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See also: meitā and meitä


Māte un meita


Traditionally, this word is considered borrowed from Middle Low German meid (female servant) (or from Middle High German meyt, meyde, or Middle Dutch meit), which replaced an older Proto-Indo-European word, probably *dukte, cognate with Lithuanian duktė̃, Old Prussian duckti, Russian дочь (doč’), German Tochter, English daughter (< Proto-Indo-European *dʰugh₂tḗr). It has, however, been pointed out that (a) the meaning “daughter” is older (“servant” is attested only from the 19th century), which is the opposite of what should happen if it were a borrowing from Germanic; (b) the broken intonation is not usual in borrowings from Germanic; and (c) the presumed original word *dukte has left no trace in place names, dialectal forms, etc. On account of that, some researchers believe that meita is not a borrowing, but actually the original word for “daughter” in Latvian, i.e. Latvian did not derive “daughter” from Proto-Indo-European *dʰugh₂tḗr (like Latin, which has fīlia). A possible source would be Proto-Indo-European *mēy- (soft, tender, dear), with an extra t; meita would have originally been the feminine form of the resulting adjective *meits (tender, dear, loved). Another possibility would be the same stem as mīt (to change): the original meaning would have been “changing (status, via marriage)” > “young woman about to get married” > “unmarried young woman; daughter.”[1]




meita f (4th declension)

  1. daughter (a female child, with respect to her parents)
    māte un meitamother and daughter
    vecākā, jaunākā meitathe oldest, the youngest daughter
    vienīgā meitathe only daughter
    māsas meitasister's daughter (= niece)
    mātei bija divi dēli un trīs meitasthe mother had two sons and three daughters
    onkulim ir meita, agronome Kurzemēuncle has a daughter, an agronomist in Courland
  2. (usually meitene) young, unmarried woman
    meitas dienasyoung woman's days (i.e., before marriage)
    meitas uzvārdsmaiden (lit. young woman's) name
    meža meitasforest girls (= mythological beings)
    meitu mednieksyoung woman hunter (a man who uses every chance to start a love affair)
    jā, viņa, mana māte, bijusi daiļa meita, un daudzi jaunekļi viņu kārojuši sev par sievuyes, she, my mother, was a beautiful young woman, and many young men wanted her as their wife
    “parunā gan, meit”, Pakalns dzīvi atsaucās; “tev viņi vairāk klausīs”“talk now, girl,” Pakalns answered lively; “they will hear you further”
  3. female servant, usually unmarried
    muižas meitamannor servant
    vasaras meitasummer girl (= hired for the summer)
    istabas meitaroom maid
    saimniece pie tā paša brauciena gribēja apraudzīties un apklausīties pēc jaunas meitasthe lady wanted, in the same trip, to come see and hear the new servants
  4. (poetic) daughter (a member of a people, ethnic group, etc.)
    dažādu tautu dēli un meitasthe sons and daughters of various nations




Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Karulis, Konstantīns (1992), “meita”, in Latviešu Etimoloģijas Vārdnīca (in Latvian), Rīga: AVOTS, →ISBN




  1. abessive of