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Of uncertain origin. Possibly derived from arar (to plough), from Latin arāre, with the sense taken from that of making shallow furrows or grooves. Alternatively, linked to araña (spider) from Latin arānea, though a semantic link is difficult; perhaps the meaning stemmed from the spider being an aggressive animal, to that of fighting or quarreling, and later a secondary sense of "scratch" developed as a result (compare Old French hargner (to fight) and modern French hargneux (aggressive), which may be of Germanic origin instead; see also old Italian aragnarsi (come to blows)). It may instead have a link to the meaning developed in Romanian râie (scabies, mange, itch), which itself was derived from the same Latin word, arānea (cf. also Spanish roña and Italian rogna (scabies, mange), which may come from a variant form *aronea; compare aruñar, the alternative form of arañar, which may alternatively have been influenced by uña (nail)). In this theory, the original meaning was to scrape or scratch oneself to relieve an itch, but this has not been attested. It is possible the relation with arānea is more indirect, however.[1]


arañar (first-person singular present araño, first-person singular preterite arañé, past participle arañado)

  1. (transitive) to scratch


Related terms[edit]