"Muelle" comes up in a poem by the Mexican poet Pedro Serrano. The context is: "...el conejo en el césped húmedo / salta y muelle su curvatura".

Can "muelle" be the 3rd person singular form of "mollir" or "mullir" in Mexican Spanish? "Mullir" is defined as "ahuecar una cosa con las manos par que esté blanda y esponjosa", which would seem to make some sense, but the 3rd person sg. form is given as "mulle" everywhere I've looked.

I am not familiar with Mexican Spanish.

1 Answer 1


mollir is a verb, though somewhat old-fashioned:

Del lat. mollīre.
1. tr. desus. Poner blando.

Although the RAE doesn't provide conjugations for mollir, it's clear it comes from muelle, which indicates a stem-changing vowel. Some of the -ir verbs permanently adopted the e→i and o→u in their stem, hence the more modern form mullir.

As a guess, what the poet was doing was wanting to use the newer springy sense of the word muelle, which would be more recognizable with the older form mollir (o→ue) than with the modern mullir (at least it is for me), in addition to older words tending to sound more poetic.

As far as I know, this isn't a regionalism as the closest entry the Diccionario de Americanismos has is amollar which is definitively unrelated.

  • Just a guess, but I read muelle as the noun "spring" poetically used as a verb, possibly borrowing from the English verb. Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 16:55
  • So to get this straight, there are two versions: the old one, "mollir" (from Latin mollire), and the new one, "mullir". The former would be conjugated as "muelle", comparable to dormir > duerme or morir > muere; the latter would be conjugated as "mulle", comparable to pulir > pule or bullir > bulle. The author chose the old one both because it sounds archaic and therefore more poetic, and because coincidentally it's a homonym of the noun "muelle", creating a mental image of something sprinting. Did I understand you correctly?
    – Yay
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 21:24
  • @Yay not being the author I can't say with certainty why he chose that form, but that certainly is my hypothesis. That muelle is a form of mollir, though, is clear. Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 21:35
  • I see. What confuses me is that you say that "mollir (...) comes from muelle". Wouldn't it be the other way around (that is, muelle comes from mollir)?
    – Yay
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 21:40
  • @Yay Well, whether mollis or mollire came first, I don't know, I'm not a Latinist. What I was trying to say is that the two words are related and thus despite the RAE not providing conjugations (it doesn't for old verbs), we can know that its o alternates/diphthongs to ue when stressed, something that won't happen with mullir (always u) or mollear (always o). It's likely the OP looked at a site like conjugador.reverso.net/conjugacion-espanol-verbo-mollir.html and initially figured mollir couldn't be related to *muelle, but those conjugations are clearly wrong. Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 22:02

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