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This Proto-Slavic 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.



  • From dissimilation of earlier *měmъ.
Compare Latvian mēms (dumb, mute, silent), Old Polish omienieć (to become dumb), Latin mūtus (mute, dumb, silent), Ancient Greek μῖμος (mîmos, mime, actor), German mummeln, English mumble, Swedish mumla.
Compare *ku- + *jьm-, *jьmǫ, *ęti > *kujьmъ (> Russian ку́и́м (kúím, deaf-mute; tongue-tied man; silent man;)). Latvian mēms is possibly borrowing from Slavic with assimilation n-m > m-m.



  1. unclear or incomprehensible speaker, muttering, mammering
  2. dumb, mute (not able to speak)


Derived terms[edit]


  • Other:


  • Vasmer, Max (1964–1973), “немой”, in Этимологический словарь русского языка [Etymological Dictionary of the Russian Language] (in Russian), transl. & suppl. by Oleg Trubachyov, Moscow: Progress
  • Chernykh, P. Ja. (1993), “немой”, in Историко-этимологический словарь русского языка [Historical-Etymological Dictionary of the Russian Language] (in Russian), volume 1 (а – пантомима), 3rd edition, Moscow: Russian Lang., →ISBN, page 568
  • Trubachyov, Oleg, editor (1999), “*němъ(jь)”, in Этимологический словарь славянских языков [Etymological dictionary of Slavic languages] (in Russian), issue 25 (*neroditi – *novotьnъ(jь)), Moscow: Nauka, →ISBN, page 100