On some slovak names of ice formations (cencúľ ‘icicle’, etc.)

2018. № 4 (18), 119-131

 Ľ. Štúr Institute of Linguistics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences


 According to the Czech etymologist V. Machek, Slovak cencúľ ‘icicle’ (as well as Slovak literary ciageľ and dialectal cígeľ, cingeľ, cimbolec, compeľ, combeľ, cúceľ ‘id.’) is a word of expressive origin. In our study, we try to reconsider this attempt at etymological explanation; at the same time, we also discuss several other Slovak dialectal names for icicles and ice formations (cecok, cicok, cigur, cík, cincúr, cingír, cingúr, cmrkeľ, ľadový čik). Some of these words seem to have undergone irregular phonetic changes (probably due to their emotional and expressive markedness related to the properties of the denoted objects) which are described in the article. The etymological analysis also identifies diverse semantic origins of the lexemes under discussion (such as ‘to suck; nipple’ [> ‘{nipple-like} protuberance; elongated object’], ‘snot’, ‘sharp, tooth-like projection’, ‘to flow, drip [down], ‘to make a sound’) as well as loanwords from other languages.