Plant Names Variability in Explanatory Dictionaries of Modern Russian Language

2022. № 4, 7-24

Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences

(Russia, Moscow),


The paper deals with plant names as an interesting section of Russian lexis. Plant names in explanatory dictionaries of Modern Russian demonstrate a lack of systematical description. On the one hand, this group is small and insufficiently relevant. Obsolete or substandard lexemes are excluded without addition of the new ones. On the other hand, one of the main problems remains the excess variability of plant names in explanatory dictionaries. In explanatory dictionaries, different variants of plant names are often included in the same dictionary entry. However, when comparing dictionaries to the wide range of sources and corpus data, it becomes obvious that the variability of the named plants is not systematic, consistent or adequate.

In some cases, dictionaries preserve rare or outdated variants (аза́лия / азале́я ‘azalea’, базилик / базилика ‘basil’). Stylistic, functional and chronological labels can be used to distinguish different variants (with analysis of data from modern dictionaries, the Russian National corpus and other sources), cf. анемон / анемона ‘anemone, windflower’, георгин / георгина ‘dahlia’ and мирт / мирта ‘myrtle’.

For citation:

Kuleva A.S. Plant Names Variability in Explanatory Dictionaries of Modern Russian Language. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2022. No. 4. Pp. 7–24. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170021740-3.