Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 22: Spanish words in -aje (g)

[This entry is an excerpt from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

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chantaje (1925) ‘blackmail’ is a synonym of extorsión ‘extortion’ and perhaps even coacción ‘coercion’.[1] This too is an early 20th century loanword from French, namely from Fr. chantage ‘blackmail’, a word first attested in 1837, derived from the verb Fr. chanter ‘to sing’, a cognate of Sp. cantar and of Eng. chant (cf. Part II, Chapter 6).

The sense of the verb chanter that chantage developed from is a figurative one that this verb has in the idiomatic expression faire chanter quelqu’un that literally means ‘to make somebody sing’ and, figuratively, ‘to blackmail somebody’.[2] Curiously, the word chantage is found in some English dictionaries, which presented as a French foreign loanword, first used in English in 1874 and synonymous with blackmail. It is fair to say that not many English speakers would recognize this as an English word, whereas its Spanish cognate is a common word in that language.

Spanish has developed a few words from the loanword chantaje. The most basic one is the verb chantajear ‘to blackmail’, which first appears in the DRAE in 1983. This verb is formed by using the most common Spanish suffix that derives verbs from nouns: ‑e‑ar, as in guerrear ‘to wage war’ (< guerra ‘war’; cf. Part I, Chapter 5, §5.6.2.1). The English equivalent is to blackmail, a verb derived from the noun blackmail by conversion. It is also equivalent to Fr. faire chanter, the expression we just saw from which chantage is derived. Sp. chantajear is equivalent to the expression hacer chantaje (i.e. hacerle chantaje a alguien), a calque of the French expression, e.g. Me hacen chantaje ‘I’m being blackmailed, they’re blackmailing me’, which is equivalent to Me chantajean.

Another word derived from chantaje is chantajista ‘blackmailer’, formed with the agent suffix ‑ista. (Note that this meaning is expressed in Modern French as maître-chanteur ‘lit. master singer’.) As for what to call a person being blackmailed, a common expression is víctima de (un) chantaje.


coraje (1832) is also a loan from French, but a much earlier one than the other ones we have just seen, and the source may have already existed in Vulgar Latin. Sp. coraje has two different and somewhat distantly related meanings. One is ‘courage, bravery’, synonymous with (rare) Sp. valentía (< valiente ‘courageous’), arrojo ‘bravery, daring’ (< arrojar ‘to throw, etc.’), and valor ‘valor’ (note that Sp. valor can also mean ‘value’). The other meaning is ‘anger’, synonymous with rabia, ira, cólera, enojo. Since the original meaning of the word in the original French was ‘bravery’, it would seem that this second sense was perhaps derived from the first one by the association between anger and the performance of fearless or daring actions.

Spanish borrowed the word coraje in the 14th century from Old French corage or curage ‘courage’, later spelled courage, pronounced [ku.ˈʀaʒ] in Modern French. This word is attested as early as the mid-11th century in French. Eng. courage is a cognate of Sp. coraje and it is also a loanword from the same Old French word. It is also first attested in the 14th century. Curiously, coraje does not appear in the DRAE until 1832, though it is found in a dictionary already in 1505.

Versions of this word are found in several Romance languages, such as Provençal and Catalan coratge, and Italian coraggio. Thus, some think that there may have been a Vulgar Latin *corāticum that this word descends from, though such a word is unattested. Another possibility is that the word developed in one of these languages and spread from there to the others. What is clear is that the word is derived from the Latin noun cŏr ‘heart’ (genitive: cordis, accusative: cor), which in Old French was cor or cur, by means of the suffix ‑age. This word is a cognate of Eng. core and it is related to Sp. corazón ‘heart’.[3]

Interestingly, it seems that when coraje was first borrowed from French it was mostly used with the ‘anger’ sense that the word presumably developed in Spanish, not so much with the ‘valor’ sense that the original French word had, though in later times the ‘valor’ sense became strong too, perhaps by the influence of the French word. This obviously rendered the word dangerously polysemous and potentially confusing, which is perhaps why some Spanish dialects tend to prefer to use other words instead that are synonymous with the intended meaning. In (parts of) Spanish-speaking America, the word coraje is still commonly used with the ‘anger’ sense, but not so much in Spain, for example, where other alternatives are more common nowadays, such as rabia. Both coraje and rabia are used in very common expressions such as ¡Qué coraje/rabia! ‘How upsetting!, How annoying!’ and Me da coraje/rabia ‘It makes me mad/angry’, though different dialects tend to prefer one over the other.

There are a few Spanish words derived from the noun coraje, though they are not very common. One of them is the adjective corajoso/a, which is formed with the adjective-forming suffix ‑os‑o/a, cognate with Eng. ‑ous, which would seem to make it a cognate of Eng. courageous. Strangely enough, corajudo first appeared in the DRAE in 1729 (the first edition), before coraje did (it also appears in an earlier dictionary from 1607). Of all the major Spanish dictionaries, the word corajoso only appears in the DLE, which tells us that it means ‘angry, irritated’ (‘enojado, irritado’) and that it once meant ‘spirited, energetic, brave/courageous’ (‘animoso, esforzado, valeroso’). Thus, we see that the best way to translate Eng. courageous today is not corajoso/a, but rather valiente or even valeroso/a.

There is another Spanish word that means ‘courageous’ that is also derived from coraje, namely corajudo/a, which is attested as early as the 14th century and is not common today. This word, however, can also be used with the sense ‘prone to anger’, particularly in Spain (synonym: colérico/a). The word is formed with the Spanish suffix ‑ud‑o/a that forms augmentatives, as in barbudo/a ‘bearded’, cabezudo/a ‘bigheaded’, tripudo/a ‘paunchy, big-bellied, pot-bellied’, and peludo/a ‘hairy’.

An even rarer word derived from coraje is corajina ‘outburst of anger’, formed with a rare suffix ‑in-a that can mean intense and sudden action, as in regañina ‘scolding, telling-off, talking-to, tongue-lashing’ (< regañar ‘to scold, tell off, etc.’), (rare) degollina ‘slaughter, massacre’ (< degollar ‘to cut the throat of’), and escabechina ‘massacre’ (< escabechar ‘to souse, pickle; fam. to kill, bump off, do in’).

Finally, there is a verb derived from the noun coraje. The verb is encorajar (en‑coraj-ar), which means something like ‘to encourage’, in the sense of ‘cheering’. This verb first appears in the DRAE in 1803 (also found in an earlier dictionary from 1787). It is quite likely that Sp. encorajar is a loanword from Old French encoragier (Modern French encourager), which is also the source of Eng. encourage (first attested in the early 15th century). Actually, encorajar is a rare word today and bilingual dictionaries for the most part do not suggest it as a translation of Eng. encourage. Better equivalents of Eng. encourage are animar (also, though less commonly, embravecer and alentar) for the ‘cheer’ sense, and fomentar, favorecer, estimular for the ‘stimulate’ sense. This verb can also be used reflexively, as encorajarse, and then it means ‘to get furious, get angry’ (a derived synonym, also quite rare today, is encorajinarse).


[1] The English word blackmail has nothing to do with mail as we understand the word today (or with blackness for that matter). This is a mid 16th century expression used to refer to ‘a tribute levied on farmers in Scotland and the border counties of England by freebooting Scottish chiefs in return for protection or immunity from plunder’ (OED). The mail word is now obsolete as a separate word in Standard English, but it has survived in Scots and in northern dialects of English. It used to mean something like ‘payment, tax, tribute, rent’. It comes from Old English mal ‘lawsuit, terms, bargaining, agreement’, a loanword from Old Norse mál ‘speech, agreement’ which was a cognate of the patrimonial English word mæl ‘speech’, now also obsolete. The black part of the expression refers to the evil of the practice. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the term blackmail was also used for ‘Rent payable in cattle, labour, or coin other than silver’ (OED), that is, rent known as silver mail ‘rent or tribute paid in silver’. By the late 18th century, blackmail had come to mean ‘any payment or other benefit extorted by threats or pressure, especially by threatening to reveal a damaging or incriminating secret’ (OED).

