Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by texpert, Jan 21, 2009.
Mod Edit: split from here.
Wonder where the bistro originated. In Russian possibly?
I've heard it came into Czech from Russian via French (hence the "i" instead of "y") but haven't bothered to verify it.
According to reference dictionaries and to several sources, the Russian origin of bistro (sometimes written bistrot) in French is a common legend that has not been confirmed. There isn't enough material to support this hypothesis. But bistro did go (back?) to Russia.
That's quite intriguing. What do you mean by common legend? Is it basicaly untrue but still popular? Urban legend? What are the most cited sources of the bistro origins then?
That's from wikipedia:
The word bistro may derive from the Russian быстро (bystro) which means quick. According to an urban legend, it entered the French language during the Russian occupation of Paris in 1815. Russian soldiers who wanted to be served quickly would shout "bystro."
Another version is that it is an abbreviation of bistrouille, a French term for brandy mixed with coffee.
'bistro' (as in cafe) is an interesting one. Legend has it that Russian soldiers occupying France after the Napoleonic Wars would shout 'быстро' at the waitresses. Cafes/fast food places in France then started calling themselves bistros. The word was then imported back to Russia to mean cafe.
Well, this is nothing more than a naive legend. In fact, the very word was first attested only in the 1890th - three generations after the Russian occupation of Paris. Besdies, it first meant cafe owner and even had a female form - bistrotte.
And moreover, it has quite reliable French etymology.
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