Discussion in 'Suomi (Finnish)' started by lordwings, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. lordwings Member

    Where does the word lääkäri come from in finnish? Is it loan word from russian and if so, why with this meaning but not in meaning medicine?
    I ask it because the word is almost the same in Bulgarian (lekar), though the word "lekar" in Bulgarian comes from "lek" - medicine. However this word does not exist in Russian where doctor is "vrač".
  2. Vitalore Senior Member

    From a Germanic language, using Finnish suffix +‎ -ri (“-er”), compare Swedish läkare.
  3. Määränpää

    Määränpää Senior Member

    I don't speak any Slavic languages, but using Google translator I could find similar words in lots of Slavic languages from Czech to Belarusian. :p
    Even in Russian, лекарство seems to mean medicament.

    The origin seems Germanic. Compare the word läka (to medicate) in a Swedish etymological dictionary from 1922.
  4. lordwings Member

    In my opinion the meaning atleast in Bulgarian is native. Or it is loaned too far ago as "lek" which means "lightweight" so, there are various of meanings including this word in meaning "feeling better" (oblekčavam - making burden less heavily, making pain less painful) therefore "lek" should have mean something that makes someone feel better. However, in the exact meaning - doctor it is loaned for sure, because the word was used in different way till 20th century (lečitel), which word nowadays mean someone who heals with herbs, homoeopath. But thats only "er" ending that looks foreign to me.
  5. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    I think lääkäri comes directly from Swedish läkare, and therefore the suffix -ri had been added before the word reached Finnish.

    The verb lääkitä "to treat with medicine" apparently comes from Sw. läka (plus the Finnish verbal suffix -itä), and lääke "medicine" is from the stem of lääkitä + the Finnish noun/adjective suffix -e.

    (Source: Häkkinen, Nykysuomen etymologinen sanakirja, p.656)
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013

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