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Novelties

July 20, 2019

     Coming across new vocabulary is one of the great pleasures of translating, and I can’t help but share my delight in coming across the word srėbtuvė. A bit of explanation: the ending -tuvė is often used in nouns that describe a place where some work is done, for example spaustuvė, a printing house (made from the verb spausti, to press), slėptuvė, a hiding place (from slėpti, to hide) or virtuvė, a kitchen, (from virti, to cook). It’s also frequently used for tools, like keptuvė, a frying pan (keptis, to fry), or trintuvė, a grater (from trinti, to rub or grind.)

 

     Well, then, let’s talk about the verb srėbti, which makes up this delightful word srėbtuvė. Although the Lithuanian dictionaries give its first meaning as “to eat a liquid with a spoon,” I think of it most in connection with its second meaning, to slurp, probably from childhood admonitions on how not to eat. Does this begin to give you an idea of the definition of srėbtuvė? Yes, indeed, it means your mouth, or lips! (It is also used to mean a drunkard. The list of Lithuanian synonyms for drunkard is undoubtedly astounding.) 

 

     Examples of usage from the dictionary include:

 

srėbtuvę paleisti, “let your srėbtuvė go,” or start screaming

srėbtuvę aušinti, cool off your srėbtuvė by talking needlessly

srėbtuvę uždaryti shut your srėbtuvė

 

     I’m trying to think of a way to make a good English equivalent. Slurparium? Although slurpette almost sounds for real...

 

 

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