Alternative formsEdit

(dialectal forms) spanis, spannis, spaņģis


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.[1]


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spainis m (2nd declension)

  1. 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



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