Archive for the Category: Spanish


Nadolig Llawen Joyeux Noël 聖誕快樂 Nollaig shona doibh ¡Feliz Navidad! Nollick Ghennal Bo Nadal Nollaig chridheil メリークリスマス Buon Natale Frohe Weihnachten Bon Nadal Veselé vánoce and Merry Christmas!

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Leste adj. [lɛst(ə)] – nimble, agile, sprightly, light; risqué (joke); offhand (remark). This is a word I discovered last night while browsing a French dictionary. It is thought to come from an old Germanic word liste. A related adverb is lestement, which means nimbly, agilely, in a sprightly manner, lightly or offhandedly. It’s related to […]

Also posted in English, French, German, Language, Portuguese, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Russian mountains

Yesterday evening I discovered that the French term for roller coaster is les montagnes russes or Russian mountains. This got me wondering what roller coasters have to do with Russian mountains, and I’ve found that from the 17th Century the Russian were constructing “Russian Mountains” – series of hills and slides of ice reinforced with […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Language, Portuguese, Russian, Words and phrases 21 Comments

3 Unique Ways to Learn Spanish

Today we have a guest post from Ian at Fluently Spanish: If you’re like most people who want to learn Spanish, you are sick of the boring methods used by old-fashioned school and college lecturers. All that hope, promise and excitement of learning Spanish can only last so long if you are stuck reading books […]

Also posted in Language, Language learning 17 Comments

Winter climber

The word zimolez, which is honeysuckle in Czech, came up the other day during a conversation with a Czech friend. It comes from zima (winter) and lézt (to climb, crawl, creep), so could be translated as “winter climber”. Other interesting words that came up include plšík (doormouse), smršť (tornado) brblat (to grizzle, beef, grouch, mutter) […]

Also posted in Czech, English, Etymology, French, German, Inuktitut, Irish, Language, Latin, Words and phrases 17 Comments

nu-i asa?

A correspondent would like to know the Romanian equivalent of the tag questions like n’est-ce pas? (French), non e vero? (Italian), ¿verdad? (Spanish), ne pravda? (Czech). I found nu-i asa? via Google translate, and this brings up over 3 million results in Google, so might just be correct. Do other languages use similar tags?

Also posted in French, Italian, Language, Romanian, Words and phrases 39 Comments


galapagar, (noun, m) – sitio donde abundan los galápagos (a place abounding in tortoises). I heard of this word today and it particularly appealed to me for its very specific meaning. It seems to be rare and doesn’t appear in any of my Spanish dictionaries, though it does appear in the Diccionario de la Lengua […]

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épouvantail (nf) objet, mannequin disposé dans les champs, dans les arbres, pour effrayer les oiseaux et les faire fuir (scarecrow) familièrement personne présentant un aspect extérieur repoussant (bogey, bugbear) quelqu’un ou quelque chose qui effraie sans raison (fright) [source] For some reason we were talking about scarecrows or épouvantails at the French conversation group last […]

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Listening to Raidió na Gaeltachta today I heard the word babysiteáil, in a sentence something like “Tá sé ag Babysiteáil dúinne.” (He babysits for us). This caught my attention because I don’t seem to hear as many English words made into verbs like this in Irish as I do in Welsh. The Welsh equivalent is […]

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William Caxton introduced printing into England, and also translated a number of literary works from French, Latin and Dutch. Within his translations he used words he picked up while learning and practising his trade in Germany and Belgium, including spincop, from the Dutch spinnekop (spider), and okselle, from the Dutch oksel (armpit). The English word […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, Etymology, French, German, Italian, Language, Latin, Welsh, Words and phrases 9 Comments