Gonitel’. Gubitel’. Muchitel’. Razoritel’

2019. № 1, 88-98

Igor’ S. Ulukhanov, Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Science (Russia, Moscow), istepu@mail.ru


The words gonitel’, gubitel’, muchitel’ go back to Proto-Slavic *gonitelь, *gubitelь, *mǫčitel’ь, or are borrowed by the Old Russian language from Old Slavonic. The word razoritel’ (Proto-Slavic *orzoritelь) is not fixed in Old Slavonic. The word gonitel’ was used in two meanings — direct: «one who chases someone, trying to catch» and figurative: «oppressor, persecutor». The direct meaning is fixed in the manuscripts of the XVI — late XVIII century, the figurative meaning has existed from the XII century to the present time. The word gubitel’ has had in the meaning «one who kills, or killed someone» from the XI century until present. The word occurs in dialects. Muchitel’ appears in two meanings: «one who torments someone; executioner» and «tyrannical ruler, souvereign». The first of these meanings, has existed from the XI century to the present day, while the second meaning appears in the texts of the XV–XIХ centuries. Razoritel’ (<Proto-Slavic *orzoritelь < Proto-Slavic *orzoriti), is not fixed in Old Slavonic. In Old Russian it had the meanings «1. one who morally annihilates, abolishes, overthrows, nullifies; 2. one who physically destroys, ruins». The first meaning was lost, which must have happened in the middle of the XIX century; in the second meaning the word continues to function at present.