My research: English cognates of dar, llevar, tener, traer

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Senior Member
Minnesota, U.S.A. - English
First, let me say that I am very happy about this form having been created. Etymology and historical linguistics are two (or one?) of the many things that really fascinate me and WR seems like a great place to discuss them. I actually thought about having such a group before it was made.

Now, into the thread: as a native English speaker learning Spanish, I have benefited greatly from cognates between the two languages. Fascinated with etymology, I'm always interested to see the origin of various Spanish words, especially non-Latinate ones, and RAE's dictionary has been a great help in doing this. Interestingly, it seems like almost every Spanish word except for the ones I just mentioned (those with Arab and Basque origins) has an English relative, or just as often, several cognate words in English. The "difficult" verbs in Spanish, often some of the most common, are especially interesting. Here are some of particular interest with their English cognates:

llevar - a Spanish word with several meanings - "to carry", "to wear", and numerous figurative senses. From the Latin word levare (also the root of levantar).

English cognates via Latin: elevate, lever, leaven, levitate, relieve

English words with the same Proto-Indo-European source (*le(n)gwh): light, liver


tener - Spanish for possession as well as "hold", from Latin tenere. Related to the tain in numerous English words, usually followed by a Latin prefix: attain, contain, detain, entertain, mantain, obtain, pertain, retain, sustain.

Tener also shares the same putative ancestral root, PIE *ten-, as the English "thin".


traer - a Spanish verb that's always confused me. The easiest one-word translation is "to bring", though figurative uses can be confusing. The verb's root, trahere (to pull), appears as tract in numerous English words in the same fashion as tener: attract, contract, detract, retract, subtract. Also tract, tractor, treat, retreat.

Traer is distantly related to the Anglo-Saxon English word drag.
  • Sorry, I left that one out.

    DAR - comes from Latin infinitive dare, dere when combined with a preposition. Some of the more obvious cognates have date in them: date, datum, mandate

    There are several very un-obvious cognates:

    add (ad + dere)
    betray (be + tradere)
    edition (ex + dere)
    perdition (per + dere)
    tradition (trans + dare)

    Possibly "die", too. See this site.

    First of all, welcome to this forum.

    Secondly, I am afraid I have to close this thread because there is no clear indication of what exactly you are asking for. Right now, I only see an enumeration of Spanish words with English cognates.

    If you want more (English?) cognates of the verbs mentioned, then I have to ask you to create new threads for each word (or verb) separately and phrase your query in a clearer way.


    Moderator EHL
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