zēns

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Latvian[edit]

Zēns

Etymology[edit]

A borrowing from Middle High German söhn (son) (sȫne); cf. Sohn (son). The e is the nearest vowel to ö in Latvian; the length probably results from the influence of dēls (son). In an 18th-century dictionary, zēns is mentioned as “rarely used,” and only in the area around Riga and in Courland; in the 19th century, the word was still mostly used in Courland, but had already entered the literary language, as a synonym of puisis.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

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Noun[edit]

zēns m (1st declension)

  1. boy (a male child, approximately until 11 years of age)
    zēnu korisboy choir
    zēnu apģērbiboys' clothes
    zēnu rotaļasboys' games
    zēnu nedarbiboys' mischief
    zēnu skolaboys' school
    zēnu istaba — the boys' room (restroom, especially at school)
    Haris ir zēns, viņam vēl tālu līdz lielam cilvēkam, viņš daudz nesaprot — Haris is a boy, he has a long way to go to become a grown-up, he doesn't understand much
  2. young (especially adolescent) man
    sanāca vairāk nekā divdesmit vīriešu, visvairāk jauni zēni, bet arī pusmūža vīri un pat pāris sirmgalvju — more than twenty men came, mostly young boys, bet also some middle-aged men and a few seniors
    es vēl negribu uzņemties rūpes par ģimeni... es esmu pavisam zaļš zēns — I don't want to take care of the family yet... I am (still) a very green (= immature) boy
  3. boy, boyfriend (a young man in whom a woman is romantically interested)
    meitenei bija savs zēns — the girl had a boy(friend)
    no tās reizes, kad Jautrīte Raiņa vidusskolas sarīkojumā iepazinās ar Guntaru, daži sāka sačukstēties, ka Guntars esot Jautrītes zēns — from that time when Jautrīte met Guntars at the event in the Rainis middle school, some (people) started to whisper that Guntars was Jautrīte's boy (= boyfriend)
  4. (usually with an adjective or adjectival expression) boy, guy (a young man seen as having some, usually positive, quality)
    viņš ir lāga zēns — he is a nice guy
    tēvocis patiešām bija zelta zēns — uncle really was a golden boy
    vecais zēns — old boy! (used to show familiarity, friendship)

Declension[edit]

Synonyms[edit]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ “zēns” in Konstantīns Karulis (1992, 2001), Latviešu Etimoloģijas Vārdnīca, in 2 vols, Rīga: AVOTS, ISBN: 9984-700-12-7