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This Proto-Slavic entry contains reconstructed words and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.



Roman Jakobson believes the word is from *slovo (word), with a link to Old East Slavic кличане (kličane, hunters, who raise game by shout) : кличь (kličʹ), and also perceives an opposition of *slověne vs. *němьci.

  • Trubachev (Трубачёв) says Jakobson's etymology is promising, with the verb *slovǫ, *sluti (to speak (understandably)).
  • Vasmer says it has nothing to do with *slava (glory, fame) which influenced it in terms of folk etymology later. *slověne can't be formed from *slovo because *-ěninъ, *-aninъ only occurs in derivations from place names, however a local name *Slovy is not attested. Most likely it's derived from a hydronym.
Compare Old East Slavic Словутичь (Slovutičĭ)Dnepr epithet, Russian Слуя (Sluja) ― affluent of Вазуза (Vazuza), Polish river names Sława, Sławica, Serbo-Croatian Славница and others, which brings together with Ancient Greek κλύζω (klúzō, I lave), κλύζωει (klúzōei) · πλημμυρεῖ (plēmmureî), ῥέει (rhéei), βρύει (brúei), κλύδων (klúdōn, surf), Latin cluō (I clean), cloāca (sewer pipe). Other etymologies are less likely.
  • Bernstein repeats this etymology: from *slawos (people, nation, folk).
  • Maher agrees with Trubachev's connection of it to *sluti (to be known),[1] on the grounds that *slovo (word) is an s-stem, *sloves-, which would have led to an expected form *slovesěni (compare Russian слове́сность (slovésnostʹ)


*slověninъ m

  1. Slav


This noun needs an inflection-table template.


Derived terms[edit]

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  • Vasmer, Max (1964–1973), “славянин”, in Этимологический словарь русского языка [Etymological Dictionary of the Russian Language] (in Russian), translated from German and supplemented by Oleg Trubachyov, Moscow: Progress
  • Slav” in Unabridged,, LLC, 1995–present. (etymology)
  • Трубачев О. Н. Из исследований по праславянскому словообразованию: генезис модели на -ěninъ, -*janinъ // Этимология 1980. М.: «Наука», 1982. С.
  • Sreznevsky, Izmail (1912), “словѣнинъ”, in Матеріалы для Словаря древне-русскаго языка по письменнымъ памятникамъ[1] [Materials for the Dictionary of the Old East Slavic Language According to Written Monuments] (in Russian), volume 3: Р Ѡ, Saint Petersburg: Department of Russian Language and Literature of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, page 421
  • Stanislav, Jan (1904-1977): Starosloviensky jazyk II: Morfológia, Bratislava 1987
  1. ^ John P. Maher (Chicago), "The Etymology of Common Slavic slověne 'Slavs'", (in:) Balkansko Ezikoznanie XIV, 2, p. 31–36, Sofia 1970