by Don  

Okay, I lied on Friday. My favorite word in Russian is not слизь. It's слизняк. Слизь of course means mucous, and -няк is a suffix that forms a new noun, so слизняк is a ‘mucousling,’ in other words... a slug! Isn't that an awesome word?

Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, I never saw a live slug, so imagine my surprise when I moved to Seattle where they have banana slugs, which are bright yellow critters as long as a human arm!¹ Here's a picture:

Those -няк suffixes usually produce an end-stressed noun:

Accслизняка слизняков

There is a more scientific version of this word as well, which is слизень. It is a soft masculine noun with a fleeting vowel:


Slugs are harmless unless you have a garden, in which case those slimy bastards will really piss you off:

Уже третий год ведём борьбу с противными слизняками, которые портят и уничтожают капусту. (source) For three years now we've been warring with revolting slugs that are spoiling and destroying our cabbage.
Как избавиться от слизняков? How can you get rid of slugs?
Если на участке живут жабы, лягушки и ежи, то слизни не представляют серьезной опасности для огорода. (adapted from this source) If there are toads, frogs and hedgehogs living on your plot, then slugs are not a serious threat to the garden.
Сок из слизняков и десерт из опарышей (source) Slug juice and maggots for desert

You really should follow the link to that last one. The site has beautiful photographs...

¹ Well, as long as newborn's forearm... not an adult's arm.

1 comment

Comment from: Vitaly Repin [Visitor]

It seems to me that the word “слизняк” is much more often used when it is addressed to a person. The meaning is somewhat close to the statement: “he does not have any balls” in english.

12/22/11 @ 10:07

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