Last modified on 28 May 2014, at 20:34




The traditional approach derives this word from an earlier *žinsti, from Proto-Baltic *žind-ti, from *žind-, from the reduced form *ǵendʰ, *ǵ(e)ndʰ- of Proto-Indo-European *ǵenədʰ- (jaw, chin), whence also Latvian zods (chin), Lithuanian žándas (chin, jaw, cheek). In this case, the original meaning would have been related to “cheek, jaw,” from which “to suckle.” A more recent theory suggests a connection between zīst and Ancient Greek νεογιλλός (neogillós, newborn; young, new) (< *neo-gid-los), both presumably from Proto-Indo-European *ǵeid- (to suckle). In either case, cognates include Lithuanian žįsti.[1]


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zīst tr. or intr., 1st conj., pres. zīžu, zīd, zīž, past zīdu

  1. to suck, to suckle (to press a female nipple with one's lips and tongue, so that it produces milk; to drink the milk so produced)
    zīst māti — to suckle (one's) mother (i.e., to suckle milk from one's mother's breast)
    bērns zīž krūti — the child suckles the breast
    kaķēns vēl nezīž — the kitten doesn't suckle yet
    jēri metas zīst — the lambs rushed to suckle
    trīs mazi ezēni zīda māti, sagulušies rindā kā sivēni — three little hedgehogs suckled (their) mother, lying in a row like piglets
  2. to suck, to suckle (to take something into one's mouth and make sucking movements)
    zīst ķepu, pirkstu — to suck(le) (one's) paw, finger
    bērni visbiežāk zīž pirkstus pirms iemigšanas un pēc pamošanās — children most often suck (their) fingers before sleep or after waking up
  3. (colloquial) to smoke (a pipe, a cigarette, etc.) slowly
    pēdējo smēķa galiņu zīzdams, Klucis noskatīja daudz neveiklāko Modrisucking the last tip of (his) cigarrette, Klucis looked at the much clumsier Modris



Derived termsEdit

prefixed verbs:

Related termsEdit


  1. ^ “zīst” in Konstantīns Karulis (1992, 2001), Latviešu Etimoloģijas Vārdnīca, in 2 vols, Rīga: AVOTS, ISBN: 9984-700-12-7