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

Martes — Tuesday

Martes  tuesday  spanish  english

Last time, we saw that Lunes and Monday are from the same God, the moon. Now we will see the same for Martes and Tuesday.

Martes, the Spanish for Tuesday, is named after the Roman God of War, whom we all learned about in middle school mythology classes: Mars.

Tuesday is named after Tiw, who was the Germanic God of War — their equivalent of Mars!

Tuesday is thus, literally, “Tiw’s Day”.

More interestingly, the name “Tiw” comes from the Indo-European Root “Dye-us” (think of the T‑iw and D‑ye parallel with the final “-us” being lost) — from which we also get the Spanish word dios (for God) and the Sanskrit deva (we all know that that means!).

Lavar and Lavatory

We’ve already discussed how the Spanish lavar is related to other words in English like deluge.

But there’s a more obvious connection, that we’ll discuss today: lavar, meaning “to wash” is related to the English… lavatory. I guess there’s a reason why the British call it the “wash room”!

Both come from the Latin lavare, similarly meaning “to was”. And we can see the l‑v root clearly in both.

Beber — Beverage

File this one under the “So obvious I didn’t realize it” category: the Spanish beber (“to drink”) is a cousin of the English, beverage.

Both come from the same fountain: the Latin bibere, meaning the same. Thus the b‑b-r in the Spanish beber maps to the m‑v-r in the English beverage.

The only change is a b‑to‑v transition, which is one of the more common and often interchangeable transitions.

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.

Cuatro and Quarantine

The English word quarantine is related to the Spanish word cuatro (“four”). How so? A quarantine was historically… forty days. Think about Jesus’ forty days in the desert, or the Jews’ 40 years wandering. Ahhhhh!

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