The origins of terms and their development through history.

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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 ...
4
votes
1answer
121 views

Is fiscalía related to fiscal?

Fiscalía in Spanish refers to a district attorney or public prosecutor. "Fiscal" (in English or Spanish) describes something related to finances. This always confused me because the words are very ...
6
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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 ...
8
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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 ...
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
13
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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 ...
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2answers
145 views

Origin of 'r' in 'rencontrar'

The Spanish equivalent of the English word "encounter" is "rencontrar." Why does the Spanish version have the beginning "r" when the English one doesn't? The source is the Spanish version of "Tea ...
4
votes
3answers
401 views

Why is sport in Spanish 'deporte' and not 'esporte'?

One would expect that the Spanish word for 'sport' would be esporte (as in special => especial, spaghetti => espagueti, Spain => España, etc.). But it's actually deporte. Why does it begin with de- ...
6
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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
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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 ...
4
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1answer
112 views

What is the etymology of the “diéresis” or “crema”?

This entry of the Diccionario panhispánico de dudas explains the uses of the diéresis or crema (the ¨ mark) in Spanish (it is mandatory over a u to indicate that this vowel must be pronounced in the ...
4
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1answer
142 views

What is the origin of word endings like -ducir, -vocar, -locar, -ludir, -mitir?

The word-endings -ducir, -locar, -vocar, -ludir, -mitir are quite common, each can take a lot of common prefixes to form real words, for example: conducir, producir, introducir, aducir, inducir, ...
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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 => ...
4
votes
2answers
521 views

Origin of “vos” pronoun

How did the vos personal pronoun come to be? Is it etymologically related to vosotros in any way? Did it develop before or after the other personal pronouns used today (tú, usted, vosotros, etc)? Was ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
587 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
313 views

Is there a connection between “cuchillo” and “cuchara”?

Do these two words have any common root? I looked up in the RAE, and didn't find there any connection between these words. According to the RAE, cuchillo comes from Latin "cultellus", and cuchara ...
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2answers
3k views

Spanish etymology resources

Many questions on this site have been about the etymology of a particular word or phrase. For English, resources like the Oxford English Dictionary often give researched etymologies full of details ...
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1answer
409 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
368 views

Origin of the phrase “la quinta …” to denote an undesirable or faraway place

The Colombian phrase la quinta porra denotes an undesirable or faraway place. For example, ¡Váyase a la quinta porra! conveys the same meaning as Go to hell! The earliest use I could find ...
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 ...
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2answers
209 views

Words and phrases with non-evident prejudice

Hace poco aprendí que el origen de la palabra algarabía es la pronunciación de árabe en la lengua árabe. Otro ejemplo notable es la palabra morisqueta. ¿Existen otras palabras o frases de común uso ...
6
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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 ...
4
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3answers
290 views

Etymological origin of “false friends” between Spanish and English

Is there an etymological origin that can be called the main one that has created the list of "false friends" between Spanish and English? I'm constantly stumbling upon a new "false friend" when ...
4
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1answer
103 views

What is the origin of the word “tascalate”?

Another unusual Spanish word I collected in my travels is tascalate. It's a drink in Chiapas, Mexico and there are Wikipedia articles about it in English and in Spanish. But it's not in Wiktionary ...
13
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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)?
14
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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 ...
7
votes
1answer
939 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 ...
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?