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Mentira and Amendment

Spanish for “lie” (Mentira) comes from the Latin mandacium for the same, which in turn, comes from the earlier Latin menda for “defect; fault”. But the Latin Menda comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *mend- meaning the same, fault or defect.

Thus we see an interesting transition over time: defect turned into lie. The word took on more and more agency: the problem didn’t just happen; it was an explicit lie!

The same PIE root *mend-, in English, took a different route: via French, it turned into the modern English amend and amendment. Thus, in English, “defect” turned into the more accidental, less bad, “lets make a change!”.

We can see the parallels easily: the m-n-t of mentira map to the (a)-m-n-d of amend. The d- and t- transformation is very common and the sounds often interchangeable.

We also have the English mendacious that is a direct parallel to mentira… but everyone seems to have forgotten that word.

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