09 March 2010

Wives and Snakes.

So I was in Mexico recently, and I was telling the awful story of the PoPo on Mardi Gras day, and came across the word I had to use for handcuffs.  ESPOSAS.  Do you know what that means?!  Wives.  Handcuffs, in Spanish, are literally WIVES.
This doesn't happen in any other languages that I know of.

Was this just slang that gained popularity or what?!  No, no.  There are two explanations of this that deviate from the same root.

We can agree on:
SPONSUS is the Latin meaning pledged, as in a business contract or agreement--or later, as in marriage.  Hence the word spouse in English and epouser (v to marry) in French, along with esposo and esposa (husband and wife, respectively) in Spanish.

So it can be said that from there, the word evolved into meaning wife, and also, separately, into meaning handcuffs--as in something binding--like that contract.

However, some believe that because in ancient marriage rituals, wives would cross their hands in the same position prisoners would get handcuffed in, or because husbands and wives would, in some traditions, symbollically have their hands tied together during the ceremony, this was a more literal evolution into actual handcuffs being called ESPOSAS.
Either way, I'm sure some feminist group out there is pissed about this.

 I also happened upon some Venezuelan Spanish slang.  (This is kind of akin to our BITCH in English):
CUAIMA is a slang term for a woman who, according to my googling, is "trained since childhood to screw men over and to be suspicious, jealous, possessive, manipulative, dominating, controlling, fear-inducing."
Cuaima is actually a kind of very poisonous snake.

Your wife.  That's right.

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