Questions tagged [этимология]

The history and the origin of words and phrases.

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5
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2answers
246 views

Meaning of “каким боком”

I came across the phrase "каким боком" during my studies ("каким боком это тебя касается?"), and I can't wrap my head around what it means. Is it maybe interchangeable with "...
6
votes
2answers
249 views

Where does the colloquial word for the angle grinder (“угловая шлифовальная машина”) come from?

Why is the angle grinder ("угловая шлифовальная машина") called "болгарка"?
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3answers
252 views

Why is this Russian expression an idiomatic example of mutually exclusive things?

The Russian idiom "и рыбку съесть, и на хуй сесть", whose literal meaning is "to eat fish and sit down onto a dick too," is an idiomatic way to say that your interlocutor is ...
3
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1answer
215 views

Is there a Russian cognate of Ukrainian кравець, Polish krawiec meaning tailor?

Also, I'm curious if there is a reconstructed Slavic root or if it's a loan (nothing found in Derksen).
5
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1answer
198 views

Why are berries always used in singular?

I was recently translating a text from German to Russian and came across the following phrase: Salzbrezeln mit Preiselbeeren which means in English Salted pretzels with cranberries I translated it ...
4
votes
1answer
140 views

Is there a relationship between цель and “Ziel” (german)?

The other day I learned Russian word "цель". It struck me how similar it sounded to the German word "Ziel". Is there a connection or is it just a coincidence that they sound similar?
27
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4answers
8k views

Why do Russians call some women a dynamo (динамо)?

In English, you call a person a dynamo to say that he or she is extremely energetic (e.g., she was a dynamo in London politics), but Russians mean something entirely different when they call someone a ...
21
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6answers
8k views

Why do Russians call a joke a stake (прикол)?

In modern Russian, прикол is a very frequently used word and means a joke, a funny incident, or just anything funny, but the original meaning of this word is very different: a stake to which a ship, a ...
3
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1answer
167 views

Скрежет зубовный и мука мученская . Необычные формы прилагательных

Подбирала синонимы и нашла эти необычные формы прилагательных. Интересно, давно ли они появились и откуда. В каком контексте лучше употреблять?
4
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1answer
1k views

Why do Russians refer to flatterers as “downlickers” (подлизы)?

Usually used to refer to a flatterer, the Russian word подлиза literally means a downlicker: the prefix под- means down, below, beneath, or under, and the root -лиз- is common to Russian words about ...
1
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2answers
326 views

Where does the phrase “кто девушку ужинает тот ее и танцует” come from?

While listening to Pozner I've heard the phrase "кто девушку ужинает тот ее и танцует". Where does it come from?
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3answers
273 views

«Женское счастье», «мужское счастье»: как различаются эти выражения, какова их этимология?

Что конкретно имеется в виду, когда говорят о "женском счастье", откуда это выражение пошло, и почему гораздо реже встречается "мужское счастье"? (речь здесь идет не об одноименных цветах) Пример: ...
2
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3answers
551 views

Origin of the Russian idiom “like a grass snake on a frying pan”?

When Russians say that you are like a grass snake on a frying pan ("как уж на сковородке"), they often mean that you are grilled by tough incriminating questions and desperately trying to save your ...
7
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7answers
618 views

What are the meaning and etymology of “выпендриваться”?

I am very much puzzled by the frequently used Russian verb выпендриваться and cannot understand it. Dictionaries and Reverso Context give a variety of translations, but I feel that none of them hits ...
4
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1answer
310 views

Что такое «купаленные донья»?

В стихотворении Пастернака «Определение поэзии» есть строфа: Всё, что ночи так важно сыскать На глубоких купаленных доньях, И звезду донести до садка На трепещущих мокрых ладонях. Я никак не могу ...
22
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5answers
3k views

How come the Russian cognate for the Czech word “čerstvý” (fresh) means entirely the opposite thing (stale)?

In Russian, черствый хлеб (chorstvy khleb) is stale bread. And to my great surprise, I recently learned that in Czech, čerstvý chléb is precisely the opposite thing: fresh bread. My question is: ...
4
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2answers
276 views

The origin of “отморозок”

Отморозок is a contemptible and objectionable person. It looks like the word comes from the verb отморозить, or the noun мороз. Why is отморозок originally associated with getting frostbite, ...
4
votes
3answers
207 views

What is the origin of the suffix -он?

