E is for energy (until you reach the euphemistic ‘evening of life’)

English: Uppercase and lowercase Greek letter ...

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:


Exuberance (Photo credit: simonov)

And human beings can do it too, especially when they are wearing bikinis:


Exuberance (Photo credit: RobW_)

So, 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. 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.

Foot Bath

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 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 are travelling and you feel like your hotel room or the trinket you want at the market is overpriced.

A ground beetle

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! In the meantime you can find A-D under the Quirky Vocabulary tab near the top of the page.


4 thoughts on “E is for energy (until you reach the euphemistic ‘evening of life’)

  1. 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.

    • 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

      • 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:


        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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