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SAMOVAR

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SAMOVAR

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:53 pm

• samovar •


Pronunciation: sæm-ê-vahr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A metal urn, usually made of copper, fired by a charcoal compartment that runs up the middle of it, ending in a chimney. Samovars are used in Russia, Persia, and Turkey to boil water for tea. Some samovars come with a metal teapot that may be seated at the top of the chimney. The teapot contains extremely strong tea, called zavarka. Each user pours a bit of this brew into their cup then adds as much hot water as they need to bring the tea down to a strength that suits their taste. Russians often sweeten their tea with fruit preserves.

Notes: Tula, Russia, has a reputation for producing the best samovars, though the demand for them has been sinking since the introduction of electricity. Russians love to gather in someone's courtyard or the veranda of a dacha (house in the country) and "set" the samovar. Often they add pinecones, pine needles, or flowers to the charcoal to add a redolence to the smoke.

In Play: Today's Good Word doesn't lend itself to metaphorical usage, so our examples today will use the word literally: "When Dusty Rhodes found himself in Tula, Russia, he bought himself an authentic Russian samovar." Samovars make eye-catching home accessories. My wife and I have a genuine fake made in Turkey, stamped "Made in Tula", misspelled in Russian.

Word History: Today's Good Word is a transliteration from the Cyrilllic alphabet, samovar, which in Russian means literally "self-boiler". This is a compound noun comprising sam "self" + o, a compounding element + varit' "to boil". Sam comes from a Proto-Indo-European word that probably meant "one", for it turns up in Latin as semper "once and for all, always" and similis "like, similar", and English (one and the) same. Variti comes from a PIE word that apparently meant "burn", for it turns up in Germanic languages as German warmen abe simply a folk etymology from the Tatar word sanabar "tea-urn". The samovar was probably introduced to the Russians by Tatar tribes living in the Urals. (David McWethy, King of Garage Sales in Fayetteville, Arkansas, is the tea-drinker who suggested today's Good Word.)
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Re: SAMOVAR

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:47 am

Texans, Mexicans, and perhaps others have a ceramic or terracota "thing" that seems to be a crude, large scaled samovar. It is placed on the patio and used for warmth as well as for some rudimentary cooking. Does anyone know the name of this item?
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Re: SAMOVAR

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:01 am

We got one, and they are called chimineas, the E pronounced with the Sp Long A sound and the a as almost a schwa. Ours is fun, but better for roasting marshmellows than heating. Not really similar to a samovar, which society people around here use as decoration or an adaptation to dispense tea or hot punch, often with a spigot.
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Re: SAMOVAR

Postby Slava » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:29 am

We seem to have missed out on the metaphor equivalent from this one. "Taking your own samovar to Tula" is the same as "Taking coals to Newcastle." Just not necessary.
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Re: SAMOVAR

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:37 am

Perry: Thanks for the word "chiminea". It is an obvious cognate to chimney. For all us Anglophiles, we most remember that in Spanish and other languages, a is the a in father, e is the a in mate, and i is the e in bee.

Slava: Thanks for the coals to Newcastle analogy.
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Re: SAMOVAR

Postby MTC » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:44 am

In reply to Philip, here are the etymologies of "chinmey" and "chimnea" according to Etymoline:

chimney (n)
late 13c., from O.Fr. cheminee "fire place" (12c., Mod.Fr. cheminée), from L.L. (camera) caminata "fireplace, room with a fireplace," from L. caminatus, adj. of caminus "hearth, oven, flue," from Gk. kaminos "furnace." Chimney sweep attested from 1610s, earlier chimney sweeper (c.1500).

chimenea (n.)

"free-standing fireplace," 20c., from Mexican Spanish, lit."chimney," from Spanish, ultimately from L. caminata (see
chimney).

Where there's fire in the caminus...
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Re: SAMOVAR

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:17 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:Texans, Mexicans, and perhaps others have a ceramic or terracota "thing" that seems to be a crude, large scaled samovar. It is placed on the patio and used for warmth as well as for some rudimentary cooking. Does anyone know the name of this item?


My immediate neighbor has one, and there are many
to be seen in the neighborhood.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: SAMOVAR

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:46 pm

I was taught the Castilian (cf Oxford) pronunciation of Spanish, as was Philip. He has probably had more interaction with Tex-Mex than I, so he also knows that those pronunciations vary as do English ones. Cubans seem to come closer to that clear pronunciation (to me), and Puerto Ricans furthest and most difficult for me to follow. Tex-Mex I fear is closer to the Puerto Ricans.
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Re: SAMOVAR

Postby eberntson » Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:50 pm

We cook feral chia pets we capture on our chimnea, but I would not call this a rudimentary form of cooking. Just as I would not call BBQ or flambea rudimentary either. :lol:

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