In looking for something else, I happened on the Complete Russian-English Dictionary (NYC, 1919), by A. Aleksandrov, an almost 800-page volume full of obscure words (and with appendices of geographical and personal names) and available for free download from Google Books. It’s not as large as my magnificent 1127-page Dictionnaire russe-français complet (SPb, 1908), by N. P. Makaroff (for which various editions are also available for download, though not, oddly, the 1908), but on the other hand it defines words in English, which is easier for an English-speaker. And the very first word after “А! inter. ah! well!” is not in Makaroff, or any of my more modern dictionaries: “Аангичъ s.m. The winter duck.” (It is in Vasmer, who says to compare Turkish anɣyt ‘black coot,’ while admitting that there are phonetic difficulties.) Anyway, I thought I’d bring it to people’s attention in case there are others who collect fat old dictionaries of Russian.

Update (Dec. 2022). Anikin’s new Russian etymological dictionary, mentioned by Piotr Gąsiorowski in the first comment, is online here, and is now up to Выпуск 13 (два – дигло), which starts with two pages on два ‘two.’


  1. According to Aleksandr E. Anikin’s new Russian etymological dictionary (still in preparation, but the beginning of the A section, а–абзáц, is available online), Vasmer’s Turkic etymology is incorrect; the word is a borrowing from Itelmen (aʔŋičχ ‘long-tailed duck, Clangula hyemalis‘, apparently of onomatopoeic origin) and should be correctly stressed аáнгич.

  2. Thanks, that’s a much more convincing etymology, and I’m thrilled to know about the Anikin — Vasmer is getting pretty long in the tooth!

  3. Vasmer has only one аба, Anikin has four! But that came out in 2007; surely he’s gotten beyond абзац by now?

  4. Anikin is the author of Этимологический словарь русскиx диалектов Сибири: Заимствования из уральских, алтайских и палеоазиатских языков (2000) and an expert on Siberian borrowings in Russian, so I suppose he knows what he’s talking about. As for the Russian etymological dictionary, he seems to have got as far as вняться (Fascicle 6, published 2013), but I have no access to it.


  5. So does anɣyt come from Itelmen?

    Someone could write a whole book about the anguish of waiting a lifetime for a multi-volume encyclopedic work of perfection. I can think of a number of examples I’ve been lucky to see finished, others which I probably won’t, and others which will never be finished.

  6. Ангир is also found in Mongolian. It’s hard to pin down the referent: in ornithological terminology it’s been applied variously to the Mandarin Duck, the Ruddy Shelduck, and the White-winged Scoter. Анхир is now also applied to the Whistling Duck.

  7. See the Update on Anikin’s new Russian etymological dictionary.

  8. Ономат. основа аˀң- сопоставима с рядом аналогичных основ в др. яз.

    Somewhat like the Proto-Indo-European word for ‘duck’ (*h₂énh₂t-s or *h₂n̥h₂ti- or however you choose to reconstruct it)!

    So does anɣyt come from Itelmen?

    Angut (with variant angıt) in the Turkish of Turkey is Tadorna ferruginea, the ruddy shelduck. In his dictionary of the Turkic dialects from 1072–74, Dīwān Lughāt al-Turk, Mahmud al-Kashgari translates the Turkic word with Arabic nuḥām, which is ‘flamingo’ in Modern Standard Arabic but probably means ‘ruddy shelduck’ here (see the entry ’ANGIT on page 126 in the English translation here). This Turkic word would seem to be ultimately onomatopoeic (cf. its call heard after around the1:00 mark here). Old Uyghur has aŋıt as ‘ruddy shelduck’, too. (I suppose the identification is precise because it is used to translate Sanskrit cakraḥ, cakravākaḥ ‘ruddy shelduck’, which appears very frequently in Sanskrit literature.) Sakha аҥыр aŋır is apparently the wading bird Botaurus stellaris, the great bittern, whose sonorous booming is very different from the ruddy shelduck’s calls. Gerhard Doerfer (Türkische und mongolische Elemente im Neupersischen vol. II, p. 129–30), proposed that the word was originally a Turkic *aŋɣırt ‘ruddy shelduck’, still preserved in Modern Uzbek angʻirt, with simplification to *aŋɣıt and *aŋɣır in different branches and application of the word to various other species. I would think the range of the ruddy shelduck would overlap with the Sakha-speaking area only in the very north of its range, if it even overlaps at all.

  9. January First-of-May says

    is Tadorna ferruginea, the ruddy shelduck

    Russian огарь (initial stress), sez Wikipedia. It’s not in (English) Wiktionary and it’s not in Vasmer so I can’t tell what the etymology is, but it sure sounds like the Turkic word if we assume it was borrowed early enough.

    OTOH it’s also possible that both names are independently onomatopoeic (if the Russian one goes back to the time when Slavic *o was [a], which it would have had to in the borrowing scenario anyway).

    AFAICT the range of Tadorna ferruginea does not extend into Itelmen territory.

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