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’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. 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 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 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?