By the way, the Modern English word mail that means ‘letters and parcels sent by post’ (COED; Sp. correo) has a different origin. It comes from Old French male, which comes from a Germanic word meaning something like ‘bag’, ultimately from Proto-Germanic *malhō ‘leather bag’. The rare spelling change of the vowel of this English word from a to ai was done presumably to differentiate this word from the word male that means ‘of or denoting the sex that can fertilize or inseminate the female to produce offspring’ (COED) or by similarity with the mail that meant ‘rent, etc.’. (Eng. male comes from Old French masle, from Latin masculus, source of Sp. macho.)

[2] In colloquial Spanish, the verb cantar ‘to sing’ has a figurative (non-literal) meaning that involves revealing information. However, the meaning is quite different from the one chanter has in French, namely ‘to confess or reveal something secret or confidential, usually after an interrogation’ (DUEAE: coloquial ‘Confesar o revelar lo secreto o confidencial, generalmente tras un interrogatorio’), e.g. El detenido ha cantado y ya se conoce a los restantes miembros de la banda ‘The prisoner has talked and it is known who the other members of the band are’. The English equivalents are to spill the beans, to talk, to confess.

[3] Whereas in most other Romance languages the word for ‘heart’ comes directly from the Latin word cor, Spanish and Portuguese have ‘extended’ or ‘derived’ version so this word: Sp. corazón (1100) and Port. coração. There are several theories as to how these words were derived and with what suffixes, though none is fully convincing. Spanish conserved the patrimonial cuer from Lat. cŏr as late as the 13th century. As for why the original cuer was not preserved and was replaced (by corazón), it has been suggested that perhaps it was to prevent the confusion with the word cuero ‘(human or animal) skin’, from Lat. cŏrĭum (same meaning).

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 21: Spanish words in -aje (f)

[This entry is an excerpt from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

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bricolaje (1983) is a very recent and rather uncommon word that means primarily ‘non-professional, do-it-yourself handiwork for home decoration or repair’.[1] The Academy’s single definition for this word is: ‘Manual activity in the areas of carpentry, plumbing, electricity, etc., carried out in one’s own home without going to professionals’. According to the Diccionario panhispánico de dudas (2005), outside Spain, in Spanish America, to the extent that the word is used at all, it is often used as a foreign word (extranjerismo), with the French spelling and pronunciation.[i] According to the Diccionario de dudas y dificultades de la lengua española (Seco and Hernández, 2006), the word is needed because its closest native synonym, chapuza, has negative connotations that the borrowed word does not have.

Sp. bricolage is a late 20th century loanword from French bricolage [bʀi.kɔ.ˈlɑʒ], which was also created in the 20th century (1927 according to Le Petit Robert) and which has several uses that partially match the meaning the word has in Spanish, namely ‘arts and crafts activities at school’, ‘makeshift repair, sloppy work’, ‘do-it-yourself work’, and the sense given to the word to the word by French anthropologist and ethnologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, ‘improvised work adapted to materials and circumstances’.[2]

The French word was derived from the French verb bricoler ‘to putter, tinker, do odd jobs, do small chores’ (19th century) and later ‘to fix something ingeniously’ (i.e. with ingenuity) (20th century, OED). An earlier meaning of the verb, in late 15th century Middle French, was ‘to go to and fro, to ricochet, bounce’. By the mid-19th century this verb meant ‘to make a living by doing all kinds of little jobs, engage in manual work (adjustments, repairs, etc.)’, and in the early 20th century it came to mean ‘to install, set up something as a non-expert and with ingenuity’ (PR), i.e. ‘to tinker, etc.’.[3]

The verb bricoler was derived in the 15th century from the earlier noun bricole [bʀi.ˈkɔl] (earlier spelled briccole) that means something like ‘trifle, worthless object’ in Modern colloquial French. This noun comes ultimately from Late Latin briccola that originally, in the 14th century, referred to ‘a type of military siege engine similar to a catapult (a mangano)’, and later come to name other contraptions. The word was adopted in other languages as well, cf. Provençal bricola, Italian briccola, Spanish brigola, and Eng. bricole, pronounced [ˈbɹɪk.əl] or [bɹɪ.ˈkoʊ̯l]. The word in these other languages has become obsolete, though, since it did not come to have new uses. But Fr. bricole adopted different senses over time, besides the modern ‘trifle’, such as ‘sling’ in medicine, or ‘munitions store’ in the military. It has been proposed that the final origin of Late Latin briccola is a Germanic word related to Middle High German brechen, meaning ‘to break’ and a cognate of Eng. break.

Sp. bricolaje is a cognate, and false friend, of Eng. bricolage [ˌbrɪ.kə.ˈlɑʒ], also borrowed from French in the 20th century. The English word, which is also rare, has come to be used exclusively with the sense put forth by C. Lévi-Straus in La pensée sauvage (1962), namely ‘something made or put together using whatever materials happen to be available’ (AHD). In the words of the OED, bricolage means ‘construction or (esp. literary or artistic) creation from a diverse range of materials or sources. Hence: an object or concept so created; a miscellaneous collection, often (in Art) of found objects’.


camuflaje (1970) [ka.mu.ˈfla.xe] ‘camouflage’, i.e. ‘the disguising of military personnel and equipment by painting or covering them to make them blend in with their surroundings’ and, derived from it, ‘the clothing or materials used for such a purpose’ (COED). This word is a 20th century loanword from French camouflage [ka.mu.ˈflaʒ] (same meaning), a late 19th century creation. It is a cognate of Eng. camouflage, pronounced [ˈkæ.mə.ˌflɑʒ] or [ˈkæ.mə.ˌflɑʤ], also borrowed from Modern French around 1917, in the context of the military and World War I. The French word camouflage (also spelled camoufflage at one point) originally meant ‘disguise’ when it was created around 1883. By 1917, however, during World War I, the word was being used in a military context with the meaning it has today.

Fr. camouflage is derived by means of the ‑age suffix from the verb camoufler, an early 19th century word that meant originally ‘to disguise’ and later on in the 19th century ‘to falsify, counterfeit’. This verb was borrowed and adapted from Italian camuffare ‘to disguise’, which is of uncertain origin. The form of the French word was presumably influenced by the unrelated French word camouflet, a literary word that means ‘snub, insult, affront’, and in military context, ‘camouflet, stifler’, that is, ‘an underground explosion of a bomb or mine that does not break the surface, but leaves an enclosed cavity of gas and smoke’ (RHWU). This word’s original meaning was ‘smoke blown in someone’s face as a practical joke’, since it is derived from chault moufflet lit. ‘hot puff, breath’ (RHWU).

Spanish has also borrowed the verb camuflar from French, whereas English chose to derive the verb to camouflage from the noun camouflage, by conversion, a verb that is attested as early as 1917 and whose primary meaning is ‘hide or disguise by means of camouflage’ (COED). Actually, Sp. camuflar appeared in the DRAE before the noun camuflaje does, in 1950. Originally, Sp. camuflar word was used exclusively in military contexts, but today it can also be used in a broader sense meaning ‘to conceal’, that is, ‘to hide something by means of a false appearances’,[4] as in Se muestra así de amable para camuflar sus verdaderas intenciones ‘She acts all nice like that to conceal his true intentions’ (MM).


[1] The single definition in María Moliner’s dictionary is: ‘Actividad que consiste en la realización de trabajos manuales de decoración, reparación, etc., en la propia casa, por parte de personas no profesionales’.

[2] The Le Petit Robert dictionary gives these senses in French as: (1) Action, habitude de bricoler. — Travail de bricoleur. Le salon du bricolage; (2) Réparation ou travail manuel effectué approximativement. Un bricolage rapide. Fig. et péj. Travail d’amateur, peu soigné. C’est du bricolage!; Anthrop. Travail dont la technique est improvisée, adaptée aux matériaux, aux circonstances.

[3] These are translations of definitions in Le Petit Robert: Gagner sa vie en faisant toutes sortes de petites besognes. — Se livrer à des travaux manuels (aménagements, réparations, etc.)’, ‘Installer, aménager (qelque chose) en amateur et avec ingéniosité.

[4] The original says: ‘Disimular u ocultar una cosa con cierta apariencia falsa’ (María Moliner).

