Is it possible, attested in Russian – imperative nominalization (substantivation)?

I could recall перекати-поле, вырви-глаз, but I consider them as something like ‘forget-me-not’, not real imperative nominalization. Am I right? Are there good one-word examples of nominalized imperatives?
Or is it absolutely unknown/impossible phenomenon in Russian and other languages too? (Googling gave me "nominalized imperative" in Tibetan languages only, where, as I can see, it is not much about nominalization, but rather about a verbal system.)

NOTE: Pan-linguistic situation with imperative nominalization is not the point of this question, just 'btw'.

  • Are you considering only Russian imperatives? Рында and аврал derive from English commands "ring the bell" and "over all" (or Dutch overal with same meaning)
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 20:07
  • @Quassnoi Yes, Russian only. I. e. when imperative forms became nouns within one language.
    – delete
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 9:59
  • 1
    Можно поинтересоваться, а зачем вытаскивать "хуй"... именно в заглавие? russian.SE, по-моему, переполнено уже этими словами. В русском языке это не то же самое, что в других. У англоязычных фильм можно назвать "Fucker" и показывать без ограничений. У нас дословно так назвать фильм нельзя. Точнее, можно, но определенному контингенту. В этом моем комментарии нет лингвистической факофобии, любое слово есть предмет изучения. Но ведь проктологи не акцентируют, с чем им приходится иметь дело? И наверное, даже избегают этой легкости упоминания, чтобы не подумали, будто они это смакуют.
    – Avtokod
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 11:48
  • @Avtokod: you're making a good point, though I'm not aware of an English-speaking country where a film named "Fucker" would get an unrestricted release.
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 12:14
  • I've edited the title because it could be seen in the side bar on the other Stack Exchange sites.
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 12:15

7 Answers 7


поцелуй (a kiss)
Vasmer: «Произошло из формы 2 л. повел. накл. от поцелова́ть»

  • very very cool!
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 22:12
  • @Quassnoi Not my find, Internet’s. Truly, I’m ignorant how reliable that etymology is (Vasmer after Fraenkel).
    – delete
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 11:41
  • the etymology seems legit, originally it was цѣлованiе. I wonder if нагоняй is from an imperative too.
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 13:01

Упокой (as in начал за здравие, кончил за упокой) is imperative of Church Slavonic упокоити which was loaned into Russian as a noun meaning "eternal peace".


More examples that you would probably classify as not-a-real-nominalisation:

  • угадайка
  • ванька-встанька

Both are likely derived from the imperatives + the particle -ка (встань-ка) that has been grammaticalised as the suffix к + ending а, although I cannot find any good evidence either for or against this thesis.

  • Nice observations, +1
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 13:18
  • At least it is used in modern advertising: Встройка. I mean this scheme seem to be productive.
    – delete
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 22:36

A Sum-up

упокой (idiomatic: eternal peace), from Church Slavonic упокоити
поцелуй (a kiss), from поцелова́ть (to give a kiss)

Guessed words:
нагоняй (scolding), …


I can't think of any one-word examples, or of compounds not containing a noun, except two: тяни-толкай (which seems to be a literary coinage) and уйди-уйди (or уди-уди), which is the name of a squeaky toy and so is perhaps better thought of as onomatopoeic.



Привой. Часть сортового растения, которая будет привита на подвой.

  • вой as imperative from вить?
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 14:59
  • @Quassnoi , скорее всего, да. Вставка о перед или вместо и в русском хорошо известна. Гнить-гнои, пить-(водо)пой, лить-пролой(арх., сейчас: пролив)
    – Avtokod
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 16:10
  • yes, but this grade is used to form nouns, not imperatives.
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 16:16
  • @Quassnoi Если Гнить: гнои его! не видно никаких проблем в русском, то и привить: привои(й) его! точно также. Мое предложение, скажем прямо, гипотеза, на подумать, пока не появятся серьезные возражения. Ну, например, кто-то покажет, какова будет благозвучная и недвусмысленная повелительная форма у глагола привить.
    – Avtokod
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 16:36
  • sorry, I thought you wrote гной. Гнои is imperative of гноить "to make rot", not гнить "to rot". This grade is another one, meaning "to make do something". Compare: пить "to drink" / поить "to drench", сидеть "to sit" / садить "to set" etc. Imperative of привить would be привей, the same way as imperative of вить is вей. The word itself is a calque from Latin innecto "I tie, weave", compare Italian innesto "grafting".
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 16:47

As you wrote about forget-me-not, I immediately thought of незабудка. It's a flower which name is formed from the verb забывать.

  • Hi and welcome to Russian.SE! I would like to kindly ask you to pay closer attention to the question you're answering. The op asked about nouns which take exact form of an imperative, not just derived from a verb. Незабудка was a counterexample. Thanks!
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 23:51

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