Towards the history of two dialecticisms: baxmur and gamyrit′ (some addenda to Alexander Anikin’s Russian Etymological Dictionary)

2020. № 1 (39), 210-233

Niyaz I. Kireyev
Ufa 45th School with in-depth study of individual subjects
(Ufa, Russia)


The Arabic words h̬amr ‘wine, alcohol’ and maḫmūr ‘intoxicated’, which share the same
root, were borrowed via Persian and then Turkic languages into Russian dialects as gamyra
and baxmur respectively (with phonetic and morphological variations).
However, a commonly accepted etymon for the second word, the Tatar maxmïr
‘hangover, intoxication’, is phonetically unsatisfactory. I suggest another source for the
Russian word, a form close to the Bashkir (Bashqort) baxmur ‘idem’. The latter, although not
documented by lexicographers, is well attested in Bashqort corpora. It might indicate that the
dissimilation m...m > b...m took place already in Turkic rather than in Russian. I analyse the
semantic development of the Russian word baxmur (its primary meaning is supposed to be
‘malaise, headache’, the meaning ‘bad weather’ being secondary) and of its derivatives (like
baxmurnyj ‘sad’, etc.) arising from folk-etymological reanalysis as ba-xmur, cf. xmura
‘darkness, black cloud’. Some attention is also paid to phonetically alternate derivatives like
buxmarit′ ‘to rain’. Toponymic and anthroponymic evidence is briefly discussed as well.
The word gamyra (with many variants) and the historically related gomzo/gomso, as
Anikin suggested, were first adopted from Turkic by the language of ofeni (ofenyas),
travelling traders. I make an attempt to specify the time of borrowing (not later than the end of
the 18th century) and to clarify the ensuing history of these words. Initially, the meaning
shifted to ‘vodka’, then the words spread into prisoners’ argot with the meaning ‘(diluted)
spirit’, and then they were adopted by regional dialects with the meaning ‘denatured alcohol’.
Later still, the verb gamyrit′ spread to substandard language with the meaning ‘to produce
moonshine’, which subsequently widened to ‘to produce something, to whip up, to make’.
Existing literary examples from the 19th to the 21st century are also taken into account.