From Proto-Baltic *dē-, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰē-, *dʰeh₁(y)- (“to suckle, to nurse”) (whence also Latvian dēle (“leech”), q.v.); the original meaning was thus “one to nurse,” “suckling one,” “baby” (cf. Latin fellāre (“to nurse”), filius (“son”) < *fēlios < *dʰeh₁(y)-li-os). Cognates include Proto-Slavic *dětę (Russian дети (déti, “children”)). The term dēls replaced an earlier *sūn(u)s, the original Indo-European word for “son” (cf. Lithuanian sūnùs, English son, Russian сын (syn)). This is usually explained as the result of taboo: the ‘real’ word for “son” was avoided so as not to attract the attention of evil spirits. Note that the languages that lack a reflex of this original word (Latin, Celtic, Latvian) also lack the corresponding word for “daughter” (cf. Lithuanian duktė̃, Russian дочь (doč’), German Tochter); this suggests that there may have been dialectal differences in Proto-Indo-European concerning words for children.
dēls m (1st declension)
- son (a male child, in relation to his parents)
- dēls ar māti — a son with (his) mother
- jaunākais, vecākais dēls — youngest, oldest son
- pašu dēls — (one's) own son
- īstais dēls — real son
- vienīgais dēls — the only son
- brāļa, māsas dēls — nephew (lit. brother's, sister's son)
- dēls ļoti rūpējās par saviem vecākiem — the son takes great care of his parents
- (colloquial) son (a form of address used by an older person talking to a younger man)
- “Grobiņa tēv, vai tu domā, ka tava nauda nestāv droši?” Jānis jautāja; “... nu, dēls, par drošību, drošības dēļ nav ko runāt...” — “Father (of the) Grobiņš (= Mr Grobiņš), do you think that your money is not safe?” Jānis asked; “... well, son, there is nothing to say about, about security...”
- (poetic) son (a member of a people, group, etc.)
- Latvijas zemes dēls — a son of the land of Latvia (= a Latvian)
- dažādu tautu dēli un meitas — the sons and daughters of various nations
- ^ “dēls” in Konstantīns Karulis (1992, 2001), Latviešu Etimoloģijas Vārdnīca (Rīga: AVOTS) ISBN: 9984-700-12-7.