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Traditionally derived from pele (mouse) (q.v.), from Proto-Indo-European *pel- (gray, pale), with a suffix -ek, to refer to an inherent quality of mice. But maybe it was derived directly from *pel-, via a previous adjective *pels (whence the verb pelēt (to grow moldy, mildewy) and the dialectal form pelgans (grayish), yielding *pel(e)ks (compare 19th-century family name Peleks); the final vowel would then be lengthened by association with pele (mouse). Cognates include Lithuanian pilkas.[1]


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pelēks (definite pelēkais, comparative pelēkāks, superlative vispelēkākais, adverb pelēki)

  1. gray (having the color of, e.g., ash; white with low brightness)
    pelēka krāsagray color
    gaiši, tumši pelēkslight, dark gray
    zvina pelēkslead gray
    pelēkas debesisgray sky
    pelēki mākoņi, miglagray cloud(s), mist
  2. gray (having a tone or hue similar to gray when compared to other related elements)
    pelēkais strazdsgray thrush, fieldfare
    pelēkā alvagray tin
    pelēkais čugunsgray cast iron
  3. gray, cloudy
    pelēka diena, pelēks rītsgray day, gray morning
  4. colorless, commonplace, uninteresting, unhealthy
    pelēka ikdienagray (= uninteresting) everyday (life)
    pelēka masagray (= undifferentiated) mass (of people)
    Seja slimniekam kļuvusi pelēkaThe patient's face turned gray.


Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Colors in Latvian · krāsas (layout · text)
     balts      pelēks      melns
             sarkans, sārts              oranžs; brūns              dzeltens
             zilzaļš, ciāns                           zils
             violets; zilganviolets, indigo              fuksīns; violets              rozā


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