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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.



From Proto-Balto-Slavic *kórʔveʔ (Derksen) or *kárwā (Kim), irregular centum reflex of Proto-Indo-European *ḱorh₂-weh₂, derived from *ḱerh₂- ‎(horn).

Matasović (2008) argues that it was borrowed from Celtic in prehistorical times due to the impossibility of deriving it by regular sound laws:

  • PIE *ḱerh₂weh₂ > Proto-Celtic *karawā > *kerawā (Joseph's rule) > Early Proto-Slavic *karwā > Common Slavic *kőrva.

Alternatively, Matasović's Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic (2009) lists the Old Church Slavonic form krava 'cow' as being related to the Proto-Celtic *karwo-, 'deer', ultimately coming from PIE **ḱerh₂-/*ḱern-, 'horn' (the first element of *ḱerh₂weh₂).

Baltic cognates (either similarly irregularly inherited via Balto-Slavic, or borrowed from Celtic or Slavic) include Lithuanian kárvė ‎(cow) and Old Prussian curwis ‎(ox). For further Indo-European cognates see *ḱerh₂-.


*kőrva f

  1. cow


Accent paradigm a.

Derived terms[edit]



  • Rick Derksen (2008), Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited Lexicon, Brill: Leiden-Boston, page 236
  • корова in Max Vasmer (1986), Etimologičeskij slovarʹ russkovo jazyka [Etymological Dictionary of the Russian Language], in 4 vols (second edition), Moscow: Progress — Translated from German and supplemented by O. N. Trubačóv
  • Ranko Matasović (2008), Poredbenopovijesna gramatika hrvatskog jezika, Matica hrvatska: Zagreb, page 53f
  • Ranko Matasović, (2009) Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic, Brill: Leiden-Boston, page 192.
  • “*korva” in Oleg Trubačóv (ed.) (1974–), Etimologičeskij slovarʹ slavjanskix jazykov [Etymological dictionary of Slavic languages], Moscow: Nauka, volume 11, page 106-112