Does "ски"(ski) mean something on it's own or is it just a coincidence? Russian is Русский, Bulgarian is Български, Serbian is Srpski, Polish is Polski etc. Ukrainian is Українська.

  • 2
    The same reason why Danish is "Dansk", Norwegian is "Norsk" and Swedish is "Svenska" in those respective languages.
    – Anixx
    Apr 28, 2022 at 22:37

2 Answers 2


This suffix comes from Proto-Slavic *-ьskъ, cognate with English "-ish", and is used in a similar way: to turn a noun into an adjective. For example, Russian герой geroj "hero" > геройский gerojskij "heroic", дети deti "child" > детский detskij "childish".

Рус-ский, thus, is an adjective from Русь: "Rus-ish". And similarly in other Slavic languages, though the exact form of the suffix varies.

  • This adjective would apply to whatever the word for "language" was, in context.
    – jlawler
    Apr 27, 2022 at 21:22

Proto-Indo-European suffix -iskos, which means "Characteristic of, typical of, pertaining to", is inherited by Balto-Slavic, Germanic and Hellenic. The Proto-Balto-Slavic one is -iškas, while the Proto-Slavic one is -ьskъ.

  • The link to the article about the suffix: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/…
    – Anixx
    Apr 28, 2022 at 22:34
  • These is also late Latin -iscus (now present in Ital. -esco, Rom. -esc, Fr. -esque etc) said to come from Proto-West Germanic *-isk, from Proto-Germanic *-iskaz, from Proto-Indo-European *-iskos (suffix), although its presence in Romanian may prove a rather common-Latin base.
    – cipricus
    Jan 16, 2023 at 23:16

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