All Slavic languages/BCS: сапатник (sapatnik), сапатница (sapatnica)


Senior Member
Hello everybody,

I would like to know what words Slavic languages use to denote the concept of "fellow sufferer". I'm only interested in single words, and not periphrastic descriptions - something analogous to the Russian "соратник" (please don't misunderstand that I'm saying that this word means "fellow sufferer").

Meanwhile, I have a more specific question in connection with this for BCS - would the word "сапатник/sapatnik" (or its female equivalent "сапатница/sapatnica") be appropriate to denote a person with whom you share your "патњу", e.g. during war or within the context of social oppression? I heard a native BCS speaker use "сапатница" when speaking about feminism (from the perspective of the oppression of women), but now that I've looked it up, I see only so few hits for it, which has made me question it. Perhaps this is not the proper form of the word in question, because the suffix is incorrect, or something such, or perhaps this word is a spontaneous neologism which has been created by different people independently on different occasions by analogy with other words meaning "fellow X" (e.g. "сарадник") to suit their needs within a particular conversation. If, in turn, this word isn't valid, we return to my first/general question.

Thank you in advance
  • Karton Realista

    Senior Member
    Polish - Poland
    PL: Współcierpiętnik, współmęczennik
    Współcierpiętniczka, współmęczenniczka
    Those words are big and you can't throw them around loosely, only in harshest cases, like: slave, deeply depressed person, martyr.
    No use for feminist concept, unless somebody is talking about serious feminist issues, like situation of women in Saudi Arabia or some African countries.
    Those examples come from the word creation (from cierpiętnik, męczennik), but I'm pretty sure they are correct.

    PS. A radical feminist would use those words even to describe minor suffering of western women, but it would be a huge exaggeration


    Senior Member
    Serbian (Србија)
    I can only tell you that the word сапатник/сапатница exist in standard Serbian. Serbian dictionary:

    сàпатнӣк м онај који с неким заједно пати, друг у патњи
    сàпатница ж жена сапатник
    сàпатнӣштво с заједничка патња, сапатнички однос, стање сапатника


    Senior Member
    Thank you for the replies.


    сострадалник (masculine)
    сострадалница (feminine)

    Both words are formal but usable in non-extreme contexts, e.g. contexts beyond slavery and martyrdom, so I would say that they're somewhat weaker than the Polish words that have been proposed. However, using them to describe the minor suffering of Western women would indeed be an exaggeration, so its not as though they're light words either.

    Meanwhile, in Macedonian сопатник/сопатница means fellow traveller; even though we say "пати" for to suffer, these words are actually derived from "пат" (way, road, journey), which corresponds to BCS "пут", Slovenian "pot", and Russian "путь".

    P.S. These words don't suggest anything about pity, even though in Russian "сострадание" means "pity".


    Senior Member
    Russian has сострадáлец/сострадáлица, but I can't decide whether they're too elevated and outdated for normal speech or if the society doesn't talk about this concept any more. However, if one needs to express this concept, I can't see an alternative way to do it (some dictionaries list the forms in -ник/-ница, but they sound worse).

    The meaning "one who deeply sympathises" is mostly reserved for сострадáтель(ница), so I don't think it'll cause ambiguity.
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