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Legal said and done in Spain
04 October 2013 @ 02:12

         In Spain there are widely used legal expressions. For example, one very popular expression is: “Pagar justos por pecadores” (Paying for the sins). Another expression is: “Es major un mal acuerdo que un buen pleito” (A bad deal is better than a good lawsuit).

      But a very old and very good expression was said by the Spanish writer, Francico de Quevedo, who said: “Where there is no justice, it is dangerous to be right”.

      The most of the expressions have born in historic acts. For example, when we say: “Cargarle el muerto a otro” (carried the dead to other people), it means that, In the Middle Ages, when it appeared the corpse of someone who was very common, especially for diseases, the city of the people were bound by a sanction called "Omicision" to pay, among its inhabitants, the cost of burying the dead then to avoid this, many residents left the dead in other towns at night, to avoid pay. So, they  "carried the dead to other people".

      Another old expression is: “A buenas horas, mangas verdes”, that means that in 1576, Isabel The Catholic created a body named “La Santa Hermandad”, that was similar than the Guardia Civil today. Police body, similar to the Civil Guard today. They were dressed in a green blouse. At first they began to work very well, because even helped conquer Granada. But over time, the "gangs" are bad people drifted and finally, the term "gang" - because they were 4 by 4 - finished having a pejorative connotation, people said: "Uah petite gang ........!”;   when a crime was produced, were always the last to arrive and as his uniform wearing a green sleeves Blouson, people started said: "In good times, green sleeves .....".      But when Green Sleeves were late and getting detain someone, taking him to the dungeons;  prison is a very modern concept: it dates from the eighteenth century until now, but before he had dungeons, etc beneath castles and that time it was common for people to hold him chained to the wall with iron stocks, called "brete" and that meant that the prisoner was "in a brete," which means "Get into a quagmire of you can hardly get out”.From that comes the expression "Poner en un brete" (To put someone in a brete).

      The expression “Estar en Banca rota” (To be in Bankruptcy) comes from Italy, because, In the Renaissance, Florence lenders and other cities, especially in Lombardy, northern Italy, were doing business putting on standing on a wooden bench  -- that is why they are called "Bankers", because they placed above a wooden bench  -- they were placed on a wooden bench in the streets, to make transactions: they shooted to people, announcing to giving loans, deposits, trading with precious metals, coin changers, and when business has been bad, the city authorities were breaking the wooden benches, literally, that meant that the lender for its clients had had liquidity problems and, as they were breaking the wooden bench, the situation was called "bankruptcy ".

      Another famous expression is: “Borron y cuenta nueva” (nothing from the past matters, a new life starts now!) Note: I am sorry but it is difficult the translation.

      Well, as I was saying, the expression “Borrón y cuenta nueva” has this story: until Gutenberg invented the printing press, books were copied in manuscript form, by a poor man, who all his life he should be writing with a pen and ink, writing a book. At that time they wrote on parchment - it was a paper that came from the city of Pergamum -. Then, with a sepia ink and charcoal pigments, sharpening a goose pen, again and again, and with that they were copying the words, little by little, being careful not to smearing, because at the time of smearing, and was not worth that original at all, which had to do "clean slate".

      Another expression is “Pagar bajo cuerda” (Underhand Pay). Many kinds of punishment; but the most common was the death penalty; there were several types: a cudgel, drowning, suffocation, sawing, nailing, choking, crucifying, beheading, beheading. There are 28 different ways; but the most common was choking. Then, in the past, when you paid with the to pay to the gallows, which makes the law, makes the catch: when a person is  condemned to die, hanging from the gallows, which to his family bribed the hangman to the gallows rope smeared with acids, so that when hanging the condemned, the body weight rope broke and so it was said that "they had paid under the rope ". Then, it was thought that  if the rope was broken and if the  condemned did not die, it had not to die.

      The word “Cadaver” comes from the Latin, where it was: “Caedere”   , that meant: “fallen”; for a Roman, a person could have three situations: To be fallen –or died--, to be firm –or stand--- and, who were not firm, but were almost firm, were the “infirmes” –from there comes the word “enfermo” (ill).

      Now I am going to talk about the Eponyms. Everything starts when the famous word “Moscosos”. Moscoso is an “Eponym”. That means it is a word, turned into noun, from a surname of a person; in this case: of Javier Moscoso was a Minister in the Socialist government of Felipe Gonzalez, who first passed what the "6 days of license or permit for private matters", that no longer want the officials. Well, but like this case, in Spain we have many other cases, where a word come from a surname. Two words are: “Linchamiento” and “Boicot”.

      This is the story of “Linchamiento”: Charles Lynch was a Judge of the eighteenth century, in Virginia (USA), who became famous because he created a People's Court, where executed, without trial, without hesitation to all British Army soldiers who crossed his path.  As he  decided to hang it all seemed suspicious, in the United States they began to talk about Lynch and lynching. After,  in Spain,  we have assumed the same word.     

      The other curious word is: “Boicot”. In 1879, In Ireland very many people were going hungry. Many Irish are going to America and the few who remained did not have what eating. Then,  people went to talk to the Squire, that will lower the rent of the land, but the owner of those lands told them no, no could lower rents. Then everyone thought him "the void". The Irish Association of the earth not asked to carry the mail, no one will buy his cattle, he would not get anything. That man was Charles Cunningham Boycott; from it,  was born Boycott. From that surname so famous that expression.

      Another expression is “To sign draconian clauses” that comes from Greece, the sixth century B.C., and is an Aesop's Fable, entitled "The parts of the lion". History tells us that a group of hunters, formed by a lion, a bear and a fox, when they finished the day hunting, the three animals gathered together the pieces and commissioned leon, the huge bear, to take care of distribution of trophies, but the bear put much effort into the equal sharing, who did not see the hungry feline and killed the lion. Later, the lion looked at the fox and asked him to make the distribution of all the parts, the fox, silently, like beating is piled all the bodies had been hunted by the bear, but a small hare, leaving aside the King of the Jungle looked, assuming good the deal and asked: "To you who taught you to divide so?, what the fox said he had to learn of what had happened to his friend bear. So, since then, the "Clausulas leoninas" (draconian clauses), those imposed some unfair terms.

      I hope that you have enjoyied.

      Till soon, kind regards,


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