I searching for "kotlin" word definition, probably someone who knows Russiancan help me.

What does 'Kotlin' mean? It's related to Kotlin Island? What the history behind this island and the name kotlin?

  • You can read about it in russian version of wiki ru.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Котлин Jun 26, 2017 at 4:24
  • @KhirgiyMikhail wikipedia is a very helpful but not always a 100% reliable source. Also, it's mentioned in Russian wiki but there's no word in English one - and since the author does not Russian it won't help him a lot.
    – shabunc
    Jun 26, 2017 at 10:54
  • 1
    Kotlin (Language) is named by Kotlin Island not far for St.Petesburg, Russia (JetBrains core team hometown)
    – user996142
    Jun 27, 2017 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


Deriving Котлин from котёл is an example of folk etymology - and actually, it's completely wrong. To start with even if it was derived from котёл - in Russian it would hardly end up as Kotlin - it's just that -lin ending is not typical at all. It's way, way too germanic.

Actually, there's a trade agreement between Novgorod Republic and Hanseatic League dated back to XIIIth century - and the island Kotlin is mentioned their under the name "Ketlingen". You can find more information about that particular document here.

Ironically it still can be related to "котёл" (but it's still very suspicious, and even if it is - the XVIIIth century myth is still an anecdote):

На старинных шведcких картах, хранящихся в архивах Стокгольма, остров надписан как Kettusaari - фин. 'лисий остров'. В договоре великого князя Ярослава с немецкими и голландскими послами, 1207 г., название записано в переосмысленной форме Ketlingen (ниж.-нем. Kettel 'котел', -ingen сложный формант, употребительный в нем. названиях селений). В Новгородских грамотах XIII в. Котлинг, позже о. Котлин.

Roughly, Finnish people called this island Keettusaari, then (probably through Swedish) this end up as Ketlingen in Dutch and German sources and was borrowed by Novgorod Republic as Котлинг (Kotling) which evolved to just Kotlin.

And yes, programming language was called Kotlin as a reference to both Kotlin being island near Saint Petersburg and the language itself being a competitor to Java - which is also named after an island.

  • Does jetbrains have offices on the island?
    – ycomp
    Jun 27, 2017 at 20:07
  • @ycomp: Most likely that not. Internet search returns only 2 offices in St. Petersburg, and an office on Kotlin would not be the most convenient. Long drive from the center of city, and not much infrastructure around yet. But Kronshtadt is a worth to visit tourist destination.
    – farfareast
    Jun 27, 2017 at 22:39
  • @ycomp There is an office on an island, but on another one: Vasilyevsky Island, not Kotlin ;).
    – kirelagin
    Jun 28, 2017 at 8:25
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    "To start with even if it was derived from котёл - in Russian it would hardly end up as Kotlin". Fun fact: There is actually a pretty big island in Russia, whose name is derived exactly from котёл: Остров Котельный
    – user4820
    Aug 31, 2017 at 12:35

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