Sorry if this is not exactly about Russian language, but I do not know where else to ask.

What is the origin of word "это" in Russian language? Is it some kind of a combination of "je co"/"jest to" in other slavic languages? I suspect it must be really long time ago it formed since it is such a basic word so maybe it is more a question about history of languages.


1 Answer 1


Э was originally a deictic (meaning Hey, look!) particle есе / ѥсе in Old Church Slavonic that became attached to many pronouns:

Такой — этакий

Так — этак

То — это

Те — эти

It was a common feature, present also in Ukrainian, Belorussian, and other languages, originating back to PIE.


ген (there)

ген-ген (there afar)

генто (day before yesterday)


[e]quidem (of course)

Ancient Greek:

κεῖ — ἐ-κεῖ (there)

κεῖνος — ἐ-κεῖνος (that)

  • 1
    is this particle related to "ecce homo" ?
    – Arioch
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 16:27
  • 1
    Ecce is indeed deictic, so they have the same role. Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 16:43

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