All Slavic Languages: Golem

iobyo

Senior Member
Macedonian
I've noticed a Bosnian singer has used the word golem in one of his songs. A word, which until now, I thought only existed in the Macedonian and Bulgarian languages. I'll quote the verse I'm referring to:

Za nju sam, majko, ružu ubrao
iz oka njenog suzu ukrao
na njenoj ruci burma njegova
u duši njenoj tuga golema
Could a native speaker please explain what the word means in this context. Is it anything like the Macedonian meaning of "large"?

Also, where does this word come from? Is it used in any other Slavic language?
 
  • nexy

    Senior Member
    српски/srpski
    The word means the same in Serbian - big, huge, immense. However, today it is rarely used (at least in Central Serbia where I live).
     

    Mišo

    Senior Member
    Austrian German & Hungarian
    The word means the same in Serbian - big, huge, immense. However, today it is rarely used (at least in Central Serbia where I live).

    In Croatian it's also used and means same as in others, "huge"!

    Interesting and funny. In two czech movies from early fifties, called "Císařův pekař" and "Pekařův císař", was featured character of Golem - nervy behemoth. :)
     

    Kanes

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Its actually used with similar meaning in english movies as well, seen Lord of the Ring? I can't think of other word meaning big actually, what do other slavic languages use?
     

    sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Golem as creature doesn't have anything to do with our word "golem" ! I guess.. :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golem
    I guess it does. :)

    Anyone knows Gustav Meyrink's Golem? - It is a theme of literature and used by many authors, going back essentially to Jewish folklore as the Wiki article states.
    (There's even plenty of English literature where you find golems.)

    However not all languages who had (and have) golems in literature do have golems in their language (that is, those not meaning this creature but something different as stated above - something which is "huge" but isn't a "golem" in the sense of Jewish folklore).
    A golem like the Golem too is a word of the language of course - but it is not an abstract substantive, it is a category name like robot or extra-terrestrial.

    (And now, please, continue to list meanings for the word "golem" in all Slavic languages, wherever the word does exist. :))
     

    mateo19

    Senior Member
    Its actually used with similar meaning in english movies as well, seen Lord of the Ring? I can't think of other word meaning big actually, what do other slavic languages use?

    Well, just a generic word for "big" would be "veľký" in Slovak and "великий" in Ukrainian. Is that what you meant by your question, Kanes?

    "Golem" is listed in the Slovak dictionary, but I don't understand the defintion very well. I'll list it here for your deciphering!

    golem
    -a m. ‹hebr› podľa žid. stredovekej povesti hlinená ľudská postava magicky oživovaná
    (from http://slovnik.juls.savba.sk/)

    If "hebr" means "Hebrew", maybe that is where this word comes from, Iobyo. What do you think?
     

    sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    golem -a m. ‹hebr› podľa žid. stredovekej povesti hlinená ľudská postava magicky oživovaná
    (from http://slovnik.juls.savba.sk/)
    This, Mateo, seems to mean that in Slovak golem only were used for the figure of Jewish folklore, the one used in literature and films.
    A figure made out of loam; you just put a formula written in Hebrew in its brain and then the golem - obeys. (Or disobeys, in horror films.)

    It is not the same as "golem = any huge thing or person". When we are at it - those who have mentioned "golem" for their languages: could a golem be a person only, or a thing only (animal probably), or both?
     

    cajzl

    Senior Member
    Czech
    In Czech the adjective holemý (the nominal form would be holem) means velký, veliký = big. But it is not used nowadays. I think the younger generation do not know it at all. Nothing in common with the Jewish golem. I think it is rather distantly related to holý (gol = bare) and hlava (glava, golova = head).

    Some archaic examples:

    Těch kobylek bylo toho roku množství veliké v Arabii, a po skalách hor svatých i po cestě zvlášť v noci místem jich dosti zhusta se prolétalo; a byly holemé, nebo když nám někdy o tvář zavadily, zdálo se nejináč, než jakoby kamínky malými házel.

    Jest pak pštros pokolení ptačí a divoké zvíře, velké co by člověk prostřední rukou nad hlavu vysáhnouti mohl; nohy má holé a tlusté co holemé pachole v patnácti letech, ...
     

    Mišo

    Senior Member
    Austrian German & Hungarian
    In Czech the adjective holemý (the nominal form would be holem) means velký, veliký = big. But it is not used nowadays. I think the younger generation do not know it at all. Nothing in common with the Jewish golem. I think it is rather distantly related to holý (gol = bare) and hlava (glava, golova = head).

    All three basis are possible in slovak word "hole" (massive patulous mountains).
     

    janek

    Member
    Polish, Poland
    In Polish we have a noun golem; however, it's meaning is closely related to the Golems of Jewish folklore, most notably to the famous Golem of Judah Loew ben Bezalel - it means a mindless, brutal minion, usually used for destruction. If you've seen the Jaws in "The Spy who loved me" or "Moonraker", that's an archetypical golem.

    I've also heard it used as a derogative term for someone huge, strong and brutal (e.g. a boxer), but I didn't find any reference to it in the dictionaries - so it might be just a part of my idiolect.

    In Polish, words such as "huge" or "giant" have nothing to do with golem. (gigant, olbrzym, ogromny, wielki, wielgachny, gigantyczny etc.)
     
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