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Etymologising the Slavic werewolf

Kamil Stachowski

Pages 369 - 392


The multitude of Slavic names for ‘werewolf’ (conflated with ‘vampire’ in the south) can be reduced to just ten types, of which the most widespread are l-dl (vukodlak), and l-l (wilkołak). The paper focuses primarily on these two, in combination with rd-l (vurdalak), and rk-l (vărkolak). The remaining six types are examined more briefly, as are related names in circum-Slavic languages. Eight etymologies are discussed, of which half assume an Oriental provenance of our word. Ultimately, a native proposal is judged the most probable even though there are known difficulties associated with it, and this paper identifies some new ones.

The article is written in English.


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