The origin of this word is unclear. It may come from Proto-Indo-European *ḱek-, *kek-, *sḱek-, *skek- (to jump) (whence also Russian скакать (skakatʹ, to hop, to leap)), from which, via ablaut, *kāk- > Proto-Baltic *šak- > Latvian sākt. Others suggest a different Proto-Indo-European stem *kā-, *kō- as the source, different from that of Russian скакать (skakatʹ). The original meaning was probably “to jump,” from which “to rush, to go quickly (to do something)” > “to start, to begin.” Cognates include Lithuanian šókti (to jump, to dance; to rush (to do something)).[1]




sākt tr., 1st conj., pres. sāku, sāc, sāk, past sāku

  1. to begin, to start (to carry out the first steps, stages of an action)
    sākt celtniecību, sēju, pētījumuto begin the construction, the sowing, the research
    sākt sarunuto start a conversation
    sākt stastītto start telling
    sākt strādāt, runāt, ietto start working, talking, going
    sākt vēstuli, gleznuto start a letter, a painting
  2. to begin, to start (to participate in the first stage or phase (of work, study, etc.)
    sākt jauno mācību gaduto start the new school year
    lauku mājas sāka dienuthe farmhouses started the (work) day
    sākt darba mūžuto start (one's) work life
  3. to begin, to start (to use the first part, component(s) of something)
    sākt jaunu cigarešu paciņuto start a new pack of cigarettes
    sākt pēdējo maizes klaiputo start the last loaf of bread
  4. to begin, to start (to show the first signs of (something); to do for the first time(s))
    sākt smietiesto start laughing
    bērns sācis baidīties no suņiemthe child began to be afraid of dogs
    sāku dusmoties uz Ilželes mātiI began to be angry at Ilžele's mother
  5. to begin, to start (to become noticeable for the first time, to show the first signs of (something))
    sāk krēslotit began to get dark
    uguns sāk degtthe fire began to burn
    sniegs sāka kustthe snow began to melt


Derived termsEdit

prefixed verbs:
other derived terms:


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