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See also: Zaķis


 zaķis on Latvian Wikipedia


The origin of this word is unclear. Traditionally, it is explained as a borrowing from Belarusian dialectal зайка(zájka), reshaped under the influence of kaķis(cat), but the similar Sudovian cognate makes this explanation dubious. It is difficult also to make it compatible with the Lithuanian and Slavic cognates. For the Slavic terms, there are various opinions, generally leading up to the Proto-Indo-European stem *ǵʰey-(to drive, to exhort, to move quickly). It is possible that the root of all those forms may be some pre-Indo-European word (*ǵa-, *ǵay-, *ǵuy-) to which Indo-European suffixes were attached. Cognates include Lithuanian dialectal zuĩkis, Sudovian zags, Old Church Slavonic заѩць(zajęcь), Russian, Belarusian заяц(zájac), Ukrainian за́єць(zájecʹ), Czech zajíc, Polish zając. [1]




zaķis m (2nd declension)

  1. hare (esp. Lepus europaeus)
    pelēkais, baltais zaķis‎ ― gray, white hare
    bailīgs kā zaķis‎ ― timid as a hare
    nobijies kā zaķis‎ ― scared as a hare
    Lieldienu zaķis‎ ― Easter Bunny
  2. (informal) stowaway; person who rides (a bus, a train, etc.) without paying the fare
    braukt par zaķi‎ ― to ride as a hare
    zaķiem” būs jāmaksā 40 latu sods‎ ― hares will have to pay a fine of 40 lats


Usage notes[edit]

In English, rabbit is the preferred word when one does not want to distingusih rabbits from hares; in Latvian, zaķis(hare) is preferred, and trusis(rabbit) is less frequent. (Note that the Latvian Easter Bunny is in fact the Easter Hare.)

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]


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