All Slavic languages: red

Encolpius

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hello, I know only about 2 languages, one of them is Czech where there are two common words for the colour red.
Do you have two different common words (not archaic) for red or its shades like Czech ???
Here are some examples, what English call red, Czech can choose between two words (červený - the basic colour and rudý - dark red, but still red)

Red Cross - Červený kříž
red wine - červené víno
red pepper - červená paprika
red card - červená karta

etc....many examples, but:

the Red Sea - Rudé moře
the Red Planet (Mars) - Rudá planeta
the Red Army - Rudá armáda
The Red Square - Rudé náměstí
red hair = rudé vlasy
 
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  • Azori

    Senior Member
    Slovak has only one common adjective for the color red - červený. The adjective rudý was literary in Slovak in the past but nowadays it does not seem to be used at all, so Slovaks may very well not understand its meaning (I didn't when I was a kid).
     

    TriglavNationalPark

    Senior Member
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    In Slovenian, only rdeč is in common use. It has the same etymology as the Czech rudý.

    Slovar slovenskega knji
    žnega jezika also lists the rare form rud, marked as "literary" and meaning both red and brownish-red.
     

    angea

    Senior Member
    English
    Ukrainian language has two words: червоний (chervony) and рудий (rudyi). Червоний would signify colour, and рудий - colour of hair, fur and so on. Рудий also can mean "freckled".
     

    123xyz

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    In Macedonian, only "црвен" is in common use. Besides that, we also have "руен", "алов", and "румен", which are archaic/literary/restricted to a great extent. For me, there are some differences among them, "црвен" and "алов" suggesting a clear, bright red, and "руен" and "румен" suggesting a deeper shade, somewhat closer to maroon. However, there actually aren't any strict implications as to shades in any of the words, as far as I know. By the way, although "руен", "алов", and "румен" are not that common words, "румен" may be encountered much more frequently than the others, particularly when speaking of cheeks (i.e. rosy cheeks) and of meat (or something similar) turning darker when cooked well. As for the other two, "руен" is something that would be used primarily to speak of wine (not so much so as to distinguish white wine from red wine, but qualify red wine), possibly partly under the influence of a famous folk song where this usage may be encountered, whereas "алов", which is evidently a Turkish loanword (built on Turkish "al"), doesn't bear any specific associations, as far as I am concerned.

    P.S. I suppose you don't count any derivatives from the above words, such as "црвеникав" or "црвенкаст" (both of which in fact mean "reddish"), as full-fledged words for "red", though they are in common usage.
     
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    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    In Bulgarian червен is the main word. Other ones include ален and румен (mostly for cheeks and is also a proper name).


    "руен" is something that would be used primarily to speak of wine
    Are you sure this mean red wine? In Bulgarian руйно вино means clear, sparkling wine (not to be confused with champagne).
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Slovak has only one common adjective for the color red - červený. The adjective rudý was literary in Slovak in the past but nowadays it does not seem to be used at all, so Slovaks may very well not understand its meaning (I didn't when I was a kid).

    After reading the Ukrainian comment it occurred to me if you say "červenovlasý" for a red-haired person?
    It is рудоволосий in Ukrainian and rudowłosy in Polish.
     

    Azori

    Senior Member
    After reading the Ukrainian comment it occurred to me if you say "červenovlasý" for a red-haired person?
    Some synonyms.

    It could be used that way but I'm not sure how common it is. For hair that is of a rust color (red-orange-brown) one would usually use words like ryšavý, or hrdzavý (hrdza = rust), medený (coppery)... A girl/woman with red hair may be called rusovláska, but this word is not very common in the spoken language.
     

    willem81

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In Russian the common word for "red" is красный (krasnyi). But when talking about red hair the word рыжий (ryzhi) is used. Also, there are some other words to denote various shades of red: алый (alyi - this is mostly a synonym of "красный" but less frequently used), багровый (bagrovyi= dark red).
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    In Russian also there is a cognate of Macedonian, Bulgarian and Slovenien румен, rumen, namely румяный. It means 'red-cheeked'.
    Also румяна - rouge (cosmetics) and румянец - flush (on cheeks).
    Besides, in some dialects руда means 'blood' (otherwise it means 'ore', primarily - 'iron ore', i.e. 'ironstone').
     

    rusalka_bg

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    In Serbian, the common word for red is crveno. We also use riđ as in "riđa kosa" - red hair. For rosy, ruddy cheeks we use rumeno – rumeni obrazi, rumeno lice.
    "Aleva papirka" – red pepper (but mostly for a spice). There is an archaic expression for a red wine – rujno vino. We also use bordo for dark red.
     

    igusarov

    Senior Member
    Russian
    A girl/woman with red hair may be called rusovláska, but this word is not very common in the spoken language.
    This looks like a new false friend! In Russian, we say "рýсая" and "русоволóсая" about a fair-haired woman. I.e. "русый" is close to "blond" or "gray". The dictionary defines this word as "light brown", and right now I can't come up with any common example of its usage other than describing the color of hair (fur, moustache, etc).
     

