Russian Dialectal Names of Swollen Veins: Etymological and Motivational Analysis

2022. № 3, 31-46

Leont’eva Maria Olegovna, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin (Russia, Yekaterinburg),



The article contains an etymological and motivational analysis of Russian dialectal names for veins swollen due to varix. There are two main reasons for increased language focus on this body part: painfulness (because of excessive physical labour) and distinctive manifestation (protrusion under the skin in the form of oblong threads with thickenings). Both these reasons affect motivational characteristics forming the basis of the dialectal units under analysis: there is a number of metaphoric designations noted (veins correlate with bulging, thickened and bent objects). There are also names that are complex in terms of their origin рвотины (rvotiny), хруны (khruny), простни (prostni), ховрули (khovruli). These names combine two intercomplementary motivational characteristics – pain and comparison with a thickened thread or a rope. At the same time, they are semantically related to the verbs conveying the concept of a painful feeling (рвать (rvat’), хрядеть (khryadet’), стыть (styt’)). The name of the swollen vein соворулина (sovorulina), which is obscure in terms of its origin, requires particular consideration. The author of this article assumes that it should be correlated with two groups of dialect lexical units – with the names of beads соврульки (sovrulki) and with the names for blackberry and wild rose bushes (сараулина (saraulina), сорбалина (sorbalina), etc.). The name of the beads can be interpreted as a metaphor based on the names of bushes, the branches with berries of which resemble threads with beads. The name for the swollen vein соворулина (sovorulina) may origin from the names of bushes, with the possible influence of formally closer names for beads. The comparison of the swollen vein with the branches of bushes is explained by the color and the shape.

For citation:

Leont’eva M. O. Russian Dialectal Names of Swollen Veins: Etymological and Motivational Analysis. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2022. No. 3. Pp. 31–46. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170020743-6.


The study is supported by the Russian Science Foundation grant No. 20-18-00223 “Etymologisation and semantic reconstruction of Russian vocabulary”.