I learned that the Russian language has a number of words with the suffix -он: музон, закидон, выпивон, закусон, расслабон, etc. This suffix is indeed not a part of the root, as can be seen from words ...
5
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3answers
525 views

Who is Goddess Khalyava?

I just read an article about Russian students in Russian newspaper Комсомольская правда and saw the following: Каждый студент хоть раз в своей жизни слышал это заветное слово - Халява. Что же оно ...
4
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3answers
617 views

Why do phonetically same Russian and Polish obscenities mean very different things?

Let us compare the meanings of some phonetically same Russian and Polish obscenities: Заебать (Russian): to get to, to pester. Zajebać (Polish): to beat someone up, to steal something, to brutally ...
8
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4answers
699 views

Why do Russians refer to money as grannies (бабки)?

I read the following in a poem published in 1769: Два въ бабки мальчика играли: За бабки заорали: Къ войнѣ за бабки собрались, И подрались. These lines initially made no sense to me, but then I ...
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1answer
210 views

What is the etymology of the word крутить?

Is it connected to корчить and короткий? Vasmer does not answer.
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2answers
258 views

What is the actual origin of the aphorism about intentions and capabilities?

UPDATE: It turns out that even Russia's president Vladimir Putin himself quoted Bismarck as saying that phrase! (Source1, Source2). It thus seems unlikely to be a made-up quotation, because it is ...
4
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3answers
192 views

What does “не” negate in “нечто” and “нехай”?

The prefix "не" is used to negate or reverse the meaning of the word: вежливый (polite) → невежливый (impolite) слабо (weakly) → неслабо (strongly) Following this logic, "нечто" ...
6
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3answers
487 views

Why was the Russian letter X called “хѣръ”?

The official name of the letter X in the old Russian alphabet was хѣръ, which is how modern Russians call a dick. The names of most other letters of the old Russian alphabet are understandable: азъ (...
7
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5answers
420 views

Why are “охотиться” and “рыться” with “ся”?

My understanding of the concept of возвратный глагол is simple: учить себя (to teach oneself) → учиться (to learn) готовить себя (to prepare oneself) → готовиться (to get prepared) ложить себя (to ...
5
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3answers
336 views

What is the logic of the expression “только и всего”?

Some time ago I watched the excellent Russian movie "The Horde" with English subtitles and got intrigued by a few expressions from there, with one of them being "только и всего." The movie is on ...
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2answers
691 views

What is the original Russian word for a watermelon?

Wiktionary gives the following etymology of the word "арбуз" (watermelon): From Turkic. Compare Ottoman Turkish خربز‎ (harbüz), خربزه‎ (harbüze), Tatar карбыз (qarbız), Bashkir ҡарбуз (...
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3answers
231 views

Etymology of “Володино”

Numerous villages are called "Володино", does it mean something?
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2answers
2k views

The origin of “за двумя зайцами погонишься”

За двумя зайцами погонишься, ни одного не поймаешь. We have the same proverb, 二兎を追う者は一兎も得ず, which is considered borrowed from somewhere, so I am curious whether we borrowed it from the Russians or ...
4
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3answers
213 views

Etymology of “чёрта с два”

I believe I understand the meaning of the expression чёрта с два, but I don't understand its origin or grammar: Why is чёрта in the accusative/genitive case? Why is два in the nominative case after с?...
7
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3answers
2k views

The original word for a wild boar

I recently accidentally discovered that the Russians call wild boars by a word borrowed from Turkic languages - "кабан." The etymological dictionary by Preobrazhensky clearly states: Заимств. из ...
-1
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2answers
407 views

Why is the Russian informal phone greeting “алё” equivalent to the Turkish one?

I recently discovered that the Russian informal phone greeting, алё, precisely coincides with the Turkish one. When you hear "алё," you absolutely cannot tell whether it is a Russian or a Turk who is ...
27
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9answers
17k views

Why do Russians call their women expensive (“дорогая”)?

