2022, Volume 19, Issue 3

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Lyubov A. Feoktistova
Ural Federal University
Ekaterinburg, Russia

Abramova Guba: Towards the Etymology of the Myconym

Voprosy onomastiki, 2022, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp. 235–255 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2022.19.3.039

Received on 13 August 2022

Abstract: The article attempts to clarify the origin of a number of names of mushrooms and fungal growths on a tree (myconyms): abramka, abramukha, obramushka, Abramova (obramova) guba <Abram’s lip>, Abramov grib <Abram’s mushroom> attested in the Yaroslavl dialects of the Russian language. Researching the etymology of such words which are formally close to anthroponyms, requires considering some specific factors: a) semantic features of certain components of the name (denotative reference, indication of gender, prevalence of usage, etc.), b) the nature of paronymic attraction to the personal name, particularly in colloquial speech. In terms of deanthroponymic logic of the origin of myconyms, the name Abram can be interpreted as: a) the name of the biblical patriarch, b) a secondary ethnonym, c) a pejorative characteristic of a person (regardless of ethnicity). However, there are several factors that testify against the hypothetical relation between the myconyms and this personal name, such as: the lack of connection with the biblical character and the corresponding botanical terms in Latin and other Western European languages; the absence of “Jewish” or “male” names of mushrooms in the Russian language. On the other hand, considering the distribution factor (these myconyms are specific to Yaroslavl dialects), it might have been some foreign word borrowed into the Russian language and reanalyzed following the anthroponymic pattern. The analysis of the names of tree growths in the Northern Russian vocabulary carried out by Olga V. Mishchenko proves the possibility of drawing connections with Finno-Ugric borrowings and the need to include the meaning of ‘growth, tumor,’ etc. among the potential origin for myconyms. The author of this article substantiates the etymology from the Mari ováryme ‘tumor’ as by both formal (variation of vowels at the beginning and middle of a word in the source language, correlation of Mari β ~ Russian b, etc.), and semantic (similar naming patterns of ‘something bloated’ → ‘mushroom, mushroom growth’ in both contacting languages) criteria.

Keywords: Russian language; Yaroslavl dialects; myconyms; deanthroponymic naming pattern; biblionyms; paronymic attraction; lexical borrowing; Mari language.

The paper was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Project No. 22-18-00005 Iconography and hagiography of “The Ladder of Divine Ascent” by John Climacus) to which the author expresses her heartful gratitude.


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