Monday, September 30, 2013

September is Etymology Month (30)

ПОДКУЗЬМИТЬ [podkuz'mit'] 'to do someone a bad turn'. From the festival of Sts. Kuz'ma and Dem'jan (17th October, OS), at which deals were concluded and accounts settled between employer and employee, originally 'to dispel hopes connected with St. Kuz'ma's Day'. Cf. объегорить 'to cheat', originally referring to the practice of reneging on similar deals struck before St. George's Day (Егор(ий) from Георгий, patron saint of agriculture), 26 November NS.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

September is Etymology Month (29)

КОСМОНАВТ [kosmonávt] 'spaceman'. based on Gk. kósmos 'space', naútes 'sailor', widely known after the first manned space flight by Jurij Gagarin on 12 April 1961 (космонавтика 'outer space exploration' is recorded in dictionaries from 1958). Cf. астронавт 'astronaut', used mainly of US spacemen, and occasionally астрокосмонавты, used in 1975 during the joint Apollo Sojuz flight (ЭПАС - Экспериментальный полёт Аполлон-Союз 'Apollo-Sojuz Experimental Flight).

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September is Etymology Month (28)

ПЛОЩАДЬ [plóščad'] 'square'. OR 'square, street', from ChSl., based on Gk. plateia (hodós 'way' understood) 'street', lit. 'flat, broad way', alternatively from *ploskědь, cf. плоский 'flat', with -sk- palatalising to -šč- before -ě-, thus 'flat area'.

Friday, September 27, 2013

September is Etymology Month (27)

ДОСТОПРИМЕЧАТЕЛЬНЫЙ [dostoprimečátel'nyj] 'noteworthy'. A calque of Gk. axiothéatos, id. (axios 'worthy', theatós 'to be seen'). Cf. достопримечательности 'the sights', Ger. Sehenswürdigkeiten, id.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Current Favorite Sentences

Look, I grew up in a society where I could say 'I ain't' or 'what it be' to my friends. But when I'm out presenting myself to the world as me, who graduated from college, who had family who cared about me, who has a well-read background, I fucking conjugate.

September is Etymology Month (26)

ТРЕСКА [ treská] 'cod'. Early 17th century in this meaning. Possibly from 11th-century meaning 'splinter'. cf. earlier рыба-щёпка 'cod', lit. 'splinter-fish', analogous to Ger. Stockfisch 'cod', lit. 'stick-fish'. Perhaps from the fish's tendency to shred into fibres, like wood, during the drying process (cf. трескаться 'to crack'). Alternatively, cognate with Ger. Dorsch 'cod' (cf. Dan. Torsk, id.), from dürr 'dry, dried out' (Dorsch is properly Dörrfisch from dörren 'to dry, bake'), thus lit. 'dried smoked fish'. Cf. IE *ters- 'to rub, dry'.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September is Etymology Month (25)

ТИСКИ [tiskí] 'vice' (tech.). 16th century, cf. тискать 'to squeeze', cognate with тесный 'cramped'.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September is Etymology Month (24)

ЧЕПУХА [čepuchá] 'nonsense'. Mid-18th century 'splinter' (cf. analogous вздор 'nonsense' originally 'litter', cognate with драть 'to tear'). Alternatively, a blend of щепа 'splinter' and чуха (obs. reg.) 'nonsense'. Unlikely to be associated with тщетный 'futile'.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September is Etymology Month (23)

ВОСТОК [vostók] 'east'. 11th century, from ChSl., calqued from Gk. anatole 'rising, especially of the sun or moon' (cf. Gk. anatéllo 'i rise up'), thus the place where the sun rises (вос-/ana- 'upward' + ток, cognate with течь 'to flow', CSl *tekti 'flow, run') cf. Lat. oriens 'rising sun, east'.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September is Etymology Month (22)

НОСОРОГ [nosoróg] 'rhinoceros'. A calque of Gk. rinókeros, id. (rís, gen. rinós 'nose', kéras 'horn') cf. Ger. Nashorn, id., lit. 'nose-horn', also calqued from Gk.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September is Etymology Month (21)

ПОЛОТНО [polotnó] 'linen'. OR 'linen fabric, web', from CSl. *poltъno, with inter-consonantal -оло- in ESl. Cognate with Skr. patah 'piece of cloth', cf. dim. derivative полотенце 'towel'.

