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Celoso and Jealous, Zeal

The Spanish celoso and the English for the same, jealousy, come from the same Greek root: zelos.

But how did this happen? They should so different!

The answer is that the Latin (and Greek) words with a -ch- sound and variations (like -sh-, the soft -j-, -z-, etc) usually turned into the hard, guttural, throat-cleaing -j- sound in Spanish. Think about sherry and jerez, for example, or quash and quejar, or soap and jabón.

Thus, the c-l-s of celoso maps to the j-l-s of jealous.

Curiously, the ancient Greek formzelos — meant jealousy, but in the more positive sense of enthusiasm and friendly rivalry. In a word: zeal — which also comes from the same root!

Colgar and Collocate

Colgar (Spanish for, “to hang”) comes from the Latin collocare — from which, unsurprisingly, we get the English, collocate. We can see the c-l-g mapping in colgar to the c-l-c root in the English and the original Latin. Hanging is really just a form of locating it!

Collocare itself comes from the prefix com– (“with”; like the Spanish con-) plus the root locare, “to place.” Thus, the word is a cousin of lugar (Spanish for “place”) and its English cousin… locate. Yes, we see the l-g map to the l-c, too. Another example of the c/g swap that we also see in colgar and collocate.

Lunes and Monday

Monday lunes spanish english

The days of the week in Spanish and English parallel each other in weird, eerie detail.

Lets start with the most obvious: Monday. It was originally the Moon-day — the day to worship the Moon.

The Latins felt the same way — and thus Lunes comes from Luna, the Latin for moon!

Stay tuned for the next installments, where it gets more interesting. A hint: Thursday = Thor’s Day; Jueves = Jove’s Day.

Afinar and Refine

Afinar, meaning “to tune” — as in, you tune your guitar — comes from the Latin finis, meaning, “border”: tuning a guitar is really finding the exact border between this note and the other one.

From the same Latin root finis, we get English words such as fine, refine (remember the re– prefix is just an intensifier), as well as the English finish.

Tuning your guitar, in other words, as really an act of refining the souds.

The f-n root is clearly visible in all.

Bolsa and Bourse, Purse

The Spanish bolsa has two common definitions — both with noteworthy and related etymologies.

Bolsa commonly means “purse.” And indeed, both come from the same root: the Greek byrsa, meaning “hide, leather.”

We can see the connection if we remember that the -b- and -p- sounds are often interchangeable, as are the -r- and -l- sounds. Thus the b-l-s of bolsa maps to the p-r-s of purse.

Similarly, bolsa has a second definition in Spanish: the “stock market.” It makes sense if we think about the bolsa and the purse as, the places where money is kept. And in English, a less-common synonym for stock market is bourse — and we see this same word in French all the time, the Bourse de Paris. With bourse, only the -p- and -b- are interchanged, not the -r- and -l-, thus mapping the b-l-s to b-r-s.

Llama – Flame

Latin words that began with the fl- tended to become ll- in Spanish. This is consistent with the pattern in many other hard-constant-plus-L words, like pl- and cl-.

Excellent example: the Latin for “flame” is flamma. This evolved into the different-but-similar Spanish for the same: llama.

Who would’ve thunk?

Encontrar – Acquaint

Although encontrar, the common Spanish word for “to meet”, doesn’t sound like its English counterpart, it does have an unexpected first cousin: acquaint.

Both come from the same Latin root for the same (in contra), although the English one comes to us via the French influence: acointier.

Thus, we can see that the en-c-n-t-r maps to a-cqu-n-t somewhat closely: the final -r disappeared as the French word evolved into the English word, and the opening en- (in- in Latin) became the simpler a-.

Someone you meet, after all, is indeed your acquaintance.

There is, however, another English word that is closer to encontrar although perhaps less obvious until you hear it: encounter!

Costilla and Coast, Accost

Costilla, Spanish for “rib,” is a close cousin of the English coast and accost. All come from the same Latin root, costa, meaning, “side.”

Thus, your rib is literally, “what which is on your side” and to accost is literally, “to come up to you from the side” and, of course, the coast is the definition of the side, your side boundary.

The c-s-t root is clearly visible in all descendents of costa.

Vendimia and Vintage

The Spanish vendimia (“a harvest of wine”) comes from the Latin vinum (“wine” — from which we get words like vino — “wine” — in Spanish) combined with demere, which meant, “to take out”. So the wine harvest is literally, the taking out of the wine.

The interesting part is that, from these same two roots, we get the English… vintage. You may think of vintage cars or vintage clothing — but it really just does refer to, taking out wine.

We can see the v-n-d of vendimia maps to the v-n-t of vintage.

Rezar – Recite

Rezar pray spanish english

The Spanish for “to pray” is rezar. Although not obvious at first, it is from the Latin recitare, from which we get the English — surprise, surprise — recite. The “cit” grouping was conflated into a “z” sound, so the English (and Latin) r-cit-r maps to the Spanish r-z-r.

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