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Questions tagged [этимология]

The history and the origin of words and phrases.

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Are "работа" and "раб" related?

From this Hacker News discussion, I learned that the Czech word "robota" means "forced labor" and has mostly negative connotations. In Polish, which is a closely related Slavic ...
gog's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
449 views

What is the etymology of phrase "морского извозчика"

In China, the Netherlands has a very popular nickname: 海上马车夫 (literally: carriage drivers on the sea or sea coachman), it's so popular that it's printed in Chinese high school textbooks. It's also ...
user2249675's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
293 views

What is the etymology of какаовелла?

Inspired by this question, what is the etymology of какаовелла? The какао part is easy, but what about велла?
Rodrigo de Azevedo's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
84 views

Сноситься / связаться

While reading a Russian language resource published in 1950, I noticed that сноситься/ снестись was translated as "to get in contact with." After reviewing some online dictionaries, I ...
the_darkside's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
1k views

Distinguishing between "effectiveness" and "efficiency" in Russian

The Russian translation for "effectiveness" seems to be "эффективность", a word that sounds pretty similar to "effectiveness" and also initially would seem to be able to ...
Max's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
237 views

How pleonastic is "эту работу выполним целиком и полностью"?

... до конца года мы эту работу выполним целиком и полностью ... do kontsa goda my etu rabotu vypolnim tselikom i polnost'yu I understand what this means from closed captions, google translate and a ...
vectory's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
176 views

Is разговор in fact раз + говорить because a conversation is like a repeated/iterative/continuous act of speaking?

Take the three chunks of text below: One time. Speak. A conversation. They can be translated as Один раз. Говорить. Разговор. So I can't help but notice that pазговор- looks and sounds like a ...
Enlico's user avatar
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палёнка = pálenka?

Недавно я наткнулся в чешском языке на слово "pálenka" - это такое фруктовое бренди. Первая ассоциация, пришедшая на ум - слово "палёнка" (алкоголь низкого качества). Это может ...
Paul's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
262 views

Why is непричемыш word written with не?

Why is the word непричемыш written with не, despite the fact that ни при чем is always written with ни?
Kurovsky's user avatar
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1 answer
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Is there a relation between звонила and телефоне? [closed]

-вон- in звонила sounds a lot like -фон- in телефоне, so I wondering if the former comes from the latter. The reason I don't think the relation (if it exists) can't be the other way around is that it ...
Enlico's user avatar
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2 votes
4 answers
301 views

Сначала vs Начало

I've noticed that начало means beginning and сначала means first (in the sense of precendence in time), for instance: At the beginning of June I bought the table first. is translated as В начале ...
Enlico's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
183 views

Is there a relation between готов and готовить?

I'm at a very basic level, and I'm doing my best to remember words and notice connections to save some memory. Cooking and be ready seem to be related to me. In some way, when something is cooked... ...
Enlico's user avatar
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1 vote
5 answers
400 views

Is my understanding of the surname suffix -ов correct?

I have two questions about the suffix -ов in Russian surnames. Is the -ов surname suffix the most common one in Russia? Does the -ов surname suffix in modern Russian mean "a descendant of the ...
Alex's user avatar
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1 answer
164 views

Understanding the different meanings of 'снисходительный'

I was hoping somebody could help me understand the connection (or lack thereof) between the two translations I have seen of the adjective 'снисходительный' on Wiktionary, respectively 1.'indulgent' or ...
Will C's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
251 views

Что значит личный в личном составе?

Что именно означает слово "личный" в словосочетании "личный состав"? Может ли состав быть не личным или просто составом или составом каким-либо другим?
Trident D'Gao's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
203 views

Etymology of -ова in Russian surnames

How should the suffix of feminine surnames, e.g. Морозова, be considered from an etymological perspective? Are -ов and -а etymologically distinct morphemes or parts of a single one?
Kohjah Breese's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
329 views

How is "дача" related to "дать"?

I recently began working through "Leveraging Your Russian with Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes" by Gary Browning, David K. Hart and Raisa Solovyova. In it, they list дача as being derived ...
mjiap's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
298 views

The strange behavior of “обо” (=about), apparently valid only for two expressions? What is the historical reason?

In Russian, the preposition “o” when meaning "about" becomes “обо” when we say “обо мне” (=about me) and “обо всей книге” (=about all the book) but why do we then say: “о многих книгах » (=...
Xavier's user avatar
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1 answer
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On the etymology of Чубайс

I'm curious about the origin of Anatoly Borisovich's family name. Is it derived from Чуб? Or, perhaps, do Чубайс and Чуб have a common origin? Is anything at all known about it?
Rodrigo de Azevedo's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
269 views

In the impersonal expression “Мне везёт” (=I am lucky), what was originally the implicit subject and what would be its literal translation?

