Do these two words share the same root, or are there two different roots at play?

4 Answers 4


If "root" in your question means "something similar in etymology and/or meaning", then yes, words "существо" and "присутствовать" have the same root. In general, the meaning of this root is somehow connected with notions "being", "existence", "reality" or "essence". Here are some other words with this root:

  1. In old Russian the verb "быть" ("to be") in third person plural present form looked like "суть", i.e. "они суть" meaned "they are". In modern Russian, we use "они есть" instead, but sometimes the old form is still used, usually to make one's speech sound artificially "old-fashioned", poetic or extravagant.

  2. The word "существовать" means "to exist", "существование" - "existence". From here, there are two words that mean, in fact, "something that exists": "сущность" can be translated as "entity", and "существо" is "creature" (i.e. animated entity).

  3. The word "суть" (as a noun, not a verb!) means "essence", "core" or "root", the most fundamental or important part of something. Also, "сущность" and "существо" can have the same meaning as "суть". For example, "суть дела" or "сущность вопроса" - "root of a matter"; "говорить по существу" - "speak to the point". The adjective "существенный" means "essential", "important".

  4. You probably know the word "существительное" ("a noun"). It has the same root and can be explained like "part of speech, that stands for some entity".

  5. You know the word "присутствовать", i.e. "to be at certain place or event". It has an antonym "отсутствовать" - to be abcent, missing, or not exist at all.

  6. The world "сущий" originally means "real", "existing", but now it is mostly used in emphatic constructions in meaning "real", "complete" or "absolute". For instance, "сущий кошмар" - "complete nightmare", "сущий пустяк" - "mere trifle" (literally, "absolutely empty thing").

  7. The word "осуществлять" means "to realize", "to bring into effect" (about plans, dreams, activities, etc.).

I hope, these examples will be useful for you!

  • "In modern Russian, we use "они есть" instead" - есть is also from the same root.
    – Anixx
    Nov 22, 2017 at 13:31

That depends on what you mean by "root" here. Historically, yes, they are of the same root. But сущий / существо are derived from Church Slavonic form, so the consonants differ. Thus in modern grammar the roots are different.

  • 1
    The roots differ yes, but there are lots of Russian roots that have different surface forms, for example, -НЗ- and НОЖ- in воНЗить and НОЖницы. Although different in form, they belong to the same root. My question is, is this the case with the examples I cited?
    – CocoPop
    Jan 28, 2016 at 18:06
  • 3
    @CocoPop: how far up the language history tree do you want to go? Присутствовать and существо are cognates, of course, as are, say, начало and конец. However, the pattern which would allow one root to become another is not productive in Russian anymore.
    – Quassnoi
    Jan 28, 2016 at 18:30
  • @CocoPop Yes, it's the same. With an addition of "why do сут/сущ differ": because of Church Slavonic.
    – Matt
    Jan 28, 2016 at 18:31
  • @Quassnoi: Every time I learn a new word, I look for the root, in case that can help me remember it. I learned присутствовать today and just wondered if it was related to сущ. Thanks!
    – CocoPop
    Jan 28, 2016 at 19:43
  • @CocoPop: yeah I do the same. Did you want to know if they are cognates (etymologically related) or have the same root (that is, can be produced from it according to some productive paradigms)?
    – Quassnoi
    Jan 28, 2016 at 20:15

They both come from the PIE root e̯es- "is". Particularly, from zero-grade of it. Compare PIE e̯sntia̯ "being".


Похоже, что оба слова происходят из одного корня, сѫшти, сущий. Но я не уверена, что считается корнем слова "присутствовать" в современном языке.

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