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 20: Spanish words in -aje (e)

[This entry is an excerpt from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

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bagaje (1832) ‘baggage, luggage’ (all the things one takes on a trip), though that use is rare. Traditionally it was used in military contexts for the ‘military baggage of an army or troop on the move’ (DLE). More common today is perhaps its figurative use for ‘knowledge and experiences that a person has accumulated over time’.

Sp. bagaje is probably a 16th century loanword from Fr. bagage, a word that was created in the 13th century, though it could have come from its Provençal cognate bagatge. The original meaning was that of ‘property packed up for carriage’ and, later, ‘military equipment one takes along on a campaign’, a sense which is now archaic. The sense of ‘(personal) luggage’ for the word is from the 19th century and it happened first in the French word, from which it was passed on to Spanish, though it is rarely used that way, since equipaje is the preferred word for this meaning (see below).

English baggage is a cognate, also a loanword from French, borrowed in the 15th century. Fr. bagage seems to have developed from the noun bague ‘pack, bundle, sack’, typically used in the plural as bagues, which is related to Provençal bagua, Italian baga, and Late Latin baga ‘chest, sack’. This bague seems to be a cognate of Eng. bag, first attested in the 13th century, which probably came into English from Old Norse baggi ‘bag, pack, bundle’. The origin of all these words is not clear, however. Several theories have been proposed, none of which holds much water. Fr. bagage could have come from the French verb baguer ‘to tie up’, derived from the noun bagues, rather than from the noun itself.

As we mentioned, the main use of Sp. bagaje today is figurative, in phrases such as bagaje emocional, bagaje cultural, bagaje intelectual, and bagaje artístico, perhaps under the influence (semantic calque) of English, for Eng. baggage is often used with the sense ‘past experiences or long-held opinions perceived as encumbrances’, as in emotional baggage (COED). The collocation bagaje cultural, when speaking of a person can translate as cultural knowledge, knowledge of culture, experience, or background, and of a people, as cultural heritage. The expression bagaje emocional is also a common collocation, probably as a calque of the English expression emotional baggage, which the Urban Dictionary defines as ‘painful memories, mistrust and hurt carried around from past sexual or emotional rejection’ and as ‘an excuse commonly used by Peter Pans and other immature men to avoid commitment yet maintain a sexual relationship’.


brebaje (1832) ‘brew, potion, concoction’, as in brebaje mágico ‘magic potion’. This is a 13th century loanword from Old. French bevrage or buverage which is first attested in the 12th century and which originally meant ‘beverage’ (Sp. bebida), cf. Modern French breuvage [bʀœ.ˈvaʒ]) ‘concoction, potion’ (like in Spanish), though in Québec it still means ‘(non-alcoholic) beverage’, perhaps from the influence of this word’s English cognate beverage. Cognates of this word are found in several Romance languages (e.g. Cat. beuratge, same meaning as Sp. brebaje; It. beveraggio), which suggests that there may have been a Vulgar Latin *biberaticum, though such a word is unattested and there is no patrimonial Spanish word derived from it. Sp. brebaje does not appear in the Academy’s dictionary until 1832, though it is found in another dictionary in 1786.

Old Fr. bevrage was derived from the Old French verb bevre ‘to drink’ (cf. Modern French boire [ˈbwaʀ]), a cognate of Sp. beber ‘to drink’. Both verbs are patrimonial descendants from Latin bĭbĕre (same meaning; cf. Cat. beure, It. bere, Port. beber; Eng. bib ‘to drink; keep on drinking, tipple’, OED, may be an adaptation of this verb too). The metathesis of the r in Sp. brebaje (with respect to Old French bevrage) was seemingly due to the influence of a patrimonial Spanish word brebajo for a drink given to animals made with water and other ingredients such as flour, potatoes and bran. This brebajo was derived from the same verb with the suffix ‑ajo that comes from Lat. ‑aculum (cf. Cat. beurall). The metathesis is also found in the patrimonial Spanish verb abrevar ‘to water, give water to (animals); to drink (said of animals)’ that comes from Vulgar Latin *abbiberare (same meaning), derived from the Latin verb bĭbĕre. Derived from Sp. abrevar is the noun abrevadero ‘watering hole, watering trough, water trough, drinking trough’.

Eng. beverage is a cognate, and false friend, of Sp. brebaje. Eng. beverage was borrowed from French in the mid-13th century, from the same French source as the Spanish word. Eng. beverage is expressed in Spanish by bebida, a noun derived by conversion from the identical feminine form of the past participle of the verb beber. The change in meaning from ‘beverage’ to ‘concoction’ occurred in Spanish and in French, though not in English. It is quite likely that it happened in Standard French first and that Spanish borrowed the sense later (semantic calquing). The Grand Robert defines the new sense of Fr. breuvage as ‘drink of a special composition or having a particular virtue (‘boisson d’une composition spéciale ou ayant une vertu particulière’).

Note that these words are not related to Eng. brew, which does not contain the same root either. Eng. brew (Old English bréow-an) is a common Germanic word descended from the Germanic verb-root *brū‑ (pre-Germanic bhreu‑, OED; Eng. broth would be derived from the same root).

In Argentina, the word beberaje was created in the 20th century presumably from beber + ‑aje, though there is little doubt that it is a calque from Eng. beverage. Its meaning is ‘alcoholic beverage’, which in Standard Spanish is bebida alcohólica.

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 19: Spanish words in -aje (d)

[This entry is an excerpt from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

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arbitraje (1832) ‘arbitration’, ‘refereeing, umpiring’. This word is obviously related to the noun árbitro, meaning ‘referee, umpire’ and ‘arbiter, arbitrator’, and to the verb arbitrar ‘(soccer, boxing) to referee; (tennis, baseball) to umpire; (conflict, dispute) to arbitrate’.

The word árbitro in Spanish is said to be an early 14th century loan from the second declension Latin noun arbiter, accusative arbĭtrum, which originally meant ‘a spectator, beholder, a witness’, and later also came to mean ‘a master, a lord, ruler’, and ‘judge, arbitrator’. Presumably, this Latin noun is related to (and derived from) the verb bētĕre (or bītĕre) ‘to go’ and, thus, the original meaning of arbiter, which seemingly was formed with the preposition ad‑ ‘to’, would have been ‘someone who goes somewhere (to see)’. Since this word is already attested as arbitre in Old French in the early 13th century, as a loanword from Latin, it is possible that Spanish borrowed it through French.

From the noun arbiter, Latin derived the first conjugation deponent verb arbitrārī (principal parts: arbĭtror, arbĭtrārī, arbĭtrātus sum). This is presumably where the verbs Fr. arbitrer and Sp. arbitrar came from as loanwords. The Spanish word is attested around the year 1300 and the French one a few decades earlier, in 1274.

Sp. arbitraje is also not derived in Spanish from the verb arbitrar but is rather a loanword from around 1700 from the Old French word arbitrage, first attested in the late 13th century, derived from the Old French noun arbitre ‘arbiter’ or verb arbitrer.

A related Latin word, also derived from the noun arbiter, was arbītrĭum (also attested as arbītērĭum) which originally meant ‘a coming near, a being present, presence’ and, later came to mean ‘the judgment, decision of an arbitrator’. The word arbitrio is first attested in Spanish around the year 1300 with the meaning ‘will, judgement’. It is most often used in the phrase dejar algo al arbitrio de alguien ‘to leave something to someone’s discretion’, or similar ones.

Spanish also has a somewhat changed patrimonial version of the word arbitrio, namely albedrío (spelled alvedrio in the Middle Ages), first attested in 1219. Its main meaning is ‘(free) will’, as in libre albedrío ‘free will’ or a su albedrío ‘of his/her own free will’ or ‘to his/own devices’. Corominas speculates that albedrío may not come directly from Lat. arbitrium, but rather may be a noun derived from a verb albedriar, though such a verb is not attested (alvedrar is attested in Old Portuguese and it could perhaps have come from an earlier *alvedriar).


aterrizaje (1925) ‘landing’: related to Sp. aterrizar ‘to land’ and to Sp. noun tierra ‘land’, ‘dirt’, ‘Earth’; Sp. aterrizaje is a loanword (20th c.?) from French atterrissage (1812) ‘landing’, derived from Fr. terre, a cognate of Sp. tierra, with the prefix a‑ (a‑terr‑ir). The Spanish verb aterrizar ‘to land’, which also first appeared in the DRAE in 1925, would seem to be a back-formation on the noun aterrizaje. (For an analogous case see, alunizaje and alunizar above.)

