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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.


Alternative reconstructions[edit]


Normally associated to *golъ (bare, naked) +‎ *-ěnь, from Proto-Indo-European *gelH- (bare, naked). If so, the original meaning would have been “bare bone”, per Brückner, perhaps in reference to the lack of muscles on the front of the shinbone.

An origin from Proto-Indo-European *gʷelH- (to project, to prod) also possible, semantically analogous to Proto-Slavic *bedro (thigh) from Proto-Balto-Slavic *béstеi (to prick, to stab). Akin terms in that case would be Lithuanian gãlas (end, extreme, tip), Latvian gals (tip, end).

Berneker and Mladenov also suggest distant relation to Ancient Greek γύαλον (gúalon, hollow structure, depression), γυῖον (guîon, limb) possibly from Proto-Indo-European *gew- (to crook, to bend). Rejected on phonetic ground by Trubachev (ESSJa).


*gȍlěnь f[2][3][1]

  1. shinbone
    Synonym: *piščalь
  2. (by extension) shank, crus (lower part of the leg between the knee and the ankle)
  3. (regional, East Slavic) lower leafless part of tree crown (between the trunk and the true crown)

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Further reading[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Snoj, Marko (2016), “golen”, in Slovenski etimološki slovar, Ljubljana: Inštitut za slovenski jezik Frana Ramovša ZRC SAZU, →ISBN: “Pslovan. *gȍlěnь in *gȍlenь”
  2. ^ Derksen, Rick (2008), “*golěnь”, in Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited Lexicon (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 4), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 174: “f. i ‘shin’”
  3. ^ Olander, Thomas (2001), “golěnь”, in Common Slavic accentological word list, Copenhagen: Editiones Olander: “f. c skinneben (PR 138)”