In most cases, we derive nouns in -щик from verbs. We observe the following pattern:

носить - носильщик
давить - давильщик
морить - морильщик
красить - красильщик
просить - просильщик
лудить - лудильщик

We also have платить. So why it is платЕльщик? That seems highly unnatural to me.

3 Answers 3


This is the so-called "и - е swap" (мена и - е)

Trubachyov in Труды по этимологии: Слово. История. Культура attributes it to Russian glycolalia (сладкоязычие), which tends to mix stressed ий and ль in some dialects.

It's common to replace stressed ий with ей in Russian. That's why we have names like Сергей, Мокей, Алексей (from Сергий, Мокий, Алексий), words like змей, книгочей and the dialectal word Расея.

Glycolalia, among other things, causes stressed иль to be replaced by ель in some words by analogy with ей < ий:

  • апрель < априль < Aprilis
  • канитель < канетиль < cannetille

This contamination is most likely the cause of the swap in the word you cited above:

  • плательщик (= платейщик) < платильщик (= платийщик)
  • молельщик (= молейщик) < молильщик (= молийщик)
  • 1
    This does not explain why there is no such change in other words. Молельщик could change under analogy with болельщик.
    – Anixx
    Oct 2, 2013 at 14:38
  • @Anixx: what did болельщик change from? And yes, there are lots of words keeping the paradigm (all those mentioned in your example), it just happened so that those two did shift it.
    – Quassnoi
    Oct 2, 2013 at 14:51
  • 3
    болельщик is from болеть (not болить), so the e is substantiated here.
    – Anixx
    Oct 2, 2013 at 17:01
  • similarly радельщик from радеть
    – Anixx
    Oct 2, 2013 at 17:07
  • @Anixx: yes, all those words do obey the paradigm. What's your point?
    – Quassnoi
    Oct 2, 2013 at 17:23

Maybe because of платеж / платежный. Maybe if Russian had платильный and not платежный, it would be платИльщик.


This is a typical aberration; when simplifications, dialect, parochialism, etc. invade the sphere of classical rules for particular language. "ПлатИльщик" is and must be recognized as the only correct option.

  • 1
    Hi and welcome to Russian.SE! Could you please clarify what exactly you mean by "must be recognized as the only correct option"? Thank you!
    – Quassnoi
    May 25, 2023 at 5:17

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