The previous post mentioned that the original sense of Latin forum, the predecessor of Spanish foro, was ‘what is out of doors, an outside space or place.’ Could there be a connection to Spanish fuera, which also means ‘outside’? There could be and there is. Closely related to Latin forum was the adverb foras, which meant ‘out through the doors, out of doors, outside.’ That became Old Spanish fueras, whose final sound has been lost in modern fuera. There is a final -s in las afueras ‘the surroundings, the outskirts,’ but that is the normal plural -s, even though there is no singular noun *la afuera. There is also the adverb afuera, which is a transparent combination of a and fuera. Spanish uses fuera and afuera as interjections with the sense ‘get out of the way, clear the way’ and also, with a shift in direction in English, ‘down with,’ as in ¡Fuera el dictador!

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman


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  1. Trackback: A doorway to English « Spanish-English Word Connections

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©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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