The origins of terms and their development through history.

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32
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3answers
750 views

Origin and usage of “¿” and “¡”

English I was wondering what the reason is that the inverted exclamation mark ¡ and the inverted question mark ¿ were introduced into the Spanish language and not into most other languages. Any ...
31
votes
3answers
4k views

Why “buenas noches” when it's only one night?

Why are buenas noches and buenas tardes said when they refer to only one night/afternoon? ¿Por qué se dice "buenas noches" y "buenas tardes" cuando solo se refieren solo a una noche o tarde?
20
votes
4answers
360 views

How did “asistir” and “atender” become opposite of their cognates in english?

"Atender" is translated as to assist in spanish, while "asistir" is translated as "to attend". These words seem to be cognates of each other, but have opposite meanings when translated. How did this ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Preterit of ser and ir

Español Pretérito de ser: fui, fuiste, fue, fuimos, fuisteis, fueron Pretérito de ir: fui, fuiste, fue, fuimos, fuisteis, fueron ¿Cómo han evolucionado los verbos "ser" e "ir" para tener ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Why don't Spanish words start with “sp”?

I've noticed that there aren't any words in Spanish that start with sp. Latin words are altered to include an e in front of the sp. Even loan words are often modified to esp...: spaghetti => ...
14
votes
1answer
942 views

¿Por qué es la palabra «mano» femenina?

En español, tenemos una regla en la cual, generalmente, se puede tener fé. Si una palabra termina con -o, es masculina. Sin embargo, palabras que terminan en -e o -a también pueden ser palabras ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Why isn't “good morning” “buenas mañanas”?

"Good afternoon" is "buenas tardes", and "Good night/evening" is "buenas noches". Then why isn't "good morning" "buenas mañanas" instead of "buenos días"?
13
votes
1answer
528 views

Why are certain words ending in “a” masculine?

English: I'm referring to words like "el tema" or "el lema". Most words ending in "a" are feminine. This is actually the opposite of a similar question, ¿Por qué es la palabra ...
13
votes
1answer
102 views

Is “al” a relatively new word?

I am curious about the history of the word "al". For example, was there a time when "a el" was the proper usage and "al" came later (presumably because of the slurring of speech)?
13
votes
4answers
982 views

¿Cuál es la etimología de “al fin y al cabo”?

La expresión fijada "al fin y al cabo" en Inglés sería algo como "at the end of the day, in the end, after all". Pero quería saber, ¿se conoce la etimología? En la entrada "al fin y al cabo" en ...
12
votes
5answers
802 views

¿Cómo se pueden identificar palabras árabes en español?

Español Yo sé que los musulmanes, cuando conquistaron España, impactaron en gran medida al idioma. Hay palabras en español que son prestadas (y ahora son una parte del idioma). ¿Hay un método con ...
12
votes
2answers
328 views

What is the history of the “personal a”?

What is the historical origin of the "personal a" in Spanish? Examples of the personal a: George sees Mary. -> Jorge ve a María. I see the waitress. -> Veo a la mesera. But with the exact ...
11
votes
5answers
113k views

Why is “De nada” used as a response to “Gracias”?

De means "of", and nada means "nothing", so why, when put together are they used in response to "Gracias"?
11
votes
2answers
269 views

Origin of contigo and similar “contractions”

What's the history of the words contigo, conmigo, etc? They're treated like contractions for con ti and con mi, respectively, but they actually make the word longer rather than shorter, as ...
10
votes
2answers
551 views

Why does saber mean both “to know” and “to taste”?

Español Cuando aprendía español, estaba muy confundido cuando aprendí que saber significa "to know" y "to taste". Los dos verbos en inglés me parecen muy diferentes. ¿Cómo puede ser esto? ¿Cuál es la ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

¿Cuál es el origen de los nombres de los números?

¿De dónde vienen las palabras para nombrar a los números? En especial estoy interesado en el origen de las palabras 'once', 'doce', 'trece', 'catorce' y 'quince'. Usamos un sistema numérico de base ...
10
votes
1answer
375 views

Chorizo como sinónimo de ladrón

¿Por qué en España la palabra "chorizo" es coloquialmente usada para referirse a los ladrones?
9
votes
1answer
460 views

¿Cuál es la etimología de “sin embargo”?

La frase "sin embargo" se traduce como "however" en inglés, pero no la entiendo. La palabra "sin" significa "without", y la palabra "embargo" significa "ban" o lo mismo que la palabra inglesa ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

“Desde luego” meaning and etymology

Español Esta pregunta me recuerda a una frase similar, "desde luego", que no es eso literalmente, sino que significa "por supuesto" (según el DRAE): luego. [...] desde ~. loc. adv. ...
8
votes
3answers
302 views

Basque words in Spanish vocabulary

Which are the words, parts of words and structures coming from Basque to Spanish language? And possibly in which periods did they become part of spoken Spanish and official Spanish (Castellano)?
8
votes
2answers
379 views

Why is “Usted” grammatically a third person?

In English polite form of address is "You" which is second person singular and plural. In Russian it is "Вы" which is plural second person. In Spanish (and probably French and Italian) polite address ...
8
votes
5answers
874 views

Where does the expression “Oe oe oe oe oe, … oeee, … oeee” come from?

I have heard Spaniards singing "Oe oe oe oe oe, ... oeee, ... oeee" in soccer and other sports. Where does this expression come from? Is it a Spanish expression?
8
votes
1answer
547 views

Condescendiente / Condescendant

Oh surprise, Condescendant has a very different meaning in English compared to Spanish. Condescendant: Assuming a tone of superiority or a patronizing attitude Condescendiente: adj. Que ...
7
votes
4answers
537 views

How did the words “mataburros” and “tumbaburros” come to mean “dictionary”?

The recent question about irregular plurals led me to a couple of odd and interesting words that apparently mean "dictionary" in at least one sense each: mataburros tumbaburros The connection ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

The letter “k” in Spanish

The letter "k" is rarely seen in Spanish. What is the origin of Spanish words containing a k? Are most recent loanwords from modern languages, influences from older languages (Latin or Greek), or of ...
7
votes
2answers
401 views

¿Cuál es el origen de la palabra 'antro'?

Hoy en dia, en México, se dice 'antro' a un club/discoteca o simplemente un bar. ¿De dónde viene la palabra? ¿Cuándo se empezó a usar?
7
votes
1answer
180 views

What is the etymology of the word 'subir'? / ¿Cuál es la etimología de la palabra 'subir'?

For many years I've been asking myself this single and simple question : why subir, that should logically come from the latin sub-ire that we can translate into go down in English, does mean go up in ...
7
votes
1answer
299 views

What's the origin of words ended in letter “j”?

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?
7
votes
1answer
938 views

What is the correct order of object pronouns?

I know that there are (at least) three types of personal pronouns in Spanish (well, and English): direct, indirect, and reflexive. In cases where all three (or at least two) are present, what is the ...
7
votes
1answer
347 views

¿Existe relación entre la palabra “OJO” y su apariencia?

Me parece interesante que la palabra ojo aparente la forma de dos ojos y una nariz en medio. ¿Es esto mera coincidencia o la palabra se creó intencionalmente de esta forma para que tuviera este ...
7
votes
1answer
408 views

What's the origin of the word “chido”?

What's the origin of the word "chido"? When did it become popular in Mexico? Examples: Qué chido esta tu carro. Estaría bien chido si ganara la lotería. RAE: chido, da. adj. ...
7
votes
1answer
194 views

What is the meaning of the word KOS in the conquestadores stirrup shoe?

Most of the brass Conquistadores Stirrups sold in eBay probably are simple and cheap imitates, even if they have been created as worn out shoes with lots of repairs. I remember the stirrup shoes my ...
6
votes
2answers
585 views

Why does the preterite of “traducir” transform into “tradujo”?

As you will see below the preterite suffers from an odd transformation. Even native speakers make the mistake of conjugating the preterite of traducir wrong. For instance instead of traduje they ...
6
votes
1answer
167 views

Are “burro” and “aburrir” related?

