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A borrowing from Old East Slavic нєбогъ ‎(nebogŭ, poor) or from Belarusian небог ‎(njeboh), небога ‎(njeboha) (cf. Old Church Slavonic нєбогъ ‎(nebogŭ)); Lithuanian nabãgas is likewise a borrowing from Slavic. Like its opposite bagāts ‎(rich) (q.v.), its basic stem is the same as Old Church Slavonic богъ ‎(bogŭ, happiness; abundance, riches; god), so the original meaning in Slavic was probably “(one) whom god gave nothing.” The word was borrowed into Latvian before the 13th century and used from the beginning both as a noun and as an adjective.[1]




nabags m (1st declension, feminine form: nabadze)

  1. poor man, pauper (man, or in general a person, who cannot provide for himself and lives from the charity of others)
    pilsēta, pagasta nabagi — city, parish poor
    akls, klibs, vecs nabags — blind, lame, old poor man
    kļūt par nabagu — to become a poor man
    nabaga dāvana — alms (lit. donation to the poor)
    kad nabags redz cita cilvēka bagātību, viņš jūtas vēl nabagāks — when a poor man sees another person's riches, he feels even poorer
  2. (often in the genitive, used as an adjective) poor man (man, or in general a person, who deserves pity; in this sense, the diminutive form nabadziņš is more frequently used)
    nabaga bērns, meitenepoor child, girl
    nabaga sunītis salst ārā — the poor dog is freezing outside
    skolotāji mani plucināja aiz ausīm, bet tēvs, nabags, pacietību zaudējis, kaustīja ar striķa galu — the teachers pulled my ears, but (my) father, poor him, having lost his patience, hit me with a piece of rope



nabags (def. nabagais, comp. nabagāks, sup. visnabagākais; adv. nabagi)

  1. poor (who lacks possessions, the means of surviving)
    nabagais kaimiņš — the poor neighbor
    viņš ir ļoti nabags — he is very poor
    pasaulē nav neviens tik nabags, ka tas navarētu tomēr vēl kādam palīdzēt — in the world there is nobody so poor that he can't really help someone else
    kad nabags redz cita cilvēka bagātību, viņš jūtas vēl nabagāks — when a poor man sees another person's riches, he feels even poorer
  2. poor (having, containing little or none of something, especially something important, valuable or useful)
    zivīm nabaga upe — a river poor in fish
    ar kokiem nabaga zeme — land poor in trees
    upe sekla, vasarā ūdeņiem nabaga — the river is shallow, in the summer (it is) poor in water
    visnabagākā ar palmām ir Eiropa: te aug tikai viena palma, pundurpalma — the poorest (continent) in palm trees is Europe: here, only one palm tree grows, the palmetto tree
  3. poor (not sufficiently varied and diverse, in form, nuances, parts; one-sided, limited)
    cik dzīve nabaga! cik maz tai laba! un, ak, cik maz ir skaista!... — how poor life is! how little good it has! and, ah! how little beauty it (has, is)!...
    jo augstāk mēs tikām, jo ainava kļuva nabagāka — the higher up we got (= climbed), the poorer the landscape became
    faktiem un pierādījumiem nabags viņa ievadraksts — his editorial (was) poor in facts and evidence
  4. (of the mind, the psyche, the spirit) poor, shallow, not sensitive
    Jorena psiholoģiska līnija ir inerta, dvēseliski nabaga — Jorens' psychological line is inert, spiritually poor




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  1. ^ “nabags” in Konstantīns Karulis (1992, 2001), Latviešu Etimoloģijas Vārdnīca, in 2 vols, Rīga: AVOTS, ISBN 9984-700-12-7