staple of the building, the most basic building block, to ensure it doesn’t collapse!
We can see the t‑p root in both the English and Spanish words.
Llenar comes from the Latin plere (“to fill”), as we’ve previously discussed. But here’s another English word that comes from the same Latin root: expletive, yes, that euphemism for vulgar words!
Expletive literally means to “fill” with the expansive ex- prefix which, taken together, mean, “to fill out your words.” An expletive is literally filling conversation with words when you don’t know what else to say!
Volar (Spanish for “to fly”) and its sister vuelo (“flight”) come from the Latin for the same, volare.
From this Latin root, we get the English volley — a volleyball really does fly, doesn’t it? — as well as the English volatile, which is something flying in the sense of being fleeting: it is flying away, time flies.
The v‑l root is so obvious in all, that it’s almost not worth mentioning!
The Spanish for “honey,” miel, comes from the Latin mel — also meaning honey. We can see the m‑l root obviously and simply in both!
(The -fluous ending comes from the Latin fluere, meaning “to flow” — and we can also see the f‑l root there!)
So, mellifluous words are… flowing like honey.