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

Veda and Veto

Veda (Spanish for “closed season” such as, the time of year when you can’t hunt for your favorite beast) comes from the Latin vetare, which meant, “to forbid”.

In fact, from the same Latin root, we get the English… veto. Veto is actually the first person conjugation in Latin: “I forbid!”

We can clearly see the that the v-d of veda maps to the v-t of veto.

Sentir – Resent, Sentence, Send

The Spanish sentir (“to feel”) doesn’t bear an obvious relation to the same English word. But looks can be deceiving:

Sentir comes from the Latin for the same, sentire, which in turn comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *sent, meaning, “to go” — feels are thus, definitionally, fleeting, things that come and go.

From the Latin sentire, we get a bunch of similar words in English, including:

  • Sentence — which originally meant, “a thought, judgment, opinion.” A sentence is a judgment indeed!
  • Sense — which is a feeling!
  • Resent — these are just your feelings, magnified with a re!
  • Scent — to smell something is to have a feeling for it, too!

And a few others, including assent, consent, dissent and, most obviously, sentiment.

From the original Proto-Indo-European root *sent, meaning “to go” — via German, that turned into some simpler English words that we can now consider distant cousins of Sentir: send. Feelings do come and go!

Rechazar and Cazar

The Spanish rechazar (“to reject”) doesn’t sound like anything in English. At least not obviously.

The word, however, comes from more basic Spanish word cazar (“to hunt”), which we’ve previously discussed here — related to the English “chase.”

But how did the word for “hunt” become “reject”?

Well, lets think about it: you hunt after your opponent, your enemy, the big bad bear you’re trying to kill. You hunt after that which you reject. Hunting could then be seen as the strongest form of rejection!

Batir, Batido and Battery, Batter

Batir (Spanish meaning, “to beat”) and its very common derivative, batido (meaning “milkshake” — you beat the ingredients together after all!) both come from the Latin battuere meaning the same, “to beat.”

From that same Latin root we get the English battery — think of the phrase, assault and battery! (Over time, the meaning shifted from beating, to artillery — that which beats the enemy to the ground, literally! — and then from there, to the electric power that powers the artillery, and from there, our more common modern definition of the word.) And batter, like the mixture you make while cooking — that’s you beating the eggs together, right?

The b-t root is visible in all these words.

Acabar – Bring To A Head

Acabar — the everyday Spanish word meaning “just”, “finish”, and, wait for it “to ejaculate” (don’t ask how I learned the last definition!) — comes from the Latin caput, meaning “head”.

Thus, it has a parallel in the English expression: to bring to a head. Although that phrase doesn’t exactly mean to finish (it means, to force a decision to be made, basically), it is a similar concept: bringing about a totality that finishes or just about finishes something that had been happening.

Thus etymology proves the common sense wisdom that, it’s easy to start something… but it requires real intelligence, a head, to finish what you start.

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