A borrowing from Middle Low German span(n) (“wooden bucket”), generating dialectal form spanis, spannis; in Kurzeme, also *spandis > spaņģis (with ģ probably from genitive *spandya); compare Lithuanian dialectal forms spandis, spañgis (possibly borrowings from Kurzeme dialects). Two explanations have been proposed for the irregular ai (instead of an(n)) in the literary form: influence from dialectal (Kurzeme) *spainis, a variant of spailis, spails (“set of fishing equipment”), at first in Kurzeme, and later on spreading to other dialects; or a contamination between an earlier form *span(n)is and Livonian pàynal (“wooden round container”), or its Ewe dialectal synonym paenas, paenal. The borrowing is first mentioned as spanis, spannis in 17th-century dictionaries; by the end of that century, the variant spainis is also attested. In the first Bible translations one finds spaņģis. The literary form spainis progressed slowly: in the 19th century, J. Alunāns still used spannis, spanis; in dictionaries from the 1870s and 1880s, spainis was only a variant. Only at the beginning of the 20th century did spainis begin to dominate, when spannis, spanis was perceived (and avoided) as a Germanism.
spainis m (2nd declension)
- bucket, pail (cylindrical metal, wooden, or plastic container with a handle)
- piena spainis ― milk bucket
- emaljēts spainis ― enamelled bucket
- nest ūdeni ar spaiņiem ― to carry water with buckets
- koka, alumīnija, plastmasas spainis ― wooden, aluminum, plastic bucket
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