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From a (no longer extant) verb žirgt (to liven up, to fresehn up) (the r follows the pattern of stingt (to harden, stiffen), stingrs (firm, strong, strict)), from Proto-Baltic *žirgt(e)y, from *žerg-, *žirg-, from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰer- (to shine, to glow) with an extra -g (without this -g, this stem yielded Lithuanian žìrti (to sparkle)). In Latvian, the Proto-Baltic initial ž was conserved, maybe for onomatopoeic expressive reasons; note that the (possibly) related term zirgs (horse) has the expected initial z. The meaning changed from “(that which) shines, glows” to “happy, cheerful, joyous” and finally “lively, brisk, alert.”[1]


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žirgts (definite žirgtais, comparative žirgtāks, superlative visžirgtākais, adverb žirgti)

  1. lively, vivacious, brisk, sprightly, healthy, active, alert (having strength and vitality; being ready for action)
    slimnieks šodien ir itin žirgtsthe patient is quite lively today
    žirgts kumeļš, teļšbrisk, sprightly colt, calf
    Laimdotas māte vēl bija gluži žirgta, taču ne pārāk steidzīgaLaimdota's mother was still quite sprightly, but not very hasty
    mazie, žirgtie pīlēni pēkstēdami veikli skraida viņai pakaļthe small, vivacious little ducklings deftly ran after her (= their mother)
  2. lively, vivacious, brisk, sprightly, healthy, active, alert (expressing such qualities; compatible with, predisposing to, such qualities)
    žirgtas acislively, vivacious eyes
    ar žirgtu smaiduwith a vivacious smile
    no televizora skanēja hokeja komentētāja žirgtā balssthe hokey commentator's lively voice resounded from the TV set
    sniegs ir drusku piesalis, un žirgtais baltums piedod ielām un parkiem sen neredzētu tīru gaišumuthe snow had frozen a little, and the vivacious whiteness gave the streets and parks a clean brightness that had not been seen for a long time



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