Hmyz and Hums


I came across an interesting Czech word today – hmyz, which means “insect, ant, bug, creepy-crawly”.

It appears in my Czech phrasebook in the sentence, “V našem pokoji je hmyz” (There are insects in our room).

It sounds like the sounds insects make, but there are other words for hum in Czech – bzučet, vrčet, hučet (verbs); bzukot, šum, hukot (nouns).

Related words include:

– hmyzožravec = insectivore
– hmyzožravý = insectivorous
– repelent proti hmyzu = insect repellent


One thought on “Hmyz and Hums

  1. Looking at the word “hmyz” I would guess it was onomatopoeic but I’m probably being overly influence by English notions of “hum”. The dictionary says “hmyz” is derived from the sense of “something which swarms” and is from Proto-Slavic *gъmyzъ, from Proto-Slavic *gъmъziti sę of uncertain origin. Investigating the Proto-Slavic root *gъmyzъ further just refers back to Czech “hmyz” although the same word and meaning is in Slovak and Belarusian “гмыз” (hmyz). Similarly although I don’t know if it’s connected to “hmyz”, Hungarian has “hemzseg” – swarm, to teem, be overrun with insects ie. “hemzseg a férgektől” – crawl with vermin.

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