Discussion in 'All Languages' started by rusita preciosa, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    In your language, what do you call that funny little red bug with black dots?

    English: ladybug - well, at least that makes some sense given the color,


    Russian: божья коровка [bojia korovka] - God's little cow :confused:
  2. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:
    Η πασχαλίτσα
    i pasxalitsa, f.
    lit. "Easter's little thing", probably because it appears during Easter (Πάσχα, Pasxa, in Greek).
    [x] is a voiceless velar fricative, like a hard ch.
  3. enoo Senior Member

    French - France
    French : Coccinelle ou bête à bon dieu (that 2nd one translates as ~ "kind god's creature")
  4. Dr. Quizá

    Dr. Quizá Senior Member

    Esuri - Huelva York.
    Spain - Western Andalusian Spanish.
    Spanish: Mariquita (which also means gay or effeminate), vaquitas de San Antonio (Saint Anthony's little cow) and probably more names. It seems they are also called "lady cows" in English.
  5. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Hello, this can be an interesting thread, I hope many will participate.

    I personally like more the British ladybird, but I am wondering what other regional variants native English speakers know.

    We Hungarians use katicabogár (lit. Catherine's bug), but I call it katalinka (from Catherine, Kate, Kitty), BUT I know the regional variant Isten tehénkéje (lit.: God's little cow), never knew the Russian word.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  6. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    In Finnish:

    Leppäkerttu or leppäpirkko

    Leppä is an old word for blood, here referring to the red colour of the bug. Both Kerttu and Pirkko are common female names, even today.
  7. bibax Senior Member

    Latin: coccinella

    from adj. coccinus (red, purple) from coccus/coccum (< Gr. kókkos, a berry)

    Czech: slunéčko sedmitečné (scientific name, seven-dotted little-sun) or beruška (the most common colloquial name, a feminine/diminutive from beran ram)

    Other regional names (mostly forgotten nowadays): bedrunka, medrunka, bedrnička, baruška, berunka, verunka, korunka, okorunka, peperunka, veverunka, pinkalinka, pinka, linka, ankalinka, apolinka, babrdlinka, babulinka, majdalinka, papulinka, popelinka, zlatolinka, halinka, halenka, helenka, kalinka, pólinka, skálinka, pelesa, pelesta;

    pámbíčkova kravička (God's little cow), pámbíčkova ovečka (God's little sheep), pánbíčkova slepička (God's little hen), marianka (< Mary), mariječka (< Mary), panenečka (little virgin), babička sedmibolestná (seven-painfull grannie);

    and many others.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  8. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    In Portuguese: joaninha (literally little Jane, little Joanna, or variations of said name).
  9. FabiArgentina

    FabiArgentina Senior Member

    Argentinian Spanish
    What an interesting thread!
    In Argentina they are called vaquitas de San Antonio (Saint Anthony's little cows)
    I didn't know that in Brazil they call them joaninhas ( juanitas in Spanish, little Joan/ Jane) here, when we see a juanita (little Jane) we see a different bug, a dark one with a terrible odor and when it urinates on you, it burns your skin... but that's an issue for another thread ;)
  10. Favara Senior Member

    Catalan - Southern Val.
    Panerola -> I'm not sure about the etimology.
  11. Tamar

    Tamar Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew
    In Hebrew it's פרת משה רבנו [parat moshe rabenu]
    para=cow, Moshe Rabenu=Moses.
  12. Nizo Senior Member

    In Esperanto:

    kokcinelo, Di-besto (God-animal), Maria-skarabo (Mary beetle).
  13. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    In Arabic, its دعسوقة = da'souqa. Simply the name of the bug.
  14. Malti Member

    Where I grew up (Devon) they were sometimes called godscows (God's cows), or more often ladyflies instead of ladybirds.
  15. Joannes Senior Member

    Belgian Dutch
  16. MoisesYU Member

    In Chinese we call all this kind of insect 瓢虫(piáo chóng).
  17. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    Does that mean anything else or it's just the name of the insect?
  18. MoisesYU Member

    It just means the insect.
  19. kusurija

    kusurija Senior Member

    Lithuania, K. city
    Lithuania Czech
    In Lithuanian:
    Boružė or boružytė.

