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Apostar – Position, Posit

Apostar, Spanish for “to bet,” sounds nothing like bet or any related English word.

But it turns out to be a close cousin of Posit and Position: Betting is indeed just an extreme form of, putting forth a position, or positing something — but literally putting your money where your mouth is.

All come from the same Latin, positionem, which come from the Latin root verb ponere (“to put”) — from which we also get the Spanish for the same, poner.

Jerez – Sherry

Sherry jerez spanish englishThe Latin sound for “sh” — and similar variations, like “ch” and “ss” — became a “j” sound in Spanish.

Thus, the English sherry is near identical to the Spanish jerez!

These sh/j sounds were often spelt with a “x” in old Spanish; and sherry itself is named after the town it first came from, Xeres, which is near Cordova.

Levantar and Relevant

Relevant is a surprising cousin of the Spanish for Levantar (“to raise.”) Both come from the Latin Levantare, also meaning “to raise.”

But what is the connection between raising and being relevant? Relevant was originally a legal term, in Scotland, meaning, “to take over a property”: Thus, raising up became taking control of which then became just making relevant.

Tornar and Tornado

Tornar (“to turn”) has given us directly an English word: tornado. A tornado turns, doesn’t it? Since this word came into English directly from Spanish – the word is unchanged from its Spanish participle form. We can see the t-r root clearly in all. And, if we go back a bit further, both words are also related to the English… turn.

Hervir and Fever

Hervir boil spanish english

Hervir (Spanish for, “to boil”) comes from the Latin fervere (“to be hot, burn, boil”).

The best part: from this same root, we also get the English… fever!

This is thus another example of the pattern where Spanish lost the initial F and replaced it with the (unspoken) “H”: Hoja-Foliage, Huir-Fugitive, etc.

Alegre and Alacrity

Alegre, Spanish for happiness, has a close English cousin in, alacrity (an SAT word meaning, “eagerness” or “cheerful readiness.”)

Both come from the Latin alacritas meaning the same as the English.

It’s funny, to me at least, how the word for eagerness turned into the word for happy in Spanish: there is a strong and ancient correlation between being willing to do things, and excited about them — and being happy.

Cima and Maroon

Maroon (in the sense of, “being stranded”) comes from an old Spanish word cimárron (via French) which used to mean, “wild.” Although this original Spanish word is no longer in use, it comes from cima meaning “summit (such as, of a mountain)” — which is still a common word. Wild animals, after all, stayed at the tops of the mountains, since humans encroached from the bottom.

The -m- (finishing up cima and starting maroon) is the only surviving commonality between both words today.

Nacer and Renaissance

Nacer comes from the Latin for the same, nascere: “to be born.”

From the Latin nascere, with an added prefix of re– meaning “again”, we get the Renaissance — literally, “the rebirth”!

Thus, Nacer and Renaissance are close cousins, and we can see that the n-c of nacer maps to the (r)-n-s of renaissance.

Aburrir – Abhor

The English abhor is an SAT word meaning, “to hate”, as we all know.

But who would’ve thunk that it’s related to the common Spanish word aburrir, meaning, “boring”?

Aburrir comes directly from the Latin abhorrere meaning exactly what it seems to.

And Ahhorrere itself brings us other English words, like horror.

So — to be boring is actually horrible, by definition!

Obra – Maneuver

Opera obra spanish englishThe common Spanish word obra, for “a work” (in the sense of, “a work of art”) or “something done with effort” sounds pretty random at first. But if you think about it…

Obra comes the Latin opus, meaning, “work” (in the same sense). From opus, we get various English words, including:

  • Opus (obviously) – used in music to mean the same
  • Opera – it was originally just a work of music!
  • Maneuver – also related to the Spanish mano, for hand: it is a work you create with your hands, literally!
  • Operation – yes, an operation is something you’ve created
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