The history of the word пол in eighteenth-century Russian (based on the card files of The Dictionary of the Russian Language of the 18-th Century)

2016. № 2 (32), 115-142

Georgy A. Molkov, Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences


The word pol ‘half’ had an independent status in Old Russian but in Modern Russian has almost lost it. The paper examines the history of this lexeme — in formal and semantic aspects — in the eighteenth century. Its usage in its numeral function is described against the background of substantival meanings ‘middle’, ‘side’, ‘about a half’. It is shown that in the first part of the century the word пол loses the main properties of an independent word in objective cases. The change of the type of literary language in the epoch of Peter I was a crucial point in this process. The opening paragraphs of the article provide an overview of the studies of the history of Russian numerals and discuss the problems of lexicographical interpretation of the word pol at different stages of its history.