22 December 2009

voda&etymology is love

i have a newly discovered love of etymology, which isn't surprising considering my long love affair with words & language. discovering the roots of my beloved words seems like the next logical step.

what better word to start with than "vodka" aka "little water"? what could be a cuter root than that?!

"The name "vodka" is a diminutive form of the Russian word voda (water), interpreted as little water: root вод- (vod-) [water] + -к- (-k-) [ diminutive suffix, among other functions]) + -a [ postfix of feminine gender ].

Another possible connection of "vodka" with "water" is the name of the medieval alcoholic beverage aqua vitae (Latin, literally, "water of life"), which is reflected in Polish "okowita", Ukrainian оковита, or Belarusian акавіта. (Note that whisky has a similar etymology, from the Irish/Scottish Gaelic uisce beatha/uisge-beatha.)

People in the area of vodka's probable origin have names for vodka with roots meaning "to burn": Polish: gorzała; Ukrainian: горілка, horilka; Belarusian: гарэлка, harelka; Slavic: arielka; Lithuanian: degtinė; Samogitian: degtėnė, is also in use, colloquially and in proverbs[8]); Latvian: degvīns; Finnish: paloviina. In Russian during 17th and 18th century горящее вино (goryashchee vino, "burning wine") was widely used. Compare to Danish; brændevin; Dutch: brandewijn; Swedish: brännvin; Norwegian: brennevin (although the latter terms refer to any strong alcoholic beverage)."

p.s. i have to be honest and admit that this post was inspired by a particularly gruesome episode of "CSI."

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