zems

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Latvian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the same stem as zeme (land), of which it is an adjectival form. Cognates include Lithuanian žẽmas, Old Prussian semmai (adveribal form).[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

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Adjective[edit]

zems (def. zemais, comp. zemāks, sup. viszemākais; irreg. adv. zemu, zemi)

  1. low, short (having relatively little distance from top to bottom; having low height)
    zems sols, galdslow bench, table
    zema gulta, sētalow bed, fence
    zems pakalnslow hill
    zemi pakāpienilow stairs
    zābaki ar zemiem papēžiem — boots with low heels
    saimniece ir zema un kupla kā tējas rožu krūms — the landlady is short and round like a tea rose bush
    durvis šķūnim bija zemas; izejot vajadzēja stipri saliekties — the barn door was low; (when) going out, (one) had to bend
  2. low (having lower height than the average individual of its type)
    zemais bērzslow birch tree
    zemie ķiršilow cherry trees
    vairums mūsu kultūras ābeļu cēlušās no Dienvideiropā augošās zemās ābeles — most of our cultures of apple trees have developed from low apple trees (that) grow in Southern Europe
  3. low (located relatively close to the floor, or to the ground, a surface of water, etc.)
    klēts ar zemām sijām — a barn with low beams
    pāri jūrai uz krasta pusi nāca zemi mākoņi — over the sea, from the coast side, low clouds were coming
  4. low (located close to the horizon)
    zemā ziemas saule auksti spīdēja starp kokiem — the low winter sun shone coldly between the trees
  5. low (situated at a leve below that of the rest of the landscape)
    zema pļavalow meadow
    kad pāriet pār upi, sākas zems, sīkiem alkšņiem klāts līdzenums — when one goes across the river, (there) starts a low plain, covered with small alder trees
  6. low, small, not important; not reaching the normal level
    zems piena izslaukumslow milk yield
    zemas cenaslow prices
    zems spiedienslow pressure
    zems strāvas spriegumslow voltage (lit. low current tension)
    zema temperatūralow temperature
    zems gaisa mitrumslow air humidity
    zems prestižslow prestige
    zema kvalitātelow quality
    zema dienesta pakāpelow service level
    zemas prasībaslow requirements
    matrožiem un citiem kuģa strādniekiem ir zemas algas — the sailors and other ship workers have low wages
  7. low (not satisfying certain requirements or expectations)
    zems kultūras līmenislow level of culture
    zems dzīves līmenislow level of life
    zema iglītībalow education
    priekšsēdētājs runā par zemu darba disciplīnu — the president is talking about the low level of discipline
  8. (of people) low (not having an respectable or important position in society, at work, etc.)
    zems amatslow (= unimportant) office, position
    zemas kārtas ļaudislow class people
    uz Ģertrūdes ielas es panācu pusmūža vīrieti, kādu zemu ierēdni — on Ģertrūde street I met a middle-aged man, some low official
  9. low, shallow, unworthy, unimportant
    mana dzīve, tu to par seklu nosauci, par zemu — my life, you call it shallow, low
    prāts lai zemākās lietas šķir, augstās šķir likteņa iegriba! — let the mind resolve the lower things, the higher ones will be resolved by the caprices of fate
  10. low (not respectful; not following accepted norms)
    zemā stila” vārdilow style words
  11. (music, notes, voices) low, deep (having sounds from the lower octaves)
    zemais altslow alto
    zemais dolow do (= low C)
    viņai bija zema un klusa balss — she had a deep, quiet voice
    dziedot zemās skaņas krūšu reģistrā, dziedātājam vispirms jābūt sajūtai, ka skaņa it kā rodas un atbalsojas krūtīs — (when) singing in the low=sound chest register, the singer must first have the feeling that the sound arises and echoes in (his) chest
  12. low (expressing the opinion that something is low, shallow, unworthy, unimportant)
    zems novērtējumslow estimation, opinion
    novērtēt pretinieku par zemu, tas vienmēr is bīstami — to evaluate an opponent as low (= unimportant), this is always dangerous
  13. low, dishonest, cruel, immoral, ignoble; expressing such qualities
    zems cilvēkslow, immoral person
    zemi nodomilow, immoral intentions
    zema rīcībalow, immoral action
    tu esi zems cilvēks, Fēlikss Vilde; gļēvulis un blēdis — you are a low person, Fēlikss Vilde; a coward and a swindler
    tad nāca cieti, zemi, nežēlīgi, tumsas aizklāti vārdi — then came hard, low, cruel, darkness-covered words

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References[edit]

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