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мир -/mir/ - peace, world

Many people around the world heard the word "MIR" This was the name of the Soviet and later Russian space station. But what does it mean?

In the modern Russian language the word 'мир'  has two different meanings. It can be translated as 'peace' or 'world". Before the Revolution this word also denoted to "society". A popular Russian name Vladimir means  "The one who owns the world" (it comes from two Russian words: 'vladet' - 'to possess' and 'mir' - 'the world'.

There have been arguments about the name of the novel 'War and Peace' by Leo Tolstoy. Did Tolstoy really mean 'war and peace' and not 'war and the world'? In fact before the 1918 reforms of the Russian alphabet these words were written in a different way. Thus Tolstoy most probably meant 'peace'. But there were some editions where the title was written as 'the war and the society/world'. Was it a misprint? Some of the philologist believe that Tolstoy deliberately named his novel in such a way that it could have several meanings.

Your Moscow tour guide will tell you more about origins of Russian words.   

A Word A Day

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