Spanish Word of the Day Archive
Thursday June 11, 2009

trece, adjective, noun:
not to budge, to stick to your guns

Seguir or mantenerse en sus trece is an idiomatic phrase which means to refuse to change your position on something, for example:

Los dos líderes se mantienen en sus trece
The two leaders are refusing to budge

But why does thirteen come into this expression? The explanation goes back a long way. For a short period in the fourteenth century there were two Popes, one based in Rome and the other in Avignon, in the South of France. Pedro de Luna, a Spaniard from a noble family, was elected Clement XIII, based in Avignon. However, he later lost support, but despite attempts to negotiate by the rival Pope, based in Rome, Clement XIII refused to stand down, and was eventually excommunicated. He insisted to the end of his life that he was the only true Pope, hence the expression.


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