41 votes
Accepted

Etymologically, why do "ser" and "estar" exist? / Etimológicamente, ¿por qué existen "ser" y "estar"?

Way back in the times of the Latin language, there were two different verbs, but not with the same meaning as today: sum, es, esse, fui1, meaning "to be" (Spanish: "ser", "estar", "haber"). This was ...
Charlie's user avatar
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32 votes

Why is "la Gestapo" feminine?

In all the Romance languages, gestapo is feminine despite its ending. It is most likely that whichever language first imported it (probably either French or Italian) figured that because gestapo ...
user0721090601's user avatar
23 votes
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Why are Spanish adverbs formed using the feminine?

(English version; loose Spanish translation follows) Latin mens, mentis produced ablative mente This practice began all the way back in Classical Latin, passed into Vulgar Latin and Proto-Romance and ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 2,040
22 votes

What's that funny "illo" I keep hearing in Southern Spain?

Indeed, if you came to live to Southern Spain (the Andalusian region), probably you'll be hearing that word a lot, depending on the city you are living in. You may hear it more often in Sevilla, but ...
Charlie's user avatar
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22 votes

Why do we use "conmigo" but not "sinmigo"?

The preposition "con" (with) comes from the Latin preposition "cum" and in that language when using pronouns, they would put "cum" at the end so instead of saying "cum me" they would say "mecum" (with ...
Quantumcpa's user avatar
20 votes

Why is “homework” a “debt” in Spanish?

Additionally, another meaning of "deber" (specially as a noun) is "duty" / "obligation". So, "deberes" abbreviates "deberes escolares (a ser realizados en ...
Mario Rossi's user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

¿De dónde viene la expresión "me cago en la puta"?

Las expresiones insultantes empiezan muchas veces por me cago en..., siendo típica la referencia a la madre (en la madre que te parió, en tu puta madre, en la puta de oros, en la puta de bastos, ...
guillem's user avatar
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18 votes
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¿Por qué no decimos "crocodilo"?

¿Sabíais que en el DLE, de hecho, está registrada la palabra crocodilo? Dice que es voz poco usada, pero parece que algo se usa a fin de cuentas. En todo caso, ambas formas (crocodilo y cocodrilo) ...
Charlie's user avatar
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18 votes
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Does "carné de conducir" involve meat?

Carné (note the accent on the e), also spelt carnet, comes from French carnet which means "booklet" or "notebook". The Spanish word carné is also used to refer to an ID card, a ...
wimi's user avatar
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17 votes
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Why do we use "conmigo" but not "sinmigo"?

Origin of conmigo In Latin, "with me" was expressed mecum ("mí con"). Over time this word evolved phonologically to the point where the original "with" sense needed to be ...
jacobo's user avatar
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16 votes
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¿De donde viene la expresión "equilicuá"?

Viene del italiano eccoli qua, Qué significa literalmente "helos acá" o "acá están". Respecto de ecco en italiano, dice el enlace: si unisce ai pronomi personali atoni mi, ti, ci, vi, lo, la, le, ...
JMVanPelt's user avatar
  • 3,168
16 votes
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¿Qué casos existen en el español de etimologías "cíclicas"?

Si buscamos "del esp" en el DIRAE podemos ver algunos casos de palabras con etimologías circulares: sabir Del fr. sabir, y este de saber1. m. Ling. Lengua franca de base románica. popurrí ...
Charlie's user avatar
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16 votes
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¿Por qué se llama "cubo" si es redondo?

Hay dos etimologías aquí: Palabra Signifocado Etimología cubo 🪣 recipiente para líquidos del latín cupa (via esp. cuba) "barrica" cubo ◻️ forma geométrica del latín cubus "forma ...
jacobo's user avatar
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15 votes
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What are the origin, meaning and connotations of "gringo" in Spanish?

English with Original Quotes in Spanish (Answer with quotes translated below) The overwhelming evidence is that gringo originated in Spain in the 1700s or earlier from griego, ‘Greek’, in the sense ...
Jacinto's user avatar
  • 509
15 votes

Why is a "jack" called "un gato"?

To complement what was said by guillem and Carlos Alejo, there are several other cases in which we give animal's name to the tools and vice versa, depending on some physical resemblance, as a metaphor....
Rodrigo's user avatar
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15 votes
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Why do "beer" and "cherry" have similar words in Spanish and Portuguese? What is the historical origin of this coincidence?

