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 for Two,"

Tu serás aquel amor, que yo soñé en rencontrar.

I learned the song years ago, but can't find a google version.

  • This sounds like two questions; one of which is on-topic on this site. That being "What is the etymology of rencontrar?" For the other ("What is the etymology of encounter?), English.SE would be a better place to ask.
    – Flimzy
    Feb 13, 2012 at 21:41
  • @Flimzy: The intent of the question is, "why is the Spanish form different from the English one" (specifically, where does the "r" come from). I may have asked the same question two ways, and it may also have lost something in the editing.
    – Tom Au
    Feb 13, 2012 at 21:56
  • I'm not sure that's a very interesting question, but please see my related meta post, and offer your feedback there. I don't want to make a unilateral decision.
    – Flimzy
    Feb 13, 2012 at 22:01

3 Answers 3


First of all, the Spanish equivalent of encounter is encuentro o encontrar, not rencontrar. The song you are referring to might be saying reencontrar, which is the word encuentro with the prefix re. That prefix means repetition or augmentation, depending on context. You can find it with a hyphen (-), like re-encontrar, or without it: reencontrar.

In the song you are quoting it is like saying encounter or find it again as in once I had it and I lost it: alguna vez soñé con reencontrarlo.

  • 2
    As a side note, it's worth noting that rencontrar is a valid spelling, although reencontrar is preferred: "Tanto en el verbo como en el sustantivo de acción correspondiente, reencuentro, son admisibles las grafías reducidas rencontrar(se) y rencuentro. Se recomiendan, sin embargo, las grafías con -ee-, que son las preferidas en el uso." (DPD)
    – Yay
    May 31, 2016 at 12:47

The premise that the Spanish equivalent of "encounter" is "rencontrar" is false.

"Rencontrar" means "to re-encounter", or to encounter again, for a second time for example. Hence the "r".

  • 1
    That's a good thing to know. You corrected a mistake on my part. an upvote.
    – Tom Au
    Feb 13, 2012 at 22:35

The etymology comes from the Latin prefix "re", see this Wikipedia article.

The word in Spanish is also "reencontrar", which is clearer on the origin, (rencontrar is an evolution coming from the use).

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