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Peregrino/Peregrina

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
I need someone with better Spanish and Latin than myself on this one. Peregrino/Peregrina today is understood today to mean pilgrim we see and hear the word all the time. The words stem from the Latin 'peregrinus' in the masculine to 'peregrina' feminine. So far so good. The meaning in Latin is different, the term relates to those who have only partial Roman citizenship or none at all meaning basically - a foreigner. As an adjective, the word was used to describe something alien, foreign, or exotic. Today, not all peregrinos are foreigners though in many places the local residents often do perceive us as something foreign, not Spanish, and often Exotic! Just wondering how the word spun around and came to mean pilgrim. Moderators, please I know this is not the proper place on the Forum but in most any other place it would not be seen. Leave it for a while and let's see what happens.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
The first definition of pilgrim (which comes from the same root as peregrino/a) at Marriam-Webster is one who journeys in foreign lands, so that seems to be where the link to foreigner comes from.

Further details from the same site:

Definition of pilgrim
1: one who journeys in foreign lands : WAYFARER
2: one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee
3 (capitalized): one of the English colonists settling at Plymouth in 1620

First Known Use of pilgrim
13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pilgrim
Middle English, from Anglo-French pelerin, pilegrin, from Late Latin pelegrinus, alteration of Latin peregrinus foreigner, from peregrinus, adjective, foreign, from peregri abroad, from per through + agr-, ager land
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
The first definition of pilgrim (which comes from the same root as peregrino/a) at Marriam-Webster is one who journeys in foreign lands, so that seems to be where the link to foreigner comes from.

Further details from the same site:

Definition of pilgrim
1: one who journeys in foreign lands : WAYFARER
2: one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee
3 (capitalized): one of the English colonists settling at Plymouth in 1620

First Known Use of pilgrim
13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pilgrim
Middle English, from Anglo-French pelerin, pilegrin, from Late Latin pelegrinus, alteration of Latin peregrinus foreigner, from peregrinus, adjective, foreign, from peregri abroad, from per through + agr-, ager land
I love words and their evolution - funny how foreigner became one who travels in foreign lands...and why. Moving on, I have been to Japan many times, at times could speak read and write Japanese as good as any third-grader over there at my peak could read 'Peter Pan' - well almost - needed a dictionary from time to time. I walked a very small part of Kumano Kodo when I turned 70, the Nakahechi bit, Tanabe to Honhu - the walking was easy enough - at 70 I couldn't handle the tatami beds anymore but was happy to have done what I did. Should you get back over that way again do consider the Jeju Olle Pilgrimage in Korea. Not so strenuous not as beautiful but the fellow Korean pilgrims, 98% of all those walking, were fantastic! The food? Not so much.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
The first definition of pilgrim (which comes from the same root as peregrino/a) at Marriam-Webster is one who journeys in foreign lands, so that seems to be where the link to foreigner comes from.

Further details from the same site:

Definition of pilgrim
1: one who journeys in foreign lands : WAYFARER
2: one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee
3 (capitalized): one of the English colonists settling at Plymouth in 1620

First Known Use of pilgrim
13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pilgrim
Middle English, from Anglo-French pelerin, pilegrin, from Late Latin pelegrinus, alteration of Latin peregrinus foreigner, from peregrinus, adjective, foreign, from peregri abroad, from per through + agr-, ager land
This is a great answer for the etymology and evolution of the English word "pilgrim" (although I must admit partiality to the Oxford English Dictionary for that kind of information). However, I think the OP was asking about the etymology and evolution of the Spanish word. Does anyone with better Spanish knowledge than I have access to a good etymological dictionary of Spanish? This is most likely to give the answer sought.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés (2019)
I don´t have an etymological dictionary with me at the moment, but there's this online one that is not bad.
http://etimologias.dechile.net/?peregrino

According to this, the Latin "peregrinus" meant both a foreigner and someone who travels ro foreign lands. From that, we get the verb "peregrinari", to travel abroad and "peregrinatio", a travel abroad. In Christian times, the word "peregrinatio" took on the meaning of "a journey to holy places"; there's evidence of this use in a book from the 4th century. From that use, "peregrino" became someone who went to Rome or Santiago.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I like this definition of pilgrimage, as we are all on our own pilgrimages, whether at home or abroad.

