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Questions tagged [этимология]

The history and the origin of words and phrases.

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28 votes
3 answers
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Are there words that can be spelled with both т and ф?

Some words of Greek descent use ф as corresponding to the Greek θ, while some use т. The former I think tend to be loaned earlier. However, in "Brothers Karamazov" I have found Mitya using the word "...
zefciu's user avatar
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23 votes
6 answers
16k views

The history and meaning of "ни фига себе"

I understand how the expression is used pretty well, but wonder where did it come from? What exactly does фиг mean?
JAM's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
5k views

Кофий и кофе - что от чего произошло? Is the кофе derived from кофий or vice versa?

Артемий Лебедев в своем "ководстве" пишет: Мужской род бедному напитку достался от устаревших форм «кофий» или «кофей». У Корнея Чуковского в книге "Живой как жизнь" сказано: Русский язык ...
Artemix's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
662 views

Special treatment for plural forms depending on number of objects - where does it originate from?

This has puzzled me for a long time. In Russian, we count objects in a weird way: Один камень Два камня Три камня Четыре камня Пять камней ... Двадцать камней Двадцать один камень Then, the pattern ...
orlenko's user avatar
  • 303
6 votes
2 answers
474 views

What's the difference between "Ива́нович" and "Ивано́в"?

Are both Ива́нович and Ивано́в derived from the given name Ива́н (Ivan)? Ивано́в is a surname, how about Ива́нович?
zzzgoo's user avatar
  • 163
2 votes
1 answer
297 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
  • 161
2 votes
1 answer
775 views

What's the difference between the surname suffix -ов and patronimics in -ич?

Are the suffixes -ов and -ова in people's names equivalent to the suffix -son used in Germanic languages? The suffixes -ич, -ича also refer to the name of the father in patronymics. Are they ...
swrutra's user avatar
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27 votes
9 answers
19k 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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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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
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23 votes
5 answers
22k views

Racist language in Russia/USA

I really hope this question doesn't get deleted or flagged, so to make sure it doesn't I will try to keep it as academic as possible. I am currently an American student studying in Saint Petersburg ...
Rocket Man's user avatar
20 votes
7 answers
4k views

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 ...
15 votes
2 answers
619 views

Do "русый" and "русский" have a common root?

Does the name of the hair color русый come from the name of the people/land?
Vitaly Mijiritsky's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
916 views

Are the Russian “рыжий” and French “rouge” (red) related? / Как связаны русское «рыжий» и французское «rouge»?

While I since had learned that linguistics works in much more mysterious ways than simply “if words sounds alike, or also mean similar things, they must be related”, for a long time I presumed that ...
theUg's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
866 views

Почему Евклид, а не Эвклид?

Why is Евклид spelled with Е in Russian? All the other words and names with Greek origin starting with E that I can think of are spelled with Э in Russian. Эратосфен, эвтаназия, эвристика ...
Armen Tsirunyan's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
2k views

Этимология слова «аист» / etymology of “аист” (stork)

Считается, что в русском языке нет исконных слов, начинающихся на букву «А». Как объяснить этимологию слова «аист», явно отличающуюся от лексем в родственных языках? бел. бусел укр. лелека русин. ...
Manjusri's user avatar
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8 votes
6 answers
945 views

The exact origin of шёл

I'm aware of шёл's derivation from Proto-Slavic *xьdlъ, related to ходить, but that form still seems irregular — given that вёл, which has the exact same relation to водить, had e rather than ь in the ...
Nikolay Ershov's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
359 views

Впервые or впервыя (in old orthography)?

In pre-1918 Russian orhography, female and neuter adjectives in pl. nom. had endings -iя, -ыя: новыя вещи, голубыя озёра, but новые наряды, голубые киты. Pluralia tantum require some etymologic ...
Quassnoi's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Mitsuko's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
671 views

Etymology of the name "Modest" (Модест)

"Modest" is a common Russian name, most famously known as the name of the composer Mussorgsky. Does the etymology of this name have any relationship to the English/Latin etymology of the word?
March Ho's user avatar
  • 163
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

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 - ...
user1306322's user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
302 views

Thesaurus organization by lexical kinship and etymology

Is there a kind of thesaurus that teaches words based on kinship? An example will make clear to you what I have in mind: суд - судья́, суди́ть, ... коне́ц - наконе́ц, зака́нчивать/зако́нчить, конча́ть/...
Lumi's user avatar
  • 196
3 votes
2 answers
301 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
  • 335
0 votes
0 answers
97 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?
mathreadler's user avatar