Two things that have nothing to do with one another; I figure those who don’t know Russian can enjoy the strange bird name.
1) I visited OEDILF (The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form, previously discussed here), and the Random Limerick happened to feature the word aberdevine:
When naming the aberdevine,
It’s siskin that birders assign.
I think the word finch
Might suffice in a pinch,
And I’ve heard even bird would be fine.
(The excellent limerick is by Tim Alborn, who’s done over a thousand of them.) Of course I looked it up in the OED, and found that the etymology was “unascertained,” which is annoying but unsurprising. What struck me was the definition: “A bird-fanciers’ name of the siskin.” Why don’t bird-fanciers call the siskin a siskin? But it does sound grander, and perhaps this citation gives a clue:
1768 PENNANT Brit. Zool. II. 310 It [the siskin] is to be met with in the bird shops in London, and.. sells at a higher price than the merit of its song deserves: it is known there by the name of the Aberdavine.
2) I just started reading Nabokov’s 1938 story Истребление тиранов [Istreblenie tiranov, “Tyrants destroyed”], and one of the first words that sent me to the dictionaries was застречка in “и уже нельзя было представить себе… что под эту губу можно залезть пальцем, чтобы выковырнуть застречку пищи из-за гнилого резца” [‘and you could no longer imagine… the possibility of a finger’s slipping beneath that lip to winkle out a zastrechka of food from behind a rotting incisor’]. It’s not actually in the dictionaries, but
it’s an obvious diminutive of it could be related to zastrékha, which Oxford defines as a dialect form of стреха [strekhá] ‘eaves.’ So far, so good (a very Nabokovian image, a bit of food envisioned as a tiny eaves projecting from the roof of a tooth), but out of habit I looked up eaves in the English-Russian volume, where I found it defined as карниз [karniz], which means ‘cornice’! I checked Katzner, who gave стреха as the definition, and sighed with satisfaction. But then I made the fatal decision to look it up in a third source, the Penguin Russian Dictionary, which defined it as свес крыши [sves kryshi], ‘overhang of a roof’! I can only assume that strekhá is not in common use (Ozhegov says it’s used of a wooden house or izba), and that the normal way to talk about that part of a roof is as Penguin says. But, as always, I’d appreciate input from actual Russian speakers.
Addendum. In the comments, artm says the word sounds weird but might mean ‘something that is stuck’ (застряло [zastryalo]). Also, I realized that the diminutive of застреха should be застрешка (which is in fact in Dahl). But Dahl has застрека [zástreka] in the sense of ‘gutter (under the eaves),’ whose diminutive would be застречка… but the sense doesn’t work here. If anyone has the Collected Stories, could you please check the translation there? And while you’re at it, what’s the translation of плесницах in the first sentence of part 3: “When the gods took earthly form and… walked with muscular legs in not yet dusty плесницах [plesnitsakh]”? It seems to be some sort of ecclesiastical footwear, but I’d dearly love to know what Nabokov had in mind, and I presume he supervised the translation pretty closely.