Friday, September 20, 2013

September is Etymology Month (20)

ПОНЧИК [pónčik] 'doughnut'. Early 20th century, from Pol. 15th-century pączek 'pancake, doughnut', lit. 'small bud', cf. Pol. pąk 'bud'.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September is Etymology Month (19)

АКУЛА [akúla] 'shark'. Recorded in dictionaries (originally with -kk-) since 1789, but known earlier, probably from Sc. languages, cf. OSc. hakarl (with -a in R. perhaps by analogy with рыба 'fish') alternately from a Norw. dial. source, cf. also Farøese hakallur 'basking shark', hákelling 'Greenland shark', Icel. hakka 'to eat like a beast'.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September is Etymology Month (18)

ЯЩИК [jáščik] 'box, drawer'. 14th-/15th centuries аскъ, then яскъ 'basket', possibly of Gmc. origin, cf. OIcel. askr 'ash-tree, wooden vessel' (the ash was much prized in wood carving), cf. OHG asc 'dish', earlier 'boat', probably of ash-wood.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September is Etymology Month (17)

КОПЬЕ [kop'ë] 'spear'. 10th century (also 'man with spear', cf. Eng. gun 'member of shooting party'), from CSl. *kopьje, cognate with *kopati 'to strike', thus 'what you strike with', Cf. Gk. kopis 'cleaver'.

Monday, September 16, 2013

September is Etymology Month (16)

ХАЛАТ [chalát] 'dressing-gown, oriental robe'. 17th century at the latest, via Tkc. (Radlov designates khyl'at as Turk.), from Ar. khil'at 'robe of honour'. (In some Asiatic societies such garments wer presented by high-ranking dignitaries, as a mark of favour.) Derivatives include халатный 'negligent'.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September is Etymology Month (15)

РЫБА [ryba] 'fish'. 11th century, from CSl. *ryba, possibly cognate with late MHG rup(p)e 'caterpillar, grub' (Ger. Raupe, id., cf. also Ger. Aalraupe 'eel-pout, burbot'). A taboo for earlier *zъvь (cf. Lith žuvis 'fish'), a word said to have been avoided by fishermen because of its similarity to звать 'to call' (to 'call' the fish would be unlucky, cf. невод 'sweep-net', lit. 'non-net'). A connection has also been proposed with рябой 'pock-marked', thus initially 'speckled fish' (e.g., a salmon).

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September is Etymology Month (14)

ЖАР [žar] 'heat'. 12th century жаръ 'fire, intense heat', from CSl. *gerъ/*žarъ. Cognate with гореть 'to burn', греть 'to heat', горячий 'hot', жаркий 'hot' (of climate), Gk. thermos 'hot'.

Friday, September 13, 2013

September is Etymology Month (13)

МАТЬ [mat'] 'mother'. 11th century, from CSl. *mati, gen. *matere, IE *mate/*mater-, id., based on onomatopoeic *ma, cf. Skr. matri, id., Gk. meter, id., Lat. mater, id. Loss of -r- is characteristic of Balto-Slav., cf. Lith. motina, id., Latv. mate, id. Cognates include мачеха 'step-mother' (with pejorative suffix -еха, cf. дурёха 'stupid woman').

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September is Etymology Month (12)

СКРИПКА [skrípka] 'violin'. Onomatopoeic, from скрипеть 'to creak', cf. скрипач 'viloinist'.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September is Etymology Month (11)

КАНИКУЛЫ [kaníkuly] 'holidays'. Late 18th century loan, possibly via Pol. kanikuła (also psianka, from pies 'dog') 'dog star, Cirius', from Lat. Canicula (dim. of canis 'dog') 'dog-star', also known as Canis or Sirius, regarded by the Romans as Orion's hunting dog, the most important star in the 20-star constellation Canis Major (lit. Great Dog, созвездие (Большого) Пса). In the Roman calendar the Sun was in the constellation Canis, and Sirius was in the ascendant, between 22 July and 23 August, the hottest period of the year, when all activities would be suspended. Каникулы appears in R. in 18th-/early 19th centuries as 'school, academic holidays' (lit. 'days of the constellation Canis'). Cf. English dog days, the hottest period of the year ('reckoned in antiquity from the helical rising of the dog-star'), Lat. dies caniculares, id., Fr. jours (also chaleurs) caniculaires, Ger. Hundestage, Pol. dni kanikularne or psie dni 'dog days'. In R. horoscopes the period 22 July to 23 August is associated with the constellation Leo (Лев), the ruby stone, the colour red, the symbol fire, and the Sun.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September is Etymology Month (10)

ЗАЯДЛЫЙ [zajádlyj] 'inveterate'. From Pol. zajadły 'furious'. based on Pol. zajadać 'to eat heartily' (cf. еда 'food').

Monday, September 09, 2013

September is Etymology Month (9)

ЯМА [jáma] 'hole' 11th century, from CSl. *jama (IE*ioma 'cave'), perhaps cognate with Gk. áme 'spade' (also 'bucket', whence Latin hama, id.) Perhaps lit. 'what is dug with a spade'.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

September is Etymology Month (8)

ЦЕРКОВЬ [cérkov'] 'church'. In origin the acc. case (цьркъвь) of 11th-century цьркы, probably from late Gk. kurikón 'God's house', from earlier (4th century AD) adj. kuriakón 'the Lord's', which was substantivised as 'communion' (from kuriakón deipnon, id., lit. 'the Lord's meal') then 'church' (ellipsis for to (doma) kuriakón 'House of the Lord'). Ultimately from Gk. kúrios 'lord' (Kúrios 'Christ'), with k- changing to ц- (for k- to ч- by first palatalisation of velars, cf. Bulg. черква, alongside църква 'church'). Possibly via. Goth. *kirikô, id. or OHG kiricha, id. (cf. Ger. Kirche, id.). Cf. also cognate куролесить 'to play tricks'.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

September is Etymology Month (7)

МАМОНТ [mámont] 'mammoth'. 17th century (for some time in the 19th century also мамут, cf. Pol./Cz. mamut, id.), possibly from a Jakut or Tungus word meaning 'living in the ground' (the mammoth was thought to be a burrowing animal, cf. Tatar mama 'earth' and early accounts of a 'sea elephant' that lived underground). Alternatively, from the Gr. mammoúth, with phonetic shape affected, perhaps, by the OR name Мамонтъ, cf. absence of -n- in Eng., and in Fr. mammouth, id., Ger. Mammut, id., explained, perhaps, by a misreading of -on- as -ou-, or by derivation from an earlier form. Finally, the name could have been transferred from some other exotic animal, based on the мамоны (nocturnal predators said to live in hills or rocks) described in travellers' tales from India, perhaps wild cats or lynxes, or, perhaps most logically in view of the burrowing legends, mole-like creatures (cf., however, OR мамоны 'monkeys').

Friday, September 06, 2013

La Castiglione (1837-1899)

More information here.

September is Etymology Month (6)

РОМАШКА [romaška] 'camomile'. 1st half of 18th century, lit. 'Roman flower', based on Anthemis romana, Chamaemelum romanum (late Lat. c(h)amomilla) from Gk. chamaímelon, lit. 'earth apple' (chamaí 'on the ground', melon 'apple, any tree fruit' - from the apple-like scent of the plant). For -шка, cf.  роман (also романова трава), found in pre-18th century herbaria, and ромашка 'camomile' and analogous Иван 'Ivan', dim. Ивашка. Seemingly directly via Pol. rumianek 'camomile' (from the pink tinge of the petals, cf. Pol. rumiany 'ruddy'), rather than from Fr. camomille romaine (Anthemis nobilis), a plant whose leaves and flowerheads are used for medicinal purposes.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

September is Etymology Month (5)

СТЕРЕЧЬ [steréč] 'to guard'. 11th century, from CSl. *stergti, id., with ESl. inter-consonantal -ере-, and -ч- by first palatalization of velars. Said to result from a contamination of the roots of Gk. stérgo 'I love', stégo 'I cover closely, fend off' and Lith. sergèti 'to guard'. Cf. сторож 'watchman' (IE *storg-, id.) and (with ChSl. -ра-) стража 'guard, watch'.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

September is Etymology Month (4)

ХЛОПАТЬ [chlópat'] 'to slam'. From onomatopoeic хлоп! (for -от, cf.  грохот 'rumble') whence also хлопоты 'trouble' (OR хлопоть 'noise'). Cognates include клепать 'to rivet' and шлёпатъ 'to smack'.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

September is Etymology Month (3)

ПРОТИВОЯДИЕ [protivojádije] 'antidote'. A calque of Ger. Gegengift, id. or Fr. contrepoison, id., both based on Lat. antidotum, 'remedy against poison', Gk. antídoton 'antidote' (antí 'against', dotéos 'to be given').

Monday, September 02, 2013

September is Etymology Month (2)

СКРОМНЫЙ [skrómnyj] 'modest'. 17th century, from Pol. skromny, id., probably based on Pol. kroma 'edge, border', thus properly 'limited, confined'. Cognate with кремль 'Kremlin', кромка 'edge', кроме 'apart from'.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

September is Etymology Month (1)

БОБР [bobr] 'beaver' (cf. бобёр 'beaver fur') From CSl. *bobrъ/*bebrъ, IE *bhebros 'red-brown, beaver' (cf. Lith. bebras 'beaver'), the animal thus being named for the colour of its fur.

[All etymologies this month taken from Terence Wade's useful Russian Etymological Dictionary (London, Bristol Classical Press 1996)]