There are a number of nouns formed by prepending само to the action that that thing does that are very common: самолет, самовар. Other similar formations, like самодвижущийся, are uncommon.

Are there other examples of this pattern where a synonym with this prefix exists, but is not the most common way to refer to a noun? Is there any distinction that can be drawn between types of nouns that prefer the само-prefixed synonym over those that don't (assuming both exist)?

  • The short answer is: yes. Why don't you simply open any Russian-Another_language dictionary and write out all the nouns that begin with само-? Shall we give you a complete list of them? This site discourages asking questions to make lists, that's why I vote to close the question.
    – Yellow Sky
    May 22, 2017 at 20:26
  • @Yellow Sky Let me clarify in my question.
    – meatspace
    May 22, 2017 at 20:30
  • It's still not clear what you're asking about. What's the connection between самовар and самодвижущийся? Do you mean they are synonyms?
    – Yellow Sky
    May 22, 2017 at 20:37
  • 1
    First, there's non-zero "самовар" has nothing to do with сам, second, it's indeed not clear what you are asking about.
    – shabunc
    May 22, 2017 at 22:19
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    @ shabunc "самовар" is literally "self-boil". It definitely has something to do with "сам". Th Op is basically asking when and to what "сам(о)" gets added. Honestly it's just like English "self" or a similar derivative. It's on nouns more often than on adjectival verbs etc.
    – VCH250
    May 23, 2017 at 12:31

1 Answer 1


To mention a few:



















etc. So if we take both 'noun' and 'adjective' as 'nouns' then yes, I think the nouns are more frequent, though we can produce from the list verbs like самоуби(ва)ться, самопрезенто(ва)ться and самодурствовать, of which the latter is the most common and stylistically neutral.

And nearly any word from the list above (which can still be added up with more items) can be transformed into an adjective.

  • OK. My point is, we shouldn't encourage asking such unclear questions about nothing, it would be better to make the OP further reformulate the question.
    – Yellow Sky
    May 22, 2017 at 20:51
  • A value of a question or an answer is determined by an ability to understand it. A question about something you don't understand is not a question 'about nothing', that's my point.
    – Manjusri
    May 22, 2017 at 20:54
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    Anyhow, at this point it's a question about something that's not in the scope of Russian SE. If you can understand the question, will you explain it to me, why the OP says самовар is common and самодвижущийся is uncommon?
    – Yellow Sky
    May 22, 2017 at 21:15
  • Word-formation and productivity are not in the scope of Russian SE? R U kidding? And the OP states that because OP just studies the Russian, that's why.
    – Manjusri
    May 22, 2017 at 21:25
  • "самопальный", "самодвижущийся" are not nouns
    – d.k
    May 23, 2017 at 11:29

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