The French noun atterrissage is derived from the verb atterrir, which itself is derived from the noun terre ‘land’ (cf. Sp. tierra). Fr. atterrir in aviation today means ‘to land, to touch down’ (Sp. aterrizar). How we get from atterrir (root atterr‑) to atterrissage is an interesting question, however.

The verb atterrir precedes aviation by many centuries. Fr. atterrir is first attested in the mid-14th century with the meaning ‘to fill with mud, dirt, alluvion’ and it means something like Sp. enterrar ‘to bury’ (en‑terr‑ar, cf. poner en la tierra, cubrir con tierra). The noun associated with this original verb atterrir was atterrissement, formed with the extended (lengthened) stem atterriss- (atterr‑iss‑) associated with the plural forms of the present tense of the verb and the noun suffix ‑(e)ment.[1]

Then, in the late 17th century, a second atterrir appears, no doubt formed after the first one, that in navigation meant ‘to recognize the land sighted and specify the position of the boat in relation to her’. The noun associated with this verb was atterrage, from the stem of the verb at‑terr‑ and the suffix ‑age. Finally, in the early 19th century, with the advent of ballooning, the verb atterrir came to be used to express the act of touching ground and the noun that was created to express the action of landing was atterrissage, which contained the extended stem of the verb, atterrisse‑, and the suffix ‑age. Eventually, probably in the early 20th century, Spanish calqued this noun as aterrizaje and from it, it derived the verb aterrizar ‘to land, touch ground’.

There are a few common collocations or idioms that contain the word aterrizaje ‘landing’: aterrizaje forzoso ‘emergency landing’, aterrizaje violento ‘crash landing’, pista de aterrizaje ‘runway, tarmac’, tren de aterrizaje ‘landing gear’.



[1] A large group of French verbs extends the infinitive stem by adding ‑i‑ to the singular verb forms and ‑iss‑ to the plural ones. The majority of ‑ir verbs do this (about 80%). The typical example is the verb finir ‘to finish’, with the root fin‑ (fin‑ir). The first person singular is je finis ‘I finish’ (fin‑i‑s) and the first person plural is nous finissons ‘we finish’ (fin‑iss‑ons). The English verb finish is a loanword from French and it is derived from the extended plural form of the stem of this French verb.

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 18: Spanish words in -aje (c)

[This entry is an excerpt from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

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andamiaje (1925) ‘scaffolding; staging’: this is native Spanish word derived in the 20th century from andamio (attested as early as the 13th century). Spanish andamio, often used in the plural, andamios, today means primarily ‘scaffold’ or ‘scaffolding’, that is, ‘a structure built next to a wall, for workers to stand on while they build, repair, or paint a building’ (DOCE).[1] The derived word andamiaje is common today instead of andamios to refer to a whole system of interconnected structures used for this purpose.

Originally, the word andamio meant ‘platform, stage’ (1295). It is of uncertain origin, and only shared with Portuguese. It first appeared in a dictionary in Nebrija’s dictionary of 1495. There is little doubt, however, that the word andamio is ultimately related to Sp. andar ‘to walk’, though the nature of the derivation is a mystery. Corominas mentions that there are two more cases of a suffix-like ending ‑amio in Spanish, which he thinks could be of Celtic origin.[2]


aprendizaje (1832) ‘the act of learning’, ‘apprenticeship’, ‘training period’ (aprend-iz-aje). This word would seem to be derived from the noun aprendiz ‘apprentice; (fig.) beginner’, which is what dictionaries tell us. It is not likely that this word would exist in Spanish if it wasn’t because French has a very similar word apprentissage that means ‘apprenticeship’, ‘training’, and ‘learning’, just like its Spanish counterpart and cognate. Fr. apprentissage is first attested in 1395, whereas Sp. aprendizaje does not appear in the DRAE until 1832 (though it does appear in another Spanish dictionary in 1786).

Sp. aprendiz is a 14th century loanword from 12th century Old French word aprentis ‘apprentice’ (later apprentif, Modern French apprenti, fem. apprentice). This is the source of Eng. apprentice as well as of Old Sp. aprentiz, both borrowed in the 14th century. Later, Spanish aprentiz was changed to aprendiz presumably under the influence of the verb aprender ‘to learn’, which has a d in the stem, not a t. French apprenti(s) presumably comes ultimately from Vulgar Lat. apprenditīcĭum, derived from the stem apprendit‑ of *apprenditus, a regularized past participle of Vulgar Lat. apprendĕre ‘to learn’, derived from Lat. apprehendĕre ‘to seize, to take, or lay hold of, to apprehend’ (original passive participle: apprehēnsus; cf. learned Eng. apprehend, adj. apprehensive).

As we saw, in the late 14th century, French developed the noun apprentissage from the noun apprentis, and around 1800, more than 300 years later, Fr. apprentissage was calqued into Spanish as aprendizaje under the influence of Sp. aprendiz ‘apprentice; (fig.) beginner’.

The relation of aprendiz and aprendizaje to the patrimonial Spanish verb aprender ‘to learn’ is obvious to any speaker of Spanish, since they seem to share the root aprend‑, but the nature of the derivation is not regular or obvious, since ‑iz‑ is not a noun-forming suffix, but rather a verb-forming one (e.g. carbonizar ‘to carbonize’). But the words aprendiz and aprendizaje came through French and they never had this Spanish ‑iz‑ suffix. The word aprender, on the other hand, is a patrimonial one.



[1] The English word scaffold is a loan from an unattested Norman French word that is cognate with Central Old French schaffaut or eschaffaut, ultimately from Vulgar Latin *catafalicum, of uncertain origin, though perhaps from Greek. Eng. scaffold meant at one time ‘a raised platform or stand’, including ‘an elevated platform on which a criminal is executed’. Vulgar Latin *catafalicum gave us Sp. cadafalso, through Occitan cadafalcs (cf. Old Catalan cadafal), which later became cadahalso and, eventually, cadalso, which meant originally ‘platform or stage for solemn events’ and, mostly in recent times, ‘platform erected to execute those condemned to death penalty’, one of the meanings that Eng. scaffold had in the past.

[2] The two words are (1) the rare aramio ‘land left unsown after plowing’ (= tierra labrantía), derived from arar ‘to plow’; and (2) the even rarer paramio ‘protected land’ (Sp. ‘tierra privilegiada, protegida’), derived from parar, from Lat. parāre ‘to prepare’. Sp. paramio is not in the DLE or any other major Spanish dictionary, though it is the name of several parishes in Northern Spain and Portugal.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 17: Spanish words in -aje (b)

[This entry is an excerpt from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

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Spanish words in -aje


Spanish has words in ‑aje that do not have English equivalents in ‑age. For instance, Spanish has the word ramaje ‘compendium of branches of trees experienced as a unit’, which is transparently related to the noun rama ‘branch’. Note that the relationship between the words rama and ramaje is much more transparent than the relationship between hoja ‘leaf’ and follaje ‘folliage’, since folla and hoja are hardly similar to an untrained Spanish speaker, even though both of them come from Lat. folia ‘leaf’. Spanish ramaje, however, is not a word created in Spanish. It is a 19th century loan from either French ramage or Catalan ramatge, with the same meaning. This French word was never borrowed into English, however, so there is no English cognate for Sp. ramaje, the way Sp. follaje has Eng. foliage as its cognate.

Another, even more common ‑aje word without an English cognate is aprendizaje which has as it major meaning ‘the action or result of learning something’ or ‘the time spent in such learning’.[1] Thus it can be translated into English as apprenticeship, training period, and even learning. This noun is clearly related to the Spanish verb aprender ‘to learn’ and it is derived from the noun aprendiz ‘apprentice, trainee, novice’. Some use Sp. aprendiz to translate Eng. learner due to the lack of a better noun since, curiously, the excellent potential alternatives aprendedor and aprendiente, which used to exist in Spanish, are now obsolete words. Spanish aprentiz, which is already attested in 14th century texts, is a loanword from Old French aprentiz, from Lat. apprenditicius, and it won over the other two obsolete options. From this same French word comes Eng. apprentice, which is thus a cognate of Sp. aprendiz.

