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This Proto-Slavic entry contains reconstructed words and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.



Of uncertain origin.

The central Indo-European word for "fish" *dʰǵʰu- (fish) (yielding Ancient Greek ἰχθύς (ikhthús), Lithuanian žuvìs, Old Armenian ձուկն (jukn)) would have given Proto-Slavic v-stem **zy (genitive **zъve, accusative **zъvь), and was, as the theory goes, avoided by fishermen due to taboo, or because it would've sounded too similar to the verb *zъvati (to call).

Some of the proposed etymologies include:

  • From Early Proto-Slavic *rų̄bā, which is then comparable to *rębъ (speckled, motley, variegated), with fish scales being the semantic connection. For a similar development compare *pьstry (salmonid fish), originally "the colorful/variegated one" < *pьstrъ (variegated).
  • From the Early Proto-Slavic root *ūr- (water, swamp, pond) which is attested in Baltic languages, with a rare metathesis and the suffix *-ba for forming abstract nouns.


*rỳba f

  1. fish




  • Gluhak, Alemko (1993) Hrvatski etimološki rječnik (in Serbo-Croatian), Zagreb: August Cesarec, page 526
  • Vasmer (Fasmer), Max (Maks) (1964–1973), “рыба”, in Etimologičeskij slovarʹ russkovo jazyka [Etymological Dictionary of the Russian Language] (in Russian), translated from German and supplemented by Trubačóv Oleg, Moscow: Progress