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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 (def. žirgtais, comp. žirgtāks, sup. visžirgtākais; adv. žirgti)

  1. lively, vivacious, brisk, sprightly, healthy, active, alert (having strength and vitality; being ready for action)
    slimnieks šodien ir itin žirgts‎ ― the patient is quite lively today
    žirgts kumeļš, teļš‎ ― brisk, sprightly colt, calf
    Laimdotas māte vēl bija gluži žirgta, taču ne pārāk steidzīga‎ ― Laimdota's mother was still quite sprightly, but not very hasty
    mazie, žirgtie pīlēni pēkstēdami veikli skraida viņai pakaļ‎ ― the 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 acis‎ ― lively, vivacious eyes
    ar žirgtu smaidu‎ ― with a vivacious smile
    no televizora skanēja hokeja komentētāja žirgtā balss‎ ― the hokey commentator's lively voice resounded from the TV set
    sniegs ir drusku piesalis, un žirgtais baltums piedod ielām un parkiem sen neredzētu tīru gaišumu‎ ― the 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