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WHAT DOES THE WORD "AMBER" MEAN?

Linguists have still not clarified the etymology of the word "amber" to this day.

Interestingly, in the Ancient Egyptian language the name given to amber, sakal, sounds similar to the word for resin in Lithuanian (sakas).

Author of a popular monograph about amber, Englishman G. Williamson, wrote in 1932 that north of Konigsberg (present-day Kaliningrad) there was a place called "Resin Port" (Sakaosta in Latvian).

In the Silute district in Lithuania there is a village called Sakuciai, which would translate to Resin Town in English. It lies either side of the Minija River which historically was one of the main waterways by which the Curonian Lagoon could be reached.

The village of Sakuciai is not far from the town of Priekule, north of which there is a place on the right bank of the Minija that goes by the name of Amber mine (Ger. Bernsteingrube).

The Latvian dzitars (and dzintars, a word loaned from the Courland dialect), when positioned alongside the Lithuanian gintaras suggests this word would have been known to the ancestors of Lithuanians and Latvians already before the middle of the 7th century, that is, before these languages diverged.

It is also thought that Hungarians adopted this word from the people who lived by the Curonian Lagoon (gyanta means pine resin in modern Hungarian, although earlier amber was called gyantar).

Scientists claim that the loanword  from the Balt language appeared in the Eastern Slavic dialects no earlier than in the 10th century.

The German name for amber, Elernstein, comes from two words: brennen, which means to burn, and Stein, which means stone (amber does indeed burn).

This term was adopted from the Germans by the Poles and Hungarians: in Polish amber is bursztyn, and in Hungarian - borostyan.

The English word for amber is related to the Arabian word anbar (ambergris is a material secreted from the digestive system of sperm-whales used in perfume production that is usually found on ocean shores).

(Source: Lithuanian Art Museum, pgm.lt)