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See also: Gints



Traditionally considered a borrowing from Lithuanian gentìs ‎(family, kin group, clan, tribe; relative). But the Lithuanian form has en instead of in; in occurs only in some Eastern Lithuanian dialects. Also, in the 17th century, Latvian forms with in are attested in Semigallia (Zemgale), agreeing with the [in] in Old Prussian gyntos ‎(men, husbands); it may therefore be that ģints was originally not a borrowing but an old Curonian word which later spread from Western Latvia to Semigallia. Note that older Semigallian dialects sometimes conserved initial ģ (> dz in standard Latvian): cf. place names like Ģintumi or Ģinuļi. If this is the case, then ģints, like Lithuanian gentìs, reflects Proto-Indo-European *ǵen- (< *ǵenh₁-) “to create,” “to give birth” (via an unaltered Proto-Baltic *gint-, where the initial g, instead of ž, results from either the influence of the related stem *gʷem-, whence also dzemdēt “to give birth,” or from conservative dialectal variants).[1]


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ģints f (6th declension)

  1. (historical, anthropology) family, kin group, clan (a primitive unit of social organization, based on blood relations and lineage from a common ancestor)
    patriarhālā ģints — patriarchal family
    ģints iekārtafamily order, organization, system
    ģints sabiedrībafamiliar society (i.e., composed of families)
    mātes ģints — maternal, matriarchal family (where descent goes through the mother's line)
    tēvas ģints — paternal, patriarchal family (where descent goes through the father's line)
  2. (poetic) people (group of people with common interests, ideas, goals, viewpoints)
    bet stāv pats nams! viņš dibināts uz klints, / un viņu sargā jaunā darba ģints — but the house itself stands! it is founded upon a rock, / and it is protected by the young working people
    atceries, atceries varoņu ģinti, / ugunīs gāja tie vārtus tev vērt — remember, remember the hero people, / they walked on fire to open the gates for you
  3. (biology, taxonomy) genus (a group of species)
    dzimtas iedala ģintīs... zaķu dzimtā ir divas ģintis: trušu ģints un zaķu ġints — families are divided into genera... in the hare family (Leporidae) there are two genera: the rabbit genus (Oryctolagus) and the hare genus (Lepus)
    zemeņu ģintī izšķiram dārza zemeņu, meža zemeņu un spradzeņu sugas — in the strawberry genus we distinguish the garden strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa), the woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) and the spradzene (Fragaria viridis) species



  • (of "family"): ģimene
  • (of "household," "family + servants"): saime
  • (of "extended family," "kin group"): dzimta
  • (dated term): famīlija


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