Etymological notes in the margin of an expediton notebook: native Russian vocabulary in the dialects of the White Sea Tersky coast

2022. № 1 (43), 182-205

Elena L. Berezovich
Ural Federal University
(Ekaterinburg, Russia)


The article deals with Russian dialectal lexical items that are native by origin and that
were collected by the Ural University Toponymic expedition in villages of the White Sea Tersky
coast in 2021. Some of these words have not been recorded (and therefore etymologized)
previously. Other words have been noted elsewhere; but the field collection of material made
it possible to discover significant nuances in historical lexicography, motivation, and etymology.
The most detailed analysis is given to the following words: 1. kuím, kuímchik ‘a potluck
party’ (regarded as based on the root of the Proto-Slavic verb *jьmǫ, *jęti ‘to take, to collect’
with the expressive prefix ku-); 2. kl’okodui ‘a healthy and robust man’ (traced to Proto-
Slavic *klek-: the family of the latter contains words with the meaning ‘vital force’ and names
of various concentrated liquids); 3. úzhma ‘a small stream between lakes’ (explained as deriving
from the verb zhat’ ‘to squeeze’); 4. *pafi that is part of the expression spat’ (drykhnut’)
bez paféi ‘to sleep soundly’: the author suggests several explanations for this word, one of
which is the onomatopoeic representation of sounds made by a sleeping person. A less detailed
analysis is offered for the words luk ‘a meadow plot for one owner’, ognívo ‘a folded
wing of a bird’, branítsa ‘a place on the shore from which stones have been removed for a
boat to land’, voronúkha ‘a strong current in a river (usually on a rapid)’ and voronéts ‘a river
shoal’, légorno, légurno ‘comfortably; easily, without harmful consequences’.