A borrowing from Middle High German louwe (cf. German Löwe), from Proto-Germanic *laujan, a borrowing from Latin leō. It has been suggested, on the basis of Lithuanian liū̃tas (“lion”), Russian лютый (ljutyj) зверь (ljútyj zver’, “beast, lion”), that there was an earlier Slavo-Balto-Germanic term with the root *liu-; if so, this term was lost very early on in Latvian, replaced by the Middle High German borrowing. First mentioned (as lavis, lauve) in 17th-century Bible translations. A family name Louvis is attested from the 16h century.
lauva m, f (4th declension, irregular gender, dative singular)
- lion in general (Panthera leo)
- lauvu mātīte, lauvene — female lion, lioness
- dresēt lauvas — to tame, train lions
- lauvas tiesa — the lion's share, the biggest part
- specifically, a male lion
The term lauva is ambigenous. It is masculine when it refers to males and feminine when it refers to females. It is, however, always declined as a feminine noun, with the exception of its dative singular form, which is lauvam when it refers to a male and lauvai when it refers to a female.
- (idiom) zvēru ķēniņš
- ^ “lauva” in Konstantīns Karulis (1992, 2001), Latviešu Etimoloģijas Vārdnīca, in 2 vols, Rīga: AVOTS, ISBN 9984-700-12-7