Word of the day – garganta

garganta, noun = throat, gullet, neck, instep, singing voice, gorge, ravine, narrow pass, shaft

Examples of usage
mojar la garganta = to wet one’s whistle (to have a drink)
le tengo atravesado en la garganta = he sticks in my gullet
tener el agua a la garanta = to be in great danger (lit. “to have water in the throat”)

Related words
gargantear, verb = to warble, quaver, trill
garganteo, noun = warble, quaver, trill

This is a word with an interesting range of meanings. You can see how it’s meaning has been metaphorically extended. This is a very common way for words to acquire new meanings. Over time, the orginal metaphorical meanings are forgetten and the words become dead metaphors.

In The Unfolding of Language, Guy Deutscher claims that metaphor is main way we use to describe abstract concepts. Even such every day words as have, in, behind and front were once metaphors. In many cases, the meanings of words for parts of the body are extended to embrace abstractions. Front, for example, originally meant ‘brow’ or ‘forehead’.

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This entry was posted in Language, Spanish, Words and phrases.

4 Responses to Word of the day – garganta

  1. That’s interesting that “front” used to mean “forehead”, as in Spanish “frente” can mean “front” (masculine gender) or “forehead” (feminine gender). An interesting way to use gender in language is giving words double duty!

  2. TJ says:

    German has plenty of that too! :)
    Die See / Der See (lake/sea)

    and many others but can’t remember now ! :)

  3. Rudy Carrera says:

    garanta = garganta = throat.

  4. Rudy Carrera says:

    Oops, I didn’t read that you knew. I adore this blog, btw. Omniglot has me hooked now!