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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.



Privative adjectives *ubogъ (poor, miserable) and *nebogъ (poor, miserable), as well as the later derivation *bogatъ (rich) prove that *bogъ was originally also an adjective meaning "earthly wealth/well-being; fortune", with a semantic shift to "dispenser of wealth/fortune" and finally "god". Semantic parallel can be drawn to Indo-Iranian languages: compare Old Persian 𐏎 (BG /baga/, god), Avestan 𐬠𐬀𐬖𐬀 (baγa, god) (but also 𐬠𐬀𐬔 (bag, apportion)), as well as Sanskrit epithet often applied to gods भग (bhaga, dispenser, gracious lord, patron), proving that Slavic noun had both abstract and concrete meanings. The same Iranian source, but via a Turkic language, also probably gave Proto-Slavic *banъ. Compare also Avar бакъ (baq̇̄, sun), which, however, is unrelated.

This convincing parallel has led some linguists (e.g. Roman Jakobson) to claim that *bogъ is an Iranian borrowing. Slavic-Iranian parallelism can be further extended to the expressions of Slavic mythology: Dažbog, Belobog and Chernobog, which suggest an existence of Iranian-type dualism in Proto-Slavic mythology.

On a more formal level, absence of Winter's law (if held to apply in open syllables) precludes derivation from hypothetical Proto-Indo-European *bʰeh₂gos, *bʰagos.[1]

Some[2] connect it to Ancient Greek ἔφαγον (éphagon, to eat, devour) via a semantic shift "I received a share" > "I consumed" > "I ate". This would in turn all derive from the Proto-Indo-European root *bʰeh₂g- (to distribute, divide).


*bȏgъ m

  1. god


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • East Slavic:


  1. ^ Derksen (2008)
  2. ^ EIEC, Beekes, LIV