albarán [noun, m] – delivery note

Cuando recibes un paquete, tienes que firmar el albarán.

Cuando recibes un paquete, tienes que firmar el albarán.

I have a little -OK, quite big- Amazon habit. Click clickety-click. It’s so easy. I love it. Or do I hate it? I dunno. Maybe both. Anyway, the other day I clickety-clicked some essential purchase or other and a message came up that I must’ve seen a hundred times before: De ser posible, ocultar los precios de esta compra en el albarán. [If possible, hide the price of this purchase in the delivery note.]

Albarán! What a fabulous ancient-sounding word! It conjures up pictures of medieval markets of days gone by, where Jews, Moors and Christians lived and worked codo a codo, before Ferdinand and Isabella booted the minorities out so rudely. When I hear albarán, I don’t picture an Amazon delivery guy bringing a parcel up my front steps, but a young doe-eyed Moor toting a mysterious package in a dusty Andalusian street, complete with parchment and feather for the recipient to sign. Maybe my imagination is running away with me because I read The People of the Book recently chez my lovely book club. (Yes, I’m a big suburban, middle-class, mumsy cliché. I don’t care. I love my book club. Flipping awesome group of chicas.)

Er, where were we? Ah, yes, albarán. The word’s Arabic origins ring out hauntingly and whack me right in the ñerd gut. (I thought I’d made that word up [ñerd = a Spanish word-nerd] but I’ve just googled it and found out 220,000 people beat me to it. Damn.) Albarán makes me think of some of the other, more common, ‘al’ words like almendra, almuerzo, almohada, alfombra… Weird how they don’t have the same effect when you hear them in everyday life, but if you get your ñerd hat on and write them in a lovely italic list like I just did, the magic and poetry just ooze out.

What about you, fellow word geek? Which words hit you in the ñerd gut?


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