Both the Spanish nieve and the English for the same, snow, come from the same root, although via very different routes.
In Proto-Indo-European, the ancient ancestor to both Spanish (PIE turned into Latin then Spanish) and English (PIE also turned into ancient Germanic then English), the Proto-Indo-European *sniegwh for snow gave rise to both the Latin nivis — which turned into the Spanish nieve — and the old German sneo which became the English snow.
Thus, the n‑v of nieve maps exactly to the n‑w of snow. The key sound change, which is what can confuse us, is the loss of the initial s- as the word transformed from PIE into Latin and then Spanish.
Although encontrar, the common Spanish word for “to meet”, doesn’t sound like its English counterpart, it does have an unexpected first cousin: acquaint.
Both come from the same Latin root for the same (in contra), although the English one comes to us via the French influence: acointier.
Thus, we can see that the en-c-n-t‑r maps to a‑cqu-n‑t somewhat closely: the final -r disappeared as the French word evolved into the English word, and the opening en- (in- in Latin) became the simpler a-.
Someone you meet, after all, is indeed your acquaintance.
There is, however, another English word that is closer to encontrar although perhaps less obvious until you hear it: encounter!
The Spanish morder, “to bite”, sounds completely different than anything in English (except for obscure SAT words like mordant — which literally means, biting!).
But who would’ve thunk that it’s related to remorse.
Remorse comes from the Latin remordere, which means, “to bite back” — from the earlier re- (the prefix meaning “back” in this case) and mordere, from which we get, morder.
The remorseful do bite back indeed!
The Spanish aprovecharse (“to take advantage of,” in a good way) comes from the Latin ad- (“towards”) and profectus (“progress, success.”)
From the same root profectus, we get the English… profit.
We can see the root pr‑v of aprovecharse mapping to the pr‑f of profit. And how do you make a profit if not, taking advantage of the opportunities in front of you?
Today’s etymological comparison is a bit weird, but one I love. Fallar is Spanish for “to fail” and Flatulent is, well, a fancy word for “farting.”
Both come from the Latin Flare, meaning, “to blow.” A fart is definitely a type of blowing; and failing at something being considered a type of blowing is a common image in languages around the world: think about Bart Simpson, in our own language, saying, That Blows!
The f‑l root makes the relationship clear in both words.
Interestingly, from the same Latin root Flare, we also get olfactory (another fancy word for, “the sense of smell”) and blow itself is the anglo-saxon cognate to flare.