My question is in the title of this post, and I do not know what else to say. I am just puzzled. Okay, to avoid my post being put on hold for being too succinct, I will add a couple of naive thoughts ...
1
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1answer
139 views

The lexical root of the past tense forms differrent from the lexical root of the infinitive form

Does Russian have any verbs, whose past tense forms are based on the lexical root that differs from the lexical root of the infinitive form (by analogy with the Latin verb fero > tuli)?
8
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1answer
477 views

How did 'ликвиди́ровать' semantically shift to mean 'abolish' and 'destroy, kill'?

I was reading the etymology of the English 'liquidate', when I read on Wiktionary that The sense "to kill, do away with" is a semantic loan from Russian ликвиди́ровать (likvidírovatʹ), ultimately ...
10
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1answer
458 views

The origin of ни пуха ни пера - к чёрту

Why do we say ни пуха ни пера wishing someone good luck? The traditional response is also interesting. People are expected to say к чёрту. What is the origin of the idiom?
3
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1answer
154 views

What is the meaning of 'ать [его] копалку'?

I am currently in the midst of translating a passage of Victor Astafiev's Где-то гремит война and I have come across a phrase several times that I cannot get my head around. 1. Но нет у меня ...
0
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2answers
138 views

Origin of Валюта

I am curios about Валюта meaning currency. What is the origin of the word? Does it come from greek or latin or somewhere else?
0
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0answers
69 views

Origin of Валюта

I am curios about Валюта meaning currency. What is the origin of the word? Does it come from greek or latin or somewhere else?
1
vote
0answers
61 views

Why use Г in for example Горизонт and not for example Х? [duplicate]

I am just a happy beginner in Russian language, but to my ears Х sounds closer to H than Г. Does anyone know why words like Horizon (Горизонт) choose Г instead? Is there some historic explanation ...
4
votes
2answers
315 views

Origin of the word ''захолустье''

What is the etymological origin of the word ''захолустье''? For me, the origin of this word is a big mystery of the Russian language. In modern Russian, this word means ''a remote place, a place ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

Why did the meaning of the loanword креол change?

The term креол was adopted in Russian a couple of centuries back. Just possibly, it was introduced by Nikolai Rezanov after he visited Brazil and California. The term's origin is described as the ...
5
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4answers
368 views

…дались тебе эти макароны!

Как вообще возник оборот "далось тебе [это] XXX" ? Почему он означает то, что означает? Т.е. я его использую, нутром ощущаю, но логически разложить этот оборот на составляющие, объяснить его механику ...
4
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1answer
281 views

The origin of “В тридевятом царстве, в тридесятом государстве”

"В тридевятом царстве, в тридесятом государстве" ("in a Faraway Land") is a phrase that is used in numerous Russian fairytales. Why is царство - тридевятое (3-9ое), and государство - тридесятое (3-...
5
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1answer
199 views

Are the Russian word “чары” and English word “charm” etymologically related?

Do "чары" and "charm" share a common etymological root? According to the OED, "charm" originates (through French) from Latin carmen ("song"), which is believed to originate from the Proto-Indo-...
3
votes
1answer
250 views

The origin of “на авось”

The Russian idiom сделать что-то на авось is very interesting indeed. I know that it may be similar to the English idiom on the off-chance, which means relying on the remote possibility (if you can ...
4
votes
1answer
121 views

Этимология слова “черенок” в значении кошелёк, использованное Гоголем?

В произведении "Тарас Бульба" Н.В.Гоголя присутствует следующая фраза: "... снявши с него саблю с дорогою рукоятью и отвязавши от пояса целый черенок с червонцами". Очевидно (и подтверждается ...
4
votes
1answer
282 views

Cathedral, “Кафедральный”, why is ф in there?

After reading this article I got curious how ф is in place of "th" in English for the word Cathedral (Кафедральный)? Sounds almost like a coffee-place. (I know it is not Café or Kafee in russian but ...
2
votes
1answer
230 views

How to make up a name - eighth day of week? [closed]

I'm planning to give a speech in Russian where I'll say something like "imagine there's an eighth day of the week--let's call it ______." Представьте, что прибавился еще день недели--назовем его ...

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