Pulpety and How to Eat Them: To the Word’s History

2023. № 5, 81-92

Maria O. Novak, Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia, Moscow), mariaonovak@gmail.com


The article reviews the history of the word pulpet ‘meatball’ in Russian. The author identifi es the origin of this word’s borrowing, discusses its usage peculiarities and lexicographic fi xation in chronological order. The word, borrowed from the Polish language at the end of the 17th century, has not been widely used in Russian. Its distribution has a regional limitation (south of Russia, Russianspeaking Ukraine) and it remains almost unnoticed in Russian lexico graphy. There are diachronic differences in the word use domains: in the 19th and 21st centuries, it appears mostly in culinary recipes, while in the 20th century it is usually found in fi ction. The lexeme semantics is defi ned differently in various sources: there is either an indication of the product’s shape (“balls,” “rolls”) or a reference to a synonymous culinary term (“dumplings,” “meatballs”). The lexeme is used primarily in the plural form and belongs to masculine nouns. Academic dictionaries of the Russian language ignore this lexical item; only a few dictionaries of loanwords from the 19th century incorporate it and erroneously interpret it as a borrowing from French. The word needs a proper etymological and semantic coverage in modern lexicographic volumes, at least in loanwords dictionaries.

For citation:

Novak M. O. Pulpety and How to Eat Them: To the Word’s History. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2023. No. 5. Pp. 81–92. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170028368-3.