How do we say slug in different languages? Naked snail? Slimy? Crawler? Soft?

Gastropods: When we talk about slugs, we need to talk about snails as well. Both belong to the class gastropods, a term invented  by Georges Cuvier in 1795, from the Ancient Greek γαστήρ + πούς (“stomach + foot”) and they form with mussels and octopuses the group of molluscs. All of them are basically squishy beings, thus was named molluscus (mollis, soft). The taxonomy of the family is constantly being revised. The concept of slug is very vague and it is hard to compare from one language to another.

The pink group are languages that uses a specific word for slug, either the greek root leimax or the slavic root slimak, both are derived form Proto-Indo-European slehym. Some other languages do not have a word for it, but it is formed by adding naked to snail. It is not an obscene remark, but a mere observation: a slug is a snail without shell. Other groups do not share an etymological common origen but a semantic one. The yellow group are words that describe the animal as some sort of slippery substance. Spanish babosa means “drooling”, Turkish, Russian and Lithuanian. The last group are the greens in the map, the crawlings.

Recommended Articles

6 Comments

  1. Андрій Лавріненко

    Beautiful map! Just 2 corrections:
    1. In Ukrainian we say “Слимак”. Other variants listed sound like some dialects.
    2. In south Ukrainian region of Crimea both Ukrainian and Russian languages are official.

  2. Peppi Vavaluciu

    Please, consider to remove the word “CHIOCCIOLA” among the Italian words for “slut”. As a matter of facts, a “chiocciola” is just a snail, or a slug “dressed” with a shell.

    Said this, I can only congratulate you on your site: very attractive, full of very interesting etymological information and curiosities. it’s a really good job!

    1. Yes, I was not sure about this one. Sometimes it appears like a synonym of “lumaca, limaccia”. Even if the actual meaning is “snail”

  3. Peppi Vavaluciu

    I apologize for that involuntary typo: I meant to write <>, of course. Pardon!

  4. Peppi Vavaluciu

    I apologize for the involuntary typo: I meant to write * … among the Italian words for “slug” * , of course. Pardon!

  5. “Lumacone” in Corsican !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.