I saw the words "Alambric" and "Inalambric" in use on a forum recently and was surprised to find no results on Dictionary.com or Merriam-Webster. It seems to mean "wired" and "wireless" respectively. Google seems to understand the words as wired and wireless and returns results but also doesn't have any results regarding the definition or origin of the words. I'm very curious as to where they came from and why they're not in the dictionary.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Dan Bron, Nigel J, user067531, NVZ, curiousdannii Mar 14 '18 at 15:01

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    @Nathan please quote your sources. – Weather Vane Mar 12 '18 at 22:11

From Latin aerāmen, accusative aerāminem, "bronze", entering Spanish as arambre, "wire" (compare Latin nominem -> Spanish nombre, "name", or latin hominem -> Spanish hombre, "man). http://dle.rae.es/?id=3OmdsSM

Following that, arambre became the Spanish word for "wire" as it is today, alambre. http://dle.rae.es/?id=1Ry62WZ Spanish sometimes confuses r's and l's in words that have more than one of them: Argelia (Algeria), milagro (miracle), plus the old favorite coronel (from which we got our pronunciation of "colonel").

From alambre, Spanish has adjectives alámbrico and inalámbrico. http://dle.rae.es/?id=LAi5Jpk I hadn't been aware of the use of cognate words in English.

  • This is a good answer (I <3 references). I think I know what's happening. "Alambric" and "inalambric"are not words in English, but rather errors made by Spanish speakers who think they're words. Nobody except Spanish speakers will know what you're talking about if you use either word in English. – Laurel Mar 13 '18 at 4:12
  • I think you're correct. I just checked the Oxford English Dictionary, and even that comprehensive work doesn't have an entry for "alambric". – Green Grasso Holm Mar 13 '18 at 23:59
  • Philip Pullman in His Dark Materials trilogy refers to electricity as anbaricity, or anbaric power - I guess he may have been influenced by the Spanish, or your speaker influenced by Philip Pullman. – JonLarby Mar 14 '18 at 13:48
  • "Anbaracity" is unrelated. "Electricity" comes from "elektron" (ἤλεκτρον), Greek for "amber". Amber manifests the sort of attraction caused by static electricity when rubbed. In turn, "amber" is derived from "ʕanbar" (عنبر), Arabic for "ambergris". Pullman generated a whole litany of alternative terminology based on alternative etymologies, including "anbaricity" for "electricity". (The [ʕ] sound is like a voiced "h" and usually omitted in English transcriptions and pronunciation--for example, it's the first sound in the Arabic names for "Arab", "Iraq", "Abdullah", and "Omar".) – Green Grasso Holm Mar 14 '18 at 18:01

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