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RetroVertigo
09-08-2005, 02:42 PM
Where did the term "Soviet" originate, and what does it mean?

silenus
09-08-2005, 02:45 PM
It's Russian, and means "worker's committee" or "council."

Scruloose
09-08-2005, 02:47 PM
From the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
Function: noun
Etymology: Russian sovet council, soviet
1 : an elected governmental council in a Communist country
2 plural, capitalized a : BOLSHEVIKS b : the people and especially the political and military leaders of the U.S.S.R.
- soviet adjective, often capitalized
- so·vi·et·ism /-vE-&-"ti-z&m/ noun, often capitalized

On preview - what silenus said.

ratatoskK
09-08-2005, 05:18 PM
Before the 20th century, was it a word in Russian that means what it does today? If not, what is the derivation of "soviet"?

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
09-08-2005, 05:25 PM
Here's some more info:

http://etymonline.com/index.php?term=soviet

bobk2
09-08-2005, 09:24 PM
Any chance it has some common root with the english 'sovereign' (as in 'authority', not the English coin)

silenus
09-08-2005, 09:40 PM
Doesn't look like it. Sovereign derives from the Italian/Latin, while soviet is a loaner from Greek. There may have been some swapping going on 2000 years ago, but I haven't found any citation for it.

groman
09-08-2005, 09:44 PM
Before the 20th century, was it a word in Russian that means what it does today? If not, what is the derivation of "soviet"?

It always meant both "advice" and "committee"

Neptunian Slug
09-08-2005, 09:51 PM
Any chance it has some common root with the english 'sovereign' (as in 'authority', not the English coin)

None that I can deduce.

In addition to council, the word means advice. It has a more consultative idea than anything else.
Sovetchik - Advisor, Sovetovat - to advise, give counsel

The word's association with the communists was the idea that workers councils would run the country. A factory soviet would feed up to a city soviet and so on. Everyone freely providing input in a socialist workers paradise.

groman
09-08-2005, 09:59 PM
Also note the english words counsel and council.

FlyingRamenMonster
09-09-2005, 05:29 AM
And note that "USSR" stands for "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics", which makes the whole thing make a bit more sense. "Soviet" in English is more of an abbreviation, meaning "from the USSR" and does not really mean the same thing as in Russian.

Eurograff
09-09-2005, 05:39 AM
Any chance it has some common root with the english 'sovereign' (as in 'authority', not the English coin)No. Sovereign comes from Latin 'superanus' (long a) which means basically the same, as 'being above'. This word in Russian is суверен which reads 'suveren' if I translitterate correctly.

Neptunian Slug
09-09-2005, 01:40 PM
And note that "USSR" stands for "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics", which makes the whole thing make a bit more sense. "Soviet" in English is more of an abbreviation, meaning "from the USSR" and does not really mean the same thing as in Russian.

The Russians used the word the same way that we did.

Sovietskii Soyuz - Soviet Union.
Sovietskii Grazhdanin - Soviet Citizen
Sovietskii Sport is a sports daily that is still published.

The only difference would be that you wouldn't say in Russian "E-Diddy is a Soviet". But you could say "E-Diddy is a Soviet student, E-Diddy is a Soviet athlete." Neither of which are true but serve for the purposes of this example.

yBeayf
09-09-2005, 05:04 PM
As others have mentioned, before modern times the word meant "counsel". I remember looking through an old Russian prayer book for the first time and seeing "Советъ" listed as one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Fair bit of surprise, that was.

samclem
09-09-2005, 06:08 PM
Basically what some others have said.

My Chambers Dictionary of Etymology and Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate agree.

Chambers says 1917, borrowed from Russian sovet governing council; literally, council, from Old Russian suvetu(su with, together+vetu counsel, agreement(; loan translation of Greek symboulion council of advisors. The Soviets, meaning the government or people of the Soviet Union, is first recorded in 1920.

Manduck
09-09-2005, 07:36 PM
... Latin 'superanus' ... Worst superhero ever!

guizot
09-13-2005, 05:23 PM
The Russians used the word the same way that we did.

Sovietskii Soyuz - Soviet Union.
Sovietskii Grazhdanin - Soviet Citizen
Sovietskii Sport is a sports daily that is still published.

The only difference would be that you wouldn't say in Russian "E-Diddy is a Soviet". But you could say "E-Diddy is a Soviet student, E-Diddy is a Soviet athlete." Neither of which are true but serve for the purposes of this example.Yes, because when we say "Soviets" it's short for "people from the Soviet Union." It would be strange to call them "Unions," or "Soviet Unions," or "Soviet Unionists," or "Soviet Unioners."

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