Want more Spanish etymologies? Let us know!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
logo

The Nerdy Way To Learn: Spanish » True Spanish Etymology Stories »

Faro – Lighthouse

Lighthouse faron spanish english

Lighthouse in Spanish is Faro. Seems totally random, doesn’t it? Well…

The greatest and most famous lighthouse in history was, of course one of the 7 Wonders of the World, the infamous Lighthouse at Alexandria, in ancient Egypt.

And the ancient Latins — knowing all about and in awe of the amazing lighthouse- referred to it by the title of the man who built it which was, of course, the King of Egypt. And they called their Kings, Pharaohs!

Pharaoh — yes, the same Pharaoh featured in the Old Testament who enslaved the Jews and thus of course gave them the holiday of Passover — in Spanish is written faraón. Thus, giving rise to the word faro for lighthouse.

Incendio and Incendiary

Incendio (Spanish for “fire”) comes from the Latin for the same, incendium. From this same root, we get the English… incendiary. The English variation literally means the same — setting on fire — but now that definition is mostly forgotten, and we use it in a more abstract sense: causing massive problems. A fire is just a massive problem, after all.

Dorado and Aurora

Dorado, Spanish for “covered in gold” — think of McDonalds in Spanish. Los Arcos Dorados (the golden arches–literally!) comes from the Latin de– (“of”) and aurum, “gold”: gilded or gold-covered, literally means… from gold.

From the same Latin root we also get the English aurora, “dawn” or the Roman goddess of the dawn. The morning sun glittering in the distance is… shining, just like gold does.

We can see the a-r root in both words clearly!

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.

Presupuesto and Presuppose

Today’s pattern is another entry in the “obvious in hindsight” category.

Presupuesto is the common Spanish word for “budget.” Sounds arbitrary and hard to remember.

But it turns out, this is just a participle of presuponer, which is conjugated just like poner and means… to presuppose.

We see the relation between the words obviously in the too-clear pre-s-p-s pattern.

A budget, after all, is just presupposing how all the money will be spent, right?

logo

© 2020 - All Rights Reserved | Contact | Privacy, Terms & Conditions | Sitemap| Resources | Etymology Dictionaries To Help Us Learn Spanish