Bouncing back and standing out

Within a few days of each post here, a new one appears. You might say that this blog (or better yet its author) is resilient, a word that jumps back to the root of the salir/sally that the last post pointed out developed from Latin salire, which had the senses ‘to leap, spring, bound, hop, jump.’ The Romans created a compound of salire by adding the prefix re- ‘back, again,’ and the result, with a characteristic change of vowel in many compound Latin verbs, was resilire ‘to leap back, to spring back.’ From the stem of the Latin present participle, resilient-, came English resilient. In contrast, Spanish has not been resilient this time, and no adjective *resiliente exists; one online dictionary translates the English word into Spanish as ‘resistente’ and ‘elástico.’ Nevertheless, Spanish does use the verb resalir in architecture, where it means, according to the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, ‘En los edificios y otras cosas, sobresalir en parte de otro.’ Notice that that definition uses another compound of salir, sobresalir ‘to stand out.’

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shoreacres
    Sep 15, 2012 @ 07:09:29

    This is interesting. From the outside, it doesn’t seem to me that either ‘resistente’ or ‘elástico’ carries the same meaning as resilient. Instead, resilient seems to include being stretched and then returning to the original form – implying both resistance and elasticity.

    In any event, it’s surely a reminder that language is elastic!


    • Steve Schwartzman
      Sep 15, 2012 @ 08:59:53

      Language is indeed elastic. So is science, but in physics the word elastic has a sense different from the common one. For example, the headline at

      asks: “Why is Steel More Elastic Than Rubber According to Physics[?]”

      The article concludes: “The fundamental difference between the definition in physics and definition in common life should always be kept in mind when one speaks of elasticity. Else one is likely to leave his listeners/readers totally confused. Please remember, the more a body can be stretched or deformed without breaking it, the more elastic it is called in common language. Coming to physics, the less a body can be stretched or deformed without breaking it, the more elastic it is considered in physics.”


  2. shoreacres
    Sep 15, 2012 @ 20:49:29

    My brain feels properly stretched. Now, all I have to do is decide whether it’s more or less elastic than steel. Very interesting!


  3. Steve Schwartzman
    Sep 16, 2012 @ 18:10:16



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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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