Spanish esquí and esquizofrenia begin the same way that esquivo does, yet because esquivo means ‘shy, evasive, unsociable,’ and by extension even ‘scornful,’ there’s no reason to assume any relationship to the other two words. “But wait,” you say, “we had no reason to think there’s a connection between esquí and esquizofrenia, and yesterday you showed us that there is one.” But this time the truth is on the side of “No todo lo que brilla es oro / Not all that glitters is gold.” Spanish esquivo traces back to a Germanic word akin to Old English sceoh (pronounced with a hard c), the ancestor of  modern English shy. From the Germanic adjective that produced Spanish esquivo, Vulgar Latin created the verb scivare, which was become Spanish esquivar ‘to avoid, shun, dodge.’ The Anglo-Norman equivalent eschiver has evolved to English eschew, which conveniently sounds like the sneeze that people might indeed do their best to avoid.

©2010 Steven Schwartzman


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If you encounter an unfamiliar technical term in any of these postings, check the Glossary in the bar across the top of the page.
©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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