Monday, September 26, 2011

Interesting English/French pairs (3)

spell v. / épeler v.  [é-pe-lé]  (same meaning, form and origin)
to name or write - from Old French espeller - from Frankish spellôn (explain)

spice n. / épice f. [é-pi-ce]   (same meaning, form and origin)
aromatic substances - from Old French espice - from Latin species f. appearance, semblance

species n. / espèce f.  [es-pè-ce] (same meaning, form and origin)
beings/things sharing some characteristics in common  - both words come from Latin species

spinach n. / épinard m. [é-pi-nar]  (same meaning, form and origin)
vegetable - from Old French espinache/espinage - from Arabic/Persian through Latin

spine n. / épine dorsale f.  [é-pi-ne dor-sa-le]  (same meaning, form and origin)
vertebral column/colonne vertébrale - from Old French espine or from Latin spina f.
French épine  means also  thorn, prickle

spirit n. / esprit m.  [es-pri] (same meaning, form and origin)
vital principal - both words come from Latin spiritus « breath, breath of life »

spy v.  /  épier v.  [é-pyé] (same meaning, form and origin)
to observe discretely - from Old French espier (to spy)
espion m. (a spy) derives from épier + suffix -on, under the influence of Italian spione (same meaning)

sponge n. / éponge f. [é-pon-je] (same meaning, form and origin)
sea animal and kitchen utensil - both words come from Latin spongia f. (same meaning)

square n. / équerre f. [é-kè-re] (same form, origin but different meaning)
rectangle with equal sides - from Old french esquire, esquarre related to quatre (four) - from Latin exquadra (from v. ex + quadrare to make square)
Modern French équerre f. means a (set) square, an instrument to check angles.
A rectangle with equal sides is called a carré m. [ka-ré].
square m. [skwa-re] refers to a small public garden (from English)

Where as English "esquire" (title of respect) comes from Old French escuier (Modern French écuyer [é-kui-yé] horseman) and is not related to "square".

squirrel n. / écureuil m. [é-ku-reuy] (same meaning, form and origin)
rodent - from Old French escuireul - from Latin scrurellus (same meaning)

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