The only free and comprehensive online etymological dictionary of the Spanish language
haya (1) f. (Noun) "beech," "beech tree"
14th cent. From Latin fagea "beech wood," an adjective from fagus "beech tree." Why the word in Spanish was drawn from the adjective fagea and not the noun fagus is rooted in the gender system of the language. Latin boasted a complex gender system where words ending in suffixes like -us could be masculine or feminine, but there was a strong tendency across Vulgar Latin speakers to simplify things by interpreting -us as universally masculine and -a as universally feminine. The names for trees in Latin, which were mostly feminine -us nouns, were reshaped to be "grammatical" in Vulgar Latin by changing the ending to -a. However, when there was a need to distinguish the tree from its fruit, Vulgar Latin speakers minted their word by drawing from the feminine adjective instead. See also Penny (2002). From Proto-Italic *fāgo- 'id.' From Proto-Indo-European *bheh2g-o- 'id.'
Also the origin of the surnames de la Haya, Hay, Hayas, Faya, and Fayos.
Asturian faya, Portuguese faia
Gaulish *bāgos "beech"
Old Norse bók "beech," Old High German buohha 'id.,' Old Saxon bōka 'id.,' Old English bōc 'id.' (English beech)
Ancient Greek φηγός (phegós) "oak," "acorn"
Final updates in preparation for a particularly large data update coming at the end of the month.
The Online Etymological Dictionary of Spanish is a free etymological dictionary of the Spanish language launched on August 6, 2016. An etymology is not a definition but a history of a word over time. This site provides an account of the development of the Spanish language as best as historical linguists are able to ascertain in a way that is accessible both by laymen and academics. If you enjoy using this dictionary, please consider donating to help keep this site alive.