View attachment 76662
Yes, that is a nice concept. But it is new to me as a definition of the word. Metaphor, yes, but surely that doesn't make it a definition, does it?
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
This from an online Spanish dictionary (which tells us nothing we didn't already know):
ETYMOLOGY OF THE WORD PEREGRINO
La palabra peregrino procede del latín peregrīnus.
@MariaSP 's answer is much more comprehensive.
It makes sense that 'foreigner' would morph into 'pilgrim' because nearly everyone walking through a given town on their way to Santiago would be from somewhere else, hence 'foreign' - even if they are from only 20km away. In our hyper-connected world we forget how it was when someone form the next town was a foreigner, but those times are not long ago. Even now in some places that attitude is still around.
 

jungleboy

Nick
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
This is a great answer for the etymology and evolution of the English word "pilgrim" (although I must admit partiality to the Oxford English Dictionary for that kind of information). However, I think the OP was asking about the etymology and evolution of the Spanish word.
As I mentioned, the English pilgrim and Spanish peregrino/a have the same root word, so the etymology is going to be the same in this case.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
the English pilgrim and Spanish peregrino/a have the same root word, so the etymology is going to be the same in this case.
This is true. However, what I find interesting is to observe how and when words changed their meanings or became broader or narrower in their meaning. The following definition is taken from an online etymology dictionary which in turn uses a number of established etymology dictionaries as their sources. Note the meaning that the Old French word had at the time: pilgrim, crusader; foreigner, stranger. It is often overlooked that crusaders were regarded as pilgrims and this may well be how the word found entrance into common parlance in the various countries in the sense that we use it now.

pilgrim (n.)
c. 1200, pilegrim, from Old French pelerin, peregrin "pilgrim, crusader; foreigner, stranger" (11c., Modern French pèlerin), from Late Latin pelegrinus, a dissimilation of Latin peregrinus "foreigner" (source of Italian pellegrino, Spanish peregrino), from peregre (adv.) "from abroad," from per- "beyond" + agri, locative case of ager "country, land" (from PIE root *agro- "field").
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
It is often overlooked that crusaders were regarded as pilgrims and this may well be how the word found entrance into common parlance in the various countries in the sense that we use it now.
There are many sources for this. A quote from Wikipedia which does often but not always get things right: At the time of the First Crusade (1096–1099), iter and peregrinatio were used for the campaign. Crusader terminology remained largely indistinguishable from that of Christian pilgrimage during the 12th century.

In the Latin of the Middle Ages, a peregrinus was also simply a monk from another monastery who came to stay as a guest in a host monastery; it was not a monk on pilgrimage at all.
 
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evanscl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 2016
I came across peripateo - I walk - whilst reading about Aristotle. Maybe the origin is greek.See below, copied from an online source.
Peripateo
A. Classical
1. Peripateo (peripatevw) is a compound verb and is composed of the following:
a. Preposition peri (peri), “around.”
b. Verb pateo (patevw), “to walk.”
2. It is one of many pateo compounds.
3. Pateo and its compounds denote in Greek a stepping movement of the feet and was not used before Pindar.
4. Peripateo is found in classical Greek from Airstophanes onwards.
5. It is found only with the literal meaning of strolling, stopping (e.g. while one walks here and there in the
market, Demothones Orationes 54, 7).
6. The figurative meaning of walking, with reference to conduct, is lacking.
7. Only in Philodemus (1st century B.C.) does one find the meaning to live (De Libertate 23,3).
8. Peripateo became particularly associated with “walkingand talking” or “walking and teaching.”
9. This happened to such an extent that Peripatetics were recognized as a unique philosophical group.
10. Specifically the Peripatetics were associated with Aristotle, who delivered his lectures (“walkings,” he
called them) as he walked.
11. He probably got the idea from Plato, his teacher.
12. Gradually, however, the term lost its specificity and became linked to philosophers in general.
13. The metaphoric sense, “to live, to conduct one’s life,” did not truly become common until the LXX.
14. Liddel and Scott list the following meanings (Greek-English Lexicon, page 1382):
a. Walk up and down; walk about
b. Walk about while teaching, discourse
c. Metaphorically, walk, i.e. live
 

HelenVanW

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2007, 2012, 2014, 2x in 2015, 2016
"Sojourner" is the interpretation I think fits, rather than foreigner. Yes, foreigners are by definition also sojourning when they are in a place other than their home, but sojourner is someone who sees their home other than where they are. The biblical thought comes to me that we are all just sojourners on earth when we see heaven as our true home.
 

evanscl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 2016
hello kelleymac,
I wish I COULD read greek! I am reading in english but the author uses and explains the greek words around Aristotle’s writings. I did a latin gcse and AS level a few years ago , trying to keep the brain going, as I didnt have the chance in school, but sadly I remember little of it through lack of use. Hats off to you!
 

