- plural of
From Proto-Baltic *šamas, from a stem *šam-, from Proto-Indo-European *kam- (“stick, wood”). The semantic change (“wood” > “fish”) is due to resemblance between wels catfish, especially when asleep in water, and pieces of wood. Cognates include Lithuanian šãmas, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian сом (som), Czech sumec (Old Czech som), Polish sum, Ancient Greek κάμαξ (kámax, “pile, stake”) (compare Greek καμάκι (kamáki, “spear, harpoon”)).
sams m (1st declension)
- wels catfish, sheatfish (a scaleless freshwater catfish, Silurus glanis)
- puiši zivis šauda, saķēruši sirmu samu: liels kā teliņš, melns kā velniņš, plata mute, garas ūsas — the boys shot the fish, (they had) caught a gray catfish: big as a little calf, black as the devil, wide mouth, long whiskers