It's coincidence - both these words were similar in Latin (and hence maintained their similarity through to Spanish), but ultimately come from unrelated origins: cereza esp ← ceresia vulg lat ← ...
jacobo's user avatar
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14 votes
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¿Cuál es el origen del prefijo "requete-"?

En la web de la RAE se puede consultar el mapa de diccionarios históricos por lemas. Si consultas ahí el término, verás que existe tanto en el diccionario de 2001 como en el de 1992, pero no antes (el ...
Charlie's user avatar
  • 77.5k
13 votes
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Why in Spanish "putting horns" means to cheat your partner?

To wear horns is an expression belonging to Western culture and is not exclusive to the Spanish language, as it is used at least in Spanish (Poner cuernos), French (Mettre des cornes), and Italian (...
JMVanPelt's user avatar
  • 3,168
13 votes
Accepted

¿Qué tiene que ver "acérrimo" (aplicado a personas) con "acre"?

Acre es un cultismo importado del latín (acer, acris) en el siglo XVI. Acérrimo no deriva de acre, sino que también se importó como cultismo por la misma época, directamente del latín acerrimus, ...
angus's user avatar
  • 5,606
13 votes

¿Por qué en español hay tan pocas palabras acabadas en "u"?

Históricamente, la -u final de los étimos latinos tras la pérdida de -m (acusativo) se abría en -o, con lo que, teniendo en cuenta que la inmensa mayoría del vocabulario español procede del latín, es ...
Paco's user avatar
  • 2,347
13 votes
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¿Existen palabras con construcción similar a "penúltimo"?

Sí, por ejemplo península península Del lat. paeninsŭla. f. Tierra cercada por el agua, y que solo por una parte relativamente estrecha está unida y tiene comunicación con otra tierra de extensión ...
Diego's user avatar
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13 votes
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Paso de B a U: ¿evolución fonética o falta de ortografía?

Vamos por partes. En primer lugar no es estrictamente correcto decir que "B y V se pronuncian /b/". Las letras "B" y "V" se pronuncian iguales y formalmente se corresponden con el fonema /b/, pero la ...
pablodf76's user avatar
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13 votes
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¿Por qué en español decimos "zorro" en vez de un derivado del latín "vulpes"?

La razón es así: muchos nombres de animales solían ser palabras tabú. La gente tenía miedo de llamar a los animales salvajes y destructivos por sus nombres "reales" y los sustituían por ...
jacobo's user avatar
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13 votes
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Are "grúa" and "grulla" etymologically related?

They are indeed related: ... grúa, utilizada en castellano desde el siglo XV para designar una máquina destinada a levantar pesos, por su semejanza con la figura de una grulla, de largo pescuezo y ...
jacobo's user avatar
  • 19.5k
13 votes

Why is “homework” a “debt” in Spanish?

It is not a mistake in any sense to ask about the origins of words or wonder about their etymological associations. It might be seeing too much into things, though. I personally don't feel a strong ...
pablodf76's user avatar
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12 votes
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What is the etymology of 'gafas'?

In 1611, Covarrubias defined the term "gafas" as following (text adapted): GAFAS, instrumento con que se arma la ballesta [...] porque hace curvar y torcer la verga de la ballesta hasta encajarla ...
Charlie's user avatar
  • 77.5k
12 votes

¿Por qué "la pera que calla es buena"?

En la entrada de "callar" del Diccionario de la RAE de 1791 se explica: las peras buenas son las que no suenan al partirlas. LA MUGER Y LA PERA LA QUE CALLA ES BUENA. ref. que alaba á la muger ...
Rodrigo's user avatar
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12 votes
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Why is "la Gestapo" feminine?

Is it because it is associated with policía? The answer is yes according to the DPD (Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas): sigla. 1. Se llama sigla tanto a la palabra formada por las iniciales de ...
RubioRic's user avatar
  • 7,830
12 votes
Accepted

Knowing whether to spell a word -ía or -ia

As can be seen from your examples, it is often arbitrary, and many times the presence or absence of an accent on the /i/ already happened in a previous etimological step (Latin historia vs politīa). ...
wimi's user avatar
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