E is for ecstasy

by Bernard O'Shea

In English, many of the words beginning with E seem to be endowed with ecstatic energy of some sort or another: exuberance, excitement, exclamation, exultation, enticing, exhilaration, euphoria, explosive, electrifying, enchanting, ejaculation,  edification, enthralling, enthusiastic, embellishment, elopement, elation … etcetera.

What sort of moods do E words conjure up in My Five Romance languages? Let’s have a look.

FRENCH:  s’essouflerThis is a word I can relate too, at least in its reflexive form. It means to get breathless, run out of steam, go stale. Je suis essoufflé = I am out of breath. The transitive form, essouffler, means to leave someone breathless or something similar figuratively… for example, essouffler ses concurrents means to leave one’s competitors behind. Of course, the words souffler, soufflé etc are related in a blowy, breathy kind of way.

PORTUGUESE: escalda-pés. My big Portuguese dictionary defines this as “quite a hot foot bath“. I’m impressed that the Portuguese have these luxuries:  escalda-pés or hot baths (it takes the same form in the singular and plural) purely for the pés (feet). The English word scald is obviously related to escaldar, meaning to scald or burn

ROMANIAN: a escroca means to cheat or rip offun escroc means a cheat or a fraudster, and o escrocărie means a sham. Or you could use o escrocherie, which also means a scam or, more informally, a conThese are good words to have when you want to do some serious haggling over the price of something.

SPANISH: empicarse means to get the bug, in other words, to be hooked on something. Usually followed by por (for). To get hooked on something is engancharse. (By the way, an insect-like bug  is a bicho).

ITALIAN: elucubrazione are ponderings or cogitations, which in a way sums up the content of many blogs. From the verb elucubrare, to ponder. It sounds more ponderous in Italian, don’t you think?

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raveca December 22, 2013 - 10:29 am

You need no worry about the F words in Romanian – we have some beautiful ones, too (frumusete, fericire). (We also have the F words, if you really want to let people know how many languages literally use words starting with F 🙂 )
And a little correction, if I may: “sham” in Romanian is “escrocherie”. It comes from the French “escroquerie” (as does the verb “a escroca”).
I hope I’m not making too many corrections and confusing you even more.
Cheers,
Raveca

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Bernard O'Shea December 23, 2013 - 8:17 pm

Hi again, I hope you are bine. I shall look up those nice F words you mentioned but won’t go near the F word itself, which from memory is also used in Portuguese and Spanish. They never taught it in my French lessons at school! I have just revisted my Romanian dictionary and found the word escrocherie there, as you said, but it also listed escrocarie (with an accent on the a). Maybe that is less commonly used? The dictionary I have which I bought in Sibius is the Linghea “Dictionarul tau istet” englez-roman, roman-englez, which seemed to be the best pocket dictionary I could find. I couldn’t buy a really big one unfortunately because of my luggage allowance.

I love your corrections, please keep them coming (although I hope not to make mistakes). I wish you a Craciun fericit si un an nou mai bun! In the new year when I get back from my holidays I am going to try some of your salad and vegetable recipes. The origami, I’m afraid, is not for me. Even when I do my best to wrap a Christmas present it still ends up looking like a scrunched up piece of paper. I am hopeless with my hands. Cheers

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raveca December 24, 2013 - 10:52 am

The word “escrocărie” might sometimes be used, but “escrocherie” is far more frequent. The dictionary that I check for accuracy is the one considered the most complete Romanian dictionary, DEX (Dictionar explicativ al limbii române), which you can use for free online:

http://dexonline.ro/

And the DEX does not list “escrocărie”. If you type it, it says the word does not exist, instead try “escrocherie”.
Anyway, these are language subtleties that not many people notice :), so don’t worry, you’d make yourself understood anyway.
Crăciun fericit si ţie!

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Bernard O'Shea December 24, 2013 - 10:59 am

Hi again, thanks for that link, that’s great. All the best for the holiday season. Cheers!

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