In English, many of the words beginning with E seem to be endowed with energy of some sort or another. There’s exuberance, excitement, exclamation, exultation, enticing, exhilaration, euphoria, explosive, electrifying, enchanting, ejaculation, ecstasy, edification, enthralling, enthusiastic, embellishment, elopement, elation … etcetera etcetera etcetera. Let’s see if my plug-in that looks for pictures I can use without infringing anyone’s copyright will find examples of exuberance for me…
Oh, look, here is a dog being exuberant:
And human beings can do it too, especially when they are wearing bikinis:
So, what sort of moods do E words conjure up in my Five Romance languages? Let’s have a look.
FRENCH: s’essoufler. This is a word I can relate too, at least in its reflexive form. It means to get breathless, run out of steam, go stale. I should use this word more often! Every morning at 8.10am when I have to climb up stairs cut into a steep hill to make my way to the railway station, to be precise. When I get to the top of the hill I shall say 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. Which is not the sort of thing I do on staircases. Or even on flat ground, for that matter. Of course, the words souffler, soufflé etc are somewhat related in a blowy, breathy kind of way, but I won’t go into them in any detail because they begin with S and already I am running out of steam with this theme. Time to move on to Portuguese.
PORTUGUESE: escalda-pés. My big Portuguese dictionary defines this as “quite a hot foot bath“. I am impressed that the Portuguese have these luxuries. Hot baths purely for the pés (feet)! That’s what I need after climbing all those friggin’ stairs to get to the railway station every day. If your brain has not run out of steam you will no doubt think that the English word scald must be related, and yes, escaldar means to scald or burn. I can’t sleep or relax when my feet are cold. Imagine having an escalda-pés (it takes the same form in the singular and plural) in the house in winter. What bliss that would be – so much easier than using the microwave! (Foot in bath photo credit goes to someone by the name of Killjoy Divine, I kid you not.)
ROMANIAN: a escroca means to cheat or rip off, un 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 con. These are good words to have when you are travelling and you feel like your hotel room or the trinket you want at the market is overpriced.
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, a bug like the one in the picture courtesy of Wikipedia 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?
OMG! In the next instalment in this series I’m going to have to tackle the F words!