    Azori

    Senior Member
    This looks like a new false friend! In Russian, we say "рýсая" and "русоволóсая" about a fair-haired woman. I.e. "русый" is close to "blond" or "gray". The dictionary defines this word as "light brown", and right now I can't come up with any common example of its usage other than describing the color of hair (fur, moustache, etc).
    In Slovak the adjective rusý is literary (hardly used nowadays) and can be translated as "reddish", "red"... Rusovlasý (red-haired) is also just literary. The adjective that is probably the most commonly used for natural(-like) shade of red hair nowadays is ryšavý (e.g. "ryšavé vlasy" = red hair, "ryšavé dievča" = red-haired girl, etc.). In Czech, rusý seems to have a slightly different meaning - according to one online dictionary it's supposed to be "light yellow with a gold or a reddish tone".
     

    vianie

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    In Slovak the adjective rusý is literary (hardly used nowadays) and can be translated as "reddish", "red"... Rusovlasý (red-haired) is also just literary. The adjective that is probably the most commonly used for natural(-like) shade of red hair nowadays is ryšavý (e.g. "ryšavé vlasy" = red hair, "ryšavé dievča" = red-haired girl, etc.). In Czech, rusý seems to have a slightly different meaning - according to one online dictionary it's supposed to be "light yellow with a gold or a reddish tone".

    This is interesting, Azori. Because I do know the word rusovlasý more as a spoken than as a literary word. Also, it is semantically on the Czech side. I always thought people in our area are partly Czechs. :)
     

    jadeite_85

    Senior Member
    italian, slovene
    I know that Slovene dialects in Italy use the word rus instead of the standard rdeč. I always thought this was a borrowing from Italian rosso which has the same meaning. Now I think it is in fact a Slavic word.

    Edit: I checked the Slovenski Pravopis and it is written that rus actually existed in Slovene. In fact, it is marked as archaic. This confirms the fact it is not an Italian borrowing.
    There are other interesting words listed:
    rusobrad - red bearded
    rusoglav, rusolas - with red hair

    Both are marked as knjižno neobčevalno (can someone help me translate this in English, please)
     
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    marco_2

    Senior Member
    Polish
    By the way it's strange that Russian is the only Slavic language which doesn't use "červony" or anything similar for "red". Same goes for another common Slavic word - čekać.

    Well, the Russians used to say червонный туз (the ace of hearts), червонец (red ducat), червлень (a red paint for painting roofs), червенеть (to become scarlet) - some of them are probably obsolete.
     

    Wildfire-KRR

    New Member
    Russian - Russia
    Well, the Russians used to say червонный туз (the ace of hearts), червонец (red ducat), червлень (a red paint for painting roofs), червенеть (to become scarlet) - some of them are probably obsolete.
    Yes, they are used rarely and therefore an average Russian won't understand what "červony" means (some of them will probably think it's related to worms :D )
     

    angea

    Senior Member
    English
    Nope, pудий is never used to mean 'freckled' but all the rest of information you gave is correct ).
    Maybe you should learn Ukrainian and read some classics. Or check onto Ukrainian Academic dictionary:
    РУДИЙ, а, е.// З веснянками, рясним ластовинням. Руде обличчя масно світилося (Василь Кучер, Зол. руки, 1948, 13).
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    To paraphrase a former president Clinton, it very much depends on what precisely the meaning of the word 'red' is. ;)

    As well as, whom do you ask. For example, if you ask my wife, I'm sure she will be able to give you at least a dozen names for red, most of which would be indistinguishable for me. Secondly, it very much depends on context. For example in many Slavic languages, including Polish, a different word for "red" is used when it means a basic color ("czerwony" in Polish), another one - when it comes to "red" hair, which are not in fact literally red most of the cases ("rudy" or "ryży" in Polish, depending on specific shade), and sometimes yet another in other other specific contexts (like for red chicks one might say "rumiane" or "zarumienione", albeit it sounds a bit outdated for me).

