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  • What's the origin/etymology of these words? The only one that I know and it is common is reloj.
  • Are there any others recognized by the RAE?
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

"Reloj" originally comes from latin "horologium".


I've read that the "j" ending is a result from catalan "relotge".

I can think of another word ending in "j", "carcaj" which means "quiver" as the container used to carry arrows. Apparently this comes from French "carcais".


In this website they list some words ending in "j" although I would say only "reloj" and "carcaj" are actually used.

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From that list, Boj is also quite known, at least in Spain because there is a quite famous novel called "Madera de boj" written by the very well-known writer "Camilo José Cela". I agree the rest are unused (at least I have never seen or heard of any.) – Javi Apr 19 '12 at 7:19
I agree. Reloj, boj and carcaj are the only ones I've ever heard from that list. – MikMik Apr 19 '12 at 8:48
Esto es tramposo, ya o sé, pero habría que agregar estas dos palabras son muy usadas: contrarreloj y puaj. – Rodrigo Mar 25 '15 at 11:58

There are few words in Spanish that end with "J", and some of them are derivations of foreign origin: reloj (greek "ωρολογιον"), boj (catalonian "boix"), carcaj (greek "καρκάσιον"). There are other rarely used examples.

One thing you should keep in mind: the pronunciation of the letter "J" has changed through the passage of time. These are the phonetic representations of "J" in spanish:

  • medieval spanish => /ž/
  • during XV century => /š/
  • from XVI century until XVIII century => /x/ (south) /š/ (rest of the Iberian peninsula)
  • since XIX century => /x/

But there are also regional differences and it isn't uncommon to find places where it sounds like an aspired "h" or /h/.

In Spanish the word "reloj" was originally "reloje" or "reloxe", but later the "e" was dropped and the words "reloj" or "relox" appeared.

Another example of two words that still coexist is the name "Jimena", that is often found as "Ximena", towns like "Xixona" or "Jijona" (the first in Valencian language), etc.

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¡Bienvenido a Spanish.SE! He hecho algunos cambios en tu post pero no estoy segura de haber entendido lo que querías decir en algunas ocasiones. Puedes comprobar los cambios pulsando edited sobre mi nombre. – Yay May 31 at 12:31
Thanks... problems with English (not even my second language) – roetnig May 31 at 13:29

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