Duende: There’s a Name For It

By Beth Gerber

July 17, 2009

We love language, and this series features words from various languages around the world that capture universal, but complicated, human emotions or situations. It’s fun and (gasp!) educational, too!

We welcome your contributions!

Today’s lesson, for lovers of the arts:

Duende— This Spanish word has a long and interesting history. Its original use was to describe a mythical entity that lives in forests, sort of like a fairy or a sprite, that possesses human beings and causes them to feel awe, fear, or a sense of beauty in their natural surroundings. Since being updated by the Spanish poet and playwright, Federico García Lorca, in the early 20th century, it is now used to refer to the mysterious power of a work of art to deeply move a person.

Source: Beyond Words, The ALTA Blog

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