Etymology of Verbs: PENSAR

The study of the history of words is called etymology, and it is an useful tool for memorizing words, and discovering new related words. In this article, we are going to talk about one of the main Spanish verbs: pensar (to think). You can learn the full conjugation of verb pensar here.

The word PENSAR comes from the Latin word PENSARE (meaning to weigh or to consider), which in turn comes from PENDERE meaning to hang – its original use was to describe the act of finding the balance between two objects – in reference to their weight. Later on, this word started to be used for describing the ‘agreement’, the ‘balanced point’ between decisions. We still use a similar term when we talk about ‘weighing up our options’. From here it eventually came to mean to think. In English, we still have the word pensive, meaning ‘thoughtful’, that kept its Latin roots.

By the addition of some prefixes and suffixes to the Latin word, the language evolution created some of the words that we use today in Spanish.

    • Pensador (adding suffixe -dor, ‘who does the action’): Thinker
    • Pensativo (adding suffixe -ivo, ‘reaction caused by doing the action’): Thoughtful
    • Pensamiento (adding suffixe -miento, ‘result’): Thought
    • Pensable (adding suffixe -ble, ‘possibility of being done by the action’): Thinkable
    • Dispensar (adding prefix dis-, ‘in different directions’): To dispense (originally meaning to distribute by weight)
    • Compensar (adding prefix com-, ‘together’): To compensate (from the original meaning, to weigh, counterbalance).
    • Recompensar (adding prefix re- to already “compensar”, ‘turn back to origin’): To reward

*There are hundreds of words that can join the PENSARE evolution tree. This article is only collecting some of the most used.