On the Origin of the Russian Kuter’ma

2022. № 1, 61-70

Irina A. Gorbushina

Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia, Moscow)



The article is devoted to the Russian word kuter’ma, which a lot of etymologists consider a borrowing from Turkic languages. Most researchers (V. I. Dal’, A. G. Preobrazhensky, N. V. Goryaev, M. Vasmer, P. Y. Chernych), except for A. I. Sobolevsky, who supposed this word was of Slavic origin, had ascribed it to different Turkic lexemes. However, none of the researchers could come up with the clear etymology of the word ans there is no common opinion from which Turkic word the lexeme kuter’ma derived. This article supposes that the word kuter’ma has Russian origin and is included in the lexical famili with the root *kut-, like the verb kutit’ (in it’s fi rst meaning ‘to whirl’). To confi rm it author refers to the dialect material. Russian dialects contain a lot of variable forms of the word kuter’ma
(kutelitsa, kutel’, kutel’ba, kutel’ga, kutel’ma, kuter(’)ga, kutern’a, kuter’ba, kuter’a, kuter’aga, kut’okha, kutiga, kutilovka, kutikha etc.), which illustrate its suffi xal character. Moreover, dialects conserved the fi rst semantic of the word kuter’ma ‘the blizzard’ which later transformed into the modern literary semantic ‘the disorder, upset, chaos’. So, the word kuter’ma is formed from the verb kutit’ in its primary meaning with the help of suffi xes and fi rst used to mean ‘blizzard’.

For citation:

Gorbushina I. A. On the Origin of the Russian Kuter’ma. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2022. No. 1. Pp. 61–70. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170018740-3.


The article was supported by the RFBR grant as a part of
the project No. 19-012-00059 “The vocabulary of Slavic languages as the
heritage and development of the Proto-Slavic lexical fund: word-formation,
semantic and etymological aspects of analysis in lexicographic representation”.