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Trip­u­la­cion, Pulir and Pol­ish, In­ter­po­late

Trip­u­lación (Span­ish for “crew”, such as on a boat or plane) comes from the Latin pre­fix in­ter- (“be­tween”) and the Latin root polire (“to pol­ish” in Latin). A crew prob­a­bly spends much of their time pol­ish­ing the ship to per­fec­tion, right?

From the same Latin root polire, we get an­oth­er Span­ish word: pulir which means… “to pol­ish”. Sur­prise, sur­prise!

From this root, we al­so get the Eng­lish pol­ish as well, in ad­di­tion to the less ob­vi­ous: in­ter­po­late. How did that trans­for­ma­tion of mean­ing hap­pen? Re­mem­ber that in in­ter­po­lat­ing, you’re re­al­ly pol­ish­ing up the da­ta! You’re tak­ing da­ta from the dusty bins of for­got­ten files, dust­ing it off and reusing it: just like pol­ish­ing up a ship.

The p‑l root is clear in all vari­a­tions as well.


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