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What is the etymology of the pronoun "usted"? What formal pronouns existed before, and when did the current "usted" come into existence?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Vuestra merced evolved to usted. Vuestra merced is a really antique way to say something like your highness (not literally though).

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Suggested reading: – dusan Nov 17 '11 at 0:57
This answer also explains the origin of the second person pronoun su merced or sumercé that is used in Colombia, especially in the vicinity of Bogotá. A more informal equivalent used in rural areas is vusted. See Wikipedia. – Jaime Soto Nov 17 '11 at 1:36

Usted is derived from "vusted", an archaic shortening of Vuestra Merced, an old Spanish way of saying [lit.] "your mercy" (similar to the honorific "your grace").


Aféreris de vusted.

Source: Real Academia Española: Usted

The V at the beginning disappears into the syllable when said aloud, and so eventually disappeared, it seems.

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Hello and welcome to Spanish.SE. If you are going to add a new answer with basically the same content as the accepted answer (answered 4 years ago) I encourage you to go a little bit further and at least include in your answer some or the content of that link as a quote. In that way you'll have something that would differentiate your answer from the pre-existing one(s). – Diego Oct 29 at 14:13
Thank you for the feedback. I'm new to SE in general. I would have added the few bits that are different as a comment on something above, but I"m so new that I'm not allowed to comment on anything that isn't my own post. Sorry about the redundancy. – ASKrahn Oct 31 at 18:05
It's true that you still need to earn some privilege to comment, but also if you agree with the other answer (probably, since content is really similar) you can upvote it. You can always edit your own posts. I took the liberty to edit it to illustrate what I meant. Instead including the link and and referring to the "green text" I copied it here, so is more clear (and users could go to the link to learn more if they wanted). That brings content here, instead of leaving it in the link. Now your answer has something the other doesn't. Looking forward to see many other contributions from you! :-) – Diego Oct 31 at 20:17

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