Prof. ir. Max Peeters recently brought up the following question:
I noticed that the word for butterfly is very different in almost all languages, but for table very similar (see table below), even Gaelic, Turkish, etc. Can you explain this?
It is a matter of (1) borrowing and (2) the two senses of table: one that you eat and work on and a presentation of data in a publication. Usually languages borrow table in the latter sense, since by the time people got around to data, they already had a word for table in the first sense. This is why the words for table in the second sense are so similar: they are all borrowed from Latin, the language of science in so many European languages.
So, the word in German for the first sense of table is Tisch, in Czech it is stůl, and in Spanish it is mesa—just as different as the words for “butterfly”.
Hope this helps.