As in the case of English, there aren’t that many words that contain the suffix ‑aje in Spanish, either transparently as in the word ramaje or opaquely as in the word garaje. If one looks at words that end in ‑aje in Spanish by looking at the DRAE’s inverse/reverse dictionary, one gets 325 results, all but half a dozen of which can be recognized as having the suffix ‑aje.[i] Of these, many are quite rare. Only over 80 words would be quite familiar to an educated Spanish speaker. Curiously, they are for the most part fairly recent loanwords or creations. Many of them were only introduced in the DLE dictionary in its 1832 edition. Some were introduced even later. What follows is the list of these 80+ words. We include next to each word the year it first appeared in the DRAE if it is mentioned in the DRAE itself or in Corominas’ dictionary.

abordaje (1837): ‘boarding of a ship in an attack’, as in ¡Al abordaje! ‘Stand by to board!’, ‘Away boarders!’. It is related to the verb abordar that today means primarily ‘to board (a ship or airplane)’ or ‘to tackle (a problem)’. It is a 16th century loanword from French abordage [a.bɔʀ.ˈdaʒ], a word that was also created in the 16th century from the French verb aborder created in the 13th century from the phrase à bord ‘to the edge/side’ (cf. Sp. lit. al borde), which used adverbially translates into English as on board and into Spanish as a bordo, both calques from French.

Spanish borrowed the verb abordar from French in the 15th century and just like it, it has three main meanings: ‘to accost, to walk up to, to approach’, ‘to enter, embark on’ (in some dialects, in others: embarcarse), and ‘to tackle, to get to grips with’.

The Spanish word borde ‘edge’ also comes from French and shares its meanings, cf. el borde de la mesa ‘the edge of the table’, el borde del vaso ‘the rim of the glass’. It originally referred to the side of a ship. This word comes from Frankish and is of Germanic origin, where it meant ‘board, plank’ and ‘the side of a ship’. (It is thus obviously related to patrimonial English words board and starboard (the latter from Old English stēor ‘steer’ and bord ‘side (of a ship)’.)

alunizaje (1970) ‘moon landing’: related to the verb alunizar ‘to land on the moon’ (also DRAE 1970). Both the noun and the verb are French loanwords or calques of words derived from Fr. lune ‘moon’. Sp. alunizaje is a loan from Fr. alunissage (same meaning; first attested in 1923), which is derived from the past participle stem aluniss‑ of the verb alunir ‘to land (on the moon)’.

The Spanish verb alunizar seems to be a back formation from the noun alunizaje, however, for as we have seen, the French verb is alunir, which would have given us (non-existent) *alunar in Spanish, not alunizar. The French noun alunissage was created on the model of atterrissage ‘landing’, source of Sp. aterrizaje ‘landing’ (see below), a noun derived from the verb atterrir ‘to land’, itself derived from the noun terre ‘land’ (Sp. tierra), cf. Sp. aterrizar.

amperaje (1970) ‘amperage’, i.e. the ‘strength of an electrical current measured in amperes’, or amps for short (Sp. amperios). This word was created in the late 19th century in French (ampérage) on the model of voltage (Sp. voltaje) (see below). The word ampere comes from the name of French physicist André-Marie Ampère (1775-1836). English borrowed the words amp(ere) and amperage from French in the late 19th century. The words Eng. ampere ~ Sp. amperio refer to ‘a unit for measuring the rate at which electric current flows’ (MWALD)

anclaje (1832) ‘anchorage, anchoring’: noun related to the verb anclar ‘to anchor’, derived from the noun ancla ‘anchor’, first attested in the 13th century, which comes from Lat. ancora (also the source of Eng. anchor). The learned word áncora in Spanish is a 15th century loanword from the Latin word. From this word we get the Spanish ancoraje (also 1832).

The verb anclar is attested in the 16th century and the noun anclaje came later, which is why it’s likely that this is a calque of French ancrage ‘anchorage’ (15th century) derived from ancrer (12th century), from ancre (12th century).

Just like Eng. anchorage, the word anclaje is polysemous and can refer, first of all, to the action of anchoring a boat, but also to ‘a place safe for anchoring’, and to the ‘the fee charged for anchoring’ (Sp. fondear).

In recent decades, Sp. anclaje has also come to mean ‘a thing used to attach something firmly to something else, such as a wall or the ground’, and thus is equivalent to Eng. fastening or fastener. This has resulted in a surge in the usage of this word in the language as shown in statistical analyses of Spanish corpora.

The word anclaje (a red) has also come to translate the English term tethering (or phone-as-modem), which refers to ‘the connection of a personal computer to a mobile phone so as to obtain wireless Internet access from the computer’ (Wkt.).[2]



[1] The DLE definition for this word is ‘acción y efecto de aprender algún arte, oficio u otra cosa’ and ‘tiempo que en ello se emplea’.

[2] The original meaning of Eng. tether [ˈtʰɛðəɹ] was ‘a rope, chain, or similar restraint for holding an animal in place, allowing a short radius in which it can move about’ (AHD). The word comes from Old Norse tjóðr, from Proto-Germanic *teudrą ‘rope; cord; shaft’, of unknown origin.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Eng. -age ~ Sp. -aje, Part 16: English words in -age (a)

[This entry is an excerpt from Chapter 18, "Eng. language and Sp. lenguaje: words ending in Eng. -age and Sp. -aje", of Part II of the open-source textbook Spanish-English Cognates: An Unconventional Introduction to Spanish Linguistics.]

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English words in -age


In this section we are going to take a look at English words that have the suffix ‑age, most of which do not come from Latin ‑ātĭcum words, but rather were derived in French or English from the suffix ‑age that came from the Latin suffix ‑ātĭcum, by analogy with existing Latin words, such as those we saw in the previous section (§18.3). There are around 400 words that end in ‑age in an English dictionary, though not all of them contain this suffix, as we shall see.

As we have already seen, not all English ‑age words have equivalent ‑aje words in Spanish, and vice versa. There are several reasons for this. Since many of these words come from French either Northern French dialects or southern ones—not all of these French words were borrowed by English and Spanish, and the borrowed ones were not always the same. Secondly, English and Spanish—but mostly English—created new words out of this borrowed suffix, words which did not make it to the other language. For instance, English created the word spillage out of the verb spill, and Spanish does not have a cognate of this word. These words also happen to be the most semantically transparent ones for an English speaker since they are derived from existing English words, such as spill in this case, whereas the words with the suffix ‑age that were borrowed from French are typically semantically opaque, e.g. garage. Spanish has also created a few words with this suffix, but these coinages are much fewer in number than the English ones.

English words that contain the suffix ‑age are typically stressed on the penultimate syllable, that is, on the syllable before the suffix, which means that the suffix is pronounced (unstressed) [ɪʤ], such as advantage [əd.ˈvæn.(t)ɪʤ], a French loan, and blockage [ˈblɒ.kɪʤ], an English coinage. However, words with this suffix that were borrowed from French in the last couple of centuries, such as massage, tend to have the stress on the final syllable, that is, on the suffix, just like they do in Modern French. In these words, the suffix is pronounced [ˈɑʒ], just like in French, or in a more Anglicized way, as [ˈɑʤ], if the words have become common enough, e.g. massage can be pronounced either [mə.ˈsɑʒ] or [mə.ˈsɑʤ]. (The French words end in [ˈɑʒ], with the alveopalatal fricative sound [ʒ] at the end, but this sound only occurs in the middle of a word in native English words and the closest sound that English has at the end of words is the alveopalatal affricate [ʤ].) Other such recent loans are the following:
  • menage [məˈnɑʒ] or [məˈnɑʤ],
  • mirage [məˈɹɑʒ]
  • barrage [bəˈɹɑʒ] or [bəˈɹɑʤ]
  • montage [mɑn.ˈtʰɑʒ] (also pronounced [ˈmɒn.tɑʒ] in Britain, with initial stress)

Spanish words in ‑aje, however, are always stressed on the penultimate syllable of this ending (which has two syllables, unlike the English cognate) and the ending is always pronounced [ˈa.xe]. This is also the case in the same recent borrowings from French such as masaje [ma.ˈsa.xe] and montaje [mon.ˈt̪a.xe].

