The Alternative Latvian Dictionary: dēls

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Entry definition

dēls etymology From Proto-Baltic *dē-, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰē-, *dʰeh₁(y)- 〈*dʰeh₁(y)-〉 (whence also Latvian dēle, q.v.); the original meaning was thus “one to nurse,” “suckling one,” “baby” (cf. Latin fello, filius < *fēlios < *dʰeh₁(y)-li-os 〈*dʰeh₁(y)-li-os〉). Cognates include Proto-Slavic *dětę (Russian дети 〈deti〉). The term dēls replaced an earlier *sūn(u)s, the original Indo-European word for “son” (cf. Lithuanian sūnùs, English son, Russian сын 〈syn〉). This is usually explained as the result of taboo: the ‘real’ word for “son” was avoided so as not to attract the attention of evil spirits. Note that the languages that lack a reflex of this original word (Latin, Celtic, Latvian) also lack the corresponding word for “daughter” (cf. Lithuanian duktė, Russian дочь 〈dočʹ〉, German Tochter); this suggests that there may have been dialectal differences in Proto-Indo-European concerning words for children.{{R:lv:LEV}} pronunciation
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  1. son a male child, in relation to his parents dēls ar māti — a son with (his) mother jaunākais, vecākais dēls — youngest, oldest son pašu dēls — (one's) own son īstais dēls — real son vienīgais dēls — the only son brāļa, māsas dēls — nephew (lit. brother's, sister's son) dēls ļoti rūpējās par saviem vecākiem — the son takes great care of his parents
  2. (colloquial) son a form of address used by an older person talking to a younger man “Grobiņa tēv, vai tu domā, ka tava nauda nestāv droši?” Jānis jautāja; “... nu, dēls, par drošību, drošības dēļ nav ko runāt...” — “Father (of the) Grobiņš (= Mr Grobiņš), do you think that your money is not safe?” Jānis asked; “... well, son, there is nothing to say about, about security...”
  3. (poetic) son a member of a people, group, etc. Latvijas zemes dēls — a son of the land of Latvia (= a Latvian) dažādu tautu dēli un meitas — the sons and daughters of various nations

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