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Tamaño and Mag­nif­i­cent

Tamaño (Span­ish for “size,” in the size of, “what is your pants size?”) comes from the Latin tammag­no, that is, “so — great” (“great” in the size of “big”). Tam is the Latin for “so” or “very” from which we get the Span­ish tan.

To even mea­sure is thus to im­ply that… you are big! So great! If you’re small, af­ter all, you don’t even need to mea­sure it!

Mag­no (Latin for “great” or “big”) gives us the Eng­lish… mag­nif­i­cent. But, cu­ri­ous­ly, the -gn- turns in­to the ñ as Latin evolved in­to Span­ish. Thus tanmag­no be­came tamaño. We see this gn to ñ pat­tern in many words, such as cog­nate / cuña­do.


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