    In Japanese:
    天道虫 or 瓢虫 or 紅娘[tento:mushi] (all 3) meaning: approx. insect of sky path (of Sun (God)) (IMHO it would be the same meaning as in Chinese)
    or 七星天道虫 [nanahoshitento:mushi] meaning: approx. insect of sky path with 7 stars/spots
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  20. fsabroso

    fsabroso Moderadiólogo

    South Texas
    Perú / Castellano

    In Spanish:

    Perú, España - Mariquitas
    España- Sarantonton
    Chile - Chinitas
    Argentina - vaquitas de San Antonio
    Uruguay - San Antonio
    México - Vaquitas, Catarinas
    Colombia - Petaca

    Lady Bug [ladybug], lady bird beetle [ladybird], mariquita, chinita, Vaquita de San Antonio, catarina, petaca.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  21. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    Does it mean anything else or it's just the name be the insect?
  22. Erick404 Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro
    Portuguese - Brazil
    Is there a reason for it being called a "cow" in so many languages?
  23. MoisesYU Member

    I do not quiet understand. Ladybug is cow?? or in others languages it has the name like XXXcow?? In Chinese also exist a kind of insect called 天牛(cow of sky),but these two kinds of insect are not the same.
  24. bibax Senior Member

    Ladybug is called God's (little) cow in English, Russian, Czech, Hungarian, ... (Russian and Czech use diminutives - the cow is too big).
  25. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    I noticed the same! Actually, I see three consistent themes:
    - cow
    - female (various female names, lady-bug/bird/fly)
    - religion (God, saints, Easter...)

  26. Joannes Senior Member

    Belgian Dutch
    From the web page I linked to before:

    'The term lieveheersbeestje remembers of the time the Germanic peoples were christianized. The existing Germanic name for the bug, Freyafugle, 'bird of the goddess Freya', was christianized to onzelievevrouwebeestje or lieveheersbeestje. The first 'translation' lives on in German (Marienkäfer) and English (ladybird or ladybug); the second one in Dutch, French (bête à bon Dieu, although coccinelle is more common). The French term got to be imported in Irish as bóín Dé, which can also mean 'God's little cow'.'

    Now are we to believe all the 'cow' versions actually originated in the Irish reinterpretation?
  27. kusurija

    kusurija Senior Member

    Lithuania, K. city
    Lithuania Czech
    In Lithuanian, as I know, it means only that insect. Boružytė is diminutive from boružė. Boružė came maybe from slavic languages (cf. Czech beruška).
    Also Borusija is alternative name (in Lithuanian as not accurate) for Prūsija (Engl.: Prussia). But it is only similar word, which has nothing to do with Boružė.
    Hope this helped and sorry, that I can't explain better about how it came from slavic languages.
  28. furs

    furs Senior Member

    Italian - Trieste dialect
    It's coccinella in Italian (same as in Latin).
  29. Maroseika Moderator

    This motive is much more ancient, cf. Ancient-Indian indragopa - "the one who's heardsman Indra is".

    More examples of the "cow motive" (from those not mentioned yet):
    Bulg. божа кравица, кравичка
    Polish boża krówka
    Lith. diçvo karvýtë
    Roman. vaca domnului
    Serbian божjа овчица (God's sheep)
    Germ. Herrgottschaffchen (God's sheep)
    Fr. poulette a Dieu (God's hen)

    "Sun motive":
    Upper Sorbian бože stónèko (God's sun)
    Ukrain. сонечко (little sun)
    Germ. Sonnen-Käfer (sunny bug); Sonnen-Kälbchen (sunny calf)
    Mongolian цог хорхой (hot insect)

    Motive of Virgin Mary:
    Ossetian майрæмы карк - Mary's hen

    Another motives:
    Turc gelin böceği - bride's insect
    Tajik халилихӯрак, какана - don't know etymology, maybe somebody knows?
  30. kusurija

    kusurija Senior Member

    Lithuania, K. city
    Lithuania Czech
  31. Miguel Antonio Senior Member

    Galego (Rías Baixas)
    In Galician there are two forms:
    - Xoaniña (litte Jane)
    - Maruxiña (little Mary, like the Spanish mariquita)

    In Galician, the stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) is called vacaloura , i.e. "blonde cow".
  32. Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    2Rusita Preciosa:
    Спокойно, спокойно! :) Everything in linguistics has rational explanation.
    1. About the "phemale" theme. In Enlish "ladybird", "Lady" just means the Mother of the God (well, according to Wiki). I wouldn't mark such a theme out as separte one, after all. Or it may be related to some pre-Christian goddess... in some cases.
    2. About the "cow" theme - well, but ladybird's dots should remind spots on the cow, shouldn't they? :) Furthermore, ladybird is quite slow too, and also has large body with comparatively small legs.
    3. About the "religion" theme - I must note that this insect is quite useful for farmers, because it feeds on greenflies.
    About the systematization of the collected data - it would be useful to classify them depending on language group and family.

    By the way, there is a term for ladybirds in Japanese, but do ladybirds inhabit Japan?
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  33. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    I did meet my objectives of posting this question, thanks to all contributors, and I am happy with the outcome.

    Please feel free to conduct the "data systematization exercise" just as you mentioned here, and we will all enjoy the results.

    (And yes, let's chill out).
  34. alFarrob

    alFarrob Senior Member

    Algarve, Portugal
    Português (Portugal)
    In portuguese, too.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  35. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    I apologize for quoting my self, but besides «πασχαλίτσα» [pasxa'lit͡sa] (fem.) --> Easter's little thing, it's also named «λαμπρίτσα» [lam'brit͡sa] (fem.) after the colloquial name for Easter, «Λαμπρή» [lam'bri] (fem) --> bright [day], and «μαρουδίτσα» [maru'ðit͡sa] (fem.) --> little Mary. The names «πασχαλίτσα» [pasxa'lit͡sa] (fem.), «λαμπρίτσα» [lam'brit͡sa] (fem.) and «μαρουδίτσα» [maru'ðit͡sa] (fem.) are diminutives.
  36. ancalimon Senior Member

    In Turkish we call them:

    Uğur böceği

    böcek: bug
    böceği: the bug of

    uğur: augury, omen, luck

    When a ladybug is on you, you wish something and if the bug flies (naturally it always does) your wish comes true. :)

    Also, uğurla: bid someone godspeed


    The word UĞUR might be related with the word Oğuz (Oghuz) and Ogur. And the words Oghuz and Ogur might be related with the word ÖKÜZ meaning ox~bull in different contexts. (the word Oghuz~Ogur means different things in different contexts)
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  37. AutumnOwl

    AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Swedish - Sweden, Finnish
    Nyckelpiga (old: Jungfru Marie nyckelpiga) - key (serving)maid/housekeeper; nyckel (key) related to close (something) and piga - female servant; someone in charge of the housekeys, Virgin Marys's keykeeper
    Dialectal words:
    Gullhöna - golden hen is the most common
    Jes vallpika - Jesus and vallpiga = a young girl who takes care of the cattle when they are out grazing
    Jeshöna - Jesus hen
    Gullko - golden cow
    Akahynä (Gutnic name, island of Gotland) - aka = ??, hynä = hen
  38. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Instead of "golden hen," it's "Mary's hen" in Norwegian:

  39. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Farsi > [kafsh-dooz-ak] < little shoe maker < kafsh (shoe) + dooz (maker) + ak (little), in Persian adjectives follow nouns
  40. AutumnOwl

    AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Swedish - Sweden, Finnish
    If you look closely at a ladybug you will see that she have two small horns on her head, just like a cow:
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  41. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    As somebody already said, in Italian it's coccinella, the same as Latin. Somebody knows what the Latin word means?

    You want to know the literal meaning of 瓢虫, right?
    The second part 虫 means "insect".
    The first part 瓢 had 2 meaning shift. Originally it means gourd. The gourd is then cut in half, each one is used as a gourd ladle: this is another meaning of 瓢.
    The ladybug is like a half-sphere, similar in shape with the gourd ladle.

    That is the Standard Chinese and scientific word.
    There are lots of regional terms. According Wikipedia: 胖小 (fat little)、红娘 (red lady)、花大姐 (flower big sister)、金龟金龟子 (these two: golden [little] turtle). Some species make stinky secretions and are called 臭龟子 (stinky little turtle). And probably a hundred more regional terms looking in all the Chinese topolects.

    In particular, the species Coccinella septempunctata, which is the most common in Europe and is also very common in North America, is called 七星瓢虫 - ladybug with seven stars/spots.
    Some are the same as Japanese, the latter one only partially the same.

    In my native dialect (Qingtianese) it's called 拉屁龟龟 - lit. farting turtle-turtle; regardless if it stinks or not. The repetition of the noun twice in Chinese indicates "cuteness".
    As an off-topic curiosity, the speakers of my dialect living in Italy use this nickname to call the old Fiat 500.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  42. AutumnOwl

    AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Swedish - Sweden, Finnish
    Coccinelid is derived from the Latin word coccineus meaning scarlet.

    • ^ Brown, L., ed. (2007). The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. 1 (6 ed.). pp. 441.

    There is also an insect named cochineal, which is used to make scarlet dye, used both for fabrics and cosmetics, as well as in food (dead lice on your lips and in your food :eek: )
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  43. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Hi Youngfun,

    The name derives from the Latinized name coccus, of Gr. «κόκκος» kókkŏs (masc.) --> the berry of Quercus Coccifer, used in ancient times for extracting the pigment for dyeing red colour. Interestingly, the colloquial name of colour red in Modern (and Koine & Byzantine) Greek, is «κόκκινο» ['kocino] --> pertaining to coccus.
    The etymology of «κόκκος» kókkŏs is obscure (some philologists see a possible link with the Spanish cuesco)
  44. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Thanks, AutumnOwl and apmoy70. The ladybug is a fascinating insect.
  45. marco_2 Senior Member

    In Polish it is biedronka. The etymology is not clear - according to Bruckner it comes from an old adjective biedry, which meant the same as Russian бодрый (cheerful, bright). In some dialects there is also boża krówka (God's little cow). My grandfather, who came from eastern Poland, used also the noun zozulka, which was used in some Ukrainian dialects (zazula / zezula / zozula also means a cuckoo in many Slavic dialects).

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