    As a side note I would add that at least in Polish, but perhaps also in other languages there are special color names used specifically with human and some animals' hair (horses, dogs...), which are never or rarely used in other contexts. For example a neutral color of human or horse's hair (any shade from gray to completely white) is called "siwy", while the same colors of other objects would be called "szary" ('grey') or "biały" ('white'). An exception would be when most of hair still retain their original color (typically dark), and only some of them are white (or in some locations) - then it is "szpakowaty". Black color in general is "czarny", but when it comes to horses hair it's called "kary" (a loanword from Turkish, btw) - but only if a horse is entirely black. And so forth.
     

    ежик

    New Member
    English - UK
    Hi,

    This made very interesting reading, thanks everyone for putting this together. It all aroused my curiosity about why there are so many different words, whereas across much of Europe there seems to be one dominant one (English red, German rot, Latin rufus, etc.) So I looked up the etymologies of the different words and this is what I found. I'm generally using the Russian forms as that's by far the language I know best. (Source: English- and Russian-language wiktionary entries for the colour terms and cognates (sorry!!))

    Roots rud-, ryd'-, and related: This is our Indo-European *rewdh (cf. English red, Latin rufus, ruber, Greek eruthros, Welsh rhudd, etc.) Often used of hair, eg. Ukrainian рудий, Russian рыжий. Also Russian руда '(iron) ore'

    Rumen-: related to above as *rud-men-. Often used of cheeks, eg. Russian румяный, Serbian rumeni

    Rus-: similarly a variant on the above, possibly (I guess) *rud-s-. Russian русый 'blonde'.

    Chervon-/červen-: This is the most interesting one. It comes from a common Slavic root чьрвь chirvi meaning 'worm'. There is a related form чьрмь chirmi (archaic Russian чермный 'dark/dirty red') which shows more clearly the relationship to Proto-Indo-European *kwerm (whence English worm). The connotation of colour comes from the red dye obtained from a certain species of insect, and the form -en- is grammatically a past participle of чьрвити or similar 'to dye red'. Belarusian чырвоны, Russian червонный as well as a regular past participle червлённый, Serbian crveni etc. It seems this dye is a common source of words meaning red: vermilion is derived from Latin vermiculus, diminutive of vermis 'worm', and crimson is derived from the same root. The insect is called kermes, which is (also!) derived, this time via Arabic and Persian qirmiz 'red', from Sanskrit kṛmi-ja 'worm-made'. All of which are from PIE *kwerm. It turns out that despite the apparent similarity to кръв- (Russian кровь 'blood' and related) this is a false cognate and comes from Indo-European *krow (whence English raw, via Old English hraew).

    Krasn-: from common Slavic краса krasa 'beauty'. Apparently means 'red' only in Russian красный (where красивый retains the original meaning of 'beautiful'). Cognates exist in most Baltic/Slavic languages but with the meaning of beautiful. the Russian Wiktionary entry for краса claimed a relationship to a Germanic *hros(m) (< pre-Germanic *krosm) or similar, as in Icelandic hrósa 'to praise', German ruhm 'fame' via Old High German '(h)ruom', but it's a theory I didn't see anywhere else

    Al-: borrowed from Turkic al 'red'. Hence Russian алый, Ukrainian алий, South Slavic alov/alev, potentially others.

    Let me know if I've missed any.
     
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    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Krasn-: from common Slavic краса krasa 'beauty'. Apparently means 'red' only in Russian красный (where красивый retains the original meaning of 'beautiful'). Cognates exist in most Baltic/Slavic languages but with the meaning of beautiful. the Russian Wiktionary entry for краса claimed a relationship to a Germanic *hros(m) (< pre-Germanic *krosm) or similar, as in Icelandic hrósa 'to praise', German ruhm 'fame' via Old High German '(h)ruom', but it's a theory I didn't see anywhere else

    This etymology is from the dictionary of Max Vasmer, relatively old (1950s). Pavel Chernykh in his more recent dictionary repeats the old etymology of Berneker as more probable, comparing Russian краса with Lithuanian krósnis, Latvian krásns "oven", cf. Ancient-Russian крада "fire", "credence table", i.e. originally крада might mean "the fire of sacrifice".
    However the most recent Etymological Dictionary of Slavic Languages claims that Baltic words for "oven" are better explained from the word meaning "stack of stones", and Baltic words for "beauty" are better explained from the words meaning "terrible" and are therefore cognates of Russian гроза "storm".

    For краса this source suggests quite different etymology: Russian краса < *krasa relating to *kresati/*kresiti "to strike fire" < *kresati ognь "to create fire" (*kresati "create" + ognь "fire").
    Cf. Lithuanian úgni kurti (the same) and semantically the same German Feure anmachen "to fire up".

    Slavic *kresati < PIE *kre-s-, relates to Latin сrеo "create", cresco "to grow".
    Therefore *krasa as colour of life > red colour of skin, blossoming > beauty.
     
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