relevo [noun] – relay; substitution; replacement
The “relevo del rey” is a hot topic at the moment in Spain, as the country’s 75-year-old monarch has just had his fifth operation in the last eighteen months, and the nation is debating whether his son should be allowed to take over and relieve him of his duties. I knew the word “relevo” from my triathlon cop-out last year, when I hadn’t trained enough to do the full thing and instead did a relay triathlon (“triatlón por relevos“) with two friends, each of us doing our favourite sport. (Heaps of fun, by the way, I totally recommend it).
Anyway, this week was the first time I’d heard the word “relevo” in the context of the monarchy, so I headed to my dear friends the online dictionaries to find out what other uses it has, and I found that it can also be used in team sports to talk about substitutions. For example in football, you might say “Gareth Bale jugó de relevo de Xabi Alonso“. We can also say “tomar el relevo“, meaning “to take the place of“, so an example from the tennis world might be “¿Rafa Nadal tomará el relevo de Djokovich? (como número uno del mundo)”. Also, and it’s back to the monarchy again for this one, “el relevo de la guardia” is the name for the “changing of the guard” at the royal palace. Whew! One word, tons of mileage.