Etymology: Turkish slang word "pezevenk"

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Edguoglitigin, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. Edguoglitigin

    Edguoglitigin Senior Member

    There is no doubt that this is a borrowing in Turkish with the meaning "pimp". According to Dankoff (Armenian Loanwords in Turkish: 63), the word comes from the Armenian word bozawag "pander, pimp" (boz "prostitute" + awag "elder, chief, superior"). Hasan Eren adds that the other three words refering to "pimp" astik, dasnik, kodosh are also Armenian (Türkçenin Etimolojik Sözlüğü: 332). What I have found in modern Armenian for "pimp" is կավատ (kawat) also used in Turkish slang as a curse word but speakers are slightly aware of its original meaning.
    Another etymologist (who is actually a scholar of philosophy) İsmet Zeki Eyüboğlu offers a Persian origin by the word pazha:wand refering to "door knob; lock (those whose native language is Persian can correct me if I am mistaken)".

    On other hand, there is an interesting detail about the word that it refers to "huge, bulky, humungous" in Azerbaijani.

    I wonder about if this words still survives in modern Armenian and your opinions about the Persian origin.
  2. momai

    momai Senior Member

    All what I know that the word "kawat" is also used in Arabic as qawad meaning "pimp". :confused:
  3. Treaty Senior Member

    According to Dehkhoda Persian dictionary pazhavand پژوند is a thick stick they put behind the door to lock it. It's also used to refer to dayyuth دیوث, a shameless person who offers his wife to other men (well, pimp).
    While the word with the first meaning (the locking stick) is Persian, I'm not 100% sure if the second meaning (shameless, pimp) is related to the first one, and so Persian. Maybe, such a man was considered like a feelingless bulky stick.

    Considering that the door locking stick or lumber is bulky, I like to assume the Azerbaijani meaning is related to the first Persian meaning.
  4. sotos Senior Member

    The word is also used in Cypriot Greek with a positive meaning, referring to "well off" persons.
    Possibly revealing some second thoughts about pimps. :)
  5. Edguoglitigin

    Edguoglitigin Senior Member

    That is possible Sotos :)
  6. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    According to Nişanyan’s excellent on-line Turkish etymological dictionary, the Turkish word occurs as pezevenk, büzevenk, püzevenk, and pīzevenk, so consistently with final –nk. This makes the derivation from (Western) Armenian pozavak (which Nişanyan cites, but with a prudent question mark), or from Persian pažawand somewhat questionable.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  7. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Wow, I met this word in Ion Creangă's literary work. A "pezevenchi" was used to refer to a playful, naughty boy who could always turn the cards in his favour. It is used positively to characterise a smart kid who is not sincere all the time.
    I don't suppose it is still in use.
  8. Perseas Senior Member

    Athens - GR
    Maybe it is in use in Cypriot Greek, but it' s a word (with negative meaning) that all Greeks have heard. I think in Greece it's no more in use or just a little. It has survived in literature or as last-mames.
  9. ancalimon Senior Member

    We also use it with the same meaning sometimes. For example a man wins the lottery and you can say "vay pezevenk vay". :)
  10. danielstan Member

    Romanian - Romania
    Romanian pezevenchi = "cheater".
    We also have in Romanian the word codoș ("pimp") from the Turkish kodoș.
  11. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    The Greek is «πεζεβέγκης» [pezeˈveɲɟis] (masc.) or «μπεζεβέγκης» [bezeˈveɲɟis] (masc.) and it's used by the Cypriots alot!
    In Greek the pimp is «νταβάς» [daˈvas] (masc.) or «νταβατζής» [davaˈʣ͡is] (masc.) < Tur. davacı (suitor, prosecutor, plaintiff); I have no idea how the Turkish word for the prosecutor, came to describe the pimp in slangy Greek.
  12. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    I would say that our 'pezevenchi' (= pezevenk) is more like a 'smart ass' who is usually successful in playing tricks. I don't see it as a 'cheater', Daniel.

    As for the Turkish 'kodoş' and the Romanian 'codoş', the word sends more negative messages than that. For instance, I still use it but with the meaning of 'gossiper', and not of 'pimp' which is older I think. And it can also be the opposite of 'pezevenchi', meaning 'stupid like ass', but I suppose it is not a calque here, as it comes from 'coadă' (= row, tail) and not from 'kodoş'. Anyway, all cases be, the words seem to have got extremely derogatory meanings. For example, referring to a kid who is not successful at school, we used to say: 'codoşul clasei' (= the last in his class). It's a very ugly word indeed :thumbsdown: which is less and less to be heard nowadays :thumbsup:.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  13. ancalimon Senior Member

    In Turkish godoş I think is used for someone who is not bothered by his girlfriend or wife hanging out with other men.

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