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Uncertain. There are several possible theories.
- Connection of the stem *pьs- with the root of *pьstrъ (“variegated”), and thus ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *piḱ- (whence also Sanskrit पिशङ्ग (piśáṅga, “reddish, tawny”), पिश (piśá, “sort of a deer”)), the zero-grade of *peyḱ- (“to paint, mark”) (whence *pьsati (“to write”)). Thus the semantic shift occurred "spotted" > "dog".
- Proto-Indo-European *pḱ-o-, the zero-grade of the root *speḱ- (“to see, watch”) (by Meillet).
- Proto-Indo-European *pḱ-u-; compare Sanskrit पशु (páśu, “cattle”).
Declension of *pь̀sъ (hard o-stem, accent paradigm b)
- East Slavic:
- South Slavic:
- West Slavic:
- Gluhak, Alemko (1993) Hrvatski etimološki rječnik (in Serbo-Croatian), Zagreb: August Cesarec, page 468f
- Vasmer (Fasmer), Max (Maks) (1964–1973), “пес”, in Etimologičeskij slovarʹ russkovo jazyka [Etymological Dictionary of the Russian Language] (in Russian), translated from German and supplemented by Trubačóv Oleg, Moscow: Progress