Tonight, while talking about tango, my husband asked me about the phrase “mala junta.” There is a tango song entitled “Mala Junta,” and like many tango songs there are tango-related things named after it. My husband thought, based on his limited knowledge of Spanish, that this might be an odd choice. I agreed.
And then I started thinking about the word. I wondered about possible alternate meanings. And so I turned to the best resource for these kinds of questions: the Diccionario de la lengua española.
As I skimmed the definitions, my eye caught on this one:
8. f. Arq. Espacio que queda entre las superficies de las piedras o ladrillos contiguos de una pared, y que suele rellenarse con mezcla o yeso.
I read it out loud and then paraphrased in English: “It means the space between bricks or stones in a wall that you build … you know, like a joint.” Wait, what did I just say? Junta … joint. I truly almost slapped my forehead.
Maybe it’s because I hadn’t seen that definition of the word junta before, but I had never actually thought about the origin of the English word joint (at least not that particular definition of it!). Suddenly it all made sense. I love those “aha!” moments with words.