Questions tagged [этимология]

The history and the origin of words and phrases.

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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.
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5answers
271 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 ...
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6answers
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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 ...
4
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1answer
229 views

Could a translation error lead to squares to not be considered as rectangles?

I'm reading a certain set of kindergarten/lower primary maths textbooks that is written by North American authors for a European company. Whenever students are asked to identify the number of ...
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7answers
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Russian words for magic. Etymology, usage and connotations

Something that I realised early on when learning Russian were the different words Russians would use where an English speaker would just say magic: The first word I came into contact with was ...
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2answers
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Этимология слова «Глюк»

Как образовалось слово «глюк»? Различные источники утверждают, что оно произошло от слова «галлюцинация», но без дальнейших объяснений, а они так друг на друга не похожи
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1answer
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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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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Правда ли что слово “блядь” происходит от польского “błąd”?

В недавнем вопросе о правильности написания слова "блядь" в комментариях разгорелась дискуссия по поводу этимологии этого слова. Были высказаны две версии заимствования. Например, что само это слово ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
277 views

Махать платочком - which specifically and why?

In literature, I can read some type of earlier-times custom, that women машут платочком to say goodbye (waive with scarf?) Which piece of fabric did they waive and is there a special hidden original ...
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2answers
468 views

Is «ндравиться» archaic or just geographical?

Having traveled in the rural area around Penza I found that almost all the people say «ндравиться» rather than «нравиться», for example: — Мне ндравится сегодняшняя погода. Is it some archaic ...
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2answers
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Is “тройбан” derived from “ебан тремя”?

"Тройбан" is a slang word for "три" (a ruder version of 'three'). There is also a word "трояк" (less rude and more common). The affix "як" can be attached to ...
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2answers
276 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 "...
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9answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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Как перевести “price match”?

Price-match, frankly, appears to almost be a single word in English, however, it is surprisingly missing from the dictionary, and translate tools don't seem to do the justice, either. http://www....
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8answers
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Why doesn't Russian have native words beginning with А?

I've heard that Russian has no native words beginning with the letter A. The claim is that the words appearing under A in dictionaries were all imported at some stage or another. Browsing through the ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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7answers
637 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 ...
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“Жратва” и “жертва”, “жрать” и “жрец”

Мой первый здесь вопрос. Заголовок я постарался сделать забавным, но вопрос вполне серьёзен. Друг спросил сегодня, нет ли общего происхождения у вышеозначенных слов. У меня под рукой нет словарей, ...
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5answers
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“Красная” Площадь

It seems to be relatively common knowledge that the name "Красная Площадь," while translated in English as "Red Square," does not actually mean "Red Square" in Russian, but rather "Beautiful Square." ...
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4answers
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Origin of name “Kamchatka”

I am seeking the etyomology of the name of the peninsula, Kamchatka. The only explanation I have found is in the old book "A shooting trip to Kamchatka", which suggests that it comes from a term ...
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3answers
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Is the ending “-ция” specific to loanwords from English?

Since childhood I instinctively knew if an English word that ends with "-tion" will have a translation into Russian ending with "-ция". There are some more pairs such as this. Example: Moderation - ...
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3answers
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Etymology of “Володино”

Numerous villages are called "Володино", does it mean something?
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1answer
222 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).
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1answer
201 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 ...
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2answers
733 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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1answer
152 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?
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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 ...
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3answers
656 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 ...
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1answer
171 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?
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1answer
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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 ...
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2answers
334 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
281 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: ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
537 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 ...
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1answer
399 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 ...
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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: ...
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2answers
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Значение слова кощун в средние века

Современные словари определяют слово кощун как "насмешник, богохульник". Однако в "Материалах для словаря древнерусского языка" Срезневского напротив слов кощуна, коштяна, коштюна написано "μύθος, ...
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3answers
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“Битком набиты” — was “биток” actually a noun at some time?

Did биток always only exist in the context of the idiom "битком набиты", or was it a "perfectly valid noun in its own right" at some point in the past?
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2answers
291 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, ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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3answers
762 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
277 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 ...
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1answer
142 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)?
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5answers
431 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 ...
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3answers
201 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" ...
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3answers
547 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 (...

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