Etymologising the Slavic werewolf


Stachowski K.

WELT DER SLAVEN-HALBJAHRESSCHRIFT FUR SLAVISTIK, vol.67, no.2, pp.369-392, 2022 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 67 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.13173/ws.67.2.369
  • Journal Name: WELT DER SLAVEN-HALBJAHRESSCHRIFT FUR SLAVISTIK
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, Periodicals Index Online, Linguistic Bibliography, MLA - Modern Language Association Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.369-392
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: No

Abstract

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 I-dl (vukodlak), and I-I (wilkolak). The paper focuses primarily on these two, in combination with rd-I (vurdalak), and rk-I (varkolak). 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.