See also: meitā and meitä



Māte un meita


Traditionally, this word is considered a borrowing from Middle Low German meid (female servant) (or from Middle High German meyt, meyde, or Middle Dutch meit), which replaced an older Proto-Indo-European word, probably *dukte, cognate with Lithuanian duktė̃, Old Prussian duckti, Russian дочь (doč’), German Tochter, English daughter (< Proto-Indo-European *dʰugh₂tḗr). It has, however, been pointed out that (a) the meaning “daughter” is older (“servant” is attested only from the 19th century), which is the opposite of what should happen if it were a borrowing from Germanic; (b) the broken intonation is not usual in borrowings from Germanic; and (c) the presumed original word *dukte has left no trace in place names, dialectal forms, etc. On account of that, some researchers believe that meita is not a borrowing, but actually the original word for “daughter” in Latvian, i.e. Latvian did not derive “daughter” from Proto-Indo-European *dʰugh₂tḗr (like Latin, which has fīlia). A possible source would be Proto-Indo-European *mēy- (soft, tender, dear), with an extra t; meita would have originally been the feminine form of the resulting adjective *meits (tender, dear, loved). Another possibility would be the same stem as mīt (to change): the original meaning would have been “changing (status, via marriage)” > “young woman about to get married” > “unmarried young woman; daughter.”[1]




meita f (4th declension)

  1. daughter (a female child, with respect to her parents)
    māte un meita‎ ― mother and daughter
    vecākā, jaunākā meita‎ ― the oldest, the youngest daughter
    vienīgā meita‎ ― the only daughter
    māsas meita‎ ― sister's daughter (= niece)
    mātei bija divi dēli un trīs meitas‎ ― the mother had two sons and three daughters
    onkulim ir meita, agronome Kurzemē‎ ― uncle has a daughter, an agronomist in Courland
  2. (usually meitene) young, unmarried woman
    meitas dienas‎ ― young woman's days (i.e., before marriage)
    meitas uzvārds‎ ― maiden (lit. young woman's) name
    meža meitas‎ ― forest girls (= mythological beings)
    meitu mednieks‎ ― young woman hunter (a man who uses every chance to start a love affair)
    jā, viņa, mana māte, bijusi daiļa meita, un daudzi jaunekļi viņu kārojuši sev par sievu‎ ― yes, she, my mother, was a beautiful young woman, and many young men wanted her as their wife
    “parunā gan, meit”, Pakalns dzīvi atsaucās; “tev viņi vairāk klausīs”‎ ― “talk now, girl,” Pakalns answered lively; “they will hear you further”
  3. female servant, usually unmarried
    muižas meita‎ ― mannor servant
    vasaras meita‎ ― summer girl (= hired for the summer)
    istabas meita‎ ― room maid
    saimniece pie tā paša brauciena gribēja apraudzīties un apklausīties pēc jaunas meitas‎ ― the lady wanted, in the same trip, to come see and hear the new servants
  4. (poetic) daughter (a member of a people, ethnic group, etc.)
    dažādu tautu dēli un meitas‎ ― the sons and daughters of various nations




Derived termsEdit


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




  1. abessive of