"palabla" sounds like "para habla" (means "for speaking"). There are some similar words like "paraguas, parachoques", but it seems that "para-" here means "parar" (that is, "stop") but not "para". So, "pala-" in "palabla" is different from "para-" in "paragua".

I'd like to know wether "pala-" is a prefix in Spanish or not. If that's true, where is it from and what does it mean? Could you teach me?

Some useful links are para- elemento compositivo, wiki para- and wiki pala-.

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The word palabra is a whole word by itself in Spanish, it is not a compound of smaller parts.

The word comes from Latin parabŏla, meaning comparison but came to mean proverb, parable in Vulgar Latin. Before that, the word came from Ancient Greek παραβολή parabolḗ. This, in turn, came from παραβάλλω parabállo, to compare, and finally from παρά pará, next to and βάλλω bállo, to throw.

  • It seems that "parar" in "comparar" and "para-" in "paragua" are both from "parar", the former one means "put" while the later one means "stop". Am I right? – Eden Harder Dec 10 '16 at 10:46
  • @EdenHarder comparar is not a compound word in Spanish either. It comes from Latin comparāre. – Charlie Dec 10 '16 at 10:55
  • But it seems that "comparar" = "com-parar", which means "put together (to compare)". :) – Eden Harder Dec 10 '16 at 10:59

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