The various attested forms result from reduplication: varavīksne < *vavarīksne, vararīste < *vavarīste, where vavar- is a reduplicated form of Proto-Baltic *war-, from Proto-Indo-European *wer- (“to turn, to bend”) (whence also Latvian vērpt “to spin”, q.v.). The original meaning was probably “bending,” “arch.” The second part of the word was apparently not just a suffix, but an independent word, perhaps related to rīkste (“switch, twig, flexible rod”); note that rīksna is dialectally attested by itself with the meaning of “rainbow.” The rich dialectal variation in this word, as well as the several other dialectal terms for “rainbow” (e.g., dardedze, telverdze), probably result, on the one hand, from dialectal mixing, and, on the other hand, from taboo restrictions (ancient Latvians apparently considered the rainbow the result of magical forces that deserved respect). Cognates include Lithuanian vaivórykštė, dialectal varvórykštė.
varavīksne f (5th declension)
- rainbow (multicolored arch in the sky)
varavīksne parādās kā septiņkrāsu loks Saulei pretējā pusē ― a rainbow appears as a seven-color arch on the opposite side to the sun
debesīs patiešām bija uzplaukusi varavīksne ― in the sky, a rainbow had really blossomed
zaigot visās varavīksnes krāsās ― to sparkle in all the colors of the rainbow
varavīksnes forele ― rainbow trout (a species of trout)
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