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See also: burkans


Burkāni (2)


The word is first mentioned in Latvian in 17th-century dictionaries. It is a heavily discussed word spread around Baltic Sea, up to Russian бурка́н (burkán), борка́н (borkán) and Finnish porkkana, Estonian porgand, Livonian borkõn, borkõnz, borkkiņ, the immediate sources of which are unknown but are sought in any of the neighbouring Indo-European languages. Possible scenarios:

  • It is a borrowing from Baltic German Burkane, from Middle Low German, itself
    • from Old Frisian bure, burre (conic root; top of a stake, pile (in the ground)) + a diminutive suffix -ken, -kan (cf. the Old Frisian reduced form burke (little root)). But it is dubious that the diminutive suffix would get a long vowel and even become stressed. In turn it is tempting to assume in this constellation that the German is from Latvian. One needs to ask why this word has prominence only in the extreme fringes of the German and Russian language areas respectively.
    • from Burgundian rule over the Netherlands, hence the word would just reflected the country name Burgundy. This is backed by the observation of the carrot plant’s spread in the Late Middle Ages from the Mediterranean over Middle Europe to Northeast Europe. But the transmitting forms of Low German and Dutch dialects are in question.
  • It is from a Proto-Indo-European *br̥k, *mr̥k with reflexes in Lithuanian burkūnas, burkañtas, Ancient Greek βράκανα (brákana), Russian борка́н, бурка́н (borkán, burkán) on the one hand and Proto-Slavic *mъrky and Proto-Germanic *murhǭ on the other.
  • It is from a non-Indo-European substrate language which had an alternation that explains the anlaut variation between the voiced bilabial plosive and the voiced bilabial nasal of the aforementioned words. Ancient Greek βράκανα (brákana, wild vegetables) is a random correspondence if not remotely related via the source language of this word.
  • The Baltic words are possibly from a non-Indo-European substrate language and German and Russian derive from Latvian. Proto-Slavic *mъrky and Proto-Germanic *murhǭ are random correspondences, possibly from an unrelated substrate.


  • IPA(key): [būɾkāːns]
  • (file)


burkāns m (1st declension)

  1. carrot (a plant with a large edible root, often orange in colour, esp. Daucus carota)
    galda burkānscommon (lit. table) carrot
    lopbarības burkānsforrage carrot
    burkānu vagacarrot furrow
    burkānu laukscarrot field
    ravēt burkānusto weed carrots
    burkānu kaitēkļicarrot pests
    no savvaļas burkāna krustojot izaudzēts lauku burkānsby crossing wild carrots the field carrot was grown
  2. carrot (the edible root of that plant, often orange in colour and used as a vegetable)
    dzert burkānu suluto drink carrot juice
    burkānu salāticarrot salad
    tīrīt burkānusto clean carrots
    pagrabos glabā kartupeļus, burkānus, bietes un citas saknesin the cellars one stores potatoes, carrots, beets and other roots
    Tenis atkal piesarka kā burkānsTenis again blushed like a carrot



  • Junttilla, Santeri (2014) Die alten baltischen Lehnwörter im neuen estnischen etymologischen Wörterbuch[1], volume XXIII, issue 2, page 131
  • Karulis, Konstantīns (1992), “burkāns”, in Latviešu Etimoloģijas Vārdnīca (in Latvian), Rīga: AVOTS, →ISBN
  • Möhre” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache