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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 за́йка (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 (zajęcĭ), Russian, Belarusian за́яц (zájac), Ukrainian за́єць (zájecʹ), Czech zajíc, Polish zając. [1]




zaķis m (2nd declension)

  1. hare (esp. Lepus europaeus)
    pelēkais, baltais zaķisgray, white hare
    bailīgs kā zaķistimid as a hare
    nobijies kā zaķisscared as a hare
    Lieldienu zaķisEaster Bunny
  2. (informal) stowaway; person who rides (a bus, a train, etc.) without paying the fare
    braukt par zaķito ride as a hare
    zaķiem” būs jāmaksā 40 latu sodshares 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 distinguish 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