merengue

Americans who were teenagers in the early 1960s probably remember a dance called the mashed potato. If English could give a dance that strange name, then Spanish had as much right to call one the merengue. Spanish merengue originally meant (and still does) the same as English meringue, namely ‘a dessert made from whipped egg whites and sugar.’ Spanish and English independently took the name for the dessert from French méringue, a word of uncertain origin, though there has been no lack of hypotheses among linguists investigating French etymology. As for merengue the dance, perhaps its movements were seen as resembling those involved in the beating of egg whites; after all, people have perceived weirder resemblances between one thing and another than that (just take a look at constellations and the names different cultures have given them).

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

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
%d bloggers like this: