Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Word Mystery: fear / miedo / peur

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Every Wednesday, I explore the linguistic origins of the same word in different languages.

This video is one of the most charming I’ve seen in a long while. An ad for Vodaphone, it is the (purportedly) true story of two elderly women, An and Ria, who’ve never been on an airplane, flying to Barcelona.

An (the less gregarious one) begins the video with a palpable fear of flying which reminded me that “fear” is a Word Mystery. Fasten your seat belts, there may be turbulence ahead.

EN → fear — an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. ORIGIN Old English fǣr [calamity, danger].

ES → miedo — perturbación angustiosa del ánimo por un riesgo o daño real o imaginario. [Disruptive anxious mood caused by a real or imagined danger.] ORIGIN Latin metus [dread, awe].

FR → peur — sentiment d’angoisse éprouvé en présence ou à la pensée d’un danger, réel ou supposé, d’une menace. [Feeling of anxiety experienced in the presence or thought of danger, real or imagined; a menace.] ORIGIN Latin pavor [fear, panic].

Today’s winner is English because it’s not Latin and, as always with Old English, I imagine Richard Burton saying the word and it sounds super cool in my head.

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

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