Reading Amado Nervo’s story “La yaqui hermosa” a while back, I encountered this sentence:
“Con antelación, a manos de los yaquis habían perecido Diego Hurtado de Mendoza y sus compañeros, quienes desembarcaron osadamente en la costa de Sonora.”
The word antelación was new to me, so I looked it up in the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española: ‘Anticipación con que, en orden al tiempo, sucede algo respecto a otra cosa.’ Hmmm. Looking further, at Span¡shD!ict I found the phrase con antelación translated as ‘in advance; beforehand,’ and the stronger con mucha antelación as ‘long in advance; long beforehand.’
Joan Corominas reports that antelación is first attested in 1607, when it was borrowed with little change from antelation-, the stem of the Late Latin noun antelatio that meant ‘the action of putting something before [something else].’ The second part of that Latin compound was based on Latin latus ‘carried, brought,’ while the first part is obviously ante– ‘before.’ That’s the same ante- that appeared in the anticipación of the DRAE definition, and whose second element is from Latin capere ‘to take, seize.’ So Latin anticipare was ‘to take before,’ and Spanish anticipación means literally ‘a taking before.’ That makes the Spanish phrase con anticipación a synonym of con antelación.
But perhaps you anticipated me and were about to point out that English anticipation has acquired psychological and emotional connotations: it now means ‘a looking forward to, an expectation,’ which Spanish anticipación can also mean.
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman