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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 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, *jęti > *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]


  • East Slavic:
    • Old East Slavic: нѣмъ (němŭ)
  • Other:


  • Vasmer, Max (1964–1973) , “немой”, in Etimologičeskij slovarʹ russkovo jazyka [Etymological Dictionary of the Russian Language] (in Russian), translated from German and supplemented by Oleg Trubačóv, Moscow: Progress
  • Černyx, P. Ja. (1999) , “немой”, in Istoriko-etimologičeskij slovarʹ russkovo jazyka [Historical-Etymological Dictionary of the Russian Language] (in Russian), volume 1, 3rd reprint edition, Moscow: Russkij jazyk, page 568
  • Trubačóv, Oleg, editor (1999) , “*němъ(jь)”, in Etimologičeskij slovarʹ slavjanskix jazykov [Etymological dictionary of Slavic languages] (in Russian), volume 25, Moscow: Nauka, page 100