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
hello kelleymac,
I wish I COULD read greek! I am reading in english but the author uses and explains the greek words around Aristotle’s writings. I did a latin gcse and AS level a few years ago , trying to keep the brain going, as I didnt have the chance in school, but sadly I remember little of it through lack of use. Hats off to you!
I'm really slow! I studied ancient greek at university - and I've forgotten so much!

Κοινη is the word for "common"-- it's a simplified version of the classical greek and it was the patois for the ancient world after Alexander the Great took over. The New Testament was written in the common Greek.
 
Last edited:

Tamsin Grainger

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
De la plata
I need someone with better Spanish and Latin than myself on this one. Peregrino/Peregrina today is understood today to mean pilgrim we see and hear the word all the time. The words stem from the Latin 'peregrinus' in the masculine to 'peregrina' feminine. So far so good. The meaning in Latin is different, the term relates to those who have only partial Roman citizenship or none at all meaning basically - a foreigner. As an adjective, the word was used to describe something alien, foreign, or exotic. Today, not all peregrinos are foreigners though in many places the local residents often do perceive us as something foreign, not Spanish, and often Exotic! Just wondering how the word spun around and came to mean pilgrim. Moderators, please I know this is not the proper place on the Forum but in most any other place it would not be seen. Leave it for a while and let's see what happens.
I actually shared this post yesterday! https://walkingwithoutadonkey.com/2020/06/10/pilgrims-and-peregrines/
 

Tamsin Grainger

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
De la plata
I came across peripateo - I walk - whilst reading about Aristotle. Maybe the origin is greek.See below, copied from an online source.
Peripateo
A. Classical
1. Peripateo (peripatevw) is a compound verb and is composed of the following:
a. Preposition peri (peri), “around.”
b. Verb pateo (patevw), “to walk.”
2. It is one of many pateo compounds.
3. Pateo and its compounds denote in Greek a stepping movement of the feet and was not used before Pindar.
4. Peripateo is found in classical Greek from Airstophanes onwards.
5. It is found only with the literal meaning of strolling, stopping (e.g. while one walks here and there in the
market, Demothones Orationes 54, 7).
6. The figurative meaning of walking, with reference to conduct, is lacking.
7. Only in Philodemus (1st century B.C.) does one find the meaning to live (De Libertate 23,3).
8. Peripateo became particularly associated with “walkingand talking” or “walking and teaching.”
9. This happened to such an extent that Peripatetics were recognized as a unique philosophical group.
10. Specifically the Peripatetics were associated with Aristotle, who delivered his lectures (“walkings,” he
called them) as he walked.
11. He probably got the idea from Plato, his teacher.
12. Gradually, however, the term lost its specificity and became linked to philosophers in general.
13. The metaphoric sense, “to live, to conduct one’s life,” did not truly become common until the LXX.
14. Liddel and Scott list the following meanings (Greek-English Lexicon, page 1382):
a. Walk up and down; walk about
b. Walk about while teaching, discourse
c. Metaphorically, walk, i.e. live
May I share thi son my blog?
 

Tamsin Grainger

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
De la plata
There are many sources for this. A quote from Wikipedia which does often but not always get things right: At the time of the First Crusade (1096–1099), iter and peregrinatio were used for the campaign. Crusader terminology remained largely indistinguishable from that of Christian pilgrimage during the 12th century.

In the Latin of the Middle Ages, a peregrinus was also simply a monk from another monastery who came to stay as a guest in a host monastery; it was not a monk on pilgrimage at all.
you could say that if he was visiting another monastery, he was on a pilgrimage. Couldn't you?
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
you could say that if he was visiting another monastery, he was on a pilgrimage. Couldn't you?
One can give many interpretations to what one reads - questions is what did the writer say? I think it makes quite a difference when someone say translates a Latin text from the Middle Ages and denotes a bishop or a monk who stays at a monastery as a pilgrim or as a visiting guest and colleague in English. The contemporary equivalent would be business trip and not pilgrimage.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Hm ... I didn't know that. The quotes about the use of the word peregrinus in Latin Latin are always very vague. According to Wikipedia:

Peregrinus was the term used during the early Roman empire, from 30 BC to AD 212, to denote a free provincial subject of the Empire who was not a Roman citizen. Peregrini constituted the vast majority of the Empire's inhabitants in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. In AD 212, all free inhabitants of the Empire were granted citizenship by the constitutio Antoniniana, abolishing the status of peregrinus.
 

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