2020. № 2 (24), 205-216

 Lomonosov Moscow State University


 The article describes the history of the semantic evolution of the Russian verb kanut’(‘disappear’) which ascends to the *kapnǫti (the semelfactive of the verb*kapati). The material of the dictionaries and of the Russian National Corpus shows that the meanings ofkanut’ in the East Slavic area developed in the following order: 1.1) A1 dropped on A2 ‘a drop of liquid A1 fell onto the surface A2’; 1.2) A1 dropped A2 on A3 ‘a person A1 made a drop of liquid A2 fall onto a surface A3’; 2) A1 dropped in A2 ‘a drop of liquid A1 fell into a liquid A2 and dissolved in it’; 3) A1 dropped in A2 ‘an object A1 quickly immersed in a liquid А2, usually in water, and completely ceased to be visible and accessible’; 4) A1 dropped in A2 ‘an object A1, once in any place А2, suddenly ceased to be visible and accessible.’ Noteworthy is the fact that, when used in its last (modern) meaning, kanut’ appears mainly in the contexts where water (or, more rarely, another liquid) is mentioned in one way or another. Thus, the semantics of the verb remains connected with the previous meanings of the chain, which are obsolete or disappearing in modern language.