Is the word aburrir (get bored) etymologically related with the word burro (donkey)? They seem to share a common root (burr). Plus, there is a spanish saying: Solo los burros se aburren
6
votes
3answers
733 views

¿Cuál es el origen de la frase “al pan, pan, y al vino, vino”?

Creo que la expresión quiere decir que algo fue dicho con claridad, pero ¿de donde viene la expresión? Es decir: ¿a qué se refiere originalmente? ¿Por qué pan y vino, precisamente?
6
votes
2answers
417 views

Origin and use of “echar de menos”

I've always found peculiar that the phrase echar de menos is synonymous of the verb extrañar. For example: Te echaré de menos. is equivalent to: Te extrañaré. Based on TV, its use is most ...
6
votes
4answers
21k views

Where did “pico de gallo” get its name?

Does pico de gallo (the type of salsa) literally translate as "rooster's beak"? If so, where did it get that name, and how does that describe the salsa?
6
votes
1answer
284 views

Etymology of “usted”

What is the etymology of the pronoun "usted"? What formal pronouns existed before, and when did the current "usted" come into existence?
6
votes
1answer
360 views

Why is “Santiago” the equivalent of “James”?

Most Spanish names are quite similar to the equivalent in English, such as: Juan = John Pedro = Peter Maria = Mary etc. But what's up with: Santiago = James ? What's the connection? How do the ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does “bomba” mean so many different things?

The word bomba can translate to English as any of the following, depending on the region: bomb pump spray major piece of news bubble fire truck fire station gas station plus a few more... That ...
6
votes
1answer
221 views

How are words with “ps” or “pt” pronounced?

Here are a few examples: psicología ptosis Ptolomeo Interestingly is that "sicología" is also found in the RAE but most of the time I've seen it written as "psicología". How are they ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Origin of the mexican expression “güey/buey”

The common Mexican informal expression "güey/buey" (written as "wey" in text). Where did it come from? Since when did it become a common expression? Examples: A que güey estás. (You are so ...
6
votes
1answer
66 views

Uso de “heme aquí”

Lo he visto en alguna ocasión en literatura o alguna interpretación de español antiguo, pero no es muy común, supongo que de alguna forma su uso está obsoleto. Ahora las dudas: ¿Cual verbo es el ...
6
votes
1answer
7k views

Etimología de la frase popular “Hoy Canta Gardel”

En Chile, es muy frecuente oír el dicho popular "Hoy canta Gardel", aludiendo al singular artista argentino Carlos Gardel. Particularmente se utiliza como forma de mencionar el día de pago o bien ...
6
votes
1answer
385 views

Significados de Fama

Acabo de ver en Twitter a una persona utilizando la palabra Fama como sinónimo de Carnicería (donde uno compra la carne). En Colombia está bien decir: Voy a la fama a comprar churrasco. Pero ...
6
votes
3answers
365 views

Usage of “mueco” vs. “mellado” for “toothless”

The RAE does not have an entry for mueco or mueca, a term commonly used in Colombia to describe a toothless person. However, the expression hacer muecas is understood in the traditional sense as a ...
6
votes
1answer
222 views

What's the origin of the Panamanian word “biñuelo”? Is it merely a corruption of “buñuelo”?

I was in Panama about five years ago and there was a common deep fried street food called "biñuelo". Of course there's a regular Spanish word "buñuelo" which means fritter. So is "biñuelo" just the ...
6
votes
2answers
311 views

Origin of the name “Jesucristo”

The name Jesus translates simply as Jesús, and Christ as Christo. So why is Jesus Christ translated as Jesucristo rather than Jesús Cristo or Cristo Jesús? Google gives me a plethora of explanations ...
5
votes
3answers
403 views

What's the function of the letter h?

What's the function of the letter h in Spanish? Even though it's not pronounced there must be a reason of its existence. Update: What I mean is the case when the letter h it's not accompanied by the ...
5
votes
2answers
185 views

Matutino and Vespertino

I see matutino and vespertino, meaning morning and afternoon, used to describe parts of the daily schedule in schools and church. They sound very formal. Are there more words like them to describe ...