The status of ‑age as a suffix of English is a somewhat peculiar one. It would seem that English speakers have to some extent recognized and treated ‑age as an actual suffix of the language, even though in most cases the suffix ‑age came attached to French words without a recognizable base, as in the case of garage (cf. §18.3 above). This English suffix is not very productive, as was to be expected, but it has been more productive than could have been expected since English has produced a number of new ‑age words by analogy, such as spillage from spill, leakage from leak, shrinkage from shrink, breakage from break, cleavage from cleave, postage from post, wreckage from wreck, and so on. As we said earlier, these words do not by and large have corresponding (cognate) words in ‑aje in Spanish.

Most of the words minted in English with the suffix ‑age are fairly recent creations, but there are some old ones, such as the word bondage, which is based on the Middle English native or patrimonial (Germanic) word bond ‘serf, tenant farmer’, which comes from Old English bonda where it just meant ‘householder, husband, head of a family’ (Eng. bondage = Sp. esclavitud, servidumbre). This English word was rendered into Anglo-Latin, that is, the Latin used in England in the Middle Ages in legal documents of England, as bondagium, for the reason we explained earlier, namely that Old French (and in this case Middle English) words with the suffix ‑age were Latinized with the suffix ‑agium in Medieval Latin times (cf. §18.2).

Because of what was just said, it should not surprise us that that some words that actually ended in ‑agium (and occasionally ‑agia) in Classical Latin end up with the ending ‑age in French, and therefore in English as well. Thus, for instance, Eng. suffrage comes from Medieval Latin suffragium ‘voting tablet, (cf. Sp. sufragio). Do note that ‑agium was not a suffix in Latin. The word suffragium contained a stem that happened to end in the letters ag (suffrag‑) plus the suffix ‑ĭ‑um which was used to form abstract nouns and sometimes nouns denoting offices and groups. Occasionally, the ending ‑age in an English word corresponds to the ending (not suffix) ‑agia in Latin. Thus, Eng. hemorrhage comes from Lat. haemorrhagia (cf. Sp. hemorragia), a loanword from Ancient Greek αἱμορραγία (haimorrhagía) ‘violent bleeding’.

Thus, there are English words that end in ‑age that never had a suffix ‑age that came from Lat. ‑ātĭcum. Some are words that in are related to Latin words that had the Latin suffix ‑agium or ‑agia, as we just saw. Others come from Latin words ending in ‑agin‑em, accusative form of ‑ag‑o, which was also not a real suffix. Yet other English words end up in these sounds and letters by mere chance. The most common English words that end in ‑age that did not contain the suffix ‑age in their etymology are the following:
  • adage (Sp. adagio): < Lat. ădăgĭum ‘proverb’ ?< ad ‘to’ + *ag‑ (old stem of aiĕre ‘to say’) + ‑ĭ‑um
  • average (Sp. n. promedio, media; adj. corriente): formed in English, of uncertain origin, perhaps ultimately from the French avarie or Italian avaria ‘damage to ship’, which probably comes from Arabic عَوَارِيَّة (ʿawāriyya) ‘damaged goods’ (cf. Sp. avería ‘breakdown’)
  • cabbage (Sp. repollo, col) < Mid.Eng. caboge < Old Fr. caboce, dimin. of Lat. caput ‘head’
  • cartilage (Sp. cartílago): < Lat. cartilaginem, accusative form of Lat. cartilago
  • carnage (Sp. carnicería, matanza): < Mid. Fr. carnage < Old Italian carnaggio ‘slaughter, murder’ < Lat. carnaticum ‘slaughter of animals’
  • hemorrhage (Sp. hemorragia): < (earlier) hemorrhagy < Lat. haemorrhagia (Pliny) < Gk. αἱμορραγία (haimorrhagía) ‘a violent bleeding’
  • image (Sp. imagen): < Lat. imāgĭnem, accusative of imāgō ‘an imitation, copy, image, representation, likeness’
  • mortgage (Sp. hipoteca): < O.Fr. morgage (or mort gage or gage mort) ‘dead pledge’ < post-classical Latin mortuum vadium ‘dead pledge’[1]
  • sausage [ˈsɒsɪʤ], [ˈsɔsɪʤ], or [ˈsɑsɪʤ] (Sp. salchicha): < Old Fr. saussiche < Vulgar Latin *salsīcia ‘sausage’, neuter plural of salsīcius ‘prepared by salting’ < salsus ‘salted’ < sāl ‘salt’ (acc. salem)
  • scrimmage (Sp. escaramuza, refriega): a variant of skirmish with ‘suffix substitution’ (OED)
  • suffrage (Sp. sufragio): Old Fr. sofrage ‘plea, intercession’ < Medieval Latin suffragium < Latin suffrāgium ‘right to vote, etc.’
  • vintage (cf. Sp. vendimia) ‘the year or place in which wine, especially wine of high quality, was produced’ (COED): < Anglo-Norman vindage/vendage < Old French vendange < Lat. vĭndēmia (by suffix substitution?)
Strictly speaking and from an etymological perspective, these words cannot be said to contain the suffix ‑age, since their ‑age ending does not come from Latin ‑ātĭcum or its descendants. However, nothing stops native speakers of English, who by and large do not know anything about etymology, from making a connection among all the words that end in ‑age somehow.

Some English words end in a stressed age, pronounced [ˈeɪ̯ʤ], such as engage and enrage, which never contained the suffix ‑age either. Eng. engage comes from  the Old French verb engagier ‘to pledge, etc.’, which comes from the same noun gage ‘pledge’ we saw is found in the word mortgage. The verb enrage comes from Old French enragier ‘go wild, etc.’ and it is derived from the noun rage or raige ‘rabies, rage’ that comes from Medieval Latin rabia, from Latin rabies ‘madness, rage, fury’ (cf. Sp. rabia ‘rabies; rage, fury, anger’.

The verb manage [ˈmæ.nɪʤ] does not have final stress, but it does not contain the suffix ‑age either. This verb as well as its Spanish cognate manejar ‘to handle’ both seem to come from Italian maneggiare ‘to handle’, originally used in equestrian vocabulary (first attested c. 1300 for English and c. 1600 for Spanish). (The root of this Italian verb contains the root man‑ that means ‘hand’ (cf. Sp. mano ‘hand’.) For some words ending in age, their origin is lost in time, such as the words garbage and rampage, whose origins are disputed (the noun rampage comes from the verb rampage, but the verb’s origin is uncertain).

Some English words that end in age are verbs that were derived from a noun with the suffix ‑age. One example is the word discourage, which is related to the noun courage (Eng. discourage = Sp. desanimar, desalentar, disuadir, etc.). Actually, Eng. discourage is a loanword from Old French descoragier, which is derived from the noun corage, source of Eng. courage. Analogous is the case of the noun disparage, which comes from Old French desparagier (Modern French déparager), which is derived from the French noun parage ‘rank, lineage’, which was borrowed into English too but is quite rare today, which is derived from the noun par ‘equal’, which is a cognate of Eng. pair and peer and of Sp. par. Another such verb is Eng. envisage (Sp. imaginarse, concebir; prever), which comes from French envisager, which is derived from Fr. visage ‘face’. (The noun visage has been borrowed into English, but it is quite rare.)

