Rebeca and Camilla – two girls’ names, you’d think… Nope, rebeca means cardigan in Spanish and camilla is a stretcher / gurney (bår).
Do you know that you can subscribe to Spanish word of the day? Actually, English word of the day for that matter too. It’s great, you get an email every day with a new Spanish / English word with meanings, examples etc. And today, rebeca is the word! Apparently it comes from Daphne Du Maurier’s famous book, Rebecca, whose young heroine was particularly fond of wearing a cardigan.
Camilla* was also a new word for me, but I learnt it yesterday from having Spanish subtitles on Grey’s Anatomy! We usually watch dvds with the English subtitles, call us lazy if you want. Anyway, as O was complaining that they were using too much medical lingo, I changed to Spanish subtitles. Of course it didn’t make any difference as the Spanish use the same medical terms… in Latin ;-)
When looking up the word camilla in my favourite on-line dictionary, wordreference.com, I learnt that it can also refer to a Spanish round table with space for a heater underneath. And what do you know, I actually have a photo of one!
Not the safest way of heating; you would fill the plate underneath the table with burning coals and then cover the whole thing with a table cloth. O has told me that lots of accidents happened in the old days as the table cloth or people’s trousers / skirts would catch fire…
Which other names are used as nouns?
I can only think of Ulrik, which was used as slang for vomit when I was in high school (both noun and verb)! Maybe that was just something local for Skåne though!? It used to be a disclaimer on the posters for the high school parties that took place in clubs in small villages in the countryside and for which transport had to be organised for the students. “Ulrik in the bus, 500 SEK”** – what you would have to pay for the cleaning up if you fell sick in the bus.
And in Danish, the name Alfons is slang for a pimp! Somehow I prefer Rebeca and Camilla, than Ulrik and Alfons…
*) The girl’s name is written with one l in Spanish – Camila!
**) At the start of high school, my friends and I didn’t understand why poor Ulrik would have to pay more than everybody else!😉