I understand that in the expression “Мне везёт”, it is not the transitive verb “везти́” (to carry by transportation - unidirectional) that is used but it is the intransitive verb “везти́”, meaning to ...
Xavier's user avatar
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1 answer
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The perfective verb опереться (to lean on) has the strangest conjugation in the future and imperative, what is the etymological reason for it?

From the impf/pf pair опираться/опереться (=to lean on), опереться seems to be the only verb that exhibits the following strange conjugations, though apparently belonging to the -e- conjugation group: ...
Xavier's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
189 views

Why the distinction between animate/inanimate appears in masculine accusative but only in feminine plural?

What is the reason in terms of the history of the language and is there the exact same difference in other Slavic or non-Slavic languages ?
Xavier's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
407 views

What is the meaning of Shatun when applied to Russian family names?

I understand that the Russian word shatun was applied in Siberia to describe a grizzly bear that didn’t go into its usual hibernation, or was awakened before spring, and prowls around in winter, ...
Phillip's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why do some Russian words look similar to English ones?

When studying Russian, I often encounter words that seem like they are coming from English. However, that is purely a superficial impression because the words are Latin or Greek. практиковать - ...
Sam's user avatar
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3 votes
4 answers
547 views

Did the adjective рад used to have a longer form?

While I was searching for the longer form of an adjective рад, I found the following sentence: рад, рада, радо, рады are short form adjectives, and also the only commonly used short form adjective in ...
Blaszard's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
292 views

origin of expression "да ладно"

since literal translation of "да ладно!" doesn't mean "are you kidding!" or "no way!" . I am interested to know the origin of such a expression. I guess it may be a ...
Elias's user avatar
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2 answers
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да ладно meaning [duplicate]

I'm new to Russian language and I was wondering since Literal translation of да ладно doesn't mean "are you kidding" or "no way", I guess it should have some sort of irony like &...
Elias's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
133 views

Анатолий - анатольев, but Анатолия - what adjective?

From the proper noun Анатолий we can form the possessive adjective анатольев (like in the expression анатольевы стихиры), but from the proper noun Анатолия (i mean the girl's name, not turkish region) ...
Marius Marius's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
162 views

Is it coincidence that “плуг” in Russian is so similar to “plough” in English (they mean the same thing) [closed]

The translation of “plough”, a farming tool, into Russian is «плуг», they sound very similar, why? What’s the etymology of these words?
Evgeny Sizov's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
718 views

Why is the Russian word Лошадь (horse) so similar to the word площадь (square)? [closed]

I am just starting to learn Russian and I noticed that these 2 words are very similar. Are they actually related? Is a square a place to keep your horse? Thanks in advance.
Helen Jacoby's user avatar
4 votes
5 answers
342 views

How to explain two almost opposite meanings of "лихой"

I am puzzled by the fact that while most earlier usage of лихой have distinctly negative connotations (лиходей, лихой человек is most certainly a villain, лихие времена - bad times, лихоимство - deeds ...
მამუკა ჯიბლაძე's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
187 views

Is there a link between the word "horse" and "rot"?

Today's French TV news covered the reconstruction of the Napoleonic army retreat from Russia in 1812 (it was held in Vyazma, and there was an official burial of Russian and French soldiers from that ...
WoJ's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
6k views

Before 1957, what word or phrase was used for satellites (natural and artificial)?

In 1957, Sputnik was launched. The word "sputnik" can be used for satellites in Russian or English. Before 1957, was "sputnik" used that way? Did Russians have a different word or ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 551
4 votes
2 answers
335 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 "...
Phoenix's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
305 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"?
Martin Peters's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
249 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).
Mike C's user avatar
  • 133
5 votes
1 answer
231 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 ...
Danny Lo's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
236 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?
mathreadler's user avatar
29 votes
4 answers
9k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
23 votes
6 answers
9k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
3 votes
1 answer
207 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?
V.V.'s user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
416 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?
Farrukh Normuradov's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
443 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: ...
J. Doe's user avatar
  • 897
2 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
9 votes
7 answers
910 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
4 votes
1 answer
908 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 ...
Young Lee's user avatar
24 votes
5 answers
4k 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: ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
  • 11.2k
3 votes
2 answers
481 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, ...
Enguroo's user avatar
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