Below we are going to see a fairly exhaustive list of the most common English words that when created contained the suffix ‑age, either in English or in French, or which descend from a word with the suffix ‑ātĭcum in the Latin language. In that list we do not include extremely rare words, some of which may be archaic or obsolete, such as the following ones:
  • agiotage: ‘the business of dealing in foreign exchange’ (RHWU)
  • alienage: ‘The official status of an alien’ (AHD)
  • decoupage: ‘the decoration of the surface of an object with paper cut-outs’ (COED)
  • equipage: archaic ‘the equipment for a particular purpose’; historical ‘a carriage and horses with attendants’ (OAD)
  • meltage: ‘the amount melted or the result of melting’ (RHWU)
  • primage: ‘a small allowance formerly paid by a shipper to the master and crew of a vessel for the loading and care of the goods’ (RHWU)

Also not included on the long list below are fairly rare and fancy words that probably only very learned speakers would recognize, such as the following:
  • décolletage: ‘the neckline or top of a dress cut low so as to bare the neck and shoulders’ (WNWC)
  • maquillage: ‘cosmetic or theatrical makeup’ (AHD)
  • parentage: ‘someone’s parents and the country and social class they are from’ (DOCE)
  • pupilage: ‘the state or period of being a pupil’ (AHD)
  • reportage: ‘the reporting of news by the press and the broadcasting media’ (COED)
  • tillage: ‘cultivation of land’; ‘land that has been tilled’ (AHD)
  • tutorage: ‘the function or work of a tutor’ (MWC); and
  • visage: ‘literary a person's face, with reference to the form of the features’ (COED)
The following are the words that most speakers of English would recognize, though some are more common than others. The Spanish cognate is provided when there is one and its most common Spanish equivalent is given otherwise. (Where it says + ‑age in the description, it means the word was created in English out of the base word. Where the source is French, this source is given and sometimes the ultimate source of the base word is given as well.)
  • triage: Sp. selección de prioridades; < O.Fr. triage < trier ‘to pick, cull’
  • tutelage: Sp. tutela; < Lat. tūtēla ‘watching, keeping, guardianship’ + ‑age
  • acreage: Sp. superficie en acres; < acre + ‑age
  • advantage: Sp. ventaja; < O. Fr. avantage ‘advantage, profit, superiority’, < avant ‘before’
  • amperage: Sp. amperaje; < ampere +‑age
  • anchorage: Sp. anclaje (charge or fastening); < anchor + ‑age
  • appendage: Sp. apéndice, añadidura; < append + ‑age
  • arbitrage: Sp. arbitraje; < O.Fr. arbitrage ‘arbitration, judgement’ < arbitrer ‘to judge’
  • baggage: Sp. equipaje, bagaje; O. Fr. bagage ‘property packed up for carriage’ < baguer ‘to tie up, bind’
  • bandage: Sp. venda, vendaje; < Mid. Fr. bandage < O.Fr. bander ‘to bind’ < bande ‘a strip’
  • beverage: Sp. brebaje ‘potion’ (Sp. bebida) < O.Fr. bevrage < O.Fr. boivre ‘to drink’ (cf. Sp. beber)
  • blockage: Sp. obstrucción, atasco, (med) oclusión; < block + ‑age
  • breakage: Sp. rotura; < break + ‑age
  • bricolage: ~ Sp. bricolaje; < bricolage ‘do-it-yourself’ < bricoler ‘do odd jobs, repair’
  • brokerage: cf. Sp. corretaje, correduría; < broker + ‑age
  • camouflage: ~ Sp. camuflaje; < Fr. camouflage < camoufler ‘to disguise, hide’ (cf. Sp. camuflar)
  • carriage: ~ Sp. carruaje (< Cat. carruatge < O.Cat. carriatge): Old N. Fr. cariage < carier ‘to carry (in a cart, etc.)’ < Latin carrus ‘four-wheeled baggage wagon’ (cf. Sp. carro ‘cart’)
  • cleavage: Sp. escote; division; < cleave + ‑age
  • coinage: Sp. monedas (etc.): < Old Fr. coignage < coignier < Old Fr. coin < Lat. cuneus (~ Sp. cuña ‘wedge, groove’)
  • collage: ~ Sp. collage [ko.ˈlaʃ], colaje: < coller ‘to stick, glue’ < Gk. κόλλα (kólla) ‘glue’ (cf. Sp. cola ‘glue’; cf. Eng. collate)
  • cottage: Sp. casa de campo: < O.Fr. cote ‘hut’ + ‑age
  • courage: ~ Sp. coraje: < O.Fr. corage (Mod.Fr. courage) < V.Lat. *coraticum (see above)
  • coverage: Sp. cobertura: < cover + ‑age
  • damage: Sp. daño, perjuicio: < O.Fr. damage ‘loss caused by injury’ (Mod.Fr. dommage) < dam ‘dammage’ < Lat. damnum ‘loss, hurt, damage’ (cf. Sp. daño)
  • disadvantage: ~ Sp. desventaja: < O.Fr. desavantage < des‑ (=dis‑) + avantage (cf. Eng. advantage)
  • dosage ‘the amount of a medicine or drug that you should take at one time, especially regularly’ (DOCE): Sp. dosis; posología: dose + ‑age (= Fr. dosage)
  • drainage: ~ Sp. drenaje (< Eng.), desagüe; < drain + ‑age (= Fr. drainage < Eng.)
  • espionage ‘spying’: ~ Sp. espionaje: < Fr. espionnage < espionner ‘to spy’ < espion ‘spy’
  • foliage: ~ Sp. follaje: < O.Fr. feuillage (earlier fueillage, foillage ) < feuille ‘leaf’
  • (film) footage: cf. Sp. filmación, metraje; < foot + ‑age
  • (square) footage: Sp. area en pies cuadrados; < foot + ‑age
  • forage: ~ Sp. forraje; O.Fr. forrage < feurre ‘fodder, straw’ < Frankish *fōdar
  • fuselage: ~ Sp. fuselaje; < Fre. fuselage < fuselé ‘spindle-shaped’ < O.Fr. *fus ‘spindle’ (cf. Sp. huso) < Lat. fusus ‘spindle’
  • garage: ~ Sp. garaje: < Fr. garage ‘shelter’ < garer ‘to shelter’ < Frankish *waron ‘to guard’
  • heritage: Sp. herencia, patrimonio; < O.Fr. heritage < heriter ‘inherit’
  • homage: Sp. homenaje; < O.Fr. homage (Modern French hommage) < homme ‘man’ < Lat. hominem (accusative of homo; cf. Sp. hombre)
  • hostage: Sp. rehén; < O.Fr. hostage < V.Lat. *obstāticum < *obsidāticum < Lat. obses, obsidem ‘hostage’
  • language: Sp. lenguaje; < O.Fr. language ??< V.Lat. *linguāticum
  • leakage: Sp. escape, fuga; < leak + ‑age
  • leverage: Sp. acción de palanca, etc.; < lever + ‑age
  • lineage: Sp. linaje; < O.Fr. lignage ‘descent, etc.’ < ligne ‘line’ < Lat. linea ‘string, line’
  • linkage: Sp. conexión, enlace, etc.; < link + ‑age
  • luggage: Sp. equipaje; < lug + ‑age
  • marriage (= Sp. matrimonio, etc.): ~ Sp. maridaje ‘close cooperation; obsolete married life’; < O.Fr. mariage ‘marriage; dowry’ < V Lat. *maritaticum
  • massage: Sp. masaje; < French massage ‘friction of kneading’ < masser ‘to massage’
  • ménage ‘a group of people living together in the same house ‘ (CALD): Sp. cohabitantes, convivientes, etc.; cf. Sp. menaje (false friend): < French ménage ‘couple, household’ < O.Fr. manage ‘household, family dwelling’ < V.Lat. *mansionaticum ‘household’, from Lat. mansĭōnem (nominative: mansĭo) ‘a staying, remaining, stay, continuance’ and, derived from it, ‘a place of abode, a dwelling, habitation’, from the stem māns‑ of the passive participle mānsum of the verb manēre ‘to stay, remain; spend the night; etc’; cf. Eng. mansion ~ Sp. mansion; Sp. (artículos de) menaje ‘household goods’, in particular menaje de cocina ‘kitchenware’; (in a department store) sección de menaje del hogar ‘household department’; In English, the French phrase ménage à trois ‘threesome sexual relationship’ (lit. ‘household of three’) has become quite well known
  • message: Sp. mensaje; < O.Fr. message ‘message, communication, news’ < Med. Lat. missaticum < Lat. missus, p.p. of mittĕre ‘to send’
  • mileage: Sp. kilómetros, kilometraje; < mile + ‑age
  • mirage [məˈɹɑʒ]: Sp. espejismo; < Fr. mirer ‘to be reflected’
  • miscarriage: Sp. aborto (espontáneo): < miscarry + ‑age
  • montage [ˌmɒn.ˈtɑʒ]: Sp. montaje: <  Fr. montage ‘assembling; ascending’ < O.Fr. monter ‘to go up, mount; to assemble’
  • orphanage: Sp. orfanato; < orphan + ‑age
  • outage: Sp. apagón, corte de luz; < out + ‑age
  • outrage [ˈaʊ̯t.ˌɹ̯ʤ] (pronunciation influenced by unrelated rage): Sp. ultraje; < O.Fr. ultrage, oltrage, outrage ‘transgression (in word or deed)’ < ultre, outre ‘beyond’
  • package: Sp. paquete; < (v.) pack + ‑age
  • passage: Sp. pasaje; < O.Fr. passage ‘way through; mountain pass; action of passing; part of a text; ferry-toll; crossing, ford, ferry, expedition overseas; etc.’ < post-classical Latin passaticum (and passa(t)gium) < passāre ‘to pass’ / < passus ‘pace’
  • patronage: Sp. patrocinio, etc.; < Middle French patronage ‘patron’s protection of a client’ < patron ‘patron, protector’+ ‑age (cf. post-classical Latin patronagium; cf. Sp. patronazgo)
  • percentage: Sp. porcentaje: < per cent + ‑age
  • pilgrimage: Sp. peregrinaje: < O.Fr. pelerinage < pelerin ‘pilgrim’ + ‑age (cf. Sp. peregrino)
  • pillage: Sp. pillaje, saqueo: Mid.Fr. pillage ‘booty; action of sacking’ < piller ‘to manhandle, seize by violence, etc.’ + ‑age < V.Lat. piliare ‘to plunder, etc.’, probably from compīlāre or (less common pīlāre) ‘to plunder, pillage, rob’, from pĭlus ‘hair’ (cf. It. pigliare, Sp. pillar; cf. post-classical Lat. pilagium ‘robbery, plundering’)
  • plumage: Sp. plumaje: < O.Fr. plumage < plume ‘feather’ + ‑age
  • postage: Sp. franqueo: < (n.) post + ‑age
  • ravage: Sp. saqueo, estragos, etc.: < Fr. ravage ‘damage caused by violent action’ < ravir ‘to abduct [a person]; to steal [goods]’ (< Lat. răpĕre ‘snatch, grab, carry off, abduct’)
  • roughage: Sp. fibra: < (adj.) rough + ‑age
  • rummage: Sp. búsqueda desordenada, etc.: < Middle French arrumage ‘arranging or rearranging of cargo in the hold of a ship’ < arrumer < Middle Dutch rūmen, ruymen (cf. post-classical Latin roumagium); more common is the derived verb to rummage (Sp. revolver buscando, hurgar, rebuscar, buscar desordenadamente)
  • sabotage: Sp. sabotaje: < Fr. saboter ‘to make a noise with sabots, walk noisily; to bungle something’ < sabot ‘wooden shoe’
  • sewage: Sp. aguas residuales/negras; < sew(er) + ‑age (actually, there was much earlier a verb sew in English that meant ‘to drain, draw off water’, now dialectal, but this verb was apparently not in use when the word sewage was concocted
  • sewerage (‘the provision of drainage by sewers’, COED): Sp. alcantarillado, cloacas; < sewer + ‑age (in the US sewerage has been used as a synonym of sewage too)
  • shortage: Sp. falta, escasez, carestía, insuficiencia; < short + ‑age
  • shrinkage: Sp. encogimiento; < shrink + ‑age
  • slippage: Sp. caída, corrimiento, etc.; < slip + ‑age
  • spillage: Sp. derrame; < spill + ‑age
  • spoilage: Sp. estropeo; consentimiento; etc.; < spoil + ‑age
  • stage: Sp. etapa, fase; escenario, escena, tablado; etc.; < Old Fr. estage < V.Lat. staticum < stare ‘to stand’ (cf. Sp. estar)
  • stoppage: Sp. paro, suspensión, huelga, etc.; < stop + ‑age
  • storage: Sp. almacenaje, almacenamiento; almacén, depósito; < (v.) store + ‑age
  • tonnage (‘the size or carrying capacity of a ship measured in tons’, 1 ton = 2,000 pounds or 0.907 metric tons, COED): Sp. tonelaje (< tonelada ‘metric ton’; < ton + ‑age
  • umbrage (‘resentment, offense, annoyance’, obs. ‘shade, shadow’, cf. umbrella): Sp. resentimiento; < O.Fr. ombrage, umbrage ‘shade, shadow’ < Lat. umbraticum < umbra ‘shade, shadow’ (cf. Sp. sombra)
  • undercarriage: Sp. chasis; tren de aterrizaje; < under + carriage (see above)
  • usage: Sp. uso; costumbre, usanza; < O.Fr. usage ‘custom, tradition, use, employment (of something), conduct, manner; etc.’ (OED) < Lat. usus ‘use, custom, habit, skill’ < p.p. of ūtī ‘to use’
  • vantage: Sp. punto de vista; < O.Fr. avantage (cf. advantage above)
  • vassalage: Sp. vasallaje; < O.Fr. vassal(l)age < vassal (Sp. vasallo; Celtic word, earlier vassus) (cf. medieval Latin vassallagium)
  • verbiage: Sp. verbosidad, palabrería, verborrea; < Fr. verbiage (1671) < verbier ‘to sing-song’ (obs.)
  • village: Sp. pueblo, aldea; < O.Fr. vilage ‘group of houses and other buildings (usually smaller than a town)’ < Latin vīllāticum ‘farmstead’ < villa ‘country house’
  • ·      voltage: Sp. voltaje, tensión; < volt + ‑age
  • voyage: Sp. viaje; < O.Fr. voiage ‘travel, journey, etc.’ < Late Lat. viaticum ‘a journey’ < Lat. viaticum ‘provisions or money for a journey’ (cf. §18.5 below)
  • wreckage: Sp. restos del naufragio/accidente; < wreck + ‑age
  • yardage: Sp. medida en yardas; < yard + ‑age



[1] The Old French expression mortgage was translated into Medieval Latin as mortuum vadium and mor(t)gagium. The term is attested in Old French in the 13th century and in English in the 14th. The gage ‘pledge’ part comes from Frankish and is cognate with Eng. wage, a word borrowed into English from a different dialect of Old French. In medieval times, a mortgage was a loan that ended (‘died’) when it was repaid or the mortgagor’s land repossessed. The AHD still gives as the first definition of mortgage something very similar to that: ‘A temporary, conditional pledge of property to a creditor as security for performance of an obligation or repayment of a debt’. Most other dictionaries give a definition of this word much more in accordance with how a normal person understands the term: ‘a legal arrangement by which you borrow money from a bank or similar organization in order to buy a house, and pay back the money over a period of years’ (DOCE). English also developed a verb to mortgage in the late 15th century out of the noun. The verb’s main meaning is ‘to give someone a legal claim on (property that you own) in exchange for money that you will pay back over a period of years’ (MWALD). The verb is also used figuratively with the meaning ‘expose to future risk or constraint for the sake of immediate advantage’ (OAD).


By the way, the word mortgage does not exist in Modern French. The meaning ‘mortgage’ is expressed as prêt (immobilier), lit. ‘real estate loan’ (Sp. préstamo inmobiliario), prêt hypothécaire (Sp. préstamo hipotecario), emprunt logement, lit. ‘housing borrowing’, or hypothèque. This latter term is the most common Spanish equivalent, hipoteca. The term comes from Latin hypotheca ‘a pledge, security, mortgage’, from Ancient Greek ποθήκη (hupothḗkē) ‘warning; pledge, mortgage’, derived from the verb ποτιθέναι(hupotithenai) that meant ‘to give as a pledge’ (and ‘to suppose, speculate’; literally ‘to put under’, from πό ‘down’ + τιθέναι ‘to put, place’), which is also the source of the cognate nouns Eng. hypothesis ~ Sp. hipótesis. English has also borrowed the word hypothec, which is used in civil law and in Scots law. It was borrowed from French in the early 16th century. French borrowed the term in the 13th century from Latin.

Greek letters in the names of fraternities and honor societies

[This entry is an excerpt from Chapter 52, "The names of fraternities and honor societies", of Part II of the open-source textbook...