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indo-european small mały icon

In Polish language there is a verb "umniejszać" that literally means "to small someone or something down" but the proper meaning is "to lower the value of someone" or "diminish". In this context the Indo-European idea of smalling something down could have negative conotations and thus Latin "malum" meaning "evil" or "bad" could come from this thought and would then be based on a word "small" or "maly".

The word "diminish" itself comes from Latin "minuere" meaning "make small".


Old Church Slavonic: малъ (malŭ)

Belarusian: малы́ (malý)

Russian: ма́лый (mályj)

Ukrainian: мали́й (malýj)

Czech: malý

Polish: mały

Slovak: malý

Lower Sorbian: mały

Upper Sorbian: mały

Slovene: mȃli

Bulgarian: ма́лък (málǎk)

Macedonian: мал (mal)

Serbo-Croatian: ма̑л, mȃl


Old English: smæl

Middle English: smal

Scots: smal, smaw

English: small

North Frisian: smaal

Old Saxon: smal

Middle Low German: smal

Low German: small

Old Dutch: smal

Middle Dutch: smal

Dutch: smal

Old High German: smal

Middle High German: smal

Old Norse: smalr

Icelandic: smalur

Faroese: smalur

Norwegian: smal

Swedish: smal

Danish: smal

Gothic: 𐍃𐌼𐌰𐌻𐍃 (smals)

German: schmal


Old Frisian: smel

West Frisian: smel

North Frisian: smääl, smeel

Saterland Frisian: smäl


Vilamovian: śmoł

Article created on the 9th of October 2019.