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



Several possible origins have been proposed, including:

  1. A loan from a Sami language; compare Proto-Samic *kuomčë (bear), which could itself be a substrate word.[1] The sound substition *č → *ti would be unusual, but has a small number of parallels.
  2. *kontidak +‎ *-ja, a taboo formation meaning "the slow walker".

Aikio (2009) argues that given the exact semantic match, the first explanation should be preferred.

A large number of additional hypotheses have been explored by Oksanen (2007).



  1. (Northern Finnic) bear
    Synonyms: *karhu, *okci



  • Finnish: kontio, (dialectal) kontia
    • Estonian: (dialectal) konja
  • Karelian:
  • Livvi: kondii
  • Ludian: kondii
  • Veps: kondi


  1. ^ Aikio, Ante. 2012. "An essay on Saami ethnolinguistic prehistory."
  • Aikio, Ante. 2009. The Saami loanwords in Finnish and Karelian. PhD thesis. University of Oulu.
  • Itkonen, Erkki, Kulonen, Ulla-Maija, editors (1992–2000), Suomen sanojen alkuperä [The origin of Finnish words]‎[1] (in Finnish) (online version; note: also includes other etymological sources), Helsinki: Institute for the Languages of Finland/Finnish Literature Society, →ISBN
  • Oksanen, Auli. 2007. Karhu, kontio, ohto ja otso. Etymologinen tutkimus ('An etymological study